Wade Foster | Zapier CEO on Remote Work and Building a 250-person, $50M+ company


The digital age has brought about an incredibly diverse array of apps, programs, and websites. But integration between these entities is not always smooth or even possible.

Enter Zapier.

Wade Foster is the Co-Founder and CEO of Zapier, a productivity tool that connects over 1,500 different apps and websites. Wade and his co-founder have grown Zapier from a startup to now 250 employees. Wade was an email marketing manager prior to founding the company.

In this episode, Wade sits down with John to talk about his experience with Y Combinator, how that experience helped launch Zapier, and what the future holds for the company.

In this episode, we also talk about:

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  • The Origins of Zapier and Why the Company Was Created
  • Wade’s Experience With Y Combinator
  • How the Y Combinator Experience Helped Get Zapier Off the Ground
  • The Hiring Process Wade Followed and Why They Chose to Work “Virtual”
  • Growing Into the Role as CEO
  • Working in Silicon Valley and How that Differs from Their Origins
  • Dealing With Change in the Industry
  • What the Future Holds for Zapier
  • Who Wade Thanks for His Success

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rise25 Media, the done-for-you lead generation service to get you a steady flow of new leads, prospects, referral partners and strategic partners coming in the door every month, month after month.

Rise25 Media was created by myself and my business partner, Dr. Jeremy Weisz, and is part of our mission to help connect more entrepreneurs with their ideal prospects and referral partners.

We do this through lead generation and proactive outreach, and we do this through our done for you podcast service, which is the #1 thing I’ve done in my business and life.

To learn more, book a call with us here.

Check out Rise25 to learn more about our done-for-you lead generation and podcast services.

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Episode Transcript

John Corcoran  0:40  

Alright welcome everyone. My guest on the show is Wade Foster. He is the founder of Zapier is a company that I’ve used for years. It’s a productivity tool that connects over 1500 different apps and websites that you probably use every day automates all the tedious, repetitive parts of your job or your business. She gets be more productive. It’s just a brilliant, amazing tool that helps so many different companies to connect these different apps and and save time is really the bottom of it. So we’re going to dive into that building up that company from nothing up to 250 employees now and just continuing to grow. So first, if you’re new to this show, I don’t charge a dime for this podcast, we publish hundreds of episodes, we break down with the top business leaders, CEOs, founders and extra fruit break down how they built their businesses and the key relationships with mentors and peers and clients and referral partners and influencers that are background backbone of any business. And we asked them to share how you can do it to grow your business. So if you find value in all of this, which I know you will just subscribe so you can receive those downloads automatically. And before we get into this interview, this podcast is brought to you by rise 25 media, which is our done view agency, focusing on helping b2b businesses to get more clients referral partners and strategic partners through done for you podcast and done for you content marketing. We’ve got over 20 years experience in this area. We believe that podcast one of the best things you can do for your business, you and you personally. And if you do it right, it’s so many things client acquisition, it’s referral marketing and strategic partner. So it’s, it’s business development. And it even allows you to talk to interesting people like I’m about to do with Wade here today. So, if you want to learn more, go to rise 25 dot com. And as I mentioned, my guess is Wade foster here, Wade. Now, this is a natural progression, right? Like you were working at veterans united home loans. You were their email marketing manager, and natural progression to starting a just dispersed workforce productivity tool connecting 1500 different apps, right, this natural thing, right, but tell me a little bit about the the origin story. And I imagine it involves around a pain point of some sort where you realize you couldn’t connect a to b, and why isn’t there a tool to do it?

Wade Foster  2:54  

Yeah, so my co founder and I, Brian, we’re doing a lot of freelancing for Various types of clients in the evenings anything to make a buck at that point in time, right. And we get asked to build WordPress plugins and integrations here and there we built a WordPress forms plugin that could hook into things like Salesforce. We had a PayPal thing that worked with QuickBooks. And then in my day job, I was doing a lot with Mark Hedo at the time and struggling to use their API and get it hooked up to our web forms and our internal CRM and things like that. When one day, Brian messaged me on I chat and was like, you know, I think we could build something that makes it really easy for a business user to set up the connections they use between all these different tools. We’re getting asked to build these things left and right. It seems like there’s a much bigger demand for that than just a couple of clients. If we could make something that was insanely easy to use, it’s likely that a bunch of business users all over could get a lot of benefit out of it. And so we started working nights and weekends in Columbia, Missouri. Four months with our co founder, Mike trying to get this thing going.

John Corcoran  4:05  

And how long did it take to get something worked out?

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