Why Ventureforgood Invested in Decibel: Interview with Managing Director John Simon
In this interview, we speak to John Simon, Managing Director at Ventureforgood. Ventureforgood is an investment holding company set up to make winning investments and dedicate the “carried interest” (a portion of the ultimate realized gains) to enable better outcomes for children and families via life-changing non-profits like The GreenLight Fund.
Tell us a bit about your firm & your general investment strategy and approach
My name is John Simon and I’m honored to be an early investor in and board member of Decibel. I invested through my Ventureforgood entity, a holding company that makes investments in software companies that I believe will grow up to be industry leaders. With the profits from those ventures, Ventureforgood donates to charitable causes that make a difference – ultimately to make a better world.
How did you first hear about Decibel?
I was first introduced to Decibel by a series of people including the British Ministry of Trade, who alerted me to the fact that Decibel was looking for US expansion and wanted to connect with investors. I was lucky enough to get that call, and the story’s been written since.
What makes Decibel such an attractive proposition for investors?
When I’m looking for investments, I’m looking for companies with great leadership, with entrepreneurs that are truly passionate and are domain experts in the area in which they’re looking to build a company. And then I’m looking for a special technical foundation.
What I saw in Decibel was a great founding team, the best technical approach in the field, and a solution that pulls at a very large market because, really, every Fortune 1000 company and beyond should have what Decibel provides.
That all added up to a winning investment, and since investing in Decibel it’s done everything I imagined and more and over the next 5 years the future is looking even brighter, so I’m delighted to be involved.
What makes Decibel’s market so exciting?
When you look at the way the world is headed, more and more of what we do is headed online. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, experiences with the companies we interact with are increasingly happening online. So digital is just going to grow and grow.
The fundamental thing for businesses is figuring out what the customer experience is really like. There’s plenty of people monitoring that in the offline world, but in the online world we just don’t know what customers are experiencing, whether they’re happy or frustrated.
Decibel’s technology actually provides this previously hidden information, and enables companies to deliver way better experiences online.
Today, the market for what Decibel does is probably only 5–10% penetrated. That literally means there is 10–20x growth built-in for what Decibel does, so we’re in for a hugely exciting few years.
Where do you see the company going?
Right now, Decibel is the leader in a market that’s only in its infancy, a market that’s really like a toddler. But one day this market is going to be all grown up and huge, maybe 10, 20 maybe even 50 times the size it is now. There’s so much opportunity in this market – every company no matter its size should have a platform in place to monitor their customer’s digital experience. So we’re really only in the first quarter of the game.
As Decibel continues to develop its platform and AI and makes benchmarks available to different industries it’s only going to drive more business and create better experiences. So the future – for Decibel and its customers, is very bright indeed.
Any other comments?
A business mentor of mine used to say that the main thing is to never forget the main thing. And for Decibel, the main thing is customer experience.
Decibel helps companies deliver a much better online experience for their customers by monitoring and really capturing what’s happening online, and making improvement suggestions via AI and all kinds of technology – and that’s great. But it’s crucial to remember that Decibel’s customers themselves are having fantastic experiences – and in fact they are, and that’s one of the many reasons I love this company.