Olin Hyde of LeadCrunch

olinhyde.jpgOlin Hyde is the CEO & Founder of LeadCrunch, a business-to-business lookalike demand generation platform that reduces the costs of customer acquisition. LeadCrunch was one of 12 finalists from the 2018 UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition. Olin started LeadCrunch with the intent of democratizing the power of artificial intelligence to the masses. He wrote his first line of code at age twelve on a home built computer and sold encyclopedias door-to-door to make money for college. He is a serial entrepreneur with two exits: National Facilities Group (acquired by Accruent) and Auto-Semantics (acquired by ai-one). Olin holds a Masters of Advanced Studies in Systems Engineering from UCSD and a Bachelors of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University where he wrote a thesis on “Mathematical Modelling of Organizational Buying Behavior.” He is a frequent speaker on how artificial intelligence can help people make better decisions. Olin enjoys bicycling, books about big ideas and has traveled to more than 40 countries.

Tell us about yourself, your company and what you are building.

My name is Olin Hyde, and I’m the CEO & Founder of LeadCrunch, a business-to-business lookalike demand generation platform that reduces the costs of customer acquisition. More than 400 enterprises trust LeadCrunch to find and engage the ideal prospects with the right messaging at the right time. Our artificial intelligence engine constantly learns how to improve targeting and what marketers should do next for more conversions and a happier sales team. It’s a smarter, AI-driven approach to B2B targeting.

What impact do you envision achieving?

LeadCrunch makes it faster and easier to build more meaningful business relationships. We’re heading into a future where our customers grow 3X faster than their competitors - and we’re already seeing early proof. It’s a really exciting position to be in - to see our customers leverage the tremendous value of this technology to outperform their goals, and to know that this is only the beginning of what we’re aiming to achieve here.

As a participant of the UC Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, what traction have you received?

Pitch contests are a mixed bag. They’re an opportunity to tune your messaging - it’s a quick feedback loop. What’s resonating? What’s not? But ultimately, what really matters is making our customers successful. That’s the only thing that keeps the lights on.

We’ve won a ton of pitch contests. These are good for visibility, but it’s the real-world results we deliver to customers that are really inspiring. It’s a thrill when a CMO tells me we helped drop customer acquaintance costs by 67% while accelerating sales by 73%. Our happy customers enabled us to grow revenues by 20% per month for the first 30 months we were in business before we entered the UC pitch contest. We continue to grow.

Describe your journey as a UC entrepreneur.

Leadcrunch is the eighth startup that I’ve either founded or been part of the founding team. However, Leadcrunch is the first venture-backed company I’ve started as CEO. My previous successes were all bootstrapped startups that had early exits. I started LeadCrunch with my partner, Sanjit Singh, a UC alumnus from UCSB and UCLA who I met as an investor in another startup. Our journey for LeadCrunch started in earnest with my graduate studies at UC San Diego where I earned a Masters of Advanced Studies in Systems Engineering, with a focus on applied artificial intelligence applications. We started off as a medical research technology and made major pivots as we discovered product-market fit.

The key to our success is persistence. It took three years and more than a dozen product launches for us to find a scalable business model. Nothing about us fits into the traditional VC playbook. We think differently and that’s why our customers love us.

What resources within the UC system have been beneficial to you and why?

UCSD was instrumental in helping start this company. They provided free office space in the StartR Accelerator, and helped recruit 5 of our first 10 employees - including the first two on our data science team.

What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?

Startups are stupid hard. For every success story, there are thousands of startups that fail big. You need to have a serious personality disorder to start a company. You’ve got to be enthusiastic about the irrational sacrifices that startups require. And to accept that you’re going to be working seemingly-endless hours with no pay. Startup life isn’t glamorous - it’s a lot of insanely hard work with zero guarantees.

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.” Entrepreneurs must have infinite enthusiasm in the face of countless failures, because they’re going to happen. It’s a Sisyphean task.

What other pitch competitions and events have you attended? Where else have you applied?

GCVI will probably be our last pitch contest. We focus on the impact we have on real customers and the future of business relationships.

Have you made any new key partners as a result of participating in these competitions/events?

We found an opportunity for global distribution at the UC Pitch contest. We also won the Global A.I. Challenge from NVIDIA, Best Pitch from EvoNexus, Best Startup in StartR and I am a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2019.

Has there been an increase in your publicity since? 

We hired a marketing team, started sponsoring industry events, and produce a ton of great content on a weekly basis. Check out our website at LeadCrunch.ai.

Where are you with funding and patents?

We plan to raise a Series C financing next year. The GCVI Summit enabled us to meet some interesting potential investors for the next round.

What are the investment and achievement highlights so far?

We raised $18.5 million prior to the contest from top-tier Bay Area VCs, including Bow Capital, which is funded by UC Regents.