How a Pivot Helped EB Systems Overcome Early Setbacks

A lot of young companies spend their time worrying about attracting investors when they should be devoting a little more energy to earning their first dollar.

That’s one of the takeaways from EB Systems CEO Jonathan Ruiz’s Oct. 7 presentation at 1 Million Cups at the Kauffman Foundation.

“Getting a paying client is the best thing you can do because it opens doors, especially to investors,” Ruiz said.

EB Systems uses e-beacon technology to manage private-security guards and other workers.

Originally, the startup wanted to create “a panic button” that every student and citizen could carry around in their pocket and use in the case of emergency. EB Systems made a lot of early progress by lining up pilot projects and courting investors.

But the company needed to pivot after it hit a series of obstacles, Ruiz said. Some projects were taking too long. Investors cooled off. And his technical co-founder had to leave the company.

EB Systems got back on track by focusing on one project and shifting to a private-security solution. Its service allows guards to check in via an app when they arrive at a patrol site. The app has replaced some paper records that staffers used to fill out.

Most importantly, the client—who happened to be a mentor—would pay for the solution. That helped to lure back investors.

Generating revenue has also given Ruiz the ability to put more money into growing the business.

“Focus on making money before you focus on taking money,” Ruiz said.