Rytis Lauris is the co-founder and CEO of Omnisend, the powerful marketing automation platform that’s focused on moving eCommerce marketers beyond the generic email marketing tools. With a mind seemingly crafted for business and an eye to the future, Rytis has gained notoriety within the eCommerce community for his insights on omnichannel and the future of eCommerce.
As a successful entrepreneur who has spent more than 10 years building and bootstrapping startups and being in the eCommerce field, Rytis discovered eCommerce marketers have very specific needs around automation. Since 2014, Rytis has made it his mission to use Omnisend to help and empower small and medium-sized eCommerce merchants.
Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO GET FEATURED?
All interviews are 100% FREE OF CHARGE
Table of Contents
Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Rytis Lauris: Omnisend is a marketing platform built specifically for small and mid-sized ecommerce merchants. We make their lives easier by providing an easy-to-use tool for automating email communications. For example, our customers might take a few minutes to set up a workflow with multiple messages, which are sent after a subscriber abandons their online shopping cart. Automations like this drive sales without much effort, meaning our customers have more time to concentrate on their business. Most importantly, our platform isn’t limited to email. For example, with SMS marketing and web push notifications at their disposal, merchants can create a more personalized omnichannel experience for their customers.
I’m most proud that we have not taken a cent of funding from anyone other than our customers. My vision is that we will never waiver from this path. And I’m confident we’ll do it, even as we have big plans to keep growing and serving more ecommerce owners and marketers. We are dedicated to constantly improving our product and rolling out new features to make the omnichannel experience even better.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Rytis Lauris: They don’t? I may be the only child who wanted to build my own company. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized I wanted it to be global. I took the first real step toward that goal at 21 when I started an environmental services business. After that, I operated various Lithuanian businesses. Some were successful and others failed.
Omnisend originated from a digital marketing agency that I started. At the time, I was working with a customer who needed a specific solution. That was Justas Kriukas—he later became my co-founder when we took that concept and launched Omnisend with it.
I’ve gotten to this place by accepting my failures and learning from them. I am also constantly expanding my knowledge and skills set with continuous learning through reading, listening to podcasts and courses.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Rytis Lauris: Although some people at Omnisend know it, I would say that most aren’t aware that I’m really passionate about badminton. It’s something I try to play many times per week, and I do it both to relax and sort of turn off my brain, but I also try to improve myself each time I play. There’s a great element of 1-on-1 competition, but when playing doubles, there’s also that great element of teamwork. I think, especially when you get older and busy with family, it’s really important to have some sport or physical activity for your physical and mental health.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Rytis Lauris: A true entrepreneur is someone who is driven to make someone’s life better. They have the customer at the center of all that they do. Whether your business makes health bars, is a SaaS platform like Omnisend, or provides dog grooming services, the end goal is not to simply be your own boss. You need a certain type of resilience and desire to make life a bit easier for other people. If you don’t have that inherent drive, then it’s very easy to let setbacks knock you down.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Rytis Lauris: I believe that a good relationship with your employees, and between employees, is extremely important to your company’s success. The Omnisend team consists of employees from around the world. The majority are based in Lithuania, but we have colleagues operating out of Charleston, S.C., as well as remote workers in the United States, the UK, Poland, and Ukraine. So we need to be supportive and inclusive of people with different backgrounds if we want to excel as a team. In fact, we’re placing renewed focus on building cohesion between employees who live and work in different parts of the world. Everyone has the opportunity to travel to a different office and work there for one week.
We’ve grown a culture where everyone is encouraged to provide their candid feedback at any time, without the fear of facing negative repercussions. That could happen within their own department, cross-departmentally, or even going “up the ladder” to challenge me. We pride ourselves on being a transparent organization that supports employees in their right to voice their opinions. And that’s a huge benefit in the end—it’s how we adapt and grow as an organization to serve our customers better.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Rytis Lauris: By listening to their clients. This has a lot to do with keeping your ears tuned into the marketplace, too. Keep a pulse on what your core audience wants and respond to that. Otherwise, they’re going to leave for someone else who can deliver what they want.
The ecommerce space is extremely competitive. There were constant changes even before Covid emerged. So we have always had to operate in a dynamic environment. Our competitors are quick to adapt. We need to as well. I love this quote by Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum: “In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish. It’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.”
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Rytis Lauris: At its most basic level, my job is about two things: finding ways to make our customers happy and finding ways to keep our employees happy. Those two things steer me in leading our company down the right path.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Rytis Lauris: One of the most important things that can be challenging from a company perspective, but which is extremely beneficial for both us and for our customers, is that we’re a completely customer-funded company. All of our competitors have major VC funding, with huge valuations, but we feel that the customer-funded model is better for our customers: every month, they make the active, conscious decision to continue funding us, based on their experience with our platform. If they like what we do, they fund us; if they don’t, they stop funding us. It limits us in some ways, so we have to be much more careful in the things that we do and say, but on the other hand—and most importantly—this really puts the customer at the core of everything we do.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Rytis Lauris: “Living My Dream: The Path to Building a Global Company”
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Rytis Lauris for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Rytis Lauris or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.