Ryan Westwood: CEO of the Year
Congratulations to Ryan Westwood, co-founder and chief executive officer at Simplus. He was named one of the 2018 CEO of the Year honorees.
Ryan Westwood founded Simplus in 2014 and in less than four years has turned the company into a Platinum Salesforce Partner with Series A and B funding rounds under its belt. The company ranked as the No. 78 fastest-growing company in North America on Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500, and it more than doubled its workforce in 2017.
The key to Simplus’ success, says Westwood, has been a hyper focus on its market niche. “Some people think that as you get bigger, you have to broaden either your products or services. And there is a time for that. But I think especially for startups, you cannot be all things to all people. So we narrowed our focus, cut out about some services and revenue—about $1 million in revenue—and got hyper focused on only one market, and that’s what’s got us to where we are today,” he says.
Under Westwood’s direction, Simplus pared its focus down from three software vendors to just Salesforce—and then to a specific niche within Salesforce. “Within two months, we were all thinking, ‘Wow, that was a great decision,’” Westwood says.
Simplus’ funding rounds have enabled it to grow through targeted acquisitions—beginning in the third quarter of 2016, Simplus began a buying spree that snatched up Salesforce ecosystem partners BaldPeak, EDL Consulting and Basati. The Series B funding round, which finalized in late 2017 and totaled $17.3 million, enabled Simplus to nab Salesforce heavyweight CRM Manager.
Simplus’ investors include EPIC Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Cross Creek Advisors and others. Kent Madsen, managing director at EPIC Ventures, says Westwood perfectly synthesizes a visionary leadership style with a practical, get-things-done management approach. “Ryan contains both these skills,” says Madsen. “Very few are able to do both.”
Westwood is a serial entrepreneur—Simplus is his fourth venture—and Madsen says each endeavor was both successful and unique, from tech-focused PCCareSupport to an online floral company. “I’ve been impressed and surprised at how well he’s been able to spread the gamut and build all these companies into successes,” he says.
As for Westwood, he’s focused on the future of Simplus. “We have the right product/market fit. We have a phenomenal team; we’re well capitalized,” he says. “I fully believe we have an enormous opportunity ahead of us at Simplus.”
But the thing that gives him the greatest satisfaction is the culture he’s helped create at Simplus, and the opportunities the company creates for its employees. “I love seeing our teams and our people advance their careers, advance their lives,” he says. “The thing I’m most proud of is creating an environment that’s positive and people are cared about.”