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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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Now displaying: November, 2016
Nov 6, 2016

Shawn Porat, founder of Scorely, Judgment Marketplace and Fortune Cookie Advertising. He’s a VP at Mark Echo Enterprise and a contributor to Forbes, Time, and Money Magazine among others.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – N/A
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — N/A
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Never
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “Work with others and meet as many entrepreneurs as you can”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:53 – Nathan introduces Shawn to the show
  • 02:17 – Scorely is a business credit bureau
    • 02:23 – Started 6 months ago
  • 02:35 – Shawn is trying to get more small businesses in the platform for free
    • 02:53 – Subscription plans
  • 03:15 – Scorely is currently on pre-revenue and will launch in 3 weeks
    • 03:25 – 10,300 people in their launch list
  • 03:48 – The idea of Scorely started 3 months ago
    • 03:54 – They’ve partnered with different government agencies and businesses
  • 04:25 – The chamber of commerce
    • 04:30 – The members have been informed they can get access to business reports through email blast
  • 05:11 – Scorely is the first in the industry
  • 05:25 – Scorely charges between $ 120 to $ 200 per report
  • 06:04 – Scorely focuses on small businesses
    • 06:10 – Recovery of Judgement’s credit report
  • 07:25 – Some companies charges small businesses too much for credit reports
  • 07:45 – They are now free as they want more small businesses to learn about Scorely
  • 08:06 – Small businesses want credit reports because of a lot of reasons
    • 08:08 – Small businesses need loans
    • 09:00 – Scorely can recommend small businesses to banks
      • 09:15 – Goal is to get a loan with the smallest interest
  • 09:30 – Shawn telling Nathan how Scorely works in Nathan’s business scenario
  • 10:28 – Shawn gets 1% - 5% from the loans
  • 10:52 – Number of business loans made yearly in the USA
  • 11:45 – Shawn is still learning a lot
  • 12:20 – Judgment Marketplace
  • 13:48 – Scorely raised $ 250,000
  • 14:05 – Team size
  • 14:30 – Toptal as a freelancing site for developers
  • 15:48 – Connect with Shawn through his website
  • 18:00 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • You can’t do everything alone.
  • Bring your ideas to life.
  • Make a good action plan in starting a business.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments.
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • ShawnPorat.com – Shawn’s website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Nov 5, 2016

Bill Lyons, a successful real estate entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Revestor.com. Revestor is in the business of helping real estate investors find profitable properties to rent out as short and long term rentals. He also helps identify properties for quick profits.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Slash
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Tony Robbins
  • Favorite online tool? — Rapportive
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “That when you get to your 30’s, a week is like a day, a month is like a week and year is like a month and slow down. Do what you can today”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:48 – Nathan introduces Bill to the show
  • 02:27 – Revestor started in 2012
  • 02:37 – Revestor is now focused short-term Airbnb properties
  • 03:08 – Bill is asking $ 250,000 for 10% in short-term properties
  • 04:10 – Bill was in Shark Tank in November 2012
    • 04:25 – Bill got 15,000 users but never got over 1,000 paid users
    • 04:38 – Bill can’t raise money after the show
  • 05:02 – In 2013, Bill started a mortgage company
    • 05:06 – In 2014, Bill did $ 500,000 in revenue
    • 05:10 – In 2015, Bill did $ 1.7 million in revenue
    • 05:14 – 2016, Bill is about to hit $ 5.5 million in revenue
  • 05:34 – Bill has been investing for the past few months in Revestor
  • 05:58 – Revestor did 0 revenue in 2016
  • 06:10 – The subscription plans were not working so they refunded them
  • 06:24 – Bill built a better platform to invest in Airbnb
  • 06:33 – Revestor re-launches on November 1st of 2016
  • 07:10 – Customers can see daily rent data in the website of Revestor
    • 07:20 – Revestor’s main data source
    • 07:34 – Revestor is paying $ 6,000 a month for the API
  • 08:25 – The properties in Revestor are for sale
    • 08:35 – The website will show you how you will earn when you purchase a property
  • 09:22 – Users can enter their own interest rate in the website
  • 10:00 – Revestor is pulling data from resources to come up with average daily rent
  • 10:40 – “You’re not going to get a good cash flow in San Diego on a long term basis”
  • 11:18 – They are working with a PR company
  • 11:38 – Mortgage is Bill’s passion
  • 12:13 – Email list is 30,000
  • 13:40 – Connect with Bill through his Instagram and website
  • 15:20 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Learn from your experiences. Don’t let other people predict your business.
  • Start from where you’re good at. Things are far easier when you already know what to do.
  • Do what you can today.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments.
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • @bill_lyons – Bill’s Instagram account
  • Revestor.com– Bill’s website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Nov 4, 2016

Craig Ballantyne, a productivity and a success transformation coach and the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. He’s been a contributor to men’s health magazines since 2000 and in 2001, he created a home popular work out program, Turbulence Training. Listen as Craig tells us how he overcome his anxieties using the 5 pillars of transformation and how he managed to make his users stay.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Rockefellar Habits
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Matt Smith
  • Favorite online tool? — N/A
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “I should stop drinking before I’m 30 years old”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:54 – Nathan introduces Craig to the show
  • 02:43 – Craig uses the 5 pillars of success
  • 03:06 – Craig started in the fitness industry in 1999 and he started selling Turbulence Training online
  • 03:19 – In 2011, Craig bought the business, Early to Rise, a success wealth building newsletter
  • 03:31 – They have 100,000 email list for Early to Rise and 120,000 for fitness
  • 03:38 – Early to Rise did $ 6 million in 2015
  • 04:27 – The Perfect Day Formula is their best-seller
  • 04:45 – They have Early to rise University where online courses are
  • 05:00 – PerfectDayFormula.com
    • 05:05 – It was launched in January 2016
    • 05:18 – 35,000 purchases at the moment
    • 05:21 – They have their email list, affiliate email and Facebook ads for marketing
    • 05:30 – Price point is $ 200
    • 05:46 – Only a small portion of customers came from the affiliate email
  • 06:00 – Customers receive a box full of materials when they purchase
  • 06:31 – The cost of produce is $ 21
  • 07:02 – They are not making a lot from paid advertising
  • 07:43 – Craig is finding a way to send traffic on Facebook to an offer that works to prevent crashed after the launch
  • 08:30 – $ 100,000 MRR mostly from the fitness stuff
  • 08:35 - $ 7 price point on monthly fee
  • 09:12 – People stick with them for at least 3 months
  • 10:44 – People want results
  • 11:26 – The usage pay wall
  • 12:20 – What the user will get from the course
    • 12:23 – There’s a template to change your bad habits
    • 12:40 – They will help the user create a vision
  • 12:50 – One of the pillars is plan and prepare
  • 13:25 – Craig has a video of walkthrough on what they can get in the kit
  • 13:56 – Goal in 2016
  • 14:11 – Tools that Craig uses for his website
  • 14:30 – Tools that Craig uses to run his business
  • 14:43 – Team size
  • 14:59 – Follow Craig on Twitter and LinkedIn
  • 17:00 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Show people results. Show them how to consume a product to get the results.
  • Having an email list of the target market can boost your revenue tremendously.
  • Be healthy. Cliché as it sounds, health is wealth.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments.
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • @Craigballantyne – Craig’s Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn – Craig’s LinkedIn account
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Nov 3, 2016

Ben Nye. Ben joined Bain Capital Ventures in 2004 and leads their infrastructure software team. Listen as Ben talks about how he became Turbonomic’s CEO and how they got to Series D.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Steve Jobs Book
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Jeff Bezos
  • Favorite online tool? — LinkedIn
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “I wish I knew about the power of equity”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:34 – Nathan introduces Ben to the show
  • 02:00 – Ben joined Bain Capital Ventures in 2004
  • 02:15 – Capitalized Turbonomic as an investor in 2009 and first delivery of product in GA in 2010
  • 02:30 – Joined the company full-time in 2013
  • 02:40 – Bain Capital Ventures is a sector focus
    • 02:55 – They want something with a prepared mind
    • 03:17 – They cover multiple sectors
  • 03:38 – Total capital raised
  • 03:59 – Ben is the lead investor at Bain Capital Ventures for Turbonomic
  • 04:17 – There was 3 CEO in Turbonomic
    • 04:46 – There was an issue between the founder and the CEO that was hired
    • 04:58 – The board made a decision, making Ben the CEO
  • 06:15 – Passive equity in the company
    • 06:22 – They kept the best people
    • 06:42 – The company has to retire passive shares and it is covered by investors right agreement
    • 07:00 – They have bought people’s equity, who left the company
  • 07:15 – Turbonomic is a soft managing self-organizing control system
    • 07:40 – They have the capability to provide enhance performance for high workloads
  • 08:15 – They have on-premises and off- premises sectors
    • 08:30 – In on-premises, there is per socket and per core based pricing
    • 08:35 – In off-premises, there are no sockets so you work virtually in public cloud
  • 08:55 – They are not SaaS, but users can purchase on term basis
    • 09:20 – Some users request how to acquire the software
    • 09:35  - They measure the environment based on sockets and core count
    • 09:52 – 91% of the customers have a 3-month full payback
  • 10:19 – Ben offers a scenario how the model works
  • 11:34 – At Bain Capital Ventures, they research the companies and pick which they think will win
  • 12:53 – The startups competing in the market
  • 13:15 – In Turbonomic, there are 16,000 CIO who invested in them
  • 13:28 – They have 400 employees
  • 14:00 – Revenue growth in 2016
  • 14:36 – In November of 2014, they did a $ 50 million series-d
  • 15:35 – Going to series-d will depend on the nature of the company
    • 15:41 – Ben’s company is an intellectual property strategy company
  • 16:30 – Connect with Ben through his website and join Green Circle Community
  • 18:30 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • People can voluntarily sell their equity when the leave a company.
  • Getting to series-d will depend on the nature of the company.
  • Know your market.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • Turbonomic.com – Ben’s website
  • Green Circle Community – Ben’s online community
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Nov 1, 2016

Amit Shanbhag, co-founder of RocketReach.co, a company that allows users to lookup email addresses, phones, social links, etc. for over 250 million professionals worldwide. Amit bootstrapped to RocketReach from zero to over a hundred thousand customers including Apple, Google, and Morgan Stanley to name a few. He has more than a dozen patents and started his professional life writing code for geo-stationary satellites. He loves open water swimming, watching cricket, and spending time with his 4-year old son.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – N/A
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Marissa Mayer
  • Favorite online tool? — Google Drive
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self know one thing, what would it be? – “Live the moment and enjoy what you have”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:53 – Nathan introduces Amit  to the show
  • 02:33 – RocketReach is a sales management tool
  • 02:54 – RocketReach was founded in 2015
  • 03:03 – Amit and his co-founder used to work for a SaaS business
  • 03:15 – They tried to get information from www.data.com for user acquisition
    • 03:25 – They realized that the data is 85% inaccurate
  • 03:31 – They tried different tools
  • 04:25 – Team size
  • 04:40 – Completely bootstrapped
  • 04:51 – They tried to raise a small round
    • 05:18 – Went to institution investors
    • 05:27 – The terms were not profitable
    • 05:40 – Amit stopped fund-raising after 6 months
  • 05:58 – They had 10,000 customers in March
  • 06:40 – Companies that are the competition
  • 07:35 – RocketReach is SaaS and has monthly subscription
    • 07:40 – Plans are $ 49, $ 99 and $ 299
    • 07:46 – Salespeople and recruiters are the biggest user base
    • 08:30 – Most of the users are from the $ 99 plan
  • 09:10 – MRR
  • 09:40 – They were doing a lot of outbound in January
  • 10:04 – Most of their users now are from SEO
  • 11:18 – Customers who buy access to RocketReach API
    • 11:38 – They are considered as competition
  • 12:29 – First year revenue
    • 12:45 – Total of $ 15 from October 2015 to December 2015
  • 13:02 – March 2016 is when the growth started
  • 13:40 – Did a deal with 500 startups companies
  • 14:40 – Gross monthly churn
  • 16:40 – Lifetime value
  • 17:17 – Company expenses
  • 18:09 – The quality of data that RocketReach has sets them apart from their competitors
  • 18:30 – Comparison of RocketReach and Email Hunter
  • 19:50 – Goal for 2016
  • 20:53 – Decent offer in the SaaS space
  • 21:15 – 2-digit percentage average monthly customer growth
  • 22:15 – Connect with Amit through his website and Twitter
  • 24:00 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • First year revenue is not always what you’re expecting.
  • Improve your product to the point it makes your competitors, your customers.
  • Live for the moment and enjoy what you have.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the 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.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • RocketReach.co – Amit’s website
  • @RocketReachco – Amit’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
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