Three-Time Startup Owner Creates New Startup to Connect Nonprofit Givers
Matt Ostanik, Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneur, speaks with Greater Des Moines Partnership Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives Mike Colwell about connecting people and businesses who are willing to give with nonprofits that need additional help. This is the mission of his latest startup, Given. Previously, Ostanik founded three other companies: FunnelWise, a sales and marketing software company that assists in improving marketing ROI; Submittal Exchange, an SaaS company that serves the commercial construction industry; and Charette Venture Group, a consulting and investment company for architecture and design firms.
For Ostanik, who grew up wanting to be an architect, founding his first business, Submittal Exchange, was a labor of love as he worked to create an efficient way to help contractors manage projects and communicate effectively. Once a contractor is hired and construction begins, Ostanik says documentation — or a submittal — flows back and forth between the architect and the contractor to explain and detail the process. In order to streamline this system and eliminate invaluable tasks, Submittal Exchange sought to create an easier way for this communication through software automation. Ostanik describes his first startup as a learning opportunity and a tremendous amount of work, saying that while he grew a hunger for the startup life, it’s not for everyone and something that should be considered carefully. Submittal Exchange grew quickly after being acquired by Textura, adding 70 employees within two years and growing from $4 million to $10 million in annual revenue, prior to its acquisition in 2016 by Oracle.
FunnelWise, Ostanik’s second startup endeavor, was a marketing and sales analytics company that analyzed data points from the marketing and sales funnel to tell you what happened in your business in the past so you could make changes to grow your business in the future. Ostanik references the three things that impact startup success in a 2018 LinkedIn article on closing the business. These three things include:
· Vision and strategy
· Execution of strategy
· Market timing
There are certain financial realities you have to deal with as a business. If you get to the point where the finances aren’t making sense, Ostanik says it’s important to stay in tune with those challenges and think through what the future looks like. He advises businesses considering closing down due to COVID-19 to communicate with all those who have a stake in the business in a respectful, professional way.
Ostanik says there are two driving factors with his latest startup, Given: to help connect individuals and businesses who are willing to give and to build new connections for giving back. The company uses a concept of matching in the nonprofit marketplace to have a solid impact and assist organizations in need.
Commenting on the startup ecosystem in DSM and the world, Ostanik suggests startup founders need to look at the driving factors of new businesses. On a national scale, drivers typically include making a lot of money and a desire to build cool, new products. He says what potential business owners should be asking is whether a startup can help the community and what kind of societal impact the company can have beyond investors and customer bases.
You can read the FunnelWise startup story here, as well as Ostanik’s thoughts on social media marketing for startups and small businesses here.
Listen to the entire podcast here.
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Startup Stories DSM
Startup Stories DSM is a podcast featuring conversations with entrepreneurs who share both their victories and failures on their paths to success. It is produced by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.