Startup Q&A: Bart Lorang, CEO of FullContact

Bart Lorang

Bart Lorang

Bart Lorang’s emails rarely bounce back – at least as long as his startup app is functioning.

FullContact automatically updates contact lists to include the most up-to-date information available. It also offers programs that fill in missing contact data and file contact information from business cards. In March, the company closed a $10 million Series C funding round led by Boulder-based Foundry Group and Chicago-based Baird Capital Partners, bringing the company’s total equity investment to $19 million.

Lorang spoke with BusinessDen’s Katherine Blunt about where the idea came from and where he hopes to take it.

The following is an edited transcript.

Katherine Blunt: How did you come up with the idea for FullContact?

Bart Lorang: About five years ago, I started dating the woman who is now my wife. I took a look at her Outlook contacts one night, and her Outlook contacts were immaculate and amazing. All the fields were filled in and they had photos, spouse names and kids’ names. But she only had a couple hundred contacts, and she curated that information manually. That was her reason for being, and I was inspired by that. I wanted my 5,000 contacts to look like hers.

KB: You launched in 2011. What have been some of the challenges of getting to this point?

BL: It’s been a journey from a few people in a basement to raising our first rounds of capital and then raising more. There are different challenges at every stage of growth. Entrepreneurs can be very wistful at the beginning, and then you realize that the problems just get harder and harder as you grow. I think the biggest challenge is understanding and regulating the emotional struggle, the ups and downs that happen each day. Interpersonal dynamics are very important, and leadership is very important. My job is to be the calmest guy in the room, but that’s not my standard mode.

KB: You raised $10 million in funding in March. What has that investment allowed you to do?

BL: We’ve made FullContact for Gmail, for iPhone, and launched our Company API. You can now sync between multiple Gmail accounts. And we’re going to release FullContact for Android and for Mac. Both those platforms will have new cloud connecters available like Microsoft Exchange. The goal is to make FullContact ubiquitous across all platforms and have it all synced.

KB: How many people are in your database?

BL: We have a couple billion people indexed, and more than 10 million companies. We do 30-35 million updates per day.

KB: How many employees do you have?

BL: Sixty-five total. We have 55 here and 10 in Latvia. We’re looking to hire nearly 15 to 20 in both areas in engineering and product management. And we’re continuing to invest in our sales team and our marketing team.

KB: How much do you anticipate revenue to grow this year?

BL: We’re more than doubling revenue every year, and we’ll more than double it by the end of year.

KB: Where do you see the company in a year?

BL: In a year’s time, we’ll see headcount growth. We want to be the leader in the contact management sphere. We’re going to be ubiquitous on every platform, and we’re going to continue to expand our reach on every application out there.

KB: Do you have an exit strategy?

BL: We do not have an exit strategy. I want to be a big billion-dollar company in Colorado and build a big brand here in Colorado with the work hard, play hard mentality. I think we can be a big, independent company.

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