We’re proud to announce that the SF Business Times has included us in their 2014 list of “100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area.” To qualify for this list, companies were “ranked by percentage of revenue growth increase between 2011 and 2013 [and] required to have at least $200,000 in revenue in 2011.” After 15 years in the payments industry, we are humbled and inspired to receive recognition that reflects our momentum and surge in growth in 2014. To get a behind the scenes look on how we made it this far, the SF Business Times asked Chairman and CEO Tom Villante these three questions:
1. What decision most influenced your company’s fast growth?
In the early years of YapStone, we made the decision to position our company as a true technology company with an end-to-end payment solution for vertical markets as opposed to being just another payment processing company. In order to be successful, we realized that we could not become a commodity player. By focusing on our technology (payment features, functionality and expertise), we were able to differentiate YapStone from our competitors.
2. What was the biggest mistake your company has made on its way to success?
YapStone has experienced tremendous growth in partnerships, revenue and head count. As an entrepreneurial company, we certainly have made our share of mistakes over the years. I would say that our biggest mistake has been not being aggressive enough in hiring and expanding our staff. As the CEO, I am always trying to balance growth with the realities of the business.
3. What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
I founded YapStone in 1999 with the goal to give renters a more convenient way to pay their rent. As we started to penetrate the market, I went on on our first road show to raise money to fuel our growth. In those first few years, I was consistently met with doubt by venture capitalists. They told me that the business model was flawed – “a renter would never pay a fee to use a credit card to pay their rent.” In that time, I never lost focus as I felt we were on the right track. My advice to any entrepreneur is to always follow your gut. As you seek advice, guidance and even funding, you will receive opinion after opinion. At the end of the day, you have to make the decision. My second piece of advice is to surround yourself with smart, experienced people. As a technology company in the payments industry, YapStone lives in a very complex world. We realized early on that we needed the best and brightest talent that we could find in order to be successful.
To see our profile, please view “100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area 2014“.