David Cummings is an entrepreneur who started young and never stopped. Beginning when he was an undergraduate at Duke University, Cummings has founded or co-founded 10 startups with a collective value of around $1 billion. That includes Pardot, a B2B marketing automation platform that he and his Duke classmate Adam Blitzer bootstrapped and then sold in 2012 for $95.5 million. Pardot is still going (very) strong as part of the Salesforce universe.
Now the Founder of Atlanta Tech Village—a 103,000-square-foot startup community that he launched in late 2012 with some of his proceeds from the Pardot sale—Cummings joined as this week’s guest on the Pete Meets podcast. He regaled us with tales of his rise in tech entrepreneurship that began with automating the stats for his youth baseball team in eighth grade.
Listen to the full podcast below, and special thanks to sponsor TriNet!
— Cummings joined the focus program Computers in Society as a Duke freshman. The air-conditioned dorm for this group also housed the football team, Cummings said. It was at Duke that Cummings had a light bulb moment and founded Hannon Hill, a content management platform that was ultimately geared to colleges and universities. [7:34]
— Cummings’ startup Pardot went through trials and tribulations when, Cummings said, he was a “naïve entrepreneur”—until he realized they weren’t aligned as a business. Upon reading the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, Cummings restructured Pardot all around culture and values. [30:43]
— There are three things that Cummings looks for in evaluation potential investments: the team, the stream and “not a meme.” Listen as Cummings break down what this means and why, sometimes, former failed entrepreneurs are just what he’s looking for. [53:00]
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