Top SaaS CEOs: Q&A with iPipeline’s Tim Wallace

Tim Wallace-2RJ: Can we start with some quick highlights of your Company, the product/service you provide, the scale and the level of growth you’ve achieved?

Tim: iPipeline is the leading provider of SaaS solutions to the Life Insurance Industry.  We provide the most comprehensive set of solutions which include medical underwriting, quotes, illustrations, electronic applications, CRM, electronic policy delivery and services, administrative management and insurance underwriting.  The company has been in business since 1996 but its growth accelerated in 2008 when investors came into the company.  The company has grown from 30 people and $6 million in revenue to over 500 people and over $120 million in revenue.

RJ: We are very interested in understanding the steps leading up to an individual’s eventual rise to successful entrepreneur / CEO.  Can you share your background with us?

Tim: My career started at Arthur Andersen out of graduate school first in the audit division and then in the consulting division.  During that time frame my brother, a friend and I started a PC reselling company and eventually sold it the year I left Andersen.  We went on to build 3 Inc 500 companies all in the network integration space and all with positive outcomes.  I founded a company called XLConnect and grew it from $0 to $120 million and opened 26 offices in the US as one of the largest national network integration companies.  We took the company public in 1996 and it was acquired by Xerox in 1998 for $420 million.  I left to start FullTilt solutions, raised $22 million from VC’s and built the best product master data management software in the industry.  The company was acquired by QAD in 2008.  In 2008, I with a group of investors bought iPipeline.

RJ: Are there one or two key factors you can attribute to your keen ability to effectively grow your Company?

Setting forth a compelling vision and constantly communicating that vision to both employees and customers.

Tim: Is there someone you admire personally or professionally that has inspired your success?  

My father.

RJ: Can you share with us one of the most challenging times you have faced, for example when you hit a low point and how you dealt with it and bounced back?

At the end of FullTilt we ran out of money and had to lay everyone off until we finalized the sale.  We got through that with a lot of emotion but it took a lot of hard work and soul searching to bounce back.

Tim: What book has had the most profound impact on you and why?

Swim with the Sharks….just basic common sense about how to succeed in business.

RJ: And on a lighter note, what is your favorite place to visit – where you can take a break and recharge?

Tim: My favorite place is still my home.  I travel quite a lot so when I get time to take a break I would rather be there than anyplace else.


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