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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: December, 2016
Dec 6, 2016

Matthieu Jost, who founded his first company when he was 17 and exited it when he was 21. Most recently, he started Misterb&b in 2015 and has become the world’s largest gay hotel brand in the world. Listen as Matthieu shares how he managed his first business at an early age and how Misterb&b grew exponentially in less than 4 years.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – N/A
  • What CEO do you follow? – Brian Chesky
  • Favorite online tool? — RJ Metrics
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Being less naïve maybe”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:31 – Nathan introduces Matthieu to the show
  • 02:00 – Matthieu’s first company that posted TV series was sold to PlanetSeries (French equivalent of IMDB) for about $1 million
    • 02:33 – The team composed of 4 people
    • 02:53 – The company sold series’ merchandise
    • 03:18 – Matthieu built the company
    • 03:38 – Matthieu studied Computer Science for two years to work in a radio station
  • 04:38 – Matthieu shares how Misterb&b is different from Airbnb
  • 05:00 – Misterb&b is a marketplace
  • 05:25 – The sellers are the homeowners
  • 05:36 – “It’s not only for gay men, we are open to everyone in the LGBT community”
    • 05:45 – There are straight women using Misterb&b because they find it cool and much safer
  • 06:10 – Misterb&b is taking 4% from the host and 12% from the traveler
  • 06:27 – Average booking for 3 nights is $300
  • 06:40 – Misterb&b was founded at the last quarter of 2014
  • 06:50 – Misterb&b was bootstrapped for 6 months and went on raising capital
    • 07:02 – Total funds raised was $5 million
  • 07:10 – Team size is 22
  • 07:44 – Currently, there are 80,000 hosts in Misterb&b in over 135 countries
  • 08:00 – Misterb&b has an average of 80,000 bookings per month
  • 08:22 – Most of the travelers are solo travelers
  • 09:16 – First year total transaction volume is 300K
  • 09:35 – Total transaction volume for 2015 is $3M and 2016 total transaction volume goal is $7M
  • 09:58 – Misterb&b is seasonal
  • 11:00 – Misterb&b’s 2015 average revenue is $480,000
  • 11:12 – Misterb&b’s 2016 revenue aim is $1.3 million
  • 11:24 – Misterb&b is working on different types of ads
  • 12:05 – There are around 300K people on Misterb&b’s email list
  • 12:12 – Average opening click-thru rate is 14%
    • 12:50 – People are paying Misterb&b a flat-rate and they are getting 15,000 clicks
    • 13:00 – Misterb&b also works with non-media companies
  • 13:46 – 40% of Misterb&b’s travelers are repeaters
  • 14:28 – Follow Matthieu’s company on Facebook and visit the website
  • 16:33 – The Famous Five
    • 17:16 – RJ Metrics was at The Top Episode 233

 

3 Key Points:

  • It is always advantageous to start your business as EARLY as possible.
  • Life is about making a choice; don’t be afraid to step out and make that decision.   
  • Misterb&b is about building a worldwide community that promotes safe travel without discrimination. 

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • 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 the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • The Top Inbox  – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens and follow-up with email sequences
  • Facebook – Matthieu’s business Facebook account
  • Misterbandb.com – Matthieu’s business website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Dec 5, 2016

Sunil Patro, founder of SignEasy, a technologist, product thinker and entrepreneur. He has a decade of experience as a member of multiple early stage product team at Microsoft, Juniper Networks and Tokbox. Putting enterprise communication apps to carrier great routing system to consumer focused video conferencing software. After facing many problems to sign an important job offer while traveling in Mexico, he was inspired to build a product that could solve this hindrance. Since bootstrapping SignEasy in 2010, he led SignEasy to a growing and profitable company that putting 3M downloads with a 5-star rating in over 150 countries, ranked 1 of the top 15 apps and in top 100 downloaded apps for business including Apple’s Best New Apps and Editor Choice Picks.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Crucial Conversations
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Jason Fried
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Not everyday
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Just focus on being part of a great team and focus on learning things rapidly and just have an experience. Find the things you enjoy the most at work”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:32 – Nathan introduces Sunil to the show
  • 02:33 – SignEasy is a cloud-based easy to use app
    • 02:50 – SignEasy allows users to be completely paperless
  • 03:00 – SignEasy is a SaaS model and has a free trial for 14 days
    • 03:12 – Pay-as-you-go is also available
    • 03:17 – Businesses can subscribe to pro and premium plans
  • 03:34 – Sunil started coding SignEasy in early 2010 and launched around July 2010
  • 03:35 – First year revenue
  • 04:02 – Current number of customers in 2016
    • 04:20 – 40-45% are on subscriptions and the rest are on one-time payment
  • 04:33 – Average monthly RPU is $ 4 – 5 for pro and 80-90% are pro subscriptions
  • 05:09 – Average monthly recurring revenue for SignEasy
    • 05:58 – The difference of their payment plans before and now and how it affects their MRR
  • 06:41 – SignEasy has grown high double digit over the last few years
  • 07:07 – SignEasy is totally bootstrapped
  • 07:25 – Team size
  • 08:00 – Sunil is based in the bay area
  • 08:52 – Gross monthly customer churn
  • 09:02 – SignEasy is focused on SMB
  • 09:45 – Customers can only pay SignEasy annually
  • 10:35 – Lifetime value
  • 10:46 – SignEasy hasn’t done paid user acquisition yet
  • 10:55 – Almost 100% of SignEasy users are inbound based or app store driven
  • 11:57 – Sunil shares how they are reaching high number of downloads in app store
    • 12:10 – SignEasy has been in the app store for 6 years
    • 12:30 – There are many factors that  app store considers
    • 12:43 – SignEasy has been using keywords for app store
  • 14:10 – SignEasy gets 60K downloads a month from app store
    • 14:35 – In iOS, the conversion from free to paid users is 5-6%
    • 14:44 – In Android, the conversion from free to paid users is half of the iOS
  • 14:50 – The free trial is either 14 days or limited to 3 documents
    • 15:15 – SignEasy’s paid features
  • 15:39 – SignEasy just launched a new feature wherein a user can send a document to sign to multiple people remotely and they can establish a work flow
  • 16:00 – Sunil’s philosophy
  • 17:10 – Nathan made a mock offer of $ 15M and Sunil is open to it
  • 17:47 – Find Sunil on Twitter and send him an email
  • 19:27 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Build something that people want.
  • Follow your passion and do what you drives your passion.
  • Focus on being part of a great team and focus on learning things rapidly.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • 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 the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Dec 4, 2016

Andy Rachleff, president and CEO of Wealthfront. He served as a member of the board of trustees and vice chairman of the Endowment Investment Committee for the University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the faculty for Stanford Graduate School of Business where he teaches course on Technology Entrepreneurship. Prior to Wealthfront, Andy co-founded and was general partner of Benchmark Capital, where he was responsible for investing number of successful companies. He has also spent 10 years as a general partner for Merrill, Pickard, Anderson & Eyre - MPAE. Andy earned his S from University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Innovator’s Dilemma
  • What CEO do you follow? –  N/A
  • 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? – “Associating myself with great people”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:41 – Nathan introduces Andy to the show
  • 03:03 – Andy is retired for his Venture Capital business so he wants to give back
  • 04:07 – David Swensen has been an investor on Andy’s 2 venture capital firms
  • 04:37 – The way Wealthfront generates investment mix is the same method David Swensen uses
  • 05:09 - Wealthfront manages a diversified of portfolio of low-cost index funds in behalf of their client
    • 05:20 – Minimum is $ 500 to open an account
  • 05:55 – “If you like Vanguard, you’re going to love Wealthfront”
    • 06:00 – Wealthfront can minimize taxes using a software that Vanguard can’t do
  • 07:59 – Software works 24/7 so you can monitor your losses daily
  • 08:36 – Wealthfront has been managing around $ 4.4B assets
  • 08:53 – Wealthfront’s asset management worth is much smaller than Vanguard
  • 09:25 – “With every new technology that succeeds, it gets adopted at a faster rate”
    • 09:47 – Automated Investment Services has been adapted at a faster rate than ETF
    • 10:09 – Automated Investment Services are actually managing more assets than ETF
  • 10:21 – Volume of individual metrics
  • 10:54 – Wealthfront manages the first $ 10,000 for free and charges a quarter of a percent on a amount managed excessing $ 10,000
    • 11:10 – Sample model is Dropbox
  • 12:00 – “It is more of the client’s satisfaction of our service”
  • 12:25 – Percentage of sent invites by users
  • 13:01 – The number of people actually invested in Wealthfront
  • 13:51 – Average MRR
  • 14:04 – Overtime, Wealthfront will introduce new services
  • 14:51 – Wealthfront is a hybrid of old model and also new channels in the software
    • 15:28 – “We want to build services that benefit our clients
  • 16:03 – Wealthfront  was launched in Dec 2011
  • 16:12 – Team size is about 140
  • 16:15 – Total capital raised is $ 130M
  • 17:15 – “I’m willing to sacrifice some growth for a far more sustainable model”
  • 17:55 – Connect with Andy through his email and Twitter
  • 16:10 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • With every new technology that succeeds, it gets adopted at a faster rate.
  • Sacrifice some growth for a far more sustainable model.
  • Associate yourself with great people.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • 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 the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • The Top Inbox  – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens and follow-up with email sequences
  • Andy@Wealthfront.com – Andy’s email address
  • @Arachleff – Andy’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Dec 3, 2016

Elie Khoury, co-founder and CEO of Woopra – a customer intelligence platform that helps businesses essentialize customer engagement across all channels. He studied Computer Science in Lebanese American University where he booked the first generation of Woopra in 2007. In addition to Woopra, he co-founded YallaStartup, a non-government organization establish to proper entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Steve Jobs
  • Favorite online tool? — Google Calendar
  • 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 won’t change a thing”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:32 – Nathan introduces to Elie the show
  • 02:09 – Woopra is designed for businesses to help them consolidate their customer activities across channels
  • 02:22 – Woopra is a SaaS model and has monthly subscription
  • 02:34 – Woopra is self-funded but they raised an Angel round few years ago
    • 02:43 – Raised about a million dollars in the Angel round
    • 02:48 – It was an equity round
  • 02:58 – There are 12 people in the team
    • 03:08 – All are based in SF
  • 03:18 – Woopra mainly focused on SaaS businesses but they cater to wide-range of businesses
  • 03:39 – Woopra has around 1000 customers at the moment
  • 03:50 – Woopra has 100,000 active projects and 1000 of that are paying customers
  • 04:10 – Average RPU is around $30,000 a year for enterprise and $ 3000 a year for SMB
  • 04:30 – Woopra introduced their enterprise edition a couple of years ago
  • 05:05 – Average MRR
  • 05:27 – Gross customers monthly churn is lower on enterprise than SMB
  • 06:15 – CAC is $ 1-2,000 on enterprise
  • 06:35 – Lifetime value
    • 07:39 – Average monthly lifetime value
  • 07:53 – Woopra has a sales team that engages with enterprise customers
  • 08:08 – Woopra was launched in 2008
    • 08:25 – Woopra has 15,000 active projects that are running for free
  • 09:25 – 2015 total revenue around $ 1.5 million
  • 09:50 – Woopra is in a good place at the moment
  • 10:02 – “Raising funding is always an option. We are just waiting for the right fit and the right time”
  • 10:13 – Woopra has to scale in a faster pace and identify the perfect marketing tool
  • 10:44 – Connect with Elie through their blog and his email
  • 12:20 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Raising fund is always an option. Just wait for the right fit and the right time.
  • There is time to polish things out. Take things slowly.
  • Embrace your ignorance.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • 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 the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Elie@Woopra.com – Elie’s email address
  • Woopra.com/Blog – Elie’s business blog
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Dec 2, 2016

Camilo Acosta, CEO of Pay By Group, which is based out of San Francisco. Their team is working with global brands to make it easier for people to minimize the cost of any purchase at the online checkout.  One of their customers expresses their gratitude for the company by saying that their “family reunion [wouldn’t] happen without Pay By Group.” Listen as Camilo shares how Pay By Group’s revenue grew from zero in 2011 to nearly $30 million in 2016.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – High Output Management
  • What CEO do you follow? –  N/A
  • Favorite online tool? —Hubspot Sales
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— “Now, I do”
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I wish I moved to San Francisco earlier”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:36 – Nathan introduces Camilo to the show
  • 02:05 – Pay By Group is a worldwide payment solution that allows families and friends to split the cost of their online purchases
    • 02:20 – Pay By Group is plugged-in directly to online merchants
  • 02:33 – Pay By Group is a checkout option
  • 02:47 – Pay By Group charges the business and consumers
  • 03:07 – Camilo gives an example on how to use Pay By Group using Walmart’s website
  • 03:44 – Pay By Group makes more money on the consumer charges
  • 03:50 – Pay By Group is active on vacation rental sites like CaboVillas
    • 04:19 – The organizer is free but every invite will be charged 2.9%
  • 05:17 – Pay By Group is a pay-as-you-go model
  • 05:34 – Pay By Group was founded in 2011
  • 05:38 – Team size is 20
  • 05:41 – Pay By Group raised $3.4 million in the second round
  • 05:56 – The first round of raised capital
  • 06:28 – Average order value:
    • 06:46 – There’s no one number because it depends on the merchants
  • 06:56 – Vacation rentals is Pay By Group’s current “bread and butter”
  • 07:08 – Number of merchants currently using Pay By Group is over 300
  • 07:20 – Pay By Group tracks the number of groups/families that have used their system
  • 07:52 – Pay By Group had tens of millions of transactions
  • 08:11 – 2011 total transaction volume number is zero
  • 08:25 – Pay By Group was in 500 startups in 2012
    • 08:58 – Pay By Group’s first merchant was Rent Like A Champion
    • 10:04 – 2012 total transaction volume number is less than a hundred thousand
  • 10:30 – 2013 total transaction volume number is around $3 million
  • 10:45 – Goal transaction volume number in 2016 is $30 million
  • 10:57 – Pay By Group is seasonal
  • 11:33 – The Top: Ep. 489 is the episode where Rent Like A Champion’s CEO was featured
  • 12:38 – Pay By Group’s team is based in San Francisco
  • 12:56 – Camilo’s goal for Pay By Group
  • 13:40 – Connect with Camilo through LinkedIn and his website
  • 16:20 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Enjoy WHAT you do and WHO you work with—learn from them.
  • The secret is simplicity; less is always more. 
  • Dream it and do your best to achieve it.

 

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 the 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.
  • LinkedIn – Camilo’s LinkedIn account
  • PayByGroup.com – Camilo’s business website
  • CaboVillas – One of Pay By Group’s vacation rental merchant
  • Rent Like A Champion Pay By Group’s first merchant
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Dec 1, 2016

Gary Guseinov, an investor, operator, and advisor in various technology companies including Business Hangouts, InCast, Playsino and Revenue.com. During his career, he has over $100 million in growth capital and structured complex financial transactions. He’s also acquired over 300 million users for global technology product and services.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Power the Mind
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Mark Zuckerberg
  • Favorite online tool? — Calendly
  • 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 knew how to start a business with very little capital”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:26 – Nathan introduces Gary to the show
  • 02:08 – Business Hangouts is a web-conferencing and webinar platform
    • 02:17 – It is specifically designed for Google apps
  • 02:47 – Gary has raised capital for USTechSupport in 2003
    • 03:07 – Private from 2003 to 2007
    • 03:15 – From September 2007 to 2012, it became public in Nasdaq
    • 03:22 – It was bought out by a big marketing company in LA
    • 03:29 – Gary was the co-founder and left the company because he needed a break
  • 04:24 – “It takes a lot of processes when it comes to legal and accounting when you shift from private to public”
    • 05:05 – SDC reviews the applications and processes
  • 05:20 – Gary was in his mid-thirties when he started USTechSupport and didn’t have any experience running a company
    • 05:29 – Gary is now 46
  • 05:40 – Gary acquired Business Hangouts from the previous owner
    • 05:51 – Business Hangouts had 1.7 million enterprise users when it was acquired
    • 06:02 – Over 700,000 registered users and 70,000 enterprise users
    • 06:40 – Number of paying users
  • 07:10 – Business Hangouts’ competitors usually separate web conferencing and webinar leading to 2 different subscriptions
    • 07:48 – Consumers wouldn’t know what their monthly expenses were going to be
  • 07:54 – Business Hangouts is not as complicated as their competitors
    • 08:10 – “Our pricing model is very simple”
  • 09:07 – Average monthly RPU is $70
  • 10:40 – Business Hangouts is currently getting offers from investors
  • 11:45 – “We try to build a business based on purely economics”
  • 12:06 – “We think that we are a strong contender to multi-million dollar entities”
  • 12:54 – Gary does not wish to disclose their MRR because they are not looking for capital at the moment as they are still a small company
  • 13:57 – Gary’s goal is to stay “at the radar”
    • 14:18 – “You want to be good at what you’re doing and you want the market to recognize that”
  • 14:55 – Churn is less than 10% yearly
  • 15:32 – Gary acquired the company for less than $10 million
  • 17:00 – Gary can afford to put inside sales representatives in the demo
  • 17:36 – Business Hangouts is completely bootstrapped
  • 18:15 – Current CAC is zero
  • 18:55 – Team size is less than 10
  • 19:16 – Connect with Gray through LinkedIn
  • 20:42 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Choose a business that is viable in the marketplace. 
  • Stayingat the radar” while doing an excellent job at what you do will help you become recognized by the marketplace. 
  • You CAN start a business without raising capital.

 

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 the 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.
  • LinkedIn – Gary’s LinkedIn account
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
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