Evergreen: SourceDay’s Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder Talk About Their Sustainable Approach to Growth

Built In sat down with SourceDay Co-Founders Tom Kieley and Clint McRee to learn more about their measured approach to growing in times of change and uncertainty.

Written by Jenny Lyons-Cunha
Published on Jun. 27, 2023
Evergreen: SourceDay’s Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder Talk About Their Sustainable Approach to Growth
Sourceday
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On the cover of the book Start-Up Lessons Learned Along the Way: Our SourceDay Journey, a sleek rocket jets upward. Its fiery red exterior gleams against SourceDay’s signature shade of green as it ascends, leaving behind a littered field of dilapidated rockets.

The wayward rockets are rusted symbols of the ideas and structures that did not survive the startup journey but made way for the thriving company that would eventually emerge. 

The book unpacks the pivots, failures and wins that shape the history of SourceDay — via photos from old offices, conferences attended and early customers. 

“Over the years we’ve had several people tell us we should document our journey and eventually publish a book,” said CEO and Co-Founder Tom Kieley, who co-wrote the book with Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder Clint McRee, which was released earlier this year.

In the beginning, Kieley and McRee leveraged their supply chain and enterprise software expertise to transform the way manufacturers, distributors and retailers interface with suppliers. The pair “joined forces to help companies suffering supply chain woes,” a tagline for the book reveals. 

“I highly recommend for anyone starting a business to document each milestone or big decision so that you can share your journey with the world,” Kieley said. “I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so much support along the way from family, friends, mentors, investors and others that made SourceDay possible — it was fun reliving those moments in writing our book.”
 

WHAT SOURCEDAY DOES

SourceDay’s supplier collaboration engine aims to bring people, information and processes together to modernize how companies work with their suppliers. With customers shipping everything from makeup to boats to jet bridges, SourceDay strives to help them save money and ensure they meet the commitments they make to their customers.

 

 

 

‘Focused on Growth’  

For Kieley and McRee, writing the book served as a rare opportunity to reflect on how far SourceDay has come as a company. Most days, the CEO and Chief Strategy Officer have their sights set firmly on the future.  

First and foremost, we have always been and will always be focused on growth,” said McRee. “The supply chain market is ripe for disruption and the total addressable market is massive.” 

Now in its C round of funding, SourceDay has its efforts trained on accessing as much of the market as possible and providing high-quality outcomes for its stakeholders. In the wake of the pandemic and its tumultuous aftermath, the company has made keeping its finger on the pulse of society a focal point of its growth strategy.

“Over the past three years, we’ve overcome Covid-19, supply chain shortages, recession fears and, now, inflation fears,” said McRee, noting that the impending presidential election looms large as well. “We’re always dealing with some macro element that can impact our business and certainly impacts our go-to-market strategies.”

The socioeconomic landscape shapes the way the company approaches growth, noted McRee. 

“We’ve always placed an emphasis on growth and velocity of growth,” he said. “Now, there has been a pivot to efficient growth emphasizing hitting SaaS metrics.”

 

 Large group photo of SourceDay team members on a ferry with a semicircular bridge in the background.
SourceDay

 

‘Growth Starts With People’ 

No matter which way the socioeconomic tide turns, people stand at the helm of company growth. So believes Kieley, whose leadership focus lies in sustainable progress. 

“There will always be new and different challenges along the growth curve,” said the CEO. 

“You can’t achieve sustainable and predictable growth without investing in people and ensuring you have the right leaders for the right stage of growth.” 

 

“There will always be new and different challenges along the growth curve. You can’t achieve sustainable and predictable growth without investing in people and ensuring you have the right leaders for the right stage of growth.”

 

Recently, Kieley has perceived a troubling shift in the tech industry. 

“The most recent trend is focusing on growth at all costs,” he said. “But company growth starts with people.” 

To enact people-focused progress, Kieley and his colleagues lean on “smart growth,” one of SourceDay’s core pillars. The pillar emphasizes healthy, focused growth.

“As entrepreneurs, we tend to internalize overly aggressive goals and expectations for ourselves and our vision, but that mentality leads to a constant state of underachieving,” he said. “Using ‘smart growth,’ our growth continues to beat industry benchmarks, though I always believe there is more we can do.” 

Another cornerstone to SourceDay’s sustainable growth strategy is its partnership with an executive coach, who helped align and hone the leadership team’s vision. 

“Executive coaching helps young organizations stay focused while having a process for taking quick and calculated decisions towards innovation,” Kieley shared. 

More recently, SourceDay expanded upon this tactic by partnering with a consulting firm that provides leadership training. 

“The sentiment ‘people leave managers, not companies’ is true,” Kieley said. “Investing in people and their growth is critical to hiring and retaining A players.” 

 

Group photo of SourceDay team
SourceDay

 

Slowing Down for Health 

“There is rarely a good time to slow down investment in growth,” Kieley noted. “But it is critical to maintain a focus on smart and responsible growth based on economic conditions.”

In the current climate, McRee and Kieley have seized the opportunity to reinforce their partnerships. 

“We’re taking advantage of reshoring and near-shoring of supplier partners,” said Kieley. “This change is creating opportunities where organizations need technology to build and strengthen new supplier partnerships with tighter collaboration and connectivity.” 

While a measured approach can be hard for entrepreneurial-minded executives to stomach, Kieley reminds himself that times of economic downturn often nurture future progress. Like new growth after a rain-drenched winter, industry disruptions emerge from periods of industrial tumult. 

“Innovation is often created from recessions and downturns where organizations increase or maintain budgets on product innovation,” he said. “Right now, we’re heavily focused on healthy industry verticals while accelerating product lead growth to open new future markets.” 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by SourceDay.

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