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

Olof Mathe is the co-founder and CEO of MixMax, a productivity tool for Gmail. MixMax lets you track emails, set up meetings, save time with email templates, and schedule emails to be sent later.

You've got a great idea for a SaaS product. But there's just one problem - your target market is dominated by a well funded and highly profitable 800 pound gorilla. How can you possibly compete in that market?

In 2011, Chanpory Rith was a UX designer working at Google. His job was to make the Gmail iOS app better. He proposed adding features like scheduling and email tracking to make Gmail more useful for businesses. But those features just weren't a priority for Gmail's broader user base.

Chanpory loved his job but hated the killer 2-hour commute. Eventually he left Google and joined a local startup. That's where he met two guys who would later become his co-founders. Olof Mathe was a product manager and Brad Vogel was an engineer.

All three considered themselves communication geeks'. They would often talk about how difficult some of their tools were and brainstormed how to make better communication tools. And that's when Chanpory told them about the idea he'd had years ago to make email for work' better.

There was just one BIG problem. The email market was dominated by Gmail. And Google already had a consumer and business version of Gmail. How could they possibly compete with Google?

They realized that the answer wasn't to compete with Google, but to build a product that would make Gmail better. And that's what they set out to do with MixMax.

And their strategy paid off. In 5 years since they launched, they've grown MixMax to over 10,000 customers and generate around $5 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR).


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Direct download: SaaS_-_Olaf_Mathe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:29am PST

Bart Lorang is the co-founder and CEO of FullContact, a SaaS product that helps you manage your contacts and relationships better. It transforms partial contact information into complete profiles and more useful customer data.

Bart came up with the idea for his business when he looked at how well his wife organized her contacts in Outlook. And he started thinking how great it would be if he could build software to enrich his own contacts data.

He and his co-founders developed a simple tool called Rainmaker that would automatically update your Google contacts with data from social networks. They launched it in Google's Marketplace and it didn't take too long to find a few customers.

But then they did what many of us have done - they had another product idea that they were excited about, so they started working on that instead. And for many months, they pretty much ignored Rainmaker other than fixing a bug or two.

After a few months working on that second product, they had another idea for a third product. So they started working on that. Now they basically had 3 products and very little focus on what exactly they were trying to achieve.

And then one day they had a conversation that changed everything. It was when they realized that with all 3 products they were trying to solve the same problem but in different ways - they were taking partial contacts and turning them into full contacts.

And that's when they finally committed to focusing on one product. Today their company generates 7-figures in monthly recurring revenue and has raised over $55 million in funding.

It's a great story and I'm sure you'll get a ton of great insights from this interview.


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Direct download: SaaS_-_Bart_Lorang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am PST

Jason VandeBoom is the founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, an email marketing, marketing automation and sales CRM platform.

Jason was doing consulting work as a developer. He decided to move to Chicago and study fine arts at college. So he started looking for a way to do less consulting work so he had more time for college.

At the time he'd been building email marketing solutions for a number of clients. He decided to package up at work as an email marketing product that he could sell. This was an on-premise product (not SaaS) so clients had to install this software on their own computers.

He continued with the on-premise software model. Growth was slow. After 10 years working on the business, he had a team of 8 people. But he was generating a couple of million dollars in revenue and was profitable.

And then decided to bite the bullet and switch to a SaaS model. He was potentially risking all the revenue he was currently generating. But looking back, he wishes that he'd done it sooner and didn't overthink things so much.

The real growth for ActiveCampaign has happened in the last 2 years -- after 13 years of building the product and company. The company now has over 60,000 customers and generates over $50 million a year in revenue. And it employs over 300 people.

Jason raised $20M in 2016, but bootstrapped and self-funded the business for the first 13 years. And so far, he hasn't used any of the money he raised. And he's a single founder who's built this business slowly.

You've probably heard things like -- you can't succeed unless you find a co-founder or jump into working on your business full-time from day one.

Well in this episode we dispel those myths and show you how a single founder who started his business part-time still won't on to build a SaaS business that generates over $4 million in monthly recurring revenue.

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


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Direct download: Jason-VandeBoom-AC.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:51pm PST

Rick Perreault is the co-founder and CEO of Unbounce, a SaaS product that makes it easier to build custom landing pages, improve conversion rates and drive more leads & sales.

The company was founded in 2009 and went from zero to over $7 million dollars in annual revenue within 5 years. Rick was an early guest on this podcast (on episode 25 back in 2014) where he shared what happened in those 5 years.

Since then, Unbounce has continued to grow and is now a $20 million dollar business.

In this episode we talk about:
* The growth challenges the company has faced in the last 4 years and how they've overcome them to get to over $20 million annual run rate.
* How the marketing channels that helped them grow in the first few years have become less effective and we discuss new marketing channels they're using.
* The lessons Rick has learned as the company grows about communication, transparency, hiring and firing.


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Direct download: Rick-Perreault-Unbounce-2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Allan Dib is a serial entrepreneur, marketer and author of the book The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money and Stand Out from the Crowd.

To build a successful SaaS business, you need to stop doing random marketing' and instead follow a reliable plan for rapid business growth. But creating a marketing plan can often be a difficult and time consuming task for early stage SaaS founders.

Allan wrote the book with direct response marketing in mind. However, in this interview I talk to him about how to take the best of his 1-page marketing plan concept and make it work for SaaS businesses.

So in this episode, you'll learn a simple step-by-step process for creating your own SaaS marketing plan - that's literally one page. Allan starts with the big idea and then walks us through each stage of creating a marketing plan.

And he makes the entire process simple and fast.

So if you've been struggling to create a great marketing plan for your SaaS business or want to go back and refresh your marketing, then this episode is for you.

I hope you enjoy it!


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Direct download: The-1-Page-SaaS-Marketing-Plan-Allan-Dib.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Hampus Jackobsson is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and venture capitalist.

He's currently a venture partner at BlueYard Capital, a VC firm based in Europe and an angel who's invested in over 80 companies.

In 2002, Hampus co-founded TAT a company that developed and licensed mobile user interface software to companies such as Motorola, Samsung and Nokia. TAT was acquired by Blackberry in 2010 for $150 million.

In 2012, Hampus co-founded Brisk, a SaaS product designed to make sales teams more productive. That startup failed and was folded 4 years later in 2016.

In this interview we talk about how Hampus and his co-founders built TAT and sold it 8 years later for $150 million. We also discuss the lessons Hampus learned from the failure of Brisk and what he wishes he'd done differently.

And we talk about life as an angel investor and VC. And Hampus shares what types of companies and founders he likes to invest in.

I really enjoyed my conversation with Hampus and I hope you enjoy listening to this interview.


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Direct download: Hampus_Jakobsson_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Delamon Rego is, the COO of TOMIS Tech, the first AI powered marketing intelligence platform for tour operators. He's also the founder of SaaS Ops Factory and the creator of The Win Rates Bible, an online resource that helps SaaS companies to improve their sales win rates.

When Delamon was working as director of sales for a previous company, he was having a hard time figuring out how to close more sales.

So he decided to take a step back, identify all the reasons why they weren't closing more sales and then come up with a comprehensive list of things they could do to improve sales win rate. And then he started testing all those ideas.

And it worked -- in the space of a year, his close rate increased from 20% to 45%.

He took everything he learned about improving rates and created The Win Rates Bible.

In this episode, I asked Delamon to show us how SaaS companies can generate more leads using email. We talk about how to build an email list, how to clean that list, how to validate contact information, how to qualify leads and how best to do outreach.

There's a ton of information in here, so be ready to take some notes!

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Delamon-Rego-TOMIS-WinRates.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Lindy Ledohowski is the co-founder and CEO of EssayJack, a SaaS product that makes it easier for students to write essays and get better grades. It helps to reduce writing anxiety, procrastination and plagiarism.

Lindy is a former teacher and research professor. Before launching EssayJack she'd never run a company before, let alone a software business. And when she started out, she had zero technical skills - she didn't even know how to register a website domain.

She founded the company with her husband Rueban, who's a law professor. So neither of the founders had a tech or software background.

Yet, they've gone on to build a software product that's now used by over 12,000 students and their business is generating around $500,000 in annual revenue. It's a great story.

In this episode you'll learn:

* How Lindy overcame her lack of technical skills and experience to turn her idea into a product that she could get into the hands of students.
* How the two co-founders used a surprisingly simple approach to growing their business and how it's helped them get to 12,000 active users.
* How Lindy started selling the product before their website could even handle payments and how they've grown to $500,000 a year.

If you've felt like you're being held back or don't have all the skills you need to build and grow SaaS business, then this story might give you a little inspiration.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Lindy-Ledohowski-EssayJack_190.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

Nick Macario is the co-founder and CEO of Dock.io, a service that lets you control your information across the web.

Dock gives you ownership of your data and connects your online accounts using blockchain technology.

In this episode:
* You'll learn how Dock is leveraging blockchain technology to help people take back control of their personal information.
* You'll also learn the simple and repeatable formula that Nick has used to quickly grow Dock and several previous B2C startups to millions of users.
* And you'll hear how one of Nick's previous startup taught him an invaluable lesson on the importance of user and customer retention.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: Nick-Macario-Dockio.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30pm PST

Martin Gontovnikas is the VP of marketing and growth at Auth0. Auth0 is a platform that makes it easier for developers to implement authentication and authorization for web and mobile products.

Martin or Gonto' as he's more commonly known, started coding at the age of 12. He was a software engineer most of his career, but then a few years ago decided to move into a marketing role.

At Auth0 he developed a 6-step engineering approach to marketing. Using that framework, Auth0 has grown from $200,000 a year in revenue to an 8-figure business in less than 5 years.

In this episode, Gonto shares that 6-step engineering framework with me. We discuss each step in detail and walk through a real-life case study from Auth0.

It's a great interview with a ton of really useful insights. If you're looking for a more methodical way to do your marketing, then this episode is for you.

I hope you enjoy it.


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Direct download: 188_Martin_Gontovnikas_-_Auth0.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST