Maerz Brothers Return to Startup Stories, Tales of Bootstrapped Success a Likely Topic
“First of all we use Rocket Referrals,” explained Torey Maerz when asked how the company he and his brother Carl founded in 2013 has been growing yearly by multiples of four and doubled their staff in the first six months of this year. “We take really good care of our customers. We continue to innovate our product and bring new value to them, and they share that with their contacts,” he offered, echoing the philosophy of Rocket Referrals captured by their tagline; “We grow your business through building loyal customer relations.”
It’s been two plus years since his first appearance at Square One DSM’s Startup Stories. Torey Maerz will again sit down with Mike Colwell, Executive Director of Square One DSM, this time joined by his brother and company Co-Founder Carl. “These two are quietly and consistently growing a very successful business and I wanted to have them back to talk about how they have done that,” said Colwell of his desire to follow up on the January 2014 appearance.
For those unaware, this insurance agency-focused service, Rocket Referrals, is described at a high level as an automated referral system which reviews client data through use of a proprietary algorithm. What began as a referral-centric system soon evolved into a comprehensive communication platform, focused on leveraging an insurance agent’s client base to grow their agency. Rocket Referrals aims to make personalized communication as simple as flipping switches — so agents can inspire their vocal promoters to take action, while also maintaining relationships and increasing visibility, both online and off.
The company and the product is the result of the Maerz brothers setting out to find a problem to solve, knowing that they were ready to take the leap into entrepreneurial waters. Identifying the insurance agent as a professional that might be underutilizing technology, they interviewed thirty local agents asking how they were employing technology currently and what their biggest business challenges were. Out of this research, the concept of an automated referral system working in the background of the agents contact database was born.
“We’re an open book, and hope to share much about our strategy and process,” offered Torey, noting in particular a willingness to discuss their experiences with bootstrapping a business, while offering a broader understanding of bootstrapping than often envisioned in startup circles.
“I don’t think of us as a bootstrapped company. I think of us as a company that built upon our own strengths. From my perspective we leveraged the resources we had,” noting that his technical skills when combined with Carl’s communication skills made the development of an automated communication system a logical development.
“We see a lot of startups get caught up in looking for investment money at the expense of revenue generation,” adds Carl offering that they advise people to recognize what truly represents success in a startup. “We believe the measure of success is revenue based rather than simply acquiring money.”
“Many people view bootstrapping as the hard way, but honestly we see it as the easy way because we don’t have the fear of running out of money, as we built the business on making a profit,” offers Torey.
If you doubt that, ask the 3,000 agents using Rocket Referrals to grow their businesses while growing the Maerz brother’s business as well.
$15 admission fee (includes lunch) or free (if you don’t want lunch).
11: 30 a.m. Aug. 17, 2016
Greater Des Moines Partnership
700 Locust Street, Suite 100
Conference Center (street level)
Contact us at info@squareoneDSM.com for more information.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Square One DSM for details.
About Square One DSM
Square One DSM’s mission is to connect entrepreneurial needs with qualified community and state resources and to provide guided professional and business direction. Square One DSM helps entrepreneurs maximize their successes by helping them navigate resources, strengthen knowledge, improve skills, form strategic alliances and secure proper capitalization. Learn more at SquareOneDSM.com.
About the Greater Des Moines Partnership
The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,100 Regional Business Members and more than 330 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.