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May 28, 2020 | Tom Ballard

James Horey maintaining core focus of Reviewbox since 2016 launch

We continue to check-in periodically with James Horey, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Reviewbox, a slightly more than four-year old local start-up in the business intelligence and analytics space.

Our most recent post occurred at the end of March when Horey said that he saw a silver lining in the opportunity that the COVID-19 restrictions could have on his operations. It gave Reviewbox time to explore the manner in which it could continue to grow with some of its developers and account representatives working remotely from outside Knoxville into the future.

During that discussion, Horey also offered us some insights on how he was methodically and strategically growing his company that now has 11 employees including himself. One difference he noted was business development.

For enterprises that rely on conferences and trade shows to market their products, extended periods with none of those events occurring can be deadly. That’s not the case for Reviewbox.

“We’re not a start-up that requires a lot of conferences,” Horey says while acknowledging that he has dipped his toe in those waters somewhat including offering webinars. “We are driven by process. We secure new customers and provide great service. Customer service and referrals are our greatest source of new revenue.”

The former researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory founded Reviewbox to help companies monitor product reviews posted on major eCommerce sites like Amazon and Walmart. Clients range from Knoxville-headquartered companies like PetSafe to national brands like Crayola and international companies like Thule of Sweden.

We asked how he might have modified the focus of Reviewbox since its founding.

“We are still focused on our core customers . . . manufacturers,” Horey said. “We have not changed since our founding in 2016.”

Reviewbox has signed-up a larger number of bigger brands over the years, added features at the request of customers, and made the platform more enterprise capable.

One of the most important pieces of advice that many investors tell start-up founders is the importance of cash, a point that Horey emphasized in two different ways.

“If your start-up does not have a high burn rate and you know how to manage cash, you have time to think through your product and team in a challenging time like now,” he says. To underscore the point, Horey noted that Reviewbox received an angel investment of about $1 million a year ago, but most of that cash remains in the bank.

“It provides psychological comfort,” he says for a start-up that has always operated in a lean manner.

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