Jason Weaver, Class of 2006
IB is celebrating 20 years of the 40 Under 40 in 2020, and will be catching up with past recipients to see what they’ve been up to since they were honored. This week features Jason Weaver, founder and CEO, Shoutlet Inc. (formerly known as Sway).
What have you accomplished in your professional life/career since your 40 Under 40 selection?
My company was originally a small agency named Sway. After a year building the agency practice, I saw an opportunity to build a social media marketing software platform — Shoutlet. The company finally changed its name to Shoutlet after I knew we had a hit.
Shoutlet grew to over 100 employees and 600-plus clients. I raised nearly $25 million dollars for the company from outside investors. The platform was licensed by Best Buy, Four Seasons Hotels, and IKEA, to name a few. Shoutlet was acquired in 2015.
What accomplishments, milestones, or endeavors have you attained in your personal life since your 40 Under 40 selection?
I originally moved here from Los Angeles intending for Madison to be a “stepping stone” after my career at Sonic Foundry.
Since 2006, I’ve gone on to become a father of three kids and grew to love Madison even more. After the tremendous amount of support we received locally, we knew Madison would be our forever home.
After Shoutlet’s success, I went on to start another company called Spendsetter, which was also acquired. Today, I recently launched my newest software company, AirDeck.
If you were to “do it all over again,” what (if anything) would you do differently throughout your career?
My Shoutlet COO once told me that I should “enjoy the ride.” There’s an overwhelming amount of stress when you’re running a startup and sometimes you lose site of the bigger picture. Next time, I would definitely slow down and try to enjoy it more than I did at the time.
How did your 40 Under 40 selection help your career?
40 Under 40 helped to bring attention to our emerging company. We were able to recruit talent faster, find key partnerships, and network with local CEOs. I still rely on some of the connections I made back then for advice today.
What is something that you have a new passion for since the time of your induction — either professionally or personally?
I went to college to become a recording engineer and record producer. I worked for JBL (speaker company) and moved to Madison to work for Sonic Foundry. Audio/music was and still is a big part of my life. Since the time of my induction, I’ve learned to make time for the things you’re passionate about while you build a company. It’s the only way to keep you balanced.
Based on your experience, do you have any advice for today’s young professionals (under 40)?
- Don’t take investor’s money if you don’t really need it. Grow a profitable company first, then get investors. My company was profitable before I brought in outside investors and that made all the difference. Learn to sell.
- Your board of directors works for you. Listen to their advice but make your own decisions. You know in your gut what the right moves are. Trust your instincts.
- Enjoy the ride!
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