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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: January, 2017
Jan 7, 2017

Steve Richard whose mission in life is to help as many sales professionals as possible to become wildly successful. He has been featured in numerous publications including The Harvard Business Review, The Washington Business Journal, and The Washington Post. Outside of work, Steve enjoys scuba diving, skiing, running, and people-watching. He’s from Arlington, VA, with his wife Ellen and their 4 kids all under the age of 7.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – RSVP Selling
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Tony Bates
  • Favorite online tool? — Owler
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “You got to start with the technology company in the beginning because you’re going to create much more impact on people’s lives”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:58 – Nathan introduces Steve to the show
  • 02:45 – Steve shares the idea of ExecVision
  • 03:17 – ExecVision is a SaaS business
    • 03:20 – There are 50 organizations who are currently using ExecVision
  • 03:34 – ExecVision allows you to access, analyze, and share call records
  • 04:20 – Average pay per user per year and how it ranges per sales person
  • 04:54 – Average MRR
  • 05:24 – Sales professionals love ExecVision
  • 06:04 – ExecVision has coaching requests for their customers
  • 06:37 – Every month there’s a high volume of requests for coaching
  • 07:13 – ExecVision has voice recognition
  • 07:52 – Richard shares how their customers find valuable keywords in ExecVision
  • 09:15 – Richard was running Vorsight before ExecVision
    • 09:50 – People pay per meeting
    • 10:02 – Richard used the profitability of Vorsight to fund ExecVision
  • 10:15 – Richard has raised capital for ExecVision
  • 10:58 – Richard shares what drives them
  • 11:38 – They have raised around $1M
  • 11:50 – Richard acquired ExecVision in April, 2015
  • 12:07 – None of the original people from ExecVision are still working with the company, but they have equity
  • 12:26 – Retention is 90% annually 
  • 13:38 – CAC
  • 14:42 – Total head count is 15
  • 14:55 – ExecVision is based in Arlington, Virginia
  • 15:27 – First year revenue
  • 16:08 – Connect with Richard through Call Camp
  • 18:30 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Use your stress to CREATE an idea to relieve that stress.
  • Sales professionals who analyze and assess feedback well WILL improve in their field.
  • Make something that adds value to people’s lives.

 

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
  • Jamf – Jamf helped Nathan keep his Macbook Air 11” secure even when he left it in the airplane’s back seat pocket
  • Call Camp – Steve’s Call Camp Movement website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 6, 2017

Alex Babin. He’s a serial entrepreneur who has more than 10 years of expertise in innovation, product development and artificial intelligence. He started his first hybrid vehicle company at the age of 24 funded by DFJ. He also founded an interactive video software company. Now, he’s running an artificial intelligence, communication startup which is building a device-centric, secured, corporate email client called Zero.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Steve Jobs
  • What CEO do you follow? – Mark Daniels
  • Favorite online tool? — HubSpot
  • 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 intuition”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:45 – Nathan introduces Alex to the show
  • 02:23 – Alex loves listening to podcasts
  • 02:53 – Zero is currently on pre-revenue, but they have a list of pre-sales
  • 03:12 – Zero is focused on the corporate market
    • 03:28 – Zero helps people be more productive with the help of AI
  • 03:38 – Zero charges per user per month on the corporate market
  • 03:48 – Zero was launched 2 years ago, was in self-mode for 1 year, and launched the first version a year ago
  • 04:00 – Zero had a seed round, in May, from angel investors
  • 04:41 – Zero has 3 founders and a total of 6 on the team
  • 05:19 – The one who will win the space in the market is the one who will penetrate the market with the most convenient product for the customer
  • 05:33 – Customers don’t want to change anything – they have strict security policies
  • 07:15 – Zero has 30,000 downloads
    • 07:30 – 2,000 active daily customers
    • 07:37 – Alex shares the difference between daily and monthly active customers
  • 08:55 – Zero has recently introduced exchange support
  • 09:28 – Zero currently targets CIOs
  • 09:48 – Zero’s pricing
  • 10:10 – Alex shares that they are open to another seed round
    • 10:19 – Target to raise is $1M
    • 10:22 – Convertible note CAP of $5M
    • 11:00 – Some of the customers are converting into investors
  • 11:38 – Find Alex on Twitter
  • 13:05 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • The one who wins the market is the one who penetrates the market with the best and most convenient product for the consumer.
  • Be patient and respectful with your customers when explaining your product.
  • TRUST your intuition—it’s often the right direction to follow.

 

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
  • Jamf – Jamf helped Nathan kept his Macbook Air 11” secure even when he left it at the airplane’s back seat pocket
  • @AlexBabin – Alex’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 5, 2017

Shawn Livermore. He’s an author and technology consultant and more recently, the founder and CEO of tech startup Ziptask which has generated nearly $2M in revenue. He has raised 4 rounds of funding and closed it down to take on new opportunities.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Tipping Point
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Mark Fields
  • Favorite online tool? — Acuity Scheduling
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Calculate risk carefully”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 02:00 – Nathan introduces Shawn to the show
  • 02:30 – Ziptask is a fully-managed outsourcing with a progressive effort to fix the problem of outsourcing technology projects
  • 03:23 – “We succeeded in the goal, but we failed as a company”
  • 03:31 – Shawn raised 4 seed rounds
  • 04:18 – Shawn also had his day-time clients as a technology consultant
  • 04:50 – Ziptask dissolved in September 2016, and was launched in 2010
  • 05:05 – Ziptask’s MRR was $107K
  • 05:30 – Shawn shares why they shut down Ziptask
    • 06:59 – Shawn launched Ziptask prematurely
    • 08:35 – Shawn also did NOT try to sell the business
  • 09:30 – Shawn is now working with Carvana
  • 10:00 – Connect with Shawn through Twitter. Medium and email
  • 10:15 – Shawn is currently working on a book called Obscurity
  • 12:45 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • The time will come when you have to pull the plug – and when it happens, just do it.
  • Reaching your goal is NOT the peak of success.
  • Calculate risk carefully.

 

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
  • Jamf – Jamf helped Nathan kept his Macbook Air 11” secure even when he left it at the airplane’s back seat pocket
  • Carvana – Shawn’s current employer
  • @shawnypants – Shawn’s Medium handle
  • @shawnypants – Shawn’s Twitter handle
  • ShawnLivermore@gmail.com – Shawn’s email address
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 4, 2017

Guy Suter and he runs Notion.ai. His mission is to improve communication using artificial intelligence. Previously, he co-founded BitLeap and led the product to the world’s top selling appliance after 2008 acquisition by Barracuda. He started venture data backup, cloud storage, group chat, file sharing with Copy.com and CRM with Nutshell.com

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Brand New World
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jay Simons
  • Favorite online tool? — Picasso
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “How early stage capital works...and influence management has been the biggest learning experience”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:35 – Nathan introduces Guy to the show
  • 02:10 – Guy and his co-founder started with a data backup company
  • 02:46 – Notion.ai is currently on prerevenue
  • 03:00 – Notion.ai started 3 years ago
  • 03:47 – Notion.ai was launched in November 2016
  • 04:18 – Digital communication was problematic
  • 04:55 – Notion.ai has raised a total of around $10M
  • 05:13 – Guy started with a lot of SaaS businesses
  • 06:13 – Guy shares the revenue opportunities for Notion.ai
  • 08:00 – There’s a huge barrier in entry to Notion.ai’s space
  • 09:00 – Guy discusses the companies that are trying to make another category
  • 09:40 – Notion.ai is beneficial to everyone who uses email to interact
  • 10:40 – “Our goal is not to make the best email app In the world”
    • 11:00 – Notion.ai has features that differentiate them from others and offer value
    • 11:10 – Notion.ai is more “people-centric”; the focus is on relationships and what’s important based on the message
  • 11:43 – Average number of downloads
    • 12:09 – Notion.ai helps clean-up inboxes quickly
    • 13:00 – Less than a million but more than tens of thousands of downloads
    • 13:39 – The number of downloads consistently grows daily
  • 13:55 – Team size and location
    • 14:20 – Guy shares why they chose Michigan
    • 15:50 – Notion.ai has someone that was from LinkedIn
  • 16:00 – Connect with Guy through Twitter
  • 17:30 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • The digital communication space has been problematic and we need a solution.
  • Raising big capital on pre-revenue IS possible, if you have a great product that helps people become more efficient in communicating.
  • Have patience, take time, focus on building the right culture, and get your team on board.

 

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
  • @GuySuter – Guy’s Twitter handle
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 3, 2017

Nathan Barry, CEO of ConvertKit – an email marketing company for professional bloggers. Listen as Nathan shares how he manages to stay self-funded while, at the same time, increasing the growth and bloggers’ interest in using ConvertKit.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Predictable Success
  • What CEO do you follow? –  N/A
  • Favorite online tool? — Workable
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Pick just one thing you love to do and do it really well

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:50 – Nathan introduces Barry to the show
  • 02:15 – ConvertKit is a SaaS company and has around 10,000 bloggers
  • 02:47 – ConvertKit’s pricing depends on the blogger’s subscribers count
  • 03:04 – Average revenue per user per month
    • 03:24 – 65% of the users are on $48/month plan
  • 03:48 – ConvertKit’s cash flow is doing well
  • 04:15 – Annual plan has a big impact on churn
  • 04:50 – Barry pushes the annual plan on Cyber Monday
    • 05:00 – Average annual plan total
  • 05:30 – ConvertKit had a free 1 month promotion for new users
  • 05:56 – ConvertKit has a 40K email list – half of it is from content marketing, the other half is from webinars
    • 06:30 – ConvertKit has added 25K new people in their list this year from joint webinars alone
    • 06:55 – Barry is using Google Hangout and Chatroll for the webinars
    • 07:20 – ConvertKit is doing 10-20 webinars a month
  • 07:53 – There are 2 people in Barry’s team who are involved in the webinar process
    • 08:28 – The team is trying to get people who use MailChimp or Aweber to switch to ConvertKit
    • 08:38 – It is a 2-step direct sales process
  • 09:54 – Barry shares how he mitigates the show up rate in their webinars
  • 10:54 – Some of the bloggers reach out to ConvertKit and some find them through other bloggers
  • 11:16 – Average expenses a month in affiliate payouts
    • 11:33 – A quarter of ConvertKit’s revenue comes from affiliate programs
  • 12:10 – 2015 total revenue is around $300K
  • 12:20 – 2016 average revenue
  • 12:34 – ConvertKit is self-funded
    • 12:44 – It was an intentional choice
    • 13:03 – Barry shares what he did when they were almost running out of funds
  • 14:15 – ConvertKit’s gross profit and total money in the bank
  • 14:38 – ConvertKit just had a big expense from the annual plan switch
  • 15:15 – Gross monthly customer churn
  • 16:15 – Expansion is ConvertKit’s next focus
  • 17:08 – Current CAC
  • 18:28 – Team size and location
  • 18:50 – Average headcount expenses
  • 19:14 – ConvertKit was launched in 2013
  • 20:18 – There are two advisers who have a share in the company
  • 20:45 – Connect with Nathan through ConvertKit and his website
  • 23:20 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • You can stay self-funded with a fast growing business and by managing your funds properly.
  • Joint webinars and 2-point direct sales are excellent options to increase mailing list.
  • Pick one thing you love to do, focus in, and do it really well.

 

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
  • ConvertKit.com – Barry’s business website
  • NathanBarry.com – Barry’s personal website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 2, 2017

Kyle Racki, co-founder and CEO of Proposify. He’s passionate about design, SaaS, and marketing. He loves jamming out to 90s covers/tunes at open mic nights, and also has the unique ability to work in perfectly, cromulent Simpsons’ references to any conversation.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Lean Analytics
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Alex Turnbull
  • Favorite online tool? — Heap Analytics
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Sometimes
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “That it’s all going to be okay and…I’m going to give myself a hug”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:40 – Nathan introduces Kyle to the show
  • 02:24 – Proposify is a SaaS business and it helps people streamline their sales and close more deals
  • 02:40 – Average customer pay per month is $40-$50
  • 02:53 – Current number of customers
  • 03:10 – Average MRR
  • 03:25 – Proposify was launched in 2013
    • 03:35 – Proposify had less than $1000 MRR for 17 months
    • 04:03 – Kyle and his co-founder had an agency
    • 04:22 – Kyle raised $250K in seed capital from a local investor
    • 04:39 – Kyle and his team’s pay is around $60K a month during that time
  • 05:40 – Team size is 15 and are located in Halifax, Canada
    • 06:20 – Kyle shares how the startup market is in Halifax
    • 06:50 – Known startup companies from Halifax
  • 07:24 – Kyle does weekly phone calls with customers to check in on them
  • 07:50 – Kyle shares how one of their customers beat VaynerMedia in a proposal
  • 09:15 – How Proposify creates proposals in a flash
  • 09:40 – Proposify’s competition
  • 10:04 – Proposify is more focused on the digital agency space
  • 11:25 – Average number of new customers per month
  • 11:50 – Proposify has a free and no-credit card sign-up
  • 12:00 – Proposify does inbound sales, but organic search is the biggest source of traffic
  • 12:43 – Best podcast that drives Proposify’s traffic
  • 13:05 – Proposify has a general marketing budget
    • 13:28 - $10K for paid marketing
  • 13:45 – CAC is quite low
  • 14:18 – LTV
  • 14:40 – Gross monthly customer churn
  • 15:00 – Proposify currently has 2 sales people
  • 15:35 – Other system Kyle uses for business intelligence is Heap Analytics
  • 16:16 – Total 2015 revenue is $551K
  • 17:11 – Proposify is profitable and continually growing
  • 18:30 – “We’ll always entertain acquisition offers if it makes sense”
  • 19:00 – The process Kyle will go through if there’s a possible acquisition
  • 19:47 – Number of Proposify’s developers
  • 20:00 – Connect with Kyle through their website and help Kyle look for Proposify.com’s owner and he’ll pay you
  • 22:00 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • There’s a temptation to spend VC money; be decisive when you want to raise capital and stick to your goals.
  • Organic traffic is good, but getting paid marketing can still drive more traffic and customers.
  • There are a lot of things to consider in an acquisition – it should match your personal goals, be a cultural fit, and the numbers need to make sense.

 

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
  • Proposify.biz – Kyle’s business website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
Jan 1, 2017

Ivan Mojsilovic, CEO and founder of Yanado.com – a teamwork collaboration tool that will truly change the way you work. He’s also the CEO of E-75 IT Services, a project manager, and a media man who did a small stint at STARTeurope. He’s very active in the startup space.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – n/a
  • What CEO do you follow? –  Jason Lemkin
  • 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? – “Move out my current city and go travel, travel the world”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:40 – Nathan introduces Ivan to the show
  • 02:17 – Yanado is a project management tool integrated into Gmail
  • 02:40 – Yanado is SaaS business
  • 02:54 – Average customer pay per year is around $3000
  • 03:30 – Ivan has been in SaaS industry
  • 04:09 – Ivan shares how they started Yanado
  • 04:28 – Yanado started in 2014
  • 04:40 – Total capital raised is $200K and currently fundraising
    • 05:09 – Goal for the current fundraising is $500K in equity round
    • 05:20 – Willing to give up 15% to 20% equity
  • 05:30 – Yanado is based in Eastern Europe
  • 05:40 – Ivan shares about the market in Eastern Europe
  • 06:10 – Ivan shares what happened to their first business
    • 06:30 – The business was doing €200K a year
  • 07:05 – Yanado’s average number of paying customers is a little under 100
  • 07:15 – Average MRR
  • 07:45 – Team size
  • 08:10 – Number of total users
  • 08:23 – Ivan shares how their customers find them
  • 09:00 – Gross monthly churn is 7%
  • 09:21 – Average customer stay is 14 months
  • 10:05 – Ivan does the inside sales for Yanado and they just hired a person are planning to do outbound sales
  • 10:40 – Ivan’s plans for the company
  • 10:59 – Ivan hopes Google will acquire them
  • 11:45 – As of the moment, Ivan will only sell Yanado for $10M and no less than that
    • 12:00 – Ivan shares how he will sell Yanado to Google
  • 13:00 – Ivan shares how Google can’t create something similar to Yanado
  • 13:54 – Follow Ivan on their blog, sales and discussion groups
  • 16:00 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  • Find a way to help people focus their tasks and make life easier.
  • Create a software that is unique and cannot easily be imitated.
  • When you’re young and if you can, leave your city and travel the world.

 

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
  • Blog – Ivan’s blog
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives
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