Founder Friday: Ben Tregoe & Austin Gardner-Smith, Co-Founders of Bainbridge 📊
Founder Friday is a content series from SuperAngel.Fund that highlights companies across our portfolio and the inspiring founders behind them.
With eCommerce sales surpassing $1 Trillion for the first time ever last year, it is no surprise more merchants are trying to cash in. Based on my experience, the most successful ones have a financially disciplined and fiscally responsible leader amongst its ranks.
Enter Bainbridge, whose mission is to support founders, heads of finance, and other decision makers with financial planning and forecasting solutions. It uses a proprietary, cloud-based, SmartModel™, and pulls in data from third party sources like Shopify, QuickBooks and Google Analytics, capturing accurate metrics to drive better business decisions.
Bainbridge enables teams to understand the profitability at the customer, product, channel, and unit economics level, along with identifying customer acquisition costs (CaCs), lifetime values (LTV), and payback periods. Its software helps model outcomes, cohort analysis, repurchase predictions, scenario planning, goal setting, and benchmarking.
Co-Founders Ben Tregoe and Austin Gardner-Smith worked together at Nanigans, an adtech company acquired in 2019 that helped high-profile brands like Warby Parker, Peloton, Wayfair, Harry’s, Bombas, Casper and Glossier generate billions of dollars in sales with social advertising campaigns, data management, predictive analytics and reporting across channels like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
After spending the last year enhancing the product, onboarding first customers, and closing $4M in seed funding, Bainbridge is now poised for growth. If you are interested in learning more, book a demo here!
Describe your company in five words or less.
Ben: Making eComm brands profitable.
Austin: Intelligent FP&A for eCommerce.
What was your primary motivation for starting your business?
Ben: Retail is the biggest segment of global entrepreneurial effort and eComm is the fastest growing segment. eComm founders struggle with maximizing profitability and efficiently using capital. We realized that this was solvable through data, analytics, financial modeling and best practices. If we could bring these things together into software, we could have a massive impact on a huge number of people. And that is really exciting!
Austin: I'm the type of person that needs a "Superbowl" kind of target to get me out of bed in the morning, and I love the part of startups that's about creating something from scratch. Bainbridge is the perfect combination of three things I love and had come to know well over my previous roles: consumer brands, data & technology, and finance. So the opportunity to work on something right in the bullseye of those three things, and get to work with Ben again, was a no brainer.
What piece of advice would you give an entrepreneur starting a business today?
Ben: Get as close to your customers as you can. Focus on listening and not selling. They will tell you where to focus. Then work like hell to deliver something they can't live without.
Austin: Two big things: 1. You often will end individual days feeling really good or really bad, but you've got to find a way to zoom out and look at the trend line. That's what really matters. 2. The single most important thing is to keep making forward process. One foot in front of the other. Just. Keep. Going.
What do you love to do in your free time?
Austin: I have 4 kids under 6 that occupy most of my "free" time, but when I'm not wrangling them you can find me trail running, on my road bike, or on a golf course.
What is the most interesting place you’ve visited recently and why?
Ben: 'Recently' made me chuckle because I realized I have been much of anywhere recently. So I need to change that. Going further back, I would say Menorca. I could have spent a summer there exploring the island, beaches and food.
Austin: The elementary school in my neighborhood. My two oldest kids started school this year and it's been a trip to re-live first school experiences and listen to them explain super awesome things like "lunch" and "recess" to me for the first time :)
What is your favorite app or tool in your work life and in your personal life?
Ben: Excel! I started my career as an analyst in investment banking and then PE. Excel always fascinated me. I loved the tension of building a model of a company but seeing the flaws laid bare and trying to translate what's in your head to what can be real. We say at Bainbridge that models are just different visions of the future. And that can be super powerful when done well.
Austin: Google Sheets & Excel. There is still no substitute for the power, flexibility and ubiquity of the spreadsheet.
What do you believe is the most important skill or attribute of a successful founder?
Ben: Perseverance. If you don't have the guts and attitude to keep positive and keep trying, you won't make it.
Austin: Resilience. You're going to take punches. A lot of them. Keeping your vision locked on the end goal and making forward progress (however small) every day is the most important thing.
SuperAngel.Fund is an early stage fund that invests in Consumer (CPG, eCommerce SaaS), PropTech & Future of Work. You can learn more at SuperAngel.Fund.