Repeat entrepreneurs Scott Cohen and Blake Johnson built this unicorn in record time in what some have called one of the greatest direct-to-consumer success stories of the century.

Forbes

Scott Cohen has successfully built several tech companies from start-up to exit. In addition to co-founding Byte, a leading direct-to-consumer brand for invisible aligners, he recently founded and served as CEO of 180fusion, a prominent search engine marketing platform acquired by Deluxe Corporation (NYSE: DLX).

Before this, Scott led Silicon Valley software companies PSS Systems and Certus from pre-revenue stages to market leadership positions, eventually being acquired by IBM and Cisco, respectively.

Hi Scott, your business journey is so impressive. It looks like you were born to create and manage businesses. Do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made?

I think entrepreneurship is a little bit of both being born and being made. I didn’t know I was interested in creating my own business until I did it. Went to college to become a lawyer, but I started my first business at 19 while in college and sold it before graduating. From there, it’s a risk/reward equation.

You have to be passionate with a strong conviction about what you’re setting out to do, but willing to risk losing it all to have a chance at that reward.

Tell us briefly about your journey as a serial entrepreneur.

Like I said, I started my first business at 19. I’ve been an entrepreneur now for two decades, and Byte is my fifth business. I began my career in Silicon Valley with three successful outcomes of building enterprise software companies from pre-revenue to an ultimate exit of selling to Fortune 500 companies.

Most recently, I was the CEO and Founder of 180fusion, which we sold to Deluxe Corporation, and the others sold to IBM and Cisco.

Customer adoration is key

What is your secret to being an effective business creator in terms of building the company culture you need to make the company successful?

I don’t believe there’s a secret to building a great culture. I think it starts with being authentic and transparent at all levels of the company. You set up measurable, metric-driven goals and a vision—your purpose for the future—from day one. From there it’s about your team, your customers, and your community.

Company culture is much bigger than one person, but it can certainly be driven positively or negatively by the overall management team. So you hire world-class management teams who can ensure the culture isn’t lost as the company grows. At byte, customer adoration is our number one key performance indicator.

To build a great brand, you have to be consistent with your customers. Then, you take it a step further to your community, like our byte cares program, through which we’re working to provide 10,000 smiles to people who can’t otherwise access treatment by 2022.

At byte, customer adoration is our number one key performance indicator. To build a great brand, you have to be consistent with your customers.
Author Name

Looking at your career, we noticed you have a strong interest for new technologies and innovations. What fascinates you the most?

Starting my career in Silicon Valley during the dot-com era, I was able to see many innovations and technologies, but what fascinates me the most is when you’re able to disrupt or change a large market opportunity for the better.

Byte is a great example of that. Remote invisible aligner treatment is already disruptive in its own right. Byte is making the inaccessible now accessible and affordable by being 60% less than traditional braces.

Tell us more about byte, which is one of your companies on the forefront of the teledentistry industry.

We’re putting customer adoration first. Our team is building a stand-out brand. We’re introducing technology other brands don’t have. HyperByte, our high-frequency vibration device that allows us to do things faster and better. Other invisible aligner brands average six months for treatment. Our average treatment is three—and we do it safely, effectively, and under the guidance of a licensed dental professional.

We’ve also partnered with one of the top names in cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Jon Marashi, who works with some of the best-known people in Hollywood on their smiles.

We’ve taken his approach, called SmileScience, and applied it to our customers. Instead of putting people through the same software every other invisible aligner company is using, we’re customizing treatment based on someone’s full face, not just their teeth.

byte

When scaling a company like byte, what do you focus on first and why?

From day one, our focus at Byte has been on building a company geared for scalable growth. This involved a meticulous understanding of market needs and the factors influencing customer choices, with a steadfast commitment to customer success.

Strategic Investments for Growth

Initiating this journey, we prioritized investments in world-class talent, cutting-edge technology, and the highest product quality. Our foundation was rooted in compliance, recognizing the necessity of these pillars for the substantial expansion we envisioned for Byte. It became evident that building a company for significant growth demands strategic investments, and mere frugality wouldn’t suffice.

Metric-Driven Decision Making

Our decision-making process is rigorously metric and data-driven. Early in my career, I understood the importance of measuring key business drivers. This approach not only provides exceptional clarity but also removes some of the emotional aspects of decision-making.

One of the biggest lessons you can learn from your failures is to not let it go to your heart the same way you shouldn’t let successes go to your head.
Author Name

Any tips for effective time management?

Effective time management starts with focusing on understanding what your real priorities are.

The day can be filled with all kinds of tasks, but if you start by focusing on your big goals and objectives and then plan around that, you’ll be better able to separate the busy work from the critical, important work.

In terms of work-life balance, I’m a big believer in starting the day early. I get my “me time” in before 7 a.m. You can never get that alone time back once you hit the office. So I’m purposeful with my mornings, getting in exercise, reading, and time with my family at the beginning of the day.

What’s your next challenge?

Related Articles