The idea to start a company that automated the search engine optimization process first came to me in May 2009 when Chris Adams and I were working as interim leaders at a SaaS startup. We booted around the idea, did some market research and wondered why no one else was doing it. In my mind SEO was ripe for automation. It is a multi-billion dollar space (and growing), has no standardization to it, professional services heavy and everyone needs it. I did some initial market research then talked to an expert, one Jeff Jones, to confirm it could be done and that was it.
We incorporated gShift Labs (a name Chris came up with), we verbally committed a bunch of seed money, sought approval from our spouses and we were off to the races. Jeff Jones, gShift’s Senior Product Manager started in July and nine months later we launched at Search Engine Strategies New York. One of the benefits of working with the same business partner over and over again is that you don’t have to waste time talking about things such as who is going to own how much of the company and who is going to do what. You can just get to work.
“gShift” stands for the shift that Google has created in the marketing world. “Labs” is intended to give the impression that we are a group of people in a ‘Lab’ experimenting with solutions that are going to change the world. In fact our vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search optimization. When you watch our marketing video we are labeled the “Web Presence Optimization Scientists”.
Chris, Jeff and I plus our kick-butt engineers truly believe our software will change the world. We know that marketers just don’t have control of the organic search optimization process, they want to have control of it, they should have control of it and they will have control of it. We also know that agencies could grow their businesses if they could serve more clients with organic search services. These are things our software will help achieve. The software itself has been built and is being built by people who are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about building software – from the guts of it to the user interface.
Lastly, we love and need to be in control. A start up is a hell of a lot of fun especially if it is funded properly (not over funded, just funded). The people are a hell of a lot of fun too. gShift has the right talent doing the right things. I’m incredibly confident in our team. In fact, our team is one of our competitive advantages.
Next blog post – “How much does it cost to launch a software company these days”