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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: August, 2017
Aug 7, 2017

Jessica Lee. Nathan met Jessica a few months ago and Jessica toured Nathan in 500 Startups’ office in San Francisco. She’s the founder of Bitesize. She helps companies drive revenue with text message conversations.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – #GIRLBOSS
  • What CEO do you follow? – Sophia Amoruso
  • Favorite online tool? — Trello
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 6-8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Everybody has the same kind of challenges and overcoming them is the REAL WORK

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:37 – HandStack and Bitesize are the same company
  • 01:49 – Bitesize helps brands drive revenue through interactive text messaging
  • 02:00 – A new movie studio has a new movie and wants to reach a million movie goers
    • 02:10 – Bitesize will reach people by text message
    • 02:20 – The messages will be from a movie character and the approach is interactive
    • 02:42 – Bitesize will drive the person to a download link at the end of the conversation
  • 03:01 – Building a list for text is the challenge for Bitesize
  • 03:25 – Bitesize uses manual texting tool
    • 03:40 – There’s a law that’s protecting consumers where you can’t randomly message people with algorithms or without human intervention
    • 03:56 – Bitesize helps client send text with manual human intervention
  • 04:27 – Jessica shares how an actual message happens
    • 04:30 – The company will create a group chat, add people, and click send manually
    • 04:39 – People’s reply will go to your app and you can continue to interact with them
  • 05:08 – The difference with the usual group text and from Bitesize is, you don’t get to see other people’s messages
  • 05:34 – Bitesize charges per text and data
    • 05:42 – Per text charge is .25₵
  • 06:11 – Most of Bitesize’s costs is from data
    • 06:16 – Twilio is at .02₵
    • 06:45 – Data charges can go up to .16₵
  • 06:58 – BiteSize’s clients pay them for their marketing skills too
  • 07:15 – For a thousand new messages, an average of 6% will reply which a lot higher than social media ads
  • 07:45 – A lot of Bitesize’s customers will send millions of texts
  • 08:13 – Revenue is measured by campaigns: 140 for the last 6 months
  • 08:41 – Bitesize has raised $125K from 500 Startups
  • 08:56 – Team size is 6
    • 09:03 – 3 in the bay area and 3 elsewhere
  • 09:26 – Average MRR
  • 09:58 – 50% of the campaigns are paying quarterly and some campaigns are daily
    • 10:20 – Each campaign pays an average of $10K to $100K for the .25₵ per text messages
  • 10:43 – 10% of Bitesize’s customers are from referrals
    • 10:50 – Initially, Bitesize was focused on outbound sales
    • 11:08 – “Because our product was so unique, people like to know what it is”
  • 11:38 – Bitesize originally started with political campaigns
    • 11:49 – Because of Jessica’s background, most campaigns are for the democrats
  • 12:29 – Jessica believes that Bitesize is a tool that is meant to connect people in a more meaningful way than ads
  • 13:05 – 2013 revenue is around $250
  • 13:17 – 2016 revenue is $300K for 6 months
    • 13:30 – They pivoted to a more commercial use case in the final 6 months
  • 13:40 – 2017 target
  • 13:59 – “My hope is to grow organically”
  • 16:05 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Texts can be very spammy but if done right, the return is better than with online ads.
  2. Messages should connect people in a more meaningful way.
  3. Growing organically is cheaper, and it creates more resonance, but it’s harder to do.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

Aug 6, 2017

Bo Jiang. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Privacy.com, a new way to transact online without showing your credit card number or pin. He previously worked on mobile products with Hatch Labs, which is the venture studio that incubated Tinder and Pixie TV, which was acquired by Samsung. He holds a BS in Mathematics in MIT.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – High Output Management and Who
  • What CEO do you follow? – Charlie Munger
  • Favorite online tool? — Zoom
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Pay attention and see things through”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:34 – Bo has always been interested with Bitcoin and Krypto frequency where the idea of Privacy came from
  • 01:56 – Privacy was a side project in Bitcoin
  • 02:00 – Bo didn’t pay anything for Privacy
    • 02:10 – Bo retained the domain as an investment for the company
  • 02:51 – Bo shares how he made the deal of using the domain for free
    • 03:10 – Domains are assets but the value won’t grow that much
    • 03:28 – Bo gave the domain owner less than 10% of the company
  • 03;40 – Privacy has a browser extension and mobile app
    • 03:44 – It allows you to create unique card number for every purchase you make online with just one click
    • 04:00 – You can use any name or details and set your own credit limit
    • 04:20 – It’s actually a debit card which can be linked to your checking account
  • 04:30 – Currently, there’s nothing that is completely unhackable
    • 04:42 – Privacy takes the best practices and security measures to ensure the client’s security
    • 05:25 – The cards from Privacy can’t be use anywhere else
  • 05:38 – Privacy makes money from interchange
    • 05:43 – Every time that there’s a transaction using a card, the merchant pays Visa, Visa shares the fee with the bank, and the bank shares the fee with Privacy
  • 05:56 – If Nathan uses $100 on an Amazon checkout, Privacy will get around 1%
  • 06:51 – Privacy has raised $3.5M
  • 06:59 – Transaction volume is how Privacy’s revenue grow
  • 07:10 – Privacy is more focused on how much people have saved from using them
  • 08:06 – Privacy was founded in 2014 and was launched as a beta first, a year ago
  • 08:30 – Privacy currently has 150K users
  • 09:15 – Privacy is growing in double digits, month over month in transaction volume
    • 09:23 – Privacy has already broken a million transactions in just a month
  • 09:50 – Team size is 10 based in New York City with some in Florida and Oregon
  • 10:16 – Bo is still thinking of Privacy having a premium feature
  • 10:31 – Average MRR is around $10K
  • 10:57 – Bo was inside of Hatch Labs
    • 11:20 – Bo thinks that Tinder work because it was the right product at the right time
    • 11:55 – Hatch Labs was a venture studio and had 10-20 projects at a time
  • 12:41 – What IC puts in every project in Hatch Labs depends on the project
  • 13:06 – Bo left Hatch Labs a year and a half ago
  • 15:14 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. While online shopping is becoming more of a necessity, online security can still be questionable so having an alternative to paying with a credit card is something people are looking for.
  2. Focus on your company’s mission and the rest will follow.
  3. Don’t overestimate or underestimate things – see through them.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

Aug 5, 2017

Amanda Newman. When she was 26 and working as a relator in Liberty, Toronto, she created a website for local deals, events, and news. Soon, other realtors were approaching her about the website, and she realized it had the potential spread all across North America. Today, Park Bench, her company, has grown from a fun little marketing idea to help a struggling realtor, into a multi-million-dollar company with 27 employees and a rapid growth rate.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – DotCom Secrets
  • What CEO do you follow? – Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Favorite online tool? — DocuSign
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7-9
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “To start writing down my goals”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:54 – Amanda was in episode 353 of The Top
  • 02:11 – In 2016, Amanda was doing $80K in MRR
    • 02:16 - $4500 from upfront payment
    • 02:25 – They build neighborhood focused website for real estate agents
  • 03:07 – Amanda had 215 customers in 2016 with $880K revenue in 2015
    • 03:15 – Each customer is paying $350 a month with a total of $70K MRR
    • 03:20 – 5% churn, CAC of $400 and LTV of 20 months
    • 03:26 - $7000 LTV with 8 people in the team
    • 03:31- Founded in 2014
  • 03:38 - Park Bench builds neighborhood websites
    • 03:40 – They have the technology that aggregates local content
    • 03:46 – They sell the exclusive rights to the neighborhood sites which are run by 1 real estate agent per neighborhood
    • 03:53 - Park Bench provides training and guidance on how to use the website and leverage it
    • 04:05 – “They become a conductor of their community”
  • 04:18 - Park Bench currently over 1000 customers
  • 04:46 – They invested a lot on Facebook advertising
  • 05:00 - Park Bench gets 60-100 realtor inquiries who want to be the digital mayor of their neighborhood
  • 05:10 - Park Bench has 3000 sq. ft. office with 30 employees
  • 05:16 – In May, Park Bench hit $628K in revenue which is their biggest month by far
    • 05:38 – It’s the total revenue
  • 05:38 – Last month, Park Bench sold to 150 realtors who have paid upfront of $4500-5000
  • 05:57 – Churn is now 2.75% with 65-70% renewal rate
    • 07:18 - $628K May revenue divided by $5000 to get 126 customers
    • 07:38 – 75 existing customers and 50 new customers
  • 09:00 – CAC is $676 and LTV is around $13K or 3 years
  • 09:51 – Currently, Amanda isn’t sure where to spend their money so they’re investing more on Facebook ads
    • 09:58 – They track the leads they get daily
    • 10:16 – The Facebook algorithm is making it more expensive now to get new customers
    • 10:25 – They invest more on content and wanted to drive more organic traffic
    • 10:40 – They spend $6500 on ads monthly
  • 11:02 – “We’re just growing our business”
  • 11:23 – On personal wealth creation, Amanda only thinks of being happy
    • 11:37 – “I don’t have to raise money, I don’t have to sell the company”
    • 11:40 – Amanda loves her team and enjoys being a part of it
  • 12:15 – Gross margin is over 90%
  • 12:45 – The investment deal should be strategic and can be from, like Keller Williams, for Amanda to accept it
    • 13:00 – Amanda wants to access to more real estate agents
  • 13:41 - Park Bench has country managers who work with clients whenever they need to
  • 13:54 - Park Bench is starting to offer realtors other things they need like in marketing
    • 14:02 - Park Bench knows lead generation too
  • 14:30 – Amanda’s parents sold their company to invest in real estate
  • 14:50 – Amanda is still thinking if she will invest in real estate too
  • 15:04 – “At this point, our best return is to invest in ourselves”
  • 15:27 – Amanda’s dad has a foundation and is currently in Kenya
  • 18:02 – The Famous Five
  • 20:46 – $1.9M 2016 revenue
  • 20:53 – 2017 target revenue is $6.3M and currently on track

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Have a reliable support system that will make your customers be stickier.
  2. With Facebook’s ever changing algorithms, it’s better to invest more on creating great content to drive more organic traffic and leads.
  3. Write down your goals so you can keep track of them.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

Aug 4, 2017

Todd Johnson, a serial healthcare information technology entrepreneur committed to building great products, teams and companies. Todd has a track record of cultivating great ideas and great business that offer incredible company cultures and attention-grabbing brands. Before his current company, HealthLoop, Todd was the founder and CEO of Salar, a Baltimore, MD-based provider of acute care physician charge capture and documentation solutions. 

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The E-Myth Revisited
  • What CEO do you follow? – Donald Trump and Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Gmail, Boomerang and Inbox
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Todd wished he could have took things less seriously

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:59 – Everyone needs healthcare at some point in their life
  • 02:30 – Salar was able to replace paper processes at hospitals
    • 03:08 – Salar was sold to the country’s second largest medical transcription company
    • 03:16 – It was a $15M exit
  • 03:40 – Todd lives in Silicon Valley
    • 03:57 – Todd has a couple of reasons why he chose to rent rather than to buy a property
  • 04:37 – HealthLoop was initiated in 2009 and was an idea for over a year
  • 04:51 – Todd joined HealthLoop in 2013
  • 04:49 – The founder is a doctor from San Francisco
    • 05:50 – He’s still part of the board
  • 06:28 – HealthLoop is a platform that automatically pushes notifications before and after a diagnosis or surgery
    • 06:40 – It connects patients and doctors
  • 07:00 – 5 years ago, there’s no model around improving the quality of care
  • 07:38 – Multiple parties benefit from an improvement in health care
  • 08:28 – In order to retain the trust of the patients, you have to gain the doctor’s trust as well
  • 08:46 – HealthLoop has an enterprise subscription model
    • 09:03 – Average contract is $120K to $150K that can escalate year over year
    • 09:21 – They pre-pay the cases that they might have in a year
  • 10:28 – HealthLoop’s customers are very targeted
  • 10:35 – The expansion per area depends on how the incentive shakes out
  • 10:50 – HealthLoop is currently working with 70 groups and 20 hospitals
  • 11:13 – HealthLoop has an older subscription model which some of their existing clients have
  • 11:30 – HealthLoop has raised $21M
    • 11:44 – HealthLoop is in an attractive space for competition
    • 12:20 – They have 90% annual retention
  • 12:43 – The institutional mindset
  • 13:08 – Team size is 40
    • 13:18 – 8 are in the sales team
  • 13:53 – HealthLoop’s current enterprise sales cycle is around 6-7 months on a 120 ACV
  • 14:16 – CAC is quite high
    • 14:55 – There are many competing organizations in the market
  • 15:34 – LTV will depend per organization
  • 16:07 – Todd is seeing a 150% growth from last year in terms of ARR
  • 16:38 – There’s so much unpredictability in the space which can be a bad thing
  • 17:31 – Hospitals need to be thoughtful about spending cash
  • 17:49 – HealthLoop will spend more on adapting to a new management
  • 18:17 – HealthLoop’s gross margin is around 70%
  • 20:33 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. There’s not enough consumer tech that is solely dedicated to healthcare.
  2. At least once in our lifetime, we will need healthcare, and the ability to have a quick, back-and-forth communication with your health provider is powerful.
  3. Because of the aging baby boomer population, healthcare is an incredibly attractive space for investors right now.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

Aug 3, 2017

Chau Nguyen. He’s the founder and CEO of Hirewire, an on-demand hiring app for hourly workers. In his previous venture, Chau hired over 20K people only to realize his hiring process was broken—and that’s when he got the idea for Hirewire. To date, Chau has raised $4.1M in funding.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – Elon Musk
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “There is no replacement for hard work”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:14 – Nathan introduces Chau to the show
  • 01:47 – Chau’s previous venture was Campus Special
    • 01:50 – It’s an online platform for college students
    • 02:00 – They had 4K sales representatives meeting merchants
    • 02:11 – Chau had Campus Special for 8.5 years before selling to a public company a few years back
    • 02:28 – Chau was 25 when he launched Campus Special and he’s 36 now
    • 02:47 – Campus Special was doing $15M in revenue when he sold it for $25M
    • 03:45 – The negotiation was just about what the buyers would pay for it
    • 03:55 – It was bittersweet for Chau to sell Campus Special but still proud of it
    • 04:27 – Chau owned 100% of Campus Special
  • 05:00 – Chau stayed on board with the acquirer for a year
  • 05:30 – Chau thought that he can use his past experience in hiring
  • 06:15 – With Hirewire, Chau saw the need to invest heavily on the product and technology, hence the fund raise
    • 06:29 – Initial raised was $2M and the next round was $2M as well
    • 06:36 – Both rounds are convertible note
  • 06:47 – Hirewire is a marketplace where employers and job seekers can connect
    • 06:52 – It is a mobile app to speed up the process
    • 07:00 – There’s chatting with images and videos
    • 07:06 – Next release will be focused on on-demand hiring
    • 07:25 – Hirewire has a monthly subscription for employers and free for applicants
    • 08:10 – Hirewire has a pay as you go model for small businesses
    • 08:20 – The monthly subscription is usually for big companies like McDonalds
    • 08:40 – Hirewire’s core customer based are the recurring customers
    • 08:48 – Hirewire focuses on the restaurant industry which has the highest turnover
    • 09:08 – Hirewire charges per location per month, starting at $50 to $100 depending on usage
  • 09:53 – Hirewire was first launched in Atlanta and was on beta for year
    • 10:00 – They launched with nothing
    • 10:24 – In one year, Hirewire got 4K employers to sign up, over 100K job seekers with around 1K people hired
  • 10:56 – Hirewire has 2 drivers that allowed them to grow quickly
    • 11:00 – First is hitting a pain point
    • 11:44 – Second is doing the application online
  • 12:14 – Hirewire is in 4K locations with 5K hiring managers
    • 12:30 – Some locations can have at least 2 hiring managers
  • 12:40 – Average MRR is a little over 200K
    • 13:06 – Hirewire has been and is still testing pricing
  • 13:31 – Gross customer churn
    • 13:40 – A restaurant’s churn could be 100-200% like losing an entire team
    • 13:56 – Prior to launch, Chau was really afraid of what will happen but still think that they make the hiring process easier and faster
    • 14:19 – Ultimately, people will stay where they’re happy and making money
    • 14:31 – Hirewire is retaining 95% of the employees which makes the churn 5%
  • 14:50 – Team size is around 15 based in Atlanta
  • 15:07 – Hirewire does paid acquisition
    • 15:17 – 50% of the job seekers are from organic traffic
    • 15:23 – Hirewire also uses social media channels to drive users and has spends $10-25K monthly
  • 15:54 – Freightos has a marketplace model plus SaaS
  • 16:38 – Chau’s goal for Hirewire is to be very sticky with high retention on the employer side
  • 17:19 – Hirewire is not making money on the marketplace aspect and just on the SaaS aspect
  • 19:10 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. You can’t stay at where you are forever, change is constant so move on and start anew.
  2. Leverage what you’ve learned in the past to create something that can refine the system.
  3. Always test your product first.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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
Aug 2, 2017

Mathilde Collin. She’s the CEO of Front, a SaaS company working on redesigning email for teams. She started with Y Combinator in the summer of 2014, and today has 20 employees and 1700 customers.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Zero to One
  • What CEO do you follow? – Patrick Collison
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 8 and a half
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “People that are struggling should be super motivated because that’s what everyone go through”

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:04 – Nathan introduces Mathilde to the show
  • 01:33 – Mathilde was in Episode 413 of The Top
    • 01:43 – Back then, they had 1200 customers, $13M raised, around a million in revenue in 2015
    • 01:53 – An average customer pays 200 a month leading to an MRR of $240K
    • 01:58 – Gross churn was 3%
  • 02:10 – Front now has 40 team members
  • 02:13 – “We tripled our revenue”
  • 02:15 – The number of customers didn’t triple because they had bigger companies using Front
  • 02:43 – Current MRR is around $750K
  • 03:02 – Front still has 80% of what they’ve raised last year
    • 03:13 – Total capital raised was $14M
  • 03:45 – Front is burning $250K a month
    • 03:50 – Mostly from head count
  • 04:29 – Churn has always been low
    • 04:35 – Net churn has always been negative which -10% monthly
    • 04:50 – User churn is around 3.5 - 4%
    • 05:04 – MRR churn is low
  • 05:30 – The teams that are paying Front more per month tend to be very sticky
  • 06:10 – Gross margin is 88%
  • 06:22 – Front APP is the easiest way to manage a shared inbox as a team
    • 06:29 – A sample of shared inbox is support@contact or a social media account
    • 06:37 – Front simplifies everything in one place
  • 06:54 – For Front’s growth, they lend it and extend it
    • 07:00 – Net negative churn is coming from existing customers
    • 07:04 – Existing customers have been upgraded to new plans or added teams
    • 07:10 – HubSpot started with 1 team and now they have 13 teams with Front
    • 07:26 – Front now has a marketing team with 3 people
    • 07:35 – Front has now done more advertising and content
    • 07:41 – The most effective for Front is AdWords
  • 07:52 – Monthly CAC is around $15K
    • 08:03 – Front tracks sales qualified leads
    • 08:26 – It takes 7 trials to get 1 new paying customer
  • 08:38 – After the trial, the customer will be categorized as an enterprise or SMB and mid-market companies
    • 08:50 – The goal is for the sales people to get the trial set up
    • 09:02 – The sales cycle is 3 weeks
    • 09:20 – 95% of the customer is going through 3 weeks than the offered 2 weeks
  • 09:26 – People are using Front than Slack because Slack is usually for before synchronous communication
    • 09:34 – Front is for a synchronous communication
    • 09:40 – A synchronous is every communication that is done externally should have an upfront
    • 09:49 – Slack messages can also be distracting with the team
  • 10:13 – Front competes more with Intercom than with Slack
  • 10:25 – Intercom is usually better for customer communication while Front is for general communication
  • 10:43 – Front is an email client
  • 11:40 – Customers are buying Front to replace email
  • 12:12 – Mathilde won’t sell Front now even for $95M
    • 12:25 – “I think I will sell when I’m not as confident as today”
    • 12:37 – Front makes Mathilde happy
  • 13:04 – Mathilde is now 28
  • 13:15 – Front was launched in early 2015
  • 13:29 – Mathilde wanted people to be happy at work so she made Front
  • 15:07 – Mathilde has always been happy and confident that they can do a series B
    • 15:56 - “I do have some inbound”
  • 16:30 – Mathilde was part of an article in Entrepreneur.com
  • 19:10 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. Growth can be measured by several different metrics—the important thing isn’t the metric, it’s the important thing is consistency.
  2. Stay with what makes you and other people happy.
  3. People love reliability—if you can deliver that in a product or service you’re on to something.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

Aug 1, 2017

Mariano Suarez-Battan. He’s the founder and CEO of MURAL, a digital whiteboard for exploring complex challenges visually. Global 2000 companies like IBM, Intuit, Steelcase, and Autodesk have deployed MURAL at scale to enhance collaboration in their digital workplace. A former startup in residence at IDEO, Mariano also founded Three Melons, a game studio that designed and published online games like Bola, which was acquired by Playdom and Disney in 2010.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Purple Cow
  • What CEO do you follow? – Aaron Lewis
  • Favorite online tool? — LinkedIn
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – To trust in your gut always

 

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 02:12 – Bola has created games for large brands like Lego
  • 02:23 – Back then, the social games industry was moving fast with Zynga, Playfirst and Playdom
    • 02:31 – Mariano thought that, strategically, it made sense to grow bigger with those companies
    • 02:45 – It was also a great decision, financially and professionally
  • 03:00 – Mariano started Bola in Argentina
  • 03:24 – Acquisition price was with stock and equity
    • 04:12 – The cash was $4-5M
    • 04:26 – $600K was the payback for the investors
  • 04:44 – MURAL was a startup in residence in IDEO
    • 05:03 – IDEO brought in Collaborative Fund as a funder for MURAL
    • 05:10 – MURAL’s vision is to make every designer share their design thinking globally
    • 05:36 – IDEO was like an incubator
    • 05:49 – Prior to IDEO, MURAL has raised closed to $1M
    • 05:59 – Collaborative Fund invested money on MURAL while IDEO made MURAL known to big companies like IBM
    • 06:33 – Some of IDEO’s DNA are in MURAL
  • 07:00 – MURAL’s pricing
    • 07:02 – $12 per member per month and billed annually, $16 billed monthly
    • 07:10 – The pricing on the website is for online customers
  • 07:23 – A quarter of their customers are online and the rest are enterprise costumers
  • 07:46 – MURAL is a SaaS business
  • 08:22 – MURAL has over 40K active users monthly
  • 08:58 – MURAL has no free plan but has introduced a free education plan to help kids
  • 11:00 – MRR is around $280K
  • 11:11 – Average ARR
  • 12:06 – Currently, MURAL has raised a total of $2.4M
  • 12:16 – Team size is 35
    • 12:45 – Most are in product development and engineering
    • 12:55 – Office is located in San Francisco
  • 13:30 – Gross monthly churn
  • 14:17 – Some of the customers are entrepreneurs selling to multiple departments
  • 15:23 – MURAL churn on online customers is quite high
  • 15:38 – Average cost per new customer
    • 15:55 – One of MURAL’s new customer is from an event they’ve sponsored
    • 16:04 – The cost of the sponsorship with other expenses was $3K
    • 16:29 – What Mariano does is split up general cost with the number of new customers
  • 16:50 – Gross margin is around 85%
  • 18:45 – The Famous Five

 

3 Key Points:

  1. The investment in your company doesn’t always need to be cash.
  2. Before going into an acquisition or partnership, go on a vacation and think about it with a clear head.
  3. Having different revenue sources leads to different churn sources—focus on where churn is the least.

 

Resources Mentioned:

  • 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
  • GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • 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

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