Here's Why This S.F. Tech Startup Founder Hires People with Restaurant Experience

January 8, 2019

This post first appeared as an article on SF Business Times.

4 Questions with Analisa Goodin, CEO and Founder of Catch&Release

Company: Catch&Release

HQ: San Francisco

What it does: Catch&Release is a technology company that enables brands and agencies to safely license content from anywhere on the Internet, for use in advertising campaigns.

Background: Prior to founding Catch&Release in 2014, Goodin was the founder and chief curator at Visual Catch, an image research company she established in 2011. She previously spent 12 years in advertising production at various agencies in San Francisco as an image researcher. Goodin is a practicing artist and received a master’s degree from the California College of the Arts.

Employees: 36

Funding: Goodin bootstrapped the company for the first two years and, after bringing in a profit, raised $3 million in a seed round in 2017.


What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

A lot of people can fall into the trap of thinking they have to wait until they have the perfect business plan or the perfect team lined up or the perfect round of funding, and all of those things are false milestones. What you need to do is just figure out the smallest little ways that you can validate that what you’re doing is solving a need and just keep growing it up from there. You’ve got to be able to measure small increments of success and failure really early on to know that you’re on the right path, so think big, but start small.

What challenges did you have with fundraising?

Investors see so many pitch decks and business plans week over week over week, and they become really good at seeing the patterns and what’s gonna work and what’s not. One of the advantages of being different is that you’re different, but when you’re first to market, the downside is that it can be challenging when you look different than other companies. So being a startup that had more revenue than engineers at the beginning, we just had to explain our way out of that a little bit. And the investors that could visualize that future and could think outside their own box really got it, and that’s who we ended up raising from.


What’s one of your go-to interview questions?

For the first several hires at the company, one of the first questions I would always ask was whether people had ever worked in restaurants before. I was always looking for people who had worked in restaurants because there’s so much you gain: you’re selling product, you’re educating your customers, you have to be gracious, customer service is huge, grace under pressure is really important, and you’re always going to have way too much to do. Very good startup culture happens in restaurants.

As a founder, what have you learned about asking for help?

My responsibility was then, and is now, to really be articulate about the vision. I can’t go to somebody and say: “This is my vision, and this is what I’m thinking of doing.” That’s my responsibility. I need to bring other people’s perspectives in on tactical things, like “what’re gonna be my challenges,” “who’s the next person I need to hire,” and “what kind of questions do I not even know to ask myself that I should be looking at in the next 12 months.” You’ve got to be really open to being completely wrong about your assumptions, and use other people to test those.

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