Dante Labs, founded in 2016, has gone from being a small startup and generated over $100M in revenue within six years. Andrea Riposati (CEO and co-founder) was recently interviewed about Dante Labs’ journey to success. Riposati says that Dante Labs has been financially successful since 2018, two years after its foundation. These two founders still control over 90 percent of Dante Labs, which is almost unprecedented among startups eager to get as many investment funds during their early years. Andrea Riposati shares some wisdom with other startups trying to succeed and overcome the challenges of the early years of their ventures where there is not as much investment.
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Logan Plaster highlights that Andrea Riposati and his partner still own 90 percent of Dante Labs. They still have revenues over $100M. Andrea Riposati provides advice for startups looking to pursue this strategy. First, we chose to grow Dante Labs rather than bring in investors. We felt that diluting shares wouldn’t be as beneficial as focusing on scaling our business with the resources we have. Riposati advises startups to also focus on their audience. Riposati says to focus on creating a product that people will buy. The other side is to limit investments until revenues grow. He said, “Then it is possible to make investments without diluting your share ownership.”
Riposati cites the example of the lack of a laboratory to conduct the sequencing at the beginning. If we had invested in a lab to build it at that point, we would still have a lab without any tests to run. It was a wise decision to wait and outsource the sequencing early on. This allowed us to grow the company as well as A/B testing to make sure that our tests were as good as possible. They only took on an investor when the lab had enough samples to operate at full capacity. Riposati states, “This will make it possible to run a lab efficiently and profitably.” Andrea Riposati also advises startups to measure certain types of returns. Riposati states that it’s simple to measure ROI or return on marketing campaigns in today’s digital world.
Riposati stresses that it is important to partner with investors who are aligned with your beliefs. Riposati states, “Because they will be like your partner in your company, and then there will not be any need to fight with them trying to convince them to take a certain action that they don’t want to take.”