The SaaS Podcast - SaaS, Startups, Growth Hacking & Entrepreneurship (formerly ConversionAid Podcast)

Calvin Correli is the founder and CEO of Simplero. Simplero is a SaaS platform that makes it easy for topic matter experts to market, sell and deliver their information online. It combines email marketing, invoicing and billing, and digital delivery into one complete package to help you run your entire business.

This is the story of a freelance developer who always wanted to build a product business. He tried and failed several times. So he kept working as a freelancer.

One day, a major client that generated the majority of his income told him that they'd decided to outsource the work he was doing to a company in India.

He and his wife had just bought a new house and had their second child. To say that this was bad timing would be an understatement.

He had a new sense of urgency to make money. But everything he did fell flat.

Out of frustration, he sat down one night and did something that changed the course of his life. It sounds a bit dramatic, but it really was a pivotal moment for him.

And that's when things seemed to start going his way. He built a SaaS product for himself and as word spread, he started letting other people use his product for free.

Eventually he started charging for his product. He spent a lot of money on marketing, but nothing seemed to work. So he focused on building a great product and hoped that the marketing would work itself out through word of mouth.

And that bet paid off. Today his company generates over $2 million a year in recurring revenue.

It's a great story and there are a ton of useful lessons to learn.

I hope you enjoy it.



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Direct download: Calvin-Correli-Simplero-Ep187.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Aytekin Tank is the founder and CEO of Jotform, a SaaS product that helps people to create and publish online forms.

Aytekin used to work as a developer for a media company. And he was continuously building online forms for the editors e.g. surveys, polls, quizzes etc.

He didn't enjoy creating those forms. He thought the work was boring. So he decided to research and find a product that would help him do his job.

The only thing he could find was SurveyMonkey. But he didn't just want to do surveys, he wanted to be able to do a bunch of things with online forms.

So he thought to himself -- if I ever quit my job and start my own business, this could a potential product that I build. And one day, he did quit his job and started building that product.

That was 12 years ago. Today, Jotform has over 4 million users and generates 7-figure in annual revenue.

In this episode, you'll learn:
How Aytekin validated his idea without doing any customer interviews.
How he got this first 500 paying customers without doing any marketing.
How he's bootstrapped a 7-figure and profitable business with no debt.

I think you'll get a ton of insights from this interview.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Aytekin-Tank-Jotform-186.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Christopher Gimmer is the co-founder and CEO of Snappa, a SaaS product that makes it easy to create online graphics in your browser.

Before launching Snappa, Christopher and his co-founder Marc built a student-only dating website. Although they got some early traction, the business quickly failed.

Later they built a website to help people find royalty free images online. They started blogging which helped them get traffic and slowly build an email list.

But it was a pain for them to create images for their blog posts. They sucked at using Photoshop and weren't designers. They wanted a simple tool for the job.

So one day, they emailed their list to find out if they had the same problem. It turns out that a lot of people did. And so they decided to build a tool to solve that problem.

And that's how Snappa was born.

In this episode you'll learn:

* The full story of how they went from a failed startup to launching Snappa.
* Some critical lessons they learned about customer development right.
* A simple but powerful SEO strategy they used to get consistent traffic.
* How they went from zero to over $45,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: SaaS_185_Christoper_Gimmer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and CMO of Terminus, a SaaS platform that enables sales and marketing teams to run account-based marketing (ABM) at scale.

Before co-founding Terminus, Sangram led the marketing team at Pardot through its acquisition by ExactTarget and then Salesforce.

He's also the author of Account Based Marketing for Dummies' and the mastermind behind FlipMyFunnel.com, a community for B2B marketing, sales and customer success professionals.

This is a story about 3 first time founders who set out to build an account based marketing platform. In those days, most people didn't even know what ABM was.

They didn't have much money and realized how difficult it was going to be for them to get the attention of their target customers (B2B marketers).

So they asked themselves a simple question -- How can we stand out?

They did that by building a community first and focusing on educating their prospective customers, not pitching their product.

In this episode you'll learn:
* How a blog post helped them get the attention of their target customers.
* How they organized their first conference and got 300 people to turn up.
* How they turned a small conference into a community of thousands of people.
* How they drove sales by educating, not pitching.
* What they dealt with high customer churn in the early days.

Today, Terminus has raised over $20 million in funding and has almost 200 employees.

There are some great ideas in this interview that you might also be able to use to stand out in your market by focusing on building community and educating prospects.

And you don't need thousands of people - Terminus started with just 300 people.

So I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: SaaS_184_Sangram-Vajre.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Andrea Waltz is the author of the book 'Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No Is How You Get There'.

There's plenty of advice out there on how to get people to say yes. But 'Go for No' recommends just the opposite. And it shows how focusing on increasing your failure rate can accelerate your momentum towards success.

So I invited Andrea to discuss what SaaS founders and entrepreneurs can learn from this.

In this interview, you'll learn:
* About the old and new models for success and failure.
* How you can apply Go for No to help you achieve your business goals.
* What you can do to overcome fear of failure and rejection.
* And how to get past failures quickly and move on.

So if you're currently struggling to get more people on demo calls, or struggling to close more sales or you're having a hard time getting investors to say yes to your pitch, then you might find this episode useful.

Or if you don't currently have any of those specific issues, but feel like you need to build your mental resilience, then you might get some useful insights here.

So I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: SaaS_183_Andrea_Waltz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Oleg Rogynskyy is the founder and CEO for People.ai.

People.ai is a SaaS platform that uses artificial intelligence to helps sales teams to be more effective by automatically capturing all their sales activities and then giving them giving them clear and actionable insights.

People.ai was founded in 2016 and has raised around $7 million in funding.

But back in 2010, Oleg was doing the 9 to 5 at another company, when he had an idea for a startup. He realized there was a need for democratized, cloud-based text analysis. So he left his job to bootstrap a startup called Semantria.

It took Oleg and his co-founder George about 9 months to build the product and to land their first customer. And Oleg spent the majority of those 9 months talking to prospective customers using a consultative selling approach. He focused on two main things -- listening more than he was talking and providing his prospects with real value before even talking about his product.

And that approach paid off. The founders went from zero to $5 million ARR in just over 2.5 years. And then did no inbound marketing. They just focused on doing one thing -- outbound sales really well.

In this episode, you'll hear about Oleg's story and what he did to build both Sementria and People.ai. And you'll learn some awesome tactics and tips on using consultative selling with your own prospective customers.

I hope you enjoy it and get some actionable insights of your own.



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Direct download: SaaS-182-Oleg-Rogynskyy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Andy Baldacci is the host of The Early Stage Founder podcast and a marketer at Groove.

Groove is a simple help desk SaaS product that's used by over 8000 companies. The business was founded in 2011 by Alex Turnbull. Alex bootstrapped the business and had grown it from zero to over $500,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

For 2 years, Alex and his team tried to make content marketing work for them. But they were getting nowhere. And at one point, he seriously considering shutting down their blog for good.

But after taking a step back, he decided to launch new blog. It was about a startup's journey and sharing everything they learned getting to $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue. At that point they were only making a few thousand dollars a month.

It was a unique approach at the time. And it was a big audacious goal. But they worked hard to publish high-quality, in-depth, transparent content every week. And it started to pay off.

And over the last 5 years, that blog has been the biggest driver of growth. It's helped them to go from a few thousand dollars a month to a $5 million business.

But recently, Alex and his team decided to shutdown the blog -- at least for a few months. Growth was slowing down and they realized that what got them here, wouldn't necessarily get them to their next big milestone of $10 million a year.

In this episode, Andy shares the story of how they used the blog to get to $500,000 in MRR, why they shut down the blog and what they're doing to reboot their content marketing efforts.


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Direct download: 181-andy-baldacci-groove.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Mike Hilton is the chief product officer of Accolade, a healthcare technology platform that partners with large, innovative employers to simplify and improve healthcare for employees and their families.

Previously, Mike was the co-founder of Concur, a travel expense and invoice management product. Mike and his two co-founders launched the business in 1993 from an apartment and self-funded it for the first year and. In 2014 (21 years later) they sold that business to SAP for a mind-blowing $8.3 billion.

They started out with a Windows product which they sold for $69. And eventually became a SaaS business in 2001. And in order to build the SaaS business, they had to bet the entire company and risk all the revenue they were generating from their existing on-premise product.

It's clearly not an overnight success story - the founders put 21 years into the business. And it wasn't all smooth sailing either. They became a public company in 1998 and grew to a market cap of $1 billion and a share price of $60. But within a couple of years, their market cap dropped from $1 billion to $8 million and their share price went from $60 to 27 cents!

They were losing money and hemorrhaging employees. And they were written off for dead. But they figured out a way to keep going and eventually turned things around.

It's a fascinating story and Mike is a great guest who shares it all.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: mike-hilton-concur-accolade-180.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:07pm PDT

Mike Taber is the founder of Bluetick.io, a SaaS product that automates the process of sending follow up emails, while keeping it personal.

Mike is also the co-host of Startups for the Rest of Us podcast and he's the co-founder of Microconf, both of which he runs with Rob Walling, the founder of Drip.

His last startup was AuditShark, a software product that helped regulated businesses such as financial companies to ensure IT security compliance.

He tried for several years to get that business off the ground. It was a long painful effort trying to make it work, but in the end, the business failed.

Mike believes that it wasn't a product market fit issue, but a product founder fit issue. In other words, the business wasn't a good fit for him as a founder.

For example, selling to enterprise customers typically involves outbound sales. Mike wasn't comfortable doing that and probably wasted a lot of time trying to acquire customers in different ways such as inbound marketing, that just didn't work as well.

In this episode, we talk about the lessons he learned from the failure of AuditShark. And how he's making sure that he doesn't make the same mistakes with Bluetick.

I enjoyed chatting with Mike and I think you'll enjoy this episode especially if you're also in the early stages of building your SaaS business.


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Direct download: mike-taber-bluetick-179.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am PDT

Elizabeth Yin is the co-founder and general partner at Hustle Fund - the seed fund for hilariously early hustlers. She's also the co-founder of Hustle Con, a conference for non technical startup entrepreneurs.

Previously, Elizabeth founded LaunchBit, which was acquired in 2014. She was also a partner at 500 Startups where she led the accelerator program.

In this interview we cover SaaS fundraising 101 for early stage startups. So if you are thinking of fundraising but don't know where to start, this episode will help you figure that out.

We talk about the fundraising landscape in 2018 and the differences between pre-seed, seed and post-seed stages. Elizabeth shares some awesome advice on how to approach investors, how to set up meetings, the do's and don'ts of pitching to an investor, how to think about valuation of your startup and a lot more.

It's an awesome episode, jam packed with actionable insights. I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: 178-Elizabeth-Yin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Mikita Mikado is the co-founder and CEO of PandaDoc, a SaaS product that lets you create, deliver, and manage your team's quotes, proposals, contracts, and other sales collateral.

Before launching PandaDoc, Mikita and his co-founder Serge were running another business together in Belarus. They had to send out a lot of sales proposals and contracts.

It was tedious and time consuming for them to create and track all these documents. And after investing hours into putting a document together, they had no idea if their prospective customer had even looked at it.

So eventually, they decided to solve this problem, not just for themselves but also for other people running similar businesses. They built a SaaS product called QuoteRoller and launched it in 2011. The product helped to create and track sales proposals.

They got lucky when they launched and got some initial traction. But soon they realized that they hadn't quite built the product the right way and that they were spending too much time arguing with each other about features, instead of talking to their customers. That was the wake up call for them.

A couple of years later, they built and launched PandaDoc and took it from zero to over 10,000 customers. So in this episode, we talk about the lessons and mistakes they made in the early days. And we dive into the growth strategies that have helped them to grow into a $10 million plus business.

You'll also hear a great story on how Mikita's sense of humor helped them to find an investor in the most unexpected way.

I hope you enjoy the interview.


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Direct download: 177-Mikita-Mikado-PandaDoc.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Oleg Campbell is the founder and CEO of Reply.io, a SaaS platform that puts your email outreach on autopilot while keeping it personal.

Oleg is a developer who grew his previous startup from zero to $150,000 a year. But sales flatlined after that and he couldn't figure out how to keep growing.

He believed that his lack of sales experience was a major factor. So he took a part time sales job where he basically worked for nothing - just commission.

And in the 6 months that he worked there, he didn't make a single sale. But he learned a lot about sales. And that experience helped him come up with the idea for Reply.

So he moved back to Ukraine, where he was able to cut his living expenses. That allowed him to hire a developer who could work with him on Reply.

And this is when his new found sales experience really helped him. Not only was he able to close more sales, but he was also able to understand his target customers (who were mainly sales people) much better.

In 4 years, he's gone from zero to $180,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

We talk about how he acquired his first customers and what he did to grow the business. And we discuss how he's grown a business doing over $2 million a year.

It's a great story with some great lessons. I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: 176-Oleg-Campbell-Reply.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Max Armbruster is the founder and CEO of TalkPush, a SaaS recruitment platform that leverages the power of messaging and social media to help businesses that need to hire large numbers of employees.

Max used to interview hundreds of candidates on the phone every year. It took up a lot of his time and at the end of each day he felt drained. He desperately wanted to use technology to make hiring more productive, but he couldn't find anything that didn't create unnecessary barriers between him and the candidate. So he kept calling.

In 2014, he released the first prototype of TalkPush and sold it to a small call center. The product would call candidates and use an interactive voice response service to ask them screening questions.

One day during lunch with his team, someone mentioned that Facebook had launched a platform that enabled you to build and integrate chatbots with Facebook Messenger. Max hadn't heard about this before, but immediately he knew that this was what they needed. So before they finished lunch, Max had already told his team that they needed to stop what they were doing and start focusing on building a chatbot.

From its humble beginnings in 2014, Max has grown TalkPush into a business that's doing over $100,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

We talk about how he took a pain that he was personally experiencing and turned it into a business. And we have a great discussion on the ups and downs of building a million dollar SaaS business and the lessons he's learned along the way.

I hope you enjoy the interview.


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Direct download: 175-Max-Armbruster-Talkpush.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Sri Ganesan is the Director of FreshChat, a modern messaging software product that helps businesses to have marketing, sales and support conversations with customers.

FreshChat started out as Konotor, a startup which Sri founded with a couple of friends. The founders originally set out to build a Whatsapp competitor. But realized that building a platform like that required a lot of capital. So they pivoted and focused on a mobile user engagement platform for 2-way messaging inside your app.

Eventually that product was acquired by FreshDesk and became FreshChat.

In this interview you're going to hear that story and discover some interesting lessons.

Firstly, Sri wasn't happy about how the sales guy on his team was pitching the product to customers. Sri felt that the sales guy was under selling the product by pitching just one basic feature instead of communicating the full value of the product. But in hindsight that turned out to be a smart decision by sales guy and Sri shares what he learned from that experience.

Another great lesson Sri shares is how many customers kept asking them for a feature, but the founders didn't agree. They had a strong vision for their product and felt that this particular feature would move them away from that vision. So they never built it. But years later, after they were acquired, they did add that feature to their product which resulted in significant revenue growth. We talk about what that feature was and the lesson that Sri learned.

It's a great an interview. I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: 174-Sri-Ganesan-Freshchat.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Kyle Racki is the co-founder and CEO of Proposify, a SaaS product that helps you create proposal documents, collaborate with your team and streamline your sales process so you can close deals faster.

The company was founded in 2014 and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Kyle and his co-founder Kevin came up with the idea for Proposify when they were running a design agency. But they didn't do anything with that idea for several years.

Eventually they decided that they wanted to get out of the agency business and went back to their idea. They built a prototype and got a lot of positive feedback.

But when they launched, the results were disappointing. They got to around $800 a month in MRR and flatlined there for almost a year and a half. Today, their business generates over $4.5 million in annual recurring revenue.

We talk about what kept them going when they were only making $800 MRR. And we deep dive into specific things they did that led to their hockey stick growth.


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Direct download: Kyle_Racki_Proposify.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:53am PDT

Hannah Chaplin is the co-founder and CEO of Receptive.io, a platform that helps SaaS companies to identify the highest impact things that their team should be working on right now.

The platform helps to gather feature requests and feedback from customers, internal customers and the market and turn that data into clear and actionable insights.

Receptive.io was founded in 2015 and is based in Sheffield, England.

The founders came with the idea for Receptive when they were running another business and struggling to manage feature requests and feedback from customers.

After building an MVP, they joined an accelerator in England and spent about 5 months just doing customer interviews. They learned that they were focusing on the wrong customers and needed to think bigger.

But once they'd built the product, they also had a hard time selling to these big customers because they didn't lack sales experience and know how.

In this episode, we talk about how they overcame those challenges, what they did to grow the business and what they've learned from making many mistakes along the way.

It's a great interview. I really enjoyed chatting with Hannah and I hope you'll enjoy this interview too.


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Direct download: SaaS_172_-_Hannah_Chaplin_-_Receptive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Kelsey Recht the founder and CEO of VenueBook, a booking platform that connects event planners with venue managers. VenueBook helps venues to manage their leads and bookings, and market their space. And it helps event planners to easily find and book the right venue for their event.

VenueBook was founded in 2010 and is based in New York. The company has raised over $9 million in funding.
Kelsey is a first time entrepreneur who came up with the idea for this business after experiencing the pain of finding venues and booking events herself. And one of the smart things that she did in the early days wasn't to start building a software product right away, but going and talking to prospective customers and talking about their pains. In fact that's how she found her first few customers and her first developer.

We also talk about raising money. Although, Kelsey's raised over $9 million, it hasn't been as easy as it may sound. She started with a small family and friends round to get the business started, but raising a seed round was seriously hard work. In fact, she had to go out and talk to over 100 investors before she was able to get her seed round. So we talk about the lessons she's learned there, as a SaaS entrepreneur, as a first time founder and as a female entrepreneur.

So I hope you enjoy the interview...


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Direct download: SaaS_-_Kelsey_Recht_-_Venuebook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Mike Carson is the founder of Park.io, a service which helps you to backorder expiring domain names.

Mike is a developer who for many years struggled to find business success. He was working hard on multiple projects. But none of them were working out.

And it was a painful time for him. He couldn't understand why he kept failing. And he'd often wonder if he wasn't working hard enough or just doing thing the wrong way.

One day he just decided to let go of all that frustration and work on a project that he was curious and passionate about. He wasn't even thinking of it as a business.

And ironically, that project turned into Park.io.

Mike is currently doing over a million dollars a year in revenue. And he's a one person company. He has no employees and continues to run the business by himself.

Mike says that he just got lucky with Park.io. And there's some truth to that. We all need some luck from time to time with our business.

But I don't think it was all just down to luck. And in this interview, I deep-dive into what exactly he did to build that business, how he's dealt with major problems and competitors and how exactly he's able to run a one-person million dollar company.

It's a great an interview with a ton of valuable insights and lessons.

So I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Mike_Carson_-_ParkIo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Mike Muhney is the founder and CEO of VIP Orbit, a software company focused on building great contact management products.

He launched their flagship product VIP Orbit in 2010 and they raised $6.5 million. Recently Mike had to shut down the business because he ran out of money and wasn't getting the traction that he'd hoped for.

So in this episode, he joins me to talk about the lessons that he's learned from a failed startup. We have a very open and candid conversation about what he thinks led to that failure. We explore the different factors, why he got into that situation, what are some of the lessons he's learned from that, and what he'd do differently now.

He was in a similar situation in the 1980s when he co-founded a startup which eventually failed. He'd raised $100,000 from an angel investor. He ended up with $15,000 of that money left and needed to give the money back or come up with another idea.

And they did come up with another idea which was ACT! Contact Management Software, which they went onto sell for $47 million.

So Mike is a seasoned and experienced entrepreneur who's seen the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. And in this episode, he's willing to talk about the tough parts of being an entrepreneur.

If you listen to this podcast, you'll know that the majority of times we're talking about people's successes. And I try to get as much as I can out of them about what didn't go well, what failed and what they learned from that.

But this episode is different because the entire interview is about failure. A whole business that failed and what lessons were learned from that.

So I hope you find it useful. I certainly did. Mike's a great guy and there are a lot of useful lessons here.


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Direct download: Mike_Muhney_-_MikeMuhney.com.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Jon Ferrara is the founder and CEO of Nimble CRM. Jon is a serial entrepreneur, who started his first company in 1989 with just $5000 and went on to sell it for $125 million.

Around 2001, a year after selling this startup, he was diagnosed with tumor in his head. Life and his priorities quickly changed for him.

Thankfully he made a full recovery and went on to launch another startup in 2009. He set out to build a social sales and marketing CRM product in very crowded market.

He had the vision of creating a product that you would live in for your email, social media and other communication. But that plan didn't work out, so he had to pivot.

He also built great integration with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. But after a while LinkedIn cut off their API access and Facebook severely restricted theirs. So he had to do a mini-pivot again.

In other words, even though he had a very successful exit with his first startup, it hasn't made it any easier for him to build his second company. And he's faced a lot of challenges, like any of us would face or are dealing with right now.

But he's kept going. And recently after years of trying, has built a partnership with Microsoft which could be massive for his business in the next couple of years.

He was one of the very first guests on this show in 2014. And I'm delighted to have had him back and given me the chance to catch up on the ups/downs of his business over the last 3 years.


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Direct download: Jon_Ferrara_-_Nimble.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Krish Subramanian the co-founder and CEO of Chargebee, a platform that automates subscription management and billing for SaaS and e-commerce businesses.

Chargebee was founded in 2011 and is based in Chennai, India. To date, the founders have raised $6 million in funding but bootstrapped the business for the first year and a half.

We talk about the challenges faced by SaaS businesses in managing subscriptions and recurring billing scenarios. And we explore how Chargebee is solving those problems and helping SaaS businesses to reduce customer churn.

The founders knew that they wanted together, but it took them 10 years to save enough money and have the courage to finally take the leap and quit their jobs.

And then it took them over a year to launch their MVP because they tried to build too many features. We talk about the lessons they learned from this experience and how they'd do things differently now.

We also explore what it's like to build a SaaS business in India. You don't have the benefits of being in Silicon Valley and you're trying to convince SaaS and e-commerce businesses around the world to manage their revenue with your platform. And they faced a lot of resistance and challenges along the way.

We talk about how they overcame those challenges and what they've done to get over 6000 companies around using their platform.


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Direct download: Krish_Subramanian_-_Chargebee.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:02am PDT

Nathan Kontny is the CEO of Highrise, the SaaS CRM app that was originally developed by the 37Signals team, the makers of Basecamp.

Nathan is the co-founder of two YC companies - Inkling and Cityposh. One of them is still in business. The other one failed and had to be shutdown. We talk about the lessons he learned from both those experiences and what he'd do differently now.

Nathan is also the creator of the online writing app Draft. He built that product and business as a solo founder. And he used blogging as a way to build an audience and get customers. That's a lot to do for any founder. And we have a great discussion on how he managed to keep so many plates spinning and get things done without going crazy.

A few years ago, Nathan became the CEO of Highrise. We talk about how he met Jason Fried, the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp and how that led to a job offer. And we discuss the big challenges he's facing in turning things around at Highrise.

Nathan is an experienced serial entrepreneur. He's very transparent and shares a ton of valuable insights and advice with me. And is a great guy who I've really enjoyed getting to know better. I think you'll enjoy this interview and get a ton of value from it.


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Direct download: Nathan_Kontny_-_Draft_Highrise.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Luke Swanek is the co-founder of GrowSumo, a marketplace that connects B2B SaaS companies with resellers. The GrowSumo platform provides its customers with the tools they need to build and scale reseller programs. And it enables the resellers to earn revenue from selling those products.

GrowSumo is a YC backed startup. But the founders had to apply three times before they were finally accepted into YC. So that alone, is a great lesson in being persistent.

One of the biggest challenges for building a marketplace is that you've got a chicken and egg' situation. You don't have buyers and you don't have sellers when you start. And it can be hard to get the flywheel spinning and build a marketplace that actually works.

So we talk about how they built that marketplace and how they landed customers like Evernote. And we explore some of the tough lessons the founders have learned along the way such as what happens when your product is not ready for a big customer or how you can lose customers when you try to build a scalable product too soon.

I hope you enjoy this interview.


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Direct download: Luke_Swankek_-_GrowSumo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a SaaS platform that makes it easier for businesses to create online quizzes. You can create a quiz to engage with your online audience or generate new sales leads.

I originally interviewed Josh a couple of years ago, where we discussed how he and his co-founders bootstrapped their company from zero to $15,000 in monthly recurring revenue in under 10 months. And they did that with zero outbound sales. It was all through content marketing. You can listen to the original interview on episodes 57 & 58.

Since then, the co-founders have grown the business to over $40,000 in monthly recurring revenue. That's almost half a million dollars a year. So it seemed like a great time to invite him back and find out what they've been doing to keep growing.

And the interesting thing is that the content marketing that worked so well for them when I interviewed Josh last time, dried up. And they had to find another way to generate traffic because content marketing just wasn't working for them anymore.

I hope you enjoy this interview.



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Direct download: 164-Josh-Haynam-Interact2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Dan Faggella is the founder and CEO of TechEmergence, an artificial intelligence market research firm. TechEmergence helps companies to gain insights on the application and implications of AI and machine learning technologies.

Prior to launching TechEmergence, Dan founded Science of Skill, an ecommerce business which he grew from zero to over $2 million in annual revenue in 4 years. He went on to sell that business for 7-figures.

Dan is a very interesting guy. He's actually a former martial artist and MMA fighter who has been training other fighters. And Science of Skill initially started as a blog where we could teach more people.

So what does this have to do with SaaS?

Firstly, there are some valuable lessons that Dan shares on how he built a recurring revenue business. Those lessons will be useful for anyone focused on SaaS recurring revenue.

Secondly, he talks about how he generated traffic for Science of Skill and a systematic approach he took to convert as many leads as possible into customers. So if you're struggling to find customers, you might get some useful tips.

And thirdly, I think it's crucial that he think outside of the box and learn from people in different industries and types of businesses. I think that's how we can find more creative solutions to problems in our own space.

So I hope you enjoy the interview.

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Direct download: Dan_Faggella_-_Tech_Emergence.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:53am PDT

Erik Christiansen is the co-founder and CEO of Justuno, a SaaS conversion optimization platform which helps businesses to build their email list, drive more sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment.

The company was founded in 2010, has been self-funded since launch and is profitable. Justuno is based in San Francisco and Austin, Texas.

Prior to launching Justuno, Erik worked at SierraSnowboard.com where he managed the growth of sales from $0 at launch to $24 million.

In 2010, Erik and his co-founder Travis built a widget to make it easier for ecommerce businesses to use coupons on their sites. It was a simple widget that took less than a month to build. And they were able to get some ecommerce sites to be early adopters.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing from there. The co-founders were actually working on 3 companies at the same time. They didn't know which business idea would work, so they were trying to hedge their bets.

We'll talk about how Erik and Travis had their aha' moment, which led to them finally going all in' with Justuno. And you'll learn how they've built a profitable SaaS business doing over 2 million dollars a year, with a zero marketing budget.


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Direct download: Erik_Christiansen_-_Justuno.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Jim Brown is a sales coach, founder of Sales Tuners and the host of the Sales Tuners podcast. He's spent the last 10 years helping lead two companies from $1M to more than $10M in annual revenue. And has a founder he took another company from $1M in funding to zero.

Today, he coaches tech companies and salespeople through his Skeptical Selling Method. And on his weekly podcast, he talks with great sales leaders and high performing individual salespeople about the behaviors, attitudes ,and techniques that have lead to their success.

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This interview is a story about a sales guy who spent 10 years helping to lead two companies to over $10M in annual revenue. Then as founder, he took another company from $1M in funding to zero. Yup, you heard that right.

He shares with me some important but tough lessons he learned from that experience. And we talk about how losing other people's money was one of the hardest challenges that he has faced in his career.

There are a lot of stories about how a founder went from zero to a multi-million business. And those stories are great because we can learn from those entrepreneurs and their successes.

But it's equally important to learn from business failures. And I'm fortunate enough to have a guest today, who's willing to sharing it all.

My guest also shares his sales expertise and takes me through a simple but powerful 4 step process to help you achieve the sales goals for your SaaS business this year.

We do a deep-dive into that process so you might want to be ready to take some notes.



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Direct download: Jim_Brown_-_Sales_Tuners.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Steve Benson is the co-founder and CEO of Badger Maps, a sales routing software that helps salespeople be more successful.

The product enables sales reps to map their CRM customer data, integrate with their calendar, plan routes and find nearby leads. Badger Maps is a SaaS product and mobile app.

Badger Maps was founded in 2012. The company is based in San Francisco and to date has raised just about $1M in funding.

Prior to founding Badger Maps, Steve worked in sales for companies like IBM, Autonomy and Google. In 2009, he was named Google Enterprise's Top Performing Salesperson in the World.

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This episode is a story about a sales guy who had an idea for a SaaS startup. He realized that there was a lot of time being wasted as sales people drive from one customer's location to another. And he figured he could make them more efficient.

So he started with a really simple idea -- take all those customers that a salesperson has to see each day and map them as points on Google Maps.

That simple idea has grown into a SaaS business with over 6000 customers today.

In this episode we talk about how he came up with the idea, what he did to build his business and some sales lessons that have helped him grow his business.


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Direct download: Steve_Benson_-_Badger_Maps.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT

Nick Francis is the co-founder and CEO of Help Scout, a simple help desk product designed for small and medium sized businesses. Help Scout was founded in April 2011 and now powers over 8,000 support teams in over 140 countries.

Its customers include companies such as Basecamp, Trello and Grubhub. Help Scout has raised just under $13 million in funding. The company has offices in Boston & Boulder, but most of its employees work remotely in 40 cities across the world.

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This is a story about a three guys who started a small consulting company in 2006. They were building websites for their clients. And on the side, they were building small products for fun.

One of these products, a tool to manage your RSS feeds, got a little traction. It grew to over 200,000 users, but it was free and made no money. But it did generate a lot of support and feature requests.

And the founders realized that trying to use a shared Gmail inbox for support didn't work too well. They needed a helpdesk solution. But they couldn't find exactly what they were looking for.

And this wasn't an overnight thing. My guest spent about 2 years on this problem. He spent time thinking about the ideal solution. And he also tried out a number different support tools during that time.

My guest realized that he wanted a helpdesk that didn't feel like a helpdesk. He wanted people to be able to send an email and get a reply, without the need for a support portal, ticket numbers etc.

And that's how the idea for their business was born.

Today, they have a multi-million dollar business. They have over 8000 business customers in 140 countries. And they've raised $13 million in VC funding to date.

But for the first 4 years of their business, they survived on a seed round of a few hundred thousand dollars. They put a lot of focus into becoming self-funded and building an efficient business. And when they did raise money, it was the 'rocket fuel' they needed to help them grow faster.

There are a lot of great lessons here. I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Nick_Francis_-_HelpScout.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT