LunaMetrics, a Pittsburgh-based analytics consultancy, was sold last month to HS2, a digital transformation agency founded and headquartered in Chicago. The transaction was “one of the things that I am the most proud of,” said Robbin Steif, LunaMetrics’ founder and CEO.
Although Steif will stay on for most of 2018 and aid the transition between both businesses, her time at LunaMetrics is coming to a close. Such expiration marks the culmination of an endeavor started in 2004, when Steif, while seated in a coffee shop, scrawled out the idea for LunaMetrics on a napkin.
Since that time, LunaMetrics, a pioneer and early partner of Google analytics, has grown from a single-person venture to a company with 37 employees and approximately $10 million in sales in 2017, said the Harvard graduate.
Building the business enabled Steif to both experience the growing pains of a startup and reap the benefits of an established operation. Through 13 years of toil, Steif learned valuable lessons about management, negotiation and compromise. But with deference to her dedicated staff, the CEO shared that while she should have known more when she started, those around her provided aid.
“I really have many of the people who report to me to thank for that because some of them are really fabulous in terms of understanding those kinds of things,” she said.
Looking back on LunaMetrics’ growth, Steif is still amazed at the journey. When asked to extract counsel from the path taken, she said, “I don’t know if I have great advice except for do the best job you can of creating a work environment that your people will love, because going to a job you love every day is a whole lot better than going to a job you hate.”
I’m always pushing my daughter to negotiate for everything she does, for every job, because I think it’s so important that women negotiate.
Upon her eventual leave of LunaMetrics, Steif is uncertain as to where she may go.
“I’m just not sure. I don’t know that I will work in the future, I might do a nonprofit. I would like to spend part of the year living in Los Angeles, where my daughter and future son-in-law live. There’s a whole lot I don’t know yet,” she said.
What Steif does know though is that she has become an advocate in some regard.
“I’m always pushing my daughter to negotiate for everything she does, for every job, because I think it’s so important that women negotiate,” she said.
According to payscale.com, “women earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men.”
As for why Steif tries to drive this and similar statistics home with her daughter, “I want her to make more money, and I want her to make as much money as her male colleagues do,” she said.
Being cognizant of figures, trends and data is what enabled Steif to successfully build LunaMetrics, a company whose clients have included BJ’s Wholesale Club, CareerBuilder, Caterpillar, GNC, Leading Hotels of the World, PBS and Teach for America.
“LunaMetrics has been on the leading edge of digital analytics for over a decade, and founder and CEO Robbin Steif has built a world-class, results-driven team that bolsters our talent base and strengthens our digital marketing strategy and analytics and insights practices tremendously,” said Phil Hollyer, HS2 Solutions co-founder and CEO, in a prepared statement.
And though Steif, a former IBM employee whose first job out of school focused on direct-mail marketing, has quite a familiarity with numbers, there is one quantity that still captivates her.
“On the final call, there were 25 people, that’s how involved this was,” said the winner of the Business Women First award and recipient of the Diamond Award for business leadership.
“I want people to know that few sales people, and deep down I am a salesperson, get to do a deal as amazing as this one,” she said. “This was the deal of a lifetime; it was the largest, most complex, most involved deal I’ve ever done, and I don’t want to just keep it to myself. I just really want people to know that it was really cool.” PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz