5 questions for an Atlanta Tech Village CEO: Jon Birdsong, Rivalry

by Jeff Hilimire on May 15, 2014


If you had time to watch the video where Jon Birdsong (CEO of Rivalry) and I talked to Michael Tavani, Rob Kischuk and TJ Muehleman, you’ll know that one of the points the group made to Jon and I was that there is a lot of publicity about the Atlanta Tech Village but very little about the startups in the building. Too much fluff and not enough stuff, they were saying. So I figured, why not start a series on my blog to share what some of my favorite startups in the Village are up to.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jon Birdsong. I’m the CEO of Rivalry. I sell. I write. I market. I love to distribute great products.

My main focus for my amazingly talented team and I, is to help companies build predictable, scalable, and competitive sales teams. We also happen to have incredible software (Rivalry) that facilitates our goal.

2. Why are you in the Atlanta Tech Village?

Short answer: the people.

Longer answer. The energy. The vibe. The companies. The community. The people.

3. Briefly, describe your career up until now.

Following my instinct.

Didn’t take a job in banking out of college in 08′. Ran online marketing efforts for a candidate in the 09′ Mayoral race in Atlanta. Spent two years at B2C startup, OpenStudy. Spent one year at the fastest growing startup in Atlanta, SalesLoft. Started Rivalry in January 2013.

4. How has the growth of Rivalry been so far?


We have 50+ companies using Rivalry and new ones being onboarded weekly. It’s very exciting because we get to understand and evaluate the skeleton, tissues, and muscles of hundreds of sales organizations that we work with and talk to. Everyone from the CEO, to the sales rep, to the investor can learn from us (and vice versa). We love to help.

It’s important to note, for the first 18 months of Rivalry’s existence, we’ve been purposely quiet. Not doing tons of interviews and beating our chest. Instead, we’ve been heads down, building great product, acquiring customers, and learning as much as possible. So when the time comes (very shortly) to thump our chest, it’s backed with expertise, unique knowledge, and most importantly, happy customers singing our praises.

5. What is the ideal customer for Rivalry?

Any SMB looking to add better process, deeper visibility, and a little competition to their sales organization.

6. As CEO, what are the core things you’re personally focused on?

The team. The customers. The product.

Reading and learning.

7. Which Atlanta Tech Village company should I interview next, and why?

Kevin Sandlin. He’s an active voice in the Atlanta Tech Village.

~ Jon is also an advisor on Advice For Good, so you can use that service if you’d like to meet with Jon to get advice about your startup.

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