The SaaS Podcast - SaaS, Startups, Growth Hacking & Entrepreneurship

Tukan Das is the co-founder and CEO of LeadSift, a platform that mines publicly available social media data to help B2B businesses generate qualified leads.

LeadSift was founded in 2012 and to date has raised $1.8 million in funding. The company is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.

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This is a story about a couple of 'data nerds' who were playing around with the Twitter and FourSquare APIs one day.

They discovered that there was a lot of social media data about people who were looking to buy something. So they decided to build a product and sell these 'signals' to automotive brands.

It seemed like a winning idea. But they soon realized that it wasn't.

First, they weren't solving a customer problem. They were trying to find a market for a 'cool idea'. And that is never easy to do.

Second, they didn't understand how automotive brands work. Ford isn't going to have a salesperson call you because of your tweet.

After a year of getting no where, they pivoted. They started selling data to help consumer brands run better advertising campaigns.

They started to get customers and revenue. But their product wasn't sticky so revenue was unpredictable and customer churn high.

After two more years they decided to pivot again. But this time they interviewed many customers and kept searching for a real problem.

They didn't write a single line of code until they were confident that they'd found the right problem. And that approach paid off.

Today, they have a business that generates recurring revenue. And they are very close to hitting a million dollars a year.

This is a great story about persistence. And there are some valuable lessons on the importance of understanding your market.


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Direct download: 156-Tukan-Das-LeadSift.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

Randy Rayess is the co-founder of Outgrow, a platform that lets marketers build and launch interactive calculators and viral quizzes that help engage your website visitors and generate more leads.

Outgrow was founded in May 2016 and is based in New York. The company has over 3000 paying customers and has been bootstrapped from day one.

Previously, Randy worked in venture capital, private equity and at startups in financial services, transaction processing and machine learning.

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How do you market and sell a SaaS product that your prospective customers don't even know they need?

These customers aren't searching for your product or any product like it. But if they knew that your product existed, they'd buy it.

This week's episode is a story about two guys who were in that situation. They were running a services business and helping their clients with software projects.

And they kept hearing the same question from their prospective customers i.e. "how much does it cost to build an app?"

It was taking their sales team a lot of time to answer this question. So they built an interactive tool and put it on their website.

Then they started customizing the tool, so their clients could use it on their websites. And that's how a new SaaS business was born.

But marketing the SaaS product beyond their clients proved to be challenging. No one was looking for a solution like this.

So they had to figure out how to reach new customers and help them understand that they needed this product.

There are some great lessons here on customer development. And we explore how to market a product that no one is looking for.

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Direct download: Randy-Reyess-Outgrow2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

Fred Stutzman is the co-founder and CEO of Eighty Percent Solutions, the company which builds the innovative productivity software Freedom.

Freedom helps you to get more focused and improve your productivity by blocking your access to websites and apps.

The product is used by over 450,000 people and its users report gaining an average of 2.5 hours of productive time each day.

Freedom was founded in 2011 and was bootstrapped for the first 4 years. The product has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR and other publications.

Previously, my guest was co-founder of ClaimID.com and a technology researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill and Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a Ph.D. in Information Science and is currently adjunct professor at UNC's School of Information and Library science, where he teaches courses about privacy and social media.

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This is a story about a college student who was wasting too much on Facebook. He realized that he needed a solution to reduce the daily distractions and to help him focus. So he built a simple tool in a couple of hours which did the job.

He also shared the tool with a few people and it just took off from there. A year later with zero marketing, he had over half a million users - just through word of mouth.

When he started getting multiple feature requests a day from users and people offering him money to add features, he knew was onto a great business opportunity. So he took a week to improve the product and setup a website with a PayPal button.

Today his little tool has turned into a business doing over a million dollars a year.

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Direct download: 154-Fred-Stutzman-Freedom.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

David Abrams is the co-founder of Demio, a webinar platform that helps businesses to engage, communicate and build relationships with their prospects and customers.

The company was founded in 2014, but it took them 2 years to develop the beta and launch. And so the product has been in market for about a year. The company is self-funded and based in Tampa, Florida.

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This episode is a story about two guys who decided they were going to build their own webinar software. They spotted a gap in the market and believed their idea could succeed.

But neither of the founders were technical. So they hired a company to build the first version of their product. They spent almost $100,000 and ended up with a buggy and poor quality product which they had to throwaway.

Having learned a very important lesson for $100,000, they decided to start again and this time did a much better job hiring the right developer and being more involved in the design and development of the product.

It took them a long time to get things right. Their product was in beta for 2 years. But in the end, the hard work and patience paid off. Currently, they're generating about $500,000 in annual revenue and are growing fast.

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Direct download: 153-David-Abrams-Demio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PST

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