The Story Exchange, Ann Raider, inStreamYour Name: Ann Raider

Business Name: inStream, a provider of marketing and technology programs

Type of Business: Technology

Business Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States

Twitter @instreamglobal

Reason for starting
In 2008, I was introduced to my co-founder. He had a business concept – inStream – and no funds. inStream was established to create a new in-store marketing tool for retailers who did not have the capability to deliver real-time targeted messages, in graphics, on the front of customer receipts at the point of sale. To make this company successful we needed to build a retailer network, sell national advertisers, and build software to connect to the point of sale (POS) and now digitally. I have extensive knowledge and experience selling national retailers and advertisers and building partnerships with POS companies. This knowledge base is the result of building and operating a renowned interactive database marketing company, which served similar customers and, which after growing for eight years, my partner and I sold to News Corporation. Additionally, I had developed strong relationships with investment firms. These relationships helped inStream to raise over $6 million capital necessary to jumpstart its growth.

How do you define success?
I define success as always finding the path to ‘yes.’ Failure has never been an option for me. We are successful when we provide the right technology and services that help our customers build sales and loyalty with their customers at the right time, at the right touchpoints, with valued offers.

Biggest Success
I am most proud of building an international database company from a concept, providing value to national food retailers, growing it to $10 million in sales, and selling the company to a Fortune 100 company. Today the business still operates and generates millions of dollars 15 years later. The defining moment was when we understood the value of building loyalty marketing programs and the positive financial results they produced for supermarkets.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
The top challenge was to secure funding to enable the company to grow. I trusted with my experience and network of business leaders and investors I could make this company successful. When I joined they had very little funding. There did not have a well-articulated value proposition and the technology platform was not complete. Over the course of five years, I have assembled a strong group of investors and began to execute our broader vision for the business, which is to provide real-time targeted omnichannel marketing programs based on customer-specific purchase data. I leveraged my professional relationship network with retailers and advertisers to drive our sales.

Who is your most important role model?
Carol Goldberg and Jean Hammond have been my mentors. They are accomplished senior women leaders who have built companies with large organizations. These women have helped me understand how to properly assess the business environment and incorporate trends into the market opportunities. Most importantly, they have helped me to hone my interpersonal skills to deal with all levels of management as a woman and to properly put forth my ideas to build consensus on goals.