April Dunford has had a long career as a startup executive going all the way back to a time before startups were cool. After graduating with a Systems Design Engineering degree she was hired by a startup as a “technical evangelist” because she could stand on stage and make SQL queries seem interesting. Also her friend put in a good word for her. That startup was acquired by Sybase where she ran global marketing for SQL Anywhere, a product that would become Sybase’s fastest growing product line until they were acquired by Oracle for $6B.
April then worked as a VP Marketing at a series of successful startups that you have never heard of because Enterprise B2B products don’t matter to folks that don’t work at banks, insurance companies or manufacturers. One of those was Janna Systems which grew from $2M to $70M during her tenure and was acquired by Siebel for $1.7B (Canadian dollars, $1.3B in USD, or a crap-ton in any currency you prefer). More recently she was the COO of Tulip Retail, a mobile platform for retail sales associates which recently raised a $30M Series A from Kleiner Perkins.
April has launched 16 products into market and will tell you that every one of them succeeded for different reasons and in different ways. Except for the two total flops which failed like many products fail - quietly, quickly and completely. April has always been doing trackable, metrics-based marketing, and is suspicious of the value of branding for B2B companies. If you disagree, she will be happy to have a big fight with you about that.
April is a Mentor and Entrepreneur in Residence at too many startup accelerators. She teaches a regular class on Positioning at a bunch of them. She also is a board member, angel investor and advisor to dozens of startups.
As a consultant, April helps growth stage startups figure out how to position their products in a way that makes their core value obvious to the customers most likely to want to purchase them. She also teaches Positioning to larger companies that want to upgrade the skills of their Marketing and Product teams. She does a lot of public speaking. At the 2018 Growth Hacker Conference, Sean Ellis said: “One of the key takeaways is that April is really funny.” And it is, in fact, true because Sean Ellis said it.
April is based in Toronto where she is a slow half marathon runner and an enthusiastic craft beer drinker. April is very, very, slowly writing a book on Positioning that is going to be her super amazing gift to the world when she finally finishes writing it.
You can follow her on Twitter: @aprildunford
She will be live on May 1 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.
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