A decade after launching his first company, seasoned founder and CEO Fabio Nalucci launched Gellify, a corporate innovation platform. Gellify quickly broke the coveted $1m revenue mark in the first year. The proprietary platform helps large clients innovate internally. For that, they pay an average of $330,000 per year.
When the international founder-turned-investor recently engaged with the GetLatka team, he shared a wealth of insights about his journey as a two-time founder and investor, including why he chose to bring on investors in his second company after bootstrapping the first, what innovative strategy he developed to grow revenue from existing clients; how he leverages his investment startups to further his growth; and what compelled Accenture to offer an all-cash exit with his first company.
- $50m ARR targeted in 2023, 100% YoY growth
- 75 customers with $330,000 ACV
- Team of 300 with 230 engineers, 16 client success
- $15m Series A in 2019 at $79m pre-money, $99m post-money valuation
i4C Analytics launched in 2007, Nalucci started investing after nearly $100m all cash exit from Accenture
Founder Nalucci shared the backstory of i4C Analytics, his first company, which he bootstrapped in 2007 and later sold to Accenture in 2014. His exact cash exit remains confidential, but he admitted to a value of roughly $100m.
Nalucci described the exit as “an exciting experience,” as Latka queried him on key learnings from the sale. “It was all cash. Accenture is listed, so they don’t do equity swaps. You can get some shares after your stay,” he explained, understatedly adding, “This was the starting point of my investment career. I was liquid after that deal.”
Launches Gellify in 2017, raises $5m pre-seed round
After a $5m pre-seed round in 2017, Nalucci launched Gellify in specific geo-targeted niches: “I chose to stay niche market in 3 specific geos: Italy, Spain, and the Middle East, which has been very rewarding in terms of market share.” The CEO noted he’s now planning to expand to Europe. The US market is a possibility for the future.
Gellify hits $1m ARR in 2018, $10m ARR in 2019
Gellify supports large clients doing corporate innovation through its proprietary platform and B2B SaaS product plugins, according to Nalucci. He revealed, “It was easy to break $1m in the first year because I had many clients that already trusted me.” The two-time founder added that Gellify also secured a $10m seed round in 2018 and then 10X’d revenue by breaking $10m ARR in 2019.
Launches FNDx Ventures in 2020 with 500 AUM (including its investment vehicle)
CEO Nalucci shared that he launched a VC advisory company FNDx Ventures, in 2020, which currently boasts 500 AUM, including its investment vehicle. This company plays an intriguing and integral role in growing ACV for Gellify.
Explained the founder, “The strategy we use to make our proprietary platform attractive is the plugins. We integrate different enabling technologies of our startup portfolio to gain greater traction with existing clients.” This strategy is paying off brilliantly, as clients can take the platform to greater levels internally. Their largest client, for example, started at $500,000 ARR and grew to $3m ARR in a multi-year deal.
$50m ARR from 75 clients: a mix of 25 enterprise corporate and 50 SMEs
Nalucci revealed that his current mix of 75 clients is 1/3 large corporate and 2/3 small and mid-sized enterprise companies. His SMEs average $500m to $2B in revenue. The CEO shared that their 2022 revenue of $25m is split evenly: $12.5m in SaaS fees and $12.5m in consulting.
The average client ACV is $330,000 annually, with the largest client, a bank, delivering $3m in ACV annually. He revealed, “Our pricing depends on the business vertical. We were more aggressively price for banks and less aggressive in other categories.”
Team of 300, 85% engineers
Gellify is dominated by engineering, with 85% of its 300 full-time employees working as engineers. Nalucci shared, “We maintain a client success tribe of 16 people, but most of our sales are driven by the network of our managing partners.” The balance of his staff is composed of small corporate functions and marketing.
$30m total raised for Gellify over 3 rounds
“Why not fund Gellify with your own money?” Nathan asked the founder who raised $30m over 3 rounds after bootstrapping his first venture. Nalucci responded with compelling reasoning, “Part of the reason is to have partners who are good enough to positively influence your company.
For example, a very big bank entered the company (in one of the funding rounds). That helped close our bank client. I like to have partners on the journey that help grow the company.” The experienced founder added for clarity, “i4C was the former way you did ventures.”
2017 $5m pre-seed, 2018 $10m seed, 2019 $15m Series A
He summarized Gellify’s funding history by reiterating that he raised a $5m pre-seed in 2017 at launch, followed by a $10m seed in 2018, and finally a Series A round of $15m in 2019. That Series A carried a $79m pre-money, $99m post-money valuation. “Today, we are profitable. That’s very important nowadays,” the CEO concluded.
Favorite Book: CEO and Founder Fabio Nalucci chose the story of NIKE, Shoe Dog by Phil Knight as his favorite book: “That’s a great choice,” quipped Nathan.
CEO he’s following: “I follow and study Elon Musk for many different reasons,” Nalucci shared.
Favorite online tool: After considering the possibilities, Nalucci chose Microsoft Outlook as the tool he relies on the most, noting, “I spend 95% of my time on email.”
Balance: Nalucci is 47. He sleeps 7 hours a night. He explains, “I go to bed at 10 and get up at 5. I have a wonderful wife and one daughter.”
What does he wish he had known at 20? Fabio shared, “I wish I had had a better idea of how VC works at an earlier age.”