[Startup Interview] Dave Withers, CEO, Vertis, USA
Vertis is a US-based startup that leverages billions of data points and proprietary data science to help business leaders implement data-driven talent and location strategies.
The platform delivers dynamic insights to executive, HR, and real estate leaders in high-growth enterprise organizations, allowing them to make accurate, data-driven decisions about talent, real estate, and workforce expansion.
The startup’s CEO Dave Withers explains.
Introduce your startup
Vertis brings intelligence to organizations' talent and location decisions. Its modern, scalable, SaaS data science and advanced analytics Market Intelligence PlatformSM accesses and analyzes billions of data points using proprietary data science to help business leaders create and implement people and workplace strategies with clarity and confidence. Vertis delivers its SaaS platform on an annual subscription basis, with no up-front consulting fee or data science expertise required.
Vertis was founded in June 2020 by an experienced team of serial entrepreneurs and data science experts. The company's co-founders have previously founded and built numerous successful ventures. The senior leadership team also has experience at large enterprises including Dell, EMC, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.
Who are the founders of Vertis and what are their professional backgrounds?
Dave Withers who is the CEO, Sam Hocking who is the President and CRO and Gordy Holterman who also acts as Chief Strategy Officer
Dave Withers is a serial entrepreneur with a 25-year track record as a successful founder and technology executive with numerous successful exits and has held senior positions and EMS and Dell post-acquisitions. He is also an active entrepreneur and investment leader at 365 Partners and InterPrivate IV InfraTech.
Sam Hocking is a serial fintech/proptech entrepreneur who has held senior executive leadership positions and BNP Paribas, Bank of America, and other leaders.
Gordy Holterman is an active entrepreneur, former hedge fund manager, and a former senior executive at Wells Fargo.
How is Vertis financed?
Vertis is funded by top technology, workplace, and real estate executives and leaders, including the co-founders. The co-founders raised $2.4M in seed capital to launch the company from stealth.
What industry does Veris operate in?
Vertis is a data science platform company designed for HR and real estate executives, high-growth technology companies, and senior-level executives and decision makers in firms that need deeper understanding of market supply and demand for talent and workplace decisions. Key customers include organizations in the commercial real estate, workforce development and management, technology, mortgage, cybersecurity, and HR industries.
What are, in your opinion, the dynamics of the industry Vertis works in?
Organizations have always been challenged to access data to inform strategic decisions about talent and workplace strategies – from finding pools of talent from which to recruit, to strategic real estate planning in the right geographic markets. The global COVID pandemic has made these decisions even more complex and impactful. Millions of people have transitioned to remote work, changing the rules for talent acquisition and retention. Organizations are struggling to develop viable hybrid office/remote strategies in response. The amount of data about these variables has exponentially grown and become more dynamic. For leaders to adequately access, analyze, and act upon the current volume of data in beneficial ways, new approaches are needed that leverage data science, AI, and machine learning.
Why did you start Vertis? What opportunities did you see?
The co-founders saw a need for dynamic market intelligence that was tailored for HR and real estate leaders, two formerly underserved categories of customers reliant on data for actionable insights and better strategic decision making. These leaders regularly need to make far-reaching decisions informed by data with clarity and confidence. Manual legacy approaches have proven too slow, too expensive, and too static to adequately empower HR and real estate leaders with the current data and insights they need. Each of Vertis' founders had been investing and designing AI solutions for real estate. During the pandemic, they realized they had the opportunity to build a unique technology solution for an underserved part of the market – one that helps these leaders address the dynamic future of work.
What problem or problems does Vertis solve?
Vertis solves the problem of finding qualified talent based on data science-driven analysis of a tremendous amount of market data including people, career characteristics, location data, local consumer and commercial real estate pricing, and much more. Customers can use the platform to pinpoint talent pools based on key attributes and make their recruiting efforts more effective, assess the cost and tradeoffs of real-estate investments for their employee bases, and access deep insight into talent and workplace costs for strategic planning.
What makes Vertis unique?
Vertis' platform gives customers access to the most up-to-date and highest quality data from the broadest spectrum of sources so that they can continually access and action the data they need to inform strategic decisions about organization growth – especially regarding their employees and locations. The Vertis platform puts data at customers' fingertips and gives access to up-to-date insights that traditionally took consultants months to produce. The Vertis platform applies proprietary data science and machine-learning algorithms to enable organizations to access billions of data points to inform these decisions. Other solutions are primarily consultant led, too manual, too static, and too expensive to be viable for near real-time decision making – especially in a new dynamic future of work environment.
Who are your customers?
Vertis customers are HR and real estate executives, leaders of high-growth technology firms, and senior executives in industries that need a deeper understanding of the market supply and demand of talent and locations. Two examples of current customers are Okta and Better.com.
What does Vertis need in order to grow?
We need to familiarize potential customers with leveraging the tremendous amount of data available to inform strategic decisions through technology. We must demonstrate to customers how our platform can eliminate the manual, slow, expensive, and inadequate data gathering and analysis processes they previously relied on. This will save time and money and improve the quality of data for strategic decisions, while also freeing up company teams to focus on their own growth strategies.
What is your growth strategy?
Our addressable market is very large. The global HR market was valued at $16B in 2019 – and expected to grow rapidly, especially as we exit the pandemic. The global real estate market has trillions of dollars invested in offices and facilities for which demand and use is quickly evolving.
We help customers: locate candidate pools to meet recruiting and growth needs with talent that matches key employee attributes; assess the costs of commercial real estate in locations where there are pools of talent and employees; and plan and budget more effectively with the ability to assess true costs of recruitment and real estate in any location.
We are laser focused on go to market efforts to introduce the company and platform to new customers and then win their business and continually plan for an innovative product roadmap based on rich feedback from current clients. We will selectively hire for positions that help us advance our product roadmap and customer acquisition over the coming year – but we intend to remain a lean company.
In which markets are you looking to establish your presence?
Currently we are primarily focused on the U.S. and European markets. Our platform can be put to work in any geography.
What are your plans for the coming 12 months?
We will selectively hire for positions that help us advance our product roadmap or acquire new customers but will remain a lean company headquartered in the Bay Area. We are maniacally focused on go to market activities that win new customers and continually updating the platform and our product roadmap.
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