Sep 26, 2018 Thanks for Being Part of Our Journey
By Ben Heller
On my two-year anniversary with PricePoint, I want to thank those that have been part of our journey. Looking back, it could have been very different.
Two years ago my wife, Arielle, had just given birth to our son, Pip, and he wasn’t sleeping through the night. My brain (and some friends) were saying that now wasn’t really the best time to start something completely new. There were lots of doubts, but I couldn’t ignore the positives. Through running lots of mobility consulting projects and household goods RFPs at Accenture, I saw that move pricing was too broken to ignore; and I believed that our industry would support a change that benefited everyone.
My soon-to-be-partner, Ryan Keintz, had figured out how to automate international move pricing for movers, forwarders, agents, and van lines, via his startup platform called PricePoint. We believed that with the right interface, PricePoint could be extended to Relocation Management Companies (RMC) and Corporations to make move pricing better, faster, and less expensive for everyone. I believed this was the holy grail to avoid the tedious RFP pricing process and eliminate the need for Household Goods audits. Move pricing could be simple, predictable and instantaneous. I believed this so much that I took a leap of faith and joined team PricePoint.
In a whirlwind first few weeks, I was at ERC and IAM, talking about PricePoint and its possibilities to anyone who would listen. We then started plotting a next-level growth trajectory. We focused on who we were as a company and why we existed. I read marketing and sales books and talked to friends and peers. We created our brand pyramid and evaluated different market positioning for different targets. We simplified the product, refined our branding, and rolled out a new website. Throughout the journey, we made mistakes, but kept improving and pushing forward.
We hit our next big break when Bristol Global Mobility signed as our first RMC partner in early 2017. Bristol is an innovative RMC and they were willing to work with a beta product that created opportunities, but also came with substantial challenges. The opportunities were to be first to market with an innovative methodology that fundamentally simplified the corporate-RMC-mover-procurement paradigm. However, that also brought the inherent challenges of change to a client organization which was structured for the prior paradigm. Those challenges were magnified by a far-from-perfect beta software platform. Through many conversations with their team, they gave us feedback and helped us identify their goals so we could continue to improve the solution. Their expectations were reasonable, and their feedback was constructive. It has been a dream partnership that has enabled us make the product great. Meanwhile, we also had a large corporate client that pushed their RMC to adopt us, and that gave us enough revenue to grow our team.
While the RMC solution was developing, we had over 700 movers providing pricing into PricePoint to automate their pricing process. This had become too big a role for Ryan to manage while growing the business. And while I’d never before been responsible for HR, that became a big part of my job. We brought in Herbert Lorenz to manage PricePoint operations, supporting the movers, and ensuring quality control.
While Ryan had improved PricePoint for over five years by utilizing 3rd party developers, we recognized it was time to upgrade in this crucial category. We wanted to maximize the quality and velocity of our code, so we brought in a new head of engineering, Neal Siebert, a move critical to the growth of our company.
Seeing an opportunity to bring in developers to accelerate growth was enticing and so I invested some personal funds. I took on the responsibilities as CEO in September 2017. This enabled us to hire Yazen and Phoenix to our product team. We also hired Miranda, who had been a PricePoint power-user on the client side, to help meet the needs of our users. By early 2018 we had seven all-star team members, poised to help us grow.
With extensive use, growth, and improvements to our RMC product since its initial release in 2017, we were able to win the partnership of NEI Global Relocation in early 2018. Similar to Bristol, the collaboration with the NEI team continues to make us a better company. I can’t help but think that by working with our clients, we’ve become well positioned to meet the needs of any RMC for international moving. And by early next year, we’ll be able to do that for intermodal domestic moves too.
Working close with moving partners has highlighted ways to make the platform for movers better too. We’ve started partnering with movers to use PricePoint as a way to simplify the buying experience for their clients. And later, we’ll be rolling out a new tariff engine to help movers streamline and manage their pricing with even greater efficiency and intelligence. If you are going to be at IAM, please stop by our booth as we’d love to get your feedback.
So two years later, it’s amazing to think that fear might have kept me from joining PricePoint. I went from mobility procurement to a household good technology partner… and building things is way more fun than buying them. I hear people talk about sprinting in startups, but joining PricePoint feels more like a marathon. It always feels like we’re in mile 6 or 7, because the finish line constantly gets pushed into the horizon, as opportunities to help movers, forwarders, agents, van lines, RMCs, mobility technology solutions, corporations and their transferees expand.
Both personally and professionally, every day is a new learning experience and an opportunity to get better. And beyond a foundation of love and support from Arielle, Pip, family and friends – seeing progress, having the respect of peers, and believing in a cause that I am passionate about is a recipe for purpose and fulfillment. What a world of difference less than 1000 days makes.
Two years ago, we were a very different company… and much of that has to do with you – the people who support PricePoint and use our products. I’d like to thank you for being part of our story and for helping us become a better company. If we haven’t connected lately, let’s make that happen at ERC, IAM, TRC, or NJRC. While we like to be innovative, I’d also be happy to have a good old-fashioned phone call to connect and say thanks.
Hope you and yours are doing well, whenever and wherever you are reading this.
Cheers to you,
CEO Ben fell in love with the mobility industry while running Accentureʼs global mobility consulting practice. Focusing on the mobility supply chain, he learned the hard way that move pricing is complicated, unclear, and vulnerable to manipulation. After evaluating all existing alternatives, Ben partnered with Ryan to make data-driven moving decisions possible.