Alex Packham, CEO of ContentCal, explores how he took his business from an idea to a full-fledged social media and content planning business acquired by Adobe. From determining product-market fit, to facing new challenges that few have faced before, to hiring an expert team and building a culture where curiosity thrives, founders must take action on many fronts as they scale their companies. Alex shares key findings from his experience and gives us a tip or two on how to solve problems creatively.
01:32 - Could you provide a brief intro of ContentCal?
03:14 - I understand you had a social media marketing agency start-up before ContentCal. What inspired you to change from an agency model to a software model?
08:20 - Sometimes start-ups need to change their business model to serve the needs of their clients better. What are some of the things that you changed or did differently for your clients?
10:56 - When you're developing software, you must see common needs of people.in the services segment. How did you discover this and translate it into the software? I.e., how did you discover that people needed a calendar?
13:56 - With many inputs, how do you separate noise from good advice? Do you have an example of when a piece of advice seemed like a really good idea, but when you used it, the outcome was not as expected? How did you manage that?
16:38 - How does operating in a large organisation differ from working in a start-up environment?
18:02 - You mentioned on LinkedIn that getting through the hard times is something to be expected in entrepreneurship. Could you perhaps share with us a challenging episode in your role as founder and as a CEO?
21:45 - How do you identify the people capable of running segments that you as an entrepreneur are not as strong in? How do you make sure that they stay?
24:00 - How do you strike the balance between getting the job done and giving your team members breathing space to explore what works for them?
30:08 - What has made you most proud throughout the journey?
32:55 - What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
36:45 - How was your experience with VCs? What should founders look for in their VC partners?
40:15 - [Audience Question] Can you share some specific VC requests that you had while fundraising? How do you filter the VC's perspective into what you should or shouldn't do? Do you get good high-level advice about the business from them?
43:15 - [Audience Question] With software, I would have the concern that if you distribute your software, can you stop others from doing the same thing as you in the service part of your business? Do other companies pirate your work?
48:25- [Audience Question] Did you consider going into the payments route and trying to drive revenue via interchange fee versus the SaaS model?
51:05 - [Audience Question] Starting as a social media and SaaS business, how did you manage two fundamentally different groups of people with different cultures sitting within one group? What 'tricks of the trade' did you employ to bridge that divide?
Alex Packham, CEO, ContentCal
Alex Packham is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder & CEO of ContentCal, which was acquired by Adobe in 2021. During his ContentCal journey, he raised over £10m for ContentCal, built the business to 3,500+ customers globally, a team of 60, and grew 150% year on year. He now serves as Director of Product at Adobe and is an active angel investor.
JC Ho, Laidlaw Scholar, London Business School
JC is a Laidlaw Scholar who is finishing her MBA studies at London Business School. JC comes with a background in private equity and venture capital, and she co-founded Zocial Earn, a social recommendation and referral platform, before her MBA. She is passionate about investing and all things entrepreneurship.
Previous Extraordinary Leaders Episodes
- "How to Be a Moral Leader" with Jacqueline Novogratz
- "So, You Want to Be a Successful Academy Trust Leader?" with Sir David Carter
- "A Make-or-Break Moment: Sustainable Development Goals after COVID-19" with Kirsten Brosbøl
- "Black in Business: Level Up at Business School" with Tabria Lenard and Cole Agbede
- "What We Owe Each Other" with Minouche Shafik
- "The Psychology of (Un)Ethical Behaviour" with Daniel Effron
- "How to Be a Champion" with Jamie Peacock
Please sign in
If you are a registered user on Laidlaw Scholars Network, please sign in