Andera: A Case Study
When Charlie Kroll graduated from Brown University in 2000, he was no stranger to web technologies, as he had been building cold fusion applications from his dorm room for several years. Entrepreneurial by nature, he started a company, Andera, which developed web sites and internal online applications and provided hosting services.
Over time, Andera began to narrow its focus on the financial services industry, developing applications for local banks. Convinced that this sector was ripe for growth, Charlie began meeting with Slater to discuss the pros and cons of various business models, and one in particular – the ability for a bank to open new accounts over the internet – to which Andera was gravitating.
Slater agreed that the market need for online accounting opening constituted an opportunity of sufficient magnitude to attract investment from angel investors. Angel investors are not the types of people recent college graduates are likely to know, and college graduates are not typically the types of individual angel investors are naturally drawn to, but the Slater Fund travels in both circles, and so was able to facilitate meetings between Charlie and the angel investment community. Charlie was also paired with the Slater Fund’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Jim Van Alen, a former CFO, who began to work with him to develop more sophisticated modeling.
After successfully raising capital, including Slater as the largest participant, Andera began to flourish and gain market share, and the challenges changed too. Slater also introduced Charlie to C-level management candidates, some of whom he hired. And when Andera became the leader in online account opening, and still sought capital to grow, the Slater Fund introduced Charlie to new and different investors, including venture capitalists familiar with the firm.
Today Andera employs almost 100 workers, has millions in revenues, and is a leader in the financial services technology field, with more than 500 financial institutions as customers. While Andera’s success is due to Charlie and his team, Slater served an important role as a gateway to a network of investors and other resources, and a critical sounding board for a young entrepreneur who was clearly bent on building something bigger than himself.
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