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It's not easy for a couple to navigate the minefield that comes from combining their personal relationship with their efforts to build a successful company. Harder still is doing it twice. Yet that's what Victoria Ransom, 35, and fiance Alain Chuard, 37, are attempting with Wildfire Interactive, a maker of online marketing software that's among the fastest-growing tech startups in Silicon Valley.Read more http://wcorry.blogspot.com/2011/07/spark-that-fuels-wildfire-interactive.html
Wildfire, whose product makes it easy for companies to run contests and other promotional campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, has a growing list of big-name customers, including Pepsi, AT&T, Sony and Unilever. In 18 months, its workforce has grown from seven employees to 120.
It's the second profitable company co-founded by the pair, who were long-time friends before becoming romantic partners. Last year, they sold the adventure travel company they started a decade ago, now called Access Adventure Travel, after building it into a multimillion dollar business.
The sale allowed them to focus full-time on Wildfire, which got its start in the summer of 2008 after Ransom and Chuard beat 600 other entrants to win a $250,000 first prize from the Facebook Fund, the social network's investment vehicle. In 2009, Facebook made an equity investment of another $100,000 in Wildfire, which has raised a total of $4.1 million dollars from the venture capital firm Summit Partners and angel investors, such as Jeff Clavier, who also owns a piece of Groupon. Most of that money is still in the bank, CEO Ransom says, because the company has been “consistently cash flow positive on a quarterly basis.”
So what's the secret of their business success?
According to one of their backers, Ransom and Chuard have complementary skills.
"They play well off each other's strengths," says Andrew Collins, a partner at Summit Partners, a venture capital firm with $11 billion under management and offices in London, Boston and Palo Alto, Calif. "Victoria is a gifted leader and business mind, while Alain has a wonderful vision for product."