The SaaS Podcast - SaaS, Startups, Growth Hacking & Entrepreneurship (formerly ConversionAid Podcast)
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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Need help building, launching and growing your SaaS business? Join SaaS Club Plus and get the insights, motivation and support you need to succeed. Learn more about SaaS Club Plus.
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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Need help building, launching and growing your SaaS business? Join SaaS Club Plus and get the insights, motivation and support you need to succeed. Learn more about SaaS Club Plus.

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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Need help building, launching and growing your SaaS business? Join SaaS Club Plus and get the insights, motivation and support you need to succeed. Learn more about SaaS Club Plus.
Direct download: Mike_Muhney_-_MikeMuhney.com.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am PDT