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SaaS Interviews with CEOs, Startups, Founders

What if you knew data behind the fastest growing SaaS companies today? Each morning join Nathan Latka as he spends 15 minutes interviewing SaaS founders. You'll learn how SaaS CEO's launched their startup and grew it into a business. SaaS Founders range from bootstrapped to funded, MVP to 10,000 customers, pre revenue to pre IPO.
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SaaS Interviews with CEOs, Startups, Founders
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Now displaying: August, 2016
Aug 8, 2016

Cody Bradstreet. Cody has a background in accounting and was working for Dell when she realized she needed a backup plan for work. She opened up her own franchise of The Lice Place, where people can have lice manually moved without harsh chemicals. Find out how an accountant got her hands into the lice industry.

Famous Five:

Favorite Book? – Her own future book
What CEO do you follow? — No
Favorite online tool? — Quickbooks
Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—Yes
If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Love yourself. Forward fixes everything.

Time Stamped Show Notes:
01:00 – Nathan introduces Cody
01:20 – Started in accounting
01:40 – Worked at Dell
02:10 – She left Dell to “chase my dreams in the lice industry.”
02:30 – Started as a backup plan for possible layoffs
03:20 – She approached a small business, The Lice Place
03:50 – The transition
04:25 – Franchising
04:40 – Total revenue for the year before she bought it was under $50k
05:10 – Service to manually remove lice
05:50 – She did her own valuation
06:50 – Royalties
07:10 – A standard franchise model
08:00 – A goal to buy the whole business
08:50 – Why to buy instead of build
09:10 – Revenue for the last year was $250k
09:50 – Employees are the biggest expenses
10:10 – Advice for future franchisers
10:40 – “Get a good lawyer.”
10:55 – Connect with Cody on LinkedIn
12:45 -- The Famous Five

3 Key Points:
Put yourself out there to get into a certain industry or business.
Consider buying a business instead of building a new one.
Make sure you read the fine print before you start your own franchise.
Resources Mentioned:
Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
Quickbooks – Cody’s accounting tool
Evernote – Nathan’s favorite online tool
Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

Aug 7, 2016

Kenneth Lee, founder of TravelFlan. Kenneth has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and has developed a business that makes travelling easier. TravelFlan has partnered with major airlines as well as thousands of individual customers to give them a personal digital travelling assistant.

Famous 5:

Favorite Book? – Zero to One
What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
Favorite online tool? — Evernote
Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Quit school faster.

Time Stamped Show Notes:
01:10 – Nathan introduces Kenneth
01:30 – TravelFlan
01:55 – Customers pay on average $15
02:30 – Three sources of revenue
03:05 – History of the business
03:30 – He and his partner loved to travel
04:14 – First-year revenue in 2015 $120k
04:50 – They have a free service and a premium service
05:15 – 2000 customers
05:25 – May 2016 revenue from commissions from airlines was $25k
06:00 – Two large airlines use their data
06:30 – May total revenue was $50k
06:55 – Fundraising
07:30 -- $5 Million valuation
07:40 – Most of the team is in Asia
08:25 – Churn is not as applicable in this type of business
09:30 – Customer acquisition
09:57 – Team of 11 people
10:10 – travelflan.com or Kenneth.lee@travelflan.com
23:40 -- The Famous Five

3 Key Points:
Start with a very focused business and then expand as you see success.
If you have a good idea, pursue it immediately.
Find different ways to make revenue.

Resources Mentioned:
Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
Evernote – Kenneth’s favorite online tool
Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

Aug 6, 2016

Peter Voogd. Peter helped several millennials make six figures and realized he could make a business out of it. His Gamechanger’s Academy helps promising entrepreneurs become successful within months. Under 30 himself, Peter is a best-selling author and a recognized leader for entrepreneurs and millennials.


Famous Five:

Favorite Book? – The Millionaire Fastlane
What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
Favorite online tool? — Infusionsoft, ScheduleOnce, Kajabi
Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Stay strategic and intentional.

Time Stamped Show Notes:
01:10 – Nathan introduces Peter
02:05 – Gamechanger’s Academy
02:30 – Launched in 2013
02:45 – Connections for young entrepreneurs
03:10 – His past experience
03:30 – “Built a culture of excellence”
04:20 – He helped several young professionals become successful
05:00 – “I wanted to shift the culture for millennials.”
05:15 – gamechangersmovement.com
05:25 – Payment system
06:05 -- $297/month for the Platinum plan
06:50 – About 70% are on a yearly plan
07:10 – The Rookie plan
07:30 – Churn
08:00 – People typically stay for 7 to 8 months if they’re not on the yearly plan
08:50 – A focus beyond just the numbers
10:10 – Good retention for the industry
10:30 – How to get new people to find the site
10:50 – Podcast, book, content
11:05 – Referral program
11:20 – Biggest expenses
11:30 – Affiliate costs
11:45 – Organic traffic
12:30 – 6 Months to 6 Figures
13:00 –Self-published
13:15 – 135000 books sold, plus audio books
13:30 – Marketing
14:45 – Bulk purchases
15:25 – Peterjvoogd on Instagram and peterjvoogd.com
17:45 – Peter’s email list
18:00 -- The Famous Five

3 Key Points:
It starts with your own effort and drive.
Consider how you can improve your own culture.
Make a business out of what you are good at.

Resources Mentioned:
Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
Infusionsoft -- Peter’s favorite online tool
ScheduleOnce -- Peter’s scheduling tool
Kajabi – Peter’s membership site portal
Gamechanger’s Academy – A top source for millennials and entrepreneurs
Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

Aug 5, 2016

Jodie Fox, a woman who has solved the problem of constantly hunting for the right pair of shoes. Her company Shoes of Prey has raised over $24 million for its system that allows every pair of shoes to be completely customized.


Famous 5:

Favorite Book? – Getting Things Done
What CEO do you follow? — Tom Ford
Favorite online tool? — Slack
Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Do everything before you’re ready.

Time Stamped Show Notes:
01:13 – Nathan introduces Jodie
01:50 – Shoes of Prey—Women can design their own shoes
02:20 – Peer play
02:55 – Women wanted a physical interaction with their shoes
03:15 – First offline store
03:40 – Costs for stores
04:14 – Launched in 2009
04:20 – Funding to date is $24M
04:35 – Every pair is custom made
04:58 – Their website has a gallery for inspiration
05:10 – It’s a social interaction about shoes
06:05 – Customization can start with an inspiration shoe or from scratch
06:40 – Customers have complete freedom
07:25 – How much time people spend making a shoe
08:15 – Acquisition costs
09:45 – Mass-produced shoes are cheaper to produce
10:30 – Pairs of shoes sold
10:55 – Some people design and never buy
11:15 – Their investors
12:00 – Competitors
12:25 – Average sale is $225
13:03 – Team of over 220
13:30 – Production in China
13:40 – They built their own factory there
14:15 – A video of the process at their factory
14:40 – First-year revenue was less than $50k
15:00 – Jodie was not in the fashion industry when she started her company
16:40 – She was brainstorming with friends on the beach
17:15 – Her cofounders are her ex-husband and their groomsman
18:10 – Shoes of Prey wants to eventually grow to other clothing
19:20 – Pay per customer
19:40 – 75% is word of mouth
20:05 – Campaigns
20:50 – Testing offline methods
21:25 – youtube.com/jodiefox
21:35 – jodieannfox on Instagram or @jodiefox on Twitter
23:40 -- The Famous Five

3 Key Points:
Find a niche and you’ll have a business with no real competitors.
Don’t let complicated relationships get in the way of your business’s success.
Make your business a unique experience for the customer.

Resources Mentioned:
Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
Slack – Jodie’s favorite online tool

Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

Aug 4, 2016

Frank Ricotta, CEO of BurstIQ, which helps professionals and businesses in the healthcare industry connect. Frank has been through the grinder as an entrepreneur. Huge crash-and-burn businesses have gotten him to this point.

Famous 5:

Favorite Book? – The Executive in Action
What CEO do you follow? — PayPal
Favorite online tool? — Slack
Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Trust your instincts, and don’t lose your balance.

Time Stamped Show Notes:
01:13 – Nathan introduces Frank
01:44 – BurstIQ is a platform service
02:00 – They help their customers create a network
02:53 – Founded in April 2015
03:05 – Frank had been working in health and saw an issue
03:24 – There are three founders
03:52 – First-year revenue was $150k
04:05 – Involvement in several other startups
04:25 – His “crash and burn” story
05:29 – The cofounders
05:55 – May 2016 customers: 10
06:20 – Average pay per customer is $250k to $1M
06:35 – A focus on the base plan
07:00 – $75k/month
07:35 – No patterns yet for churn
08:45 – Customer acquisition cost
09:00 – Inside sales and partners
09:15 -- $150k to $200k
09:40 – 12 team members
10:00 – What ratio Frank likes to see
10:40 – “Work to keep your head above water”
11:09 – The company’s capital
11:37 – Valuation for BurstIQ
12:40 – They want to raise $5M
13:10 – Based in Denver
13:55 – Techstars
14:25 -- @fricotta or Frank Ricotta on LinkedIn
16:26 -- The Famous Five

3 Key Points:
Come up with a business that makes something simpler.
Being an entrepreneur means experiencing failure along with success.
If you don’t stretch yourself to reach high goals, no one will believe that you can ever achieve them.

Resources Mentioned:
Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
Slack – Frank’s favorite online tool to connect with coworkers and customers

Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

Aug 3, 2016

Ari Meisel, host of the Less Doing Podcast. Ari’s book Less Doing, More Living has sold over 30,000 copies and has been translated into six other languages. Even with four children, Ari stays on top of his consulting business that continues to bring in more revenue every month.

Famous 5:

 

  • Favorite Book? – The Art of War
  • What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Inbox by Google
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Test ideas before you jump into them.

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:30 – Nathan introduces Ari
  • 02:00 – Ari is a productivity consultant/coach
  • 02:20 – Virtual company has brought in the most revenue
  • 02:35 – They offer on-demand project managers
  • 03:00 – Customers pay a membership fee and then an hourly fee for service
  • 03:30 – First-year revenue was $200000
  • 04:15 – 170 current customers
  • 04:40 – They find customers through Ari’s following and the podcast
  • 05:50 – Ari is involved with his customers
  • 06:10 – It’s an expensive service because of the quality and variety of what they can do
  • 06:45 – Ari likes connecting resources for other businesses and finding talent
  • 07:15 – They are really involved in all of the businesses that hire them
  • 07:35 – “An easy-bake oven for a business”
  • 08:40 – Average customer pays about $1150/month
  • 09:20 – In May they had $46000 in revenue, and they are growing every month
  • 10:00 – His business takes care of a lot of the daily tasks for business owners and companies
  • 10:50 – The company is self-funded
    • 11:05 – They decline anyone who wants to invest in the company
  • 11:58 – Less Doing Podcast
    • 12:10 – 30000 downloads per month
    • 12:20 – A weekly show
    • 12:35 – Average downloads per episode for the first couple months: 3000
    • 13:30 – Sponsorship revenue for the podcast
  • 14:08 – Ari’s books, Less Doing, More Living and The Art of Less Doing
  • 15:00 – He got an advance with Random House/Penguin for Less Doing, More Living
    • 15:15 – How he got an advance as a first-time author
    • 16:20 – 30000 copies sold
  • 18:00 – Lessdoing.com
  • 20:00 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  • Create the best service and business that you possibly can.
  • Find your specific talent and put yourself in that industry.
  • It is possible to balance a busy life with your business.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Inbox by Google – Ari’s favorite online tool
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

 

Aug 2, 2016

Nick Kullin of Second Flight Consultancy. Nick started his first business at just thirteen years old. As he continued with tons of other jobs after high school, he realized he wanted to go back to how he felt as a thirteen-year-old. He wanted to be an entrepreneur again.

Famous 5:

 

  • Favorite Book? – Think and Grow Rich
  • What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Yesware
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?—No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Instead of working for people, just start your business at a young age.

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:15 – Nathan introduces Nick
  • 01:35 – He started his first business at age 13
    • 02:15 – He connected people to new music artists
    • 02:45 – He automated his system
    • 03:05 – He got around $100 to $150 from each band
    • 03:30 – He made over $20k with that business
  • 03:50 – Then he worked for a golf resort doing marketing and sales
    • 04:50 – He helped the resort get a lot more publicity and better marketing
  • 05:25 – Then about a year later he went into health and fitness
    • 04:45 – He wanted to surround himself with successful people
  • 06:30 – He got an opportunity with Time Warner Cable
  • 06:40 – Later, he got out of corporate and worked with a small business
  • 07:10 – His next job paid him $120000, but he realized he wanted to get back into entrepreneurship
  • 07:55 – A lot of money does not make you happy.
  • 08:40 – Marketing was his passion, and people saw the value of his skills
  • 09:20 – His business was called Second Flight Consultancy
  • 10:00 – First-year revenue was $12000
    • 10:40 -- $175k in 2015, and projected to be over a million in 2016
  • 11:13 – Nick developed a “sales robot” that works with LinkedIn
  • 12:00 – Ten team members
  • 12:25 – Profit is usually 70% of the revenue
  • 13:10 – He started out doing a lot of the work on his own
  • 14:00 – You need to do really great work with proven results
  • 15:10 – He has a variety of customers
  • 15:40 – Nick’s academy is a coaching product
    • 16:00 – 30% of their revenue
  • 16:15 --  secondflightacademy.com
  • 18:25 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  • Don’t be afraid to start your own business from a young age.
  • A large salary doesn’t necessary buy happiness.
  • Make your passion and your skills into a business.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Yesware – Nick’s favorite online tool
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Aug 1, 2016

Lillie Cameron, a brand new mom who also runs her own business. She started EcoSafe Spaces with her now husband. The company provides design and building services for green, eco-friendly construction. She also works with Rackspace, which has recently revamped its policies for maternity and paternity leave.

Famous 5:

 

  • Favorite Book? – The Advantage, with its six-question model
  • What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Trello
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep? — No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? — Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Don’t be afraid to fail.

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:13 – Nathan introduces Lillie
  • 01:50 – Green construction
    • 02:10 – They had a friend who lost a child during pregnancy because of construction chemicals
  • 02:30 – EcoSafe Spaces
    • 02:40 – Design and building services
  • 03:10 – Their recent project in downtown Austin
  • 03:50 – Around $500000 jobs
  • 04:15 – “The most energy efficient homes in the city”
  • 04:30 – The sales pitch
    • 04:50 – People in Austin understand sustainability
  • 05:35 – Opened in 2007
  • 05:45 – Margins vary – fixed rate vs. cost plus contract
    • 06:10 – Fixed rate
    • 06:45 – The contract is much more flexible
  • 07:20 – Fixed rate deal that went bad
  • 07:35 – Now they do mostly cost plus contracts
  • 07:50 – Up to 7 projects at a time
  • 08:30 – The plan for EcoSafe
    • 08:55 – There are benefits to being a small business
  • 09:20 – Lillie also works with Rackspace
  • 09:25 – Recruited in 2009 by a former boss
  • 09:55 – She did project management work, but wore multiple hats
  • 10:45 – It is utility-based computing
  • 11:10 – How this type of service was first received
  • 12:30 – There are many different types of customers
  • 13:20 – They have a unique angle
  • 13:35 – Rackspace is a great place for new parents to work
  • 14:10 – Maternity leave in this country
    • 14:45 – Canada does a year of leave
    • 15:00 -- Paternity and maternity leave needs awareness
  • 15:55 – ecosafespaces.com and Lillie Cameron on LinkedIn
  • 17:50 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  • Find a business idea that solves an important problem.
  • Consider maternity leave in the US and how it needs to improve.
  • You can balance it all, as a business owner and a parent.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks - The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he's driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Trello – Lillie’s favorite online tool for staying organized
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
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