Founder in 5: M3ter CEO on shipping product too early and launching mid-pandemic
Griff Parry is the co-founder and CEO of M3ter, a startup providing a usage-based subscription service for software products.
Founded by Parry and John Griffin in late 2020, the London-based startup has created the technical infrastructure for software businesses to calculate their data usage and provide a cost breakdown via a dashboard.
In February, M3ter raised £13m to come out of stealth mode. It already counts the likes of Paddle, Sift, Stedi and Redcentric among its customers.
In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Parry talks about the perils of shipping a product to partners too early, being pulled in “many different directions” as CEO of M3ter and being regularly confused with his co-founder.
1. What one thing do you wish you’d done differently when launching your company?
Griff Parry: We recruited our first customers as design partners to help shape our product. We didn’t work in private and have a ‘big reveal’ to them when we thought it was ready, we shared designs and progress openly from day one. We really enjoyed the dynamic process that catered to a real customer need.
The complication was that customers were too eager to use M3ter – and we allowed them to earlier than we should have. The product wasn’t quite fully baked, and while I’d still recommend this approach to anyone building something new, next time I’d wait a couple more months to iron out the kinks.
2. How do you prevent burnout for yourself and your staff?
GP: Having founded a business in the midst of a pandemic and war for talent, we knew burnout would be a real risk, so building a strong culture was a top priority. We asked ourselves: what kind of company would we be happiest at? And then tried to build that.
We wanted our work to always feel purposeful, and we have that – we’re breaking new ground and making a real, recognisable difference in the tech ecosystem. We wanted our people to have agency and independence, which we achieve by having small, semi-autonomous teams and high degrees of transparency. We’re remote-first and trust each other to manage our own time – it’s what you deliver that matters, not time serving.
But we’re not remote-only – we know people like to feel connected so we hold regular ‘m33tups’, bringing the entire company together to get to know each other face to face. These provide an opportunity for much-needed in-person connections and collaboration.
3. What are the best and worst parts of your job?
GP: The best part of my job is leading a team that is building something new at the cutting edge. Every day presents unique and interesting hurdles to overcome as we navigate the evolving demands of a customer base that had probably never even thought about the strategic potential of pricing a year ago. To solve these problems we’ve built a brilliant team with deeply varied experiences, and I get to lead them.
The worst part of my job? Being pulled in so many different directions as we identify new opportunities. Sometimes, it’s nice to just focus on one thing – but this isn’t a luxury that entrepreneurs can enjoy!
4. What’s a fact about yourself that people might find surprising?
GP: I share a name with my co-founder – he’s John Griffin and I’m Griffin Parry. It may seem obvious that we’re not the same person but you’d be surprised how often it causes confusion. Whether it’s misdirected emails or calls, invitations to events you’ve never heard of, or follow-ups from meetings you’ve never had – the opportunities for mistaken identity are endless.
Thankfully, we’ve worked together for many years and are well attuned to this issue, so it never really causes a problem. Touch wood.
5. Excluding your own, what’s a sector that’s ripe for disruption?
GP: Primary health care, and in particular the application of data science to drive early diagnosis. We use usage signals to forecast revenue and profit outcomes – you could do something similar to predict health outcomes.
There seems so much potential here, I just hope we can (collectively) create a policy environment that allows for effective innovation.
Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative startups, scaleups, unicorns and public tech companies – is published every Friday.