Rytis Lauris is the Co-Founder and CEO of the e-commerce-tailored email & SMS marketing automation platform Omnisend. Having spent more than 10 years building and bootstrapping startups and working in the digital marketing and e-commerce field, Lauris was well-placed to do the same with his own company. Omnisend has grown to become a top-rated app in the Shopify App store without any outside investments.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up near the beautiful city of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. I developed an early affection for reading that expanded my boundaries and guided me toward the global nature of business. Though this is typical for many, things became less traditional when I began working as a TV host. I then continued my education at Vilnius University where I graduated with a degree in Political Science. My journey into entrepreneurship and dream to one day launch an international company began.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, and like most entrepreneurs, I failed in my initial efforts. Omnisend is my third start-up and it was a spin-off from my previous venture, a digital marketing agency. At the agency, we were serving businesses by doing marketing on their behalf, including email marketing. I quickly noticed that e-commerce marketers had specific needs around email automation. However, automation wasn’t easy for online sellers as the cost of sophisticated email automation was a privilege for larger businesses. I saw an opportunity and set out on a mission to bring data-driven automation to small and medium-size e-commerce brands. This is how Omnisend was born. We continued—and still do today—building out the platform’s capabilities by adding more channels, automation, and tools that help e-commerce businesses increase their sales. Because we are focused on e-commerce, we continue to grow by serving smart marketers who are graduating from ‘built for everyone’ email marketing tools like Mailchimp We’re now one of the fastest-growing companies in Europe, and have offices in both Lithuania and the US, and are helping over 70,000 customers increase their sales.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Just do it. Every entrepreneur will likely give you a similar piece of advice. This advice manifests itself in many ways at Omnisend. We have a saying internally, “done, not perfect.” Getting things done, even though they may not be perfect, allows us to move with speed and make progress. We don’t hesitate to make mistakes or experiment. If needed, we can always go back and correct what’s imperfect. We can learn from our mistakes, and we can find success through experimentation. In concert with this approach, we also apply the 20 Mile March concept. Having a clear 20 Mile March focuses the mind. Everyone on the team knows the markers and their importance, allowing them to stay on track, and march toward the marker each day. Think about it. Financial markets are out of your control. Customers are out of your control. Earthquakes are out of your control. Global competition is out of your control. Technological change is out of your control. Mostly everything is ultimately out of your control. But when you 20 Mile March, you have a tangible point of focus that keeps you and your team moving forward, despite the confusion, uncertainty, and even chaos. Being resilient is crucially important to maintain speed in adverse circumstances.