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  • S4E5 – How Involve.me Bootstrapped To 7 Figures in ARR | Lessons Learned With Vlad Gozman

S4E5 – How Involve.me Bootstrapped To 7 Figures in ARR | Lessons Learned With Vlad Gozman

How Involve.me bootstrapped to 7 figures in ARR

How Involve.me Bootstrapped To 7 Figures in ARR ?

In this insightful and engaging podcast episode, Vlad Gozman, the founder of Involve.Me, shares his entrepreneurial journey and valuable lessons learned along the way. 

From starting his first company straight out of university to pivoting and growing Involve.Me into a successful SaaS company, Vlad’s experiences offer a wealth of wisdom for aspiring SaaS founders.

He emphasizes the importance of validation, building a strong team, leveraging AI effectively, and the power of partnerships in scaling a SaaS business. 

Tune in to discover practical advice and inspiring insights from Vlad’s entrepreneurial journey to help you navigate the challenges and opportunities in the SaaS world.

Involve.Me Company History

Involve.Me started in late 2016 with a different product focus, evolving into its current form based on customer feedback and market demand.

Financials. Vlad mentioned that Involve.Me is well into the seven-digit ARR space and elaborated on the company’s funding history, stating they are essentially bootstrapped.

Vlad’s Entrepreneurial Journey

Vlad shared insights into his entrepreneurial journey, driven by a desire to create a different path from his parents’ experiences in communism, leading him to entrepreneurship.

He discussed his goals for InvolveMe, emphasizing a focus on building a long-lasting product that adds value to businesses rather than just financial gains.

Challenges Faced

Vlad highlighted a significant challenge where they had to change 90% of the team at a crucial point in the company’s journey, underscoring the difficulty of such decisions.

How to Avoid Burnout

Vlad shared strategies to avoid burnout, emphasizing the importance of building healthy habits, routines, and knowing when to step back from operational roles when necessary.

Lessons Learned

He reflected on the pivot from VR to Involve.Me, emphasizing the importance of adapting to market feedback and the value of agency work in the early stages.

Growth Strategies

Vlad discussed the shift towards a US-focused market strategy, leveraging no-touch sales and a product-led growth approach to scale the business effectively.

AI Integration

The use of AI in simplifying form creation, personalization, and data analysis within Involve.Me was highlighted as a key factor in enhancing user experience and efficiency.

Advice for SaaS Founders

Key advice included the importance of validation, building the right team, and focusing on niche verticals to drive growth from zero to 10K MRR.

Scaling Strategies

As the company grows towards 10 million ARR, Vlad emphasized the shift from generalists to specialists in the team, building processes, and leveraging partnerships for expansion.

Integration and Partnerships

The focus on integrations with other tools, partnerships, and marketplaces was underscored as crucial for increasing exposure, customer lock-in, and co-marketing opportunities.

Key Timecodes

  • (00:29) Introduction and Background
  • (01:25) Evolution of Involve.Me’s Product
  • (02:58) Mission and Product Description
  • (03:54) Entrepreneurial Journey and Motivation
  • (05:34) Long-Term Goals and Motivation
  • (08:02) Pivoting from VR to Interactive Content
  • (10:51) Overcoming Challenges and Rock Bottom Moments
  • (16:22) Leveraging Reditus for Marketing
  • (22:54) Leveraging AI in Involve.Me
  • (25:51) Advice for SaaS Founders at Different Stages


[00:00:29.920] – Show Intro

My guest today is Vlad Gozman. Vlad founded his first company straight from university, where he helped Romanian companies to get EU funding. After a small exit, he moved to Vienna, where he started an Austrian startup community, which allowed him to mingle with a lot of startups. He co-found We founded multiple startups at Verity, which was VC-backed, StereoSense, where he’s still both a shareholder, and he’s currently only actively involved in the day-to-day of InvolveMe, which is also the main company we’re going to talk about today. So let’s just dive right in. Welcome to the show, Vlad.

[00:01:00.660] – Vlad

Thank you for having me, Joran. Happy to be here.

[00:01:04.010] – Joran

Cool. So let’s talk about Involveme. When did you start the company? Sure.

[00:01:09.390] – Vlad

So we started the company back in late 2016, but the interesting thing about it is it was completely about something else, not what Involveme does today. Involveme as a product evolved out of what we did, and we officially launched it in April 2019.

[00:01:25.810] – Joran

Okay. What is your current ARR?

[00:01:27.610] – Vlad

We’re well into the seven-digit ARR space. Cool.

[00:01:31.260] – Joran

Are you funded Bootstrapped?

[00:01:33.290] – Vlad

We did a befriended angel round in the very early days, but having had some experience with VC back, I would say we’re bootstrapped.

[00:01:43.440] – Joran

Okay, cool. I guess One thing you can say about this experience, what did make you decide to go Bootstrapped this time?

[00:01:50.020] – Vlad

Oh, man, several things. Having on the one side seen the VC track, it has been very much a conscious decision, I I would say, at least for the time being and at least for the first stages of building Involveme. When we set out, I’d have to say I didn’t see it as a binary choice, either VC or either Bootstrap. We just looked at, and we make this happen with our own funding, bring it to a place where it can profitably grow? Prove that. We did it, and options are still on the table for future developments.

[00:02:27.740] – Joran

Nice. How many employees do currently have?

[00:02:30.930] – Vlad

The team is relatively small. We’re 15 people.

[00:02:33.200] – Joran

If you would explain Involveme in one sentence, how would you do so?

[00:02:37.720] – Vlad

At Involveme, we’re on a mission to make it as easy as possible for businesses to involve their customers in meaningful digital interactions. We do that by leveraging no-code and AI to simplify and automate the creation, personalization, and analysis of forms.

[00:02:58.870] – Joran

Nice. Let’s What does that mean to you? It’s a little bit in you as a person. You started your first company just after university. Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?

[00:03:07.380] – Vlad

I think it was not an innate thing. You hear a lot of these stories where people sold the lemonade stand, the proverbian lemonade stand. I was not necessarily that type of person, but I think it evolved due to my upbringing and the fact that the first years of my life, I grew up in communism. My My parents basically spent most of their life in communism. As I developed as a person, I wanted to develop in a contrary direction than the life experience of my parents who were basically always employed and employed by the state during most of their professional career. I wanted to develop in the opposite direction, and that’s what led me to entrepreneurship.

[00:03:54.580] – Joran

Nice. I think you see it a lot in Romania happening right now. Our devs also are from Romania, and they want to take a completely different direction. How old are you? You left university in 2007, you mentioned?

[00:04:05.690] – Vlad

Yeah, so I’m 39.

[00:04:08.220] – Joran

If we look at personal goals, do you have a goal defined, an end goal defined for Involveme?

[00:04:14.660] – Vlad

There are goals for different stages, I would say. A certain revenue milestone has always been a part of the goal and the journey, bringing it to profitability, growing it into a certain scale. If you ask me now, truthfully, if my goal is to build a lifestyle business or to have an exit or to enter the PC track at some point, none of these are real goals that I set out for it, but rather to make it a long-lasting product, I would say. I would love it to be something in its own right category defining. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to do us as to having too much of grandeour. I’m talking about as niche as possible. But yeah, in a nutshell, having it long-lasting would be a goal. Yeah.

[00:05:08.190] – Joran

Is that something which keeps you perfectly motivated?

[00:05:11.230] – Vlad

Yeah, definitely. Definitely, it keeps me motivated. The financial incentives, I think, are not at the forefront of this, but rather the drive to create something that helps businesses in this case and is recognizable, I would say, in its category.

[00:05:34.350] – Joran

Nice. I think that’s the good basis, right? Because in the end, if you want to create a long-lasting product, which is going to change the industry a bit, you’re also going to build a good product with good clients. Revenue will follow. In the end, you will grow it.

[00:05:46.790] – Vlad

Yeah. Having done previous businesses and co-funding some also nonprofit organizations, I think the dream for any endeavor that you have is at some point you would maybe want to step away from it and you want to bring it to a place where it can exist and grow and develop further without you. This would be a dream, probably for a lot of founders that I know and for me as well.

[00:06:14.310] – Joran

Nice. I guess that’s somewhat the end goal. If we go back all the way to the beginning, InvolveMe, you mentioned launch late 2016, but really launched April 2019, after pivot. First of all, how did you came up with the idea, what has involved me right now? Sure.

[00:06:30.670] – Vlad

As I told you in the beginning, we started off with a completely different product. Back in late 2016, we looked at the virtual reality space, which was quite bubbly, I would say, for all intents and purposes. We set out to build an MVP for a content management system for virtual reality applications. In the process to fund ourselves, we started doing agency work in different types of website building, but then it quickly, they’ve diverged into building interactive landing pages, basically for lead capture. Collecting personal information, qualifying leads, and building contacts around that. Out of it, evolved what later became Involved Me. It was an iterative process where we didn’t know we had a product, we had something that financed what we really wanted to do. Then at some point, we realized that After market feedback and after building a very basic product or not even an MVP for the VR space, we started looking around and what better place to look at than something that you already have where you have customers paying for these interactive content pieces and landing pages. At the core of it, it was all the same. It was basically some forms that needed some deep customization and the logic, validation rules, and and the like.

[00:08:02.050] – Vlad

Then we started having more deeper conversations with these customers and then validating the idea of a product, basically. We did that by actually bluntly asking why they don’t use off-the-shelf tools that were available also at that time. We had enough signal, I would say, to validate that there could be a space there for something like involved.

[00:08:31.350] – Joran

It’s interesting because you were building one company, then doing something on the side to actually make the money, and then in the end, you pursued that, you built that into a product. What happened with the VR company?

[00:08:42.750] – Vlad

Basically, the shell of the company used further, but we completely pivoted away. Firstly, just doing the agency work and then completely to SaaS once we launched the Involveme MVP. And followed the money, I would say. It was obvious in hindsight, trying to build something, trying to create a category that didn’t exist, versus just keeping your eyes open and seeing what businesses and customers were willing to pay for and what their problems were, actually.

[00:09:12.610] – Joran

I think this is a really good lesson. Would you also recommend that other SaaS founders to start off from an agency? You see it a lot, where people have a lot of success as an agency, they productize it in one way or another and then become a successful SaaS. Is that something you would recommend?

[00:09:28.770] – Vlad

I’m not sure. It depends on the product, obviously. But from my experience, it is something that allows you to have the foot on the ground really early without building a lot. You have those development customers, if you will, and you can address them and also monetize already a service before you turn it into a product. There is a certain paid validation that happens. I think that’s the big benefit of it. You build niche and industry know-how while doing it. So a lot of benefits.

[00:10:06.310] – Joran

When you look at the early days, when you had those development customers, you were monetizing your service. Did you know it was going to be such a success at that time?

[00:10:16.760] – Vlad

No, definitely not. We’re product people, so we’re happy if we see something, we have ideas, some that might be too early, like the VR CMS. But But when we see a problem, whether it’s a problem that we imagine or a problem that actual customers are referencing, then we were drawn to build a product by me and my co-founders, but we didn’t know. We just wanted to solve it with the best product that we can possibly build ourselves. That’s what we did.

[00:10:51.230] – Joran

Nice. When you look at now seven-figure AR, profitable, I would imagine with the amount of people you have. Yes. All sounds like a success story, but in this road, often you hit rock bottom, either financially, personally. Could you share your moment and how did you get out of it?

[00:11:09.720] – Vlad

Sure. Rock bottom, it’s very hard to pick one rock bottom, especially when looking back at my whole journey so far from 2007 to now, getting close to 20 years of entrepreneurial life. I think a lot of the Sometimes you find yourself on the edge of burnout and you have to find ways to deal with that. I think personally, luckily, I always managed to stay away from it. But flirting with it is always the case. Even Different times, different challenges, obviously. The rock bottom in the story of Involveme is that at some point in our journey, we realized that we had the wrong team and we had to change 90% of the team, and we had to do it at the same time, which was very hard. On the one side, it’s hard on a human level, having seen now so many companies and different team structures and so forth, it never becomes easy. It’s one thing that it’s hard to delegate things to people. It’s also another thing to part ways. I think on the human level, it was extremely hard, and it was also hard from a restructuring point of view. I think that was one of the rock buttons, if you will.

[00:12:38.520] – Joran

I’m going to ask a follow-up question regarding that. But first, the first thing you said at the edge of burnout, managed to stay away from it a couple of times. How? Because there’s a lot of SaaS founders probably listening and they probably have the same feelings or experience the same feelings. How did you manage to stay away from it?

[00:12:58.690] – Vlad

I think building healthy habits is the one thing everybody can do, and these habits can be different for everyone. What I found to be working for me is finding a routine, placing it in a specific time of the day for me so I can more easily turn it into a habit and be strict with it and keep its frequency up. What I do is basically I have a routine for doing a bit of sports, stretching, some weights training, a bit of cardio, and end it off with a meditation session. I tried to do this sequence, I would say, most mornings. The aha moment for me was that I was trying to build it at the end of the day. At some point, I switched to mornings as it’s way more predictable, at least for me. Since doing that a few years ago, it helped me keep up with it and have it in my daily routine. Another Rather rock bottom, I would say, and maybe tied to your question in a previous company, was me realizing that it was getting too much for me health-wise and realizing when to step down from an operative role.

[00:14:16.440] – Vlad

That’s a tough decision. Again, we’re talking about really tough decisions, letting people go, letting yourself go, which basically is what happened. But in hindsight, That’s what I’m looking for. In hindsight, those have been the best decisions for everyone involved. But in the moment, they are inexplicably hard.

[00:14:38.210] – Joran

Yeah, because I can imagine if you’re going to let yourself go, it almost feels like failing, probably, because am I not good enough? Why can’t I do it?

[00:14:47.280] – Vlad

Both seem like failing. In both cases, it was like me failing, me failing myself and my cofounders, me failing the team members. But in hindsight, it was the better decision for everyone involved. Because if the people that are in certain roles are, at that time, at least not the right ones for it, they won’t be happy either in the midst to long term.

[00:15:12.940] – Joran

I think, as you mentioned, it’s the most challenging decision or the most difficult decision to make. Any advice here on how to make it or how to just say, Okay, we need to do this to make it better for everybody?

[00:15:25.970] – Vlad

I think one thing that helped me in these cases is taking a step back from the day to day and just moving into another physical space for, I don’t know, a day or two or even a week, especially if it’s a tough decision that gives you a bit of perspective. It’s not rocket science. Obviously, if you’re in the same space where the decision happens and the repercussions of the decisions are, you are bound to think in a certain way. But if you step a bit outside of it, it just gives you this perspective and just literally go out of the box, probably.

[00:16:06.330] – Commercial Break

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[00:16:22.750] – Joran

These are somewhat personal challenges, right? When you look at now, I guess the seven-figure AR seems It’s not like a success story, but you already had your pivot after, I think, two or three years you mentioned. What have been some other big challenges you had while growing EvolveMe?

[00:16:40.010] – Vlad

Sure. Team was one that I mentioned. A different one is that We started off, even though, as I told you in the beginning, we had a few customers, they were relatively broad in terms of the ICP and industry. There was no industry focus. It was relatively broad. So we built the product more horizontally than in hindsight, I think we should have. Now, at the end of the day, nowadays, we’re in a very good spot. But looking back, it would have been the more safe decision for the early stages to go more vertical, simply. It’s an advice that you can read everywhere, and it holds true. It’s just easier to go vertically and make 100, 1,000 customers love the solution, the product that you’re building, because their needs are very similar. Whereas where you go horizontal, your needs can seem very similar, but then the devil’s in the details, and you’ll find that out. This was the case for us as well. We managed, but the downside of it, we also built a lot of features that shouldn’t have been built, I would say.

[00:17:59.640] – Joran

Yeah, and It’s hard to get rid of those. Let’s talk about the positive parts because you have grown this far. What has been… Sometimes you have this wanting or certain moments you’ve done which made the success to it where you are right now. Are there any of those defining moments that you’ve done something and you can clearly say, If we haven’t done this, we wouldn’t have been here right now?

[00:18:22.970] – Vlad

No, definitely. You asked me about bootstrapping. We made the conscious decision to not go down the VC path. But early on, after we launched, we also realized that we would need a bigger cash infusion. I’m not talking about this befriend danger round. That was a relatively small check. But what we did to avoid going into the VC route but still have a cash infusion, we did a lifetime deal in the very early days, which provided exactly that. So it’s needed capital to cover the the first 12 months of development, which was indeed interesting because, for instance, I haven’t paid myself for the first two years. Now, I came off the back of a previous exit, which allowed me to do that, but then also to build up a team, and there was a certain need of financial infusion. That happened through that. Also, there was initial scale to use of the product and feedback that came with it. There are also some downsides, obviously, because give away the tool to very vocal people and you give it away for free, for forever or for a small check per user. In a lot of cases, you cannot expand in this user base later on.

[00:19:42.980] – Vlad

But then what we, again, the second thing that we did and helped us to get here was that we very quickly looked to go away from this customer base that we know that was the 10 customers, the first ones that were handpicked because they were the agency customers We had a personal rapport and relationship with them and so forth. We made a conscious choice to just focus on the US. We’re based in Vienna, Austria, Europe. We wanted to prove that we can do a product with no touch sales across the pond and focused almost exclusively on the US. Our focus was exclusive on the US. Now, other customers from Europe also came in. With time, we also expanded the market in in Western Europe. But this focus on the US was pivotal for us. Because it wasn’t the US, and we as a small startup with just a few people, it needed to be no touch. We had to build up the systems and demand generation channels to reach customers there and then build a product with a product-led growth, motion and self-serve component to it so it can scale.

[00:20:58.820] – Joran

We’re going to dive into that because I guess to summarize, you started off with the handpicked agency clients, then did the lifetime deal to get more feedback, more users. Then you went purely US-focused with no touch sales. So PLG motion. You mentioned you needed to start the demand generation to get the clients in. But I think a lot of people struggle with go-to-market. So to actually start that demand generation because it sounds nice, right? Hey, we just focus on the US and we’ll just get clients in from there. Just being us in Vienna. How did you do it? How did you be able to manage to do it.

[00:21:31.540] – Vlad

We did something that is maybe counterintuitive or not necessarily something that gets recommended in the beginning. We started with performance. We did Google Ads to try to reach a certain critical mass of users and see if we can convert them on scale. Our product, the main use of it is basically creating an interactive guided flow that you can put on your website and it helps you engage to engage visitors and helps you turn those visitors into qualified leads and funnel them into your marketing automation or sales funnel and so forth. That’s the main use case. You can break that down into the application types because all of these interactions, they can be different things. They can be to some customers, their surveys, to some customers, their quizzes, their product recommenders, their calculators, and the product That had all these facets. We basically broke it down to that because that’s what people search for. Rarely would search for the solution to their problem. They would imagine what the application would be to provide that solution and then search for it. In some cases, they do search, but that doesn’t have volume. But what does have volume are these application types.

[00:22:54.230] – Vlad

We tied that to the way we integrate, and that started to work first with forms, quizzes, and we just expanded different keyword areas and clusters. That was the first thing. Then the second was content. Maybe even more importantly, our product is a bit has a bit of virality in it or what some would call a viral loop. It is freemium, so there is a certain value that you get if you use it free and you can start for free and see if it works and if it scales, it will scale with your needs and with the benefits provided. The viral loop is that the free version, and also the first tier, the first paid tier, they include a certain branding. That branding, a watermark that is on the project that feeds new users into our product, which in turn create projects, in turn would showcase the tool to others and so I think it is a bit counterintuitive to go fully with paid ads, but I think one thing you mentioned, and I think it’s really good to understand, is that you probably, as far as I understand it, correct me if I’m wrong, you had a good product when you actually went to the US and you figured things out, you figured out your PLG motion.

[00:24:17.430] – Joran

So once you start running paid ads, you add a funnel where you can put them in and things would convert. Or am I wrong here?

[00:24:25.180] – Vlad

Yeah, the product was relatively bare bones still, but it checked a few of the the characteristics that we validated with the customers that we handpicked, the first ones. And then in terms of features, it was relatively bare bones. But in terms of the building the funnel and the PLG motion, and the self-serve capability, yes, we had built that and we made sure to have that in place in a working fashion before putting money into ads and funneling traffic because…

[00:24:56.790] – Joran

Yeah, you need to handle the volume. I think it’s really Important to always keep this in mind. If you’re thinking about running paid ads, keep this in mind. We talk about the journey. Is there other certain things you regret it you didn’t do, which you would definitely do in your next venture if that is going to be coming?

[00:25:16.350] – Vlad

I would say that niche vertical focus in the beginning would be something that I would definitely do my next venture whenever, should that ever come. Yeah, that’s the one thing. I think if you dive deep into all the history of the last five to six years, there are tons of smaller things that I could identify, probably. Yeah, nice.

[00:25:40.460] – Joran

How do you currently leverage AI, machine learning, all the new technologies coming up?

[00:25:46.280] – Vlad

When I pitched involved me in the beginning, I mentioned no code and AI, that we leveraged these two trends. When we started it, it was just no code. But I would say roughly two years ago, with the advent of GPT-3, we started tinkering with AI and on the one side, decided to implement it at pivotal touch lines in the product. We fast forward to today, we use AI on the one side to simplify and automate at least part of the creation of forms. You can input your website, you can have a simple prompt, and it would create a form for your use case, your brand assets that you can take, and it would basically save you a few hours of work. Then, of course, you would use still no code and our editor to make the final tweaks. But that already we saw an increase of productivity gains and time efficiency gains for our customers. Then we use AI also within the forms. You can give personalized feedback to each user within the form. Again, while employing AI and also feeding in data from the user and previous answers and other variables, making the personalized user experience really personalized and unique.

[00:27:16.580] – Vlad

Then lastly, we use AI for analysis. You can generate reports with AI, especially if you gather qualitative data, so open-ended questions. Previously, you would need somebody in the team to go through everything, label it so they can make sense out of all the qualitative data. Now, you can just run it through our AI reports, and in a matter of under a minute, you would get a full refledged PDF report, summarizing everything, getting key information, key insights, and giving recommendations. I think it’s just pivotal that the AI is so easy to implement into a product and to retrofit it with AI without having the need or being obligated to invest millions into training your own models. That’s one thing that it made our product definitely better, and we can call it AI-powered. It’s not just a gimmick, but it’s actual gains and benefits for customers. On the other side, and this is also something we started also when Copilot hit, we started implementing in our work routine across teams. Copilot was first the development team, then ChatGPT hit, then we used it in the marketing team. We also have an AI chat bot trained on our data from the product and it’s integrated into the tool that we use, provided by the tool that we use.

[00:28:51.140] – Vlad

They want to make drop names, but it helps with… It’s GPT-4-based and it helps with first-level support. But it’s amazing It’s amazing. It covers at least 60 to 70% of health cases or first-level cases independently, which is something unimaginable just a few years ago.

[00:29:12.710] – Joran

Yeah, I love it. I think one thing you really mentioned as well. It’s not just a gimmick how you use AI. You had it in a simplifying, automating the forms, so really saving time to create them. The personalizations of following up on the forms, and then the analysis where qualitative data, like I guess it struggled to to look into it. I think the key thing here is you really used it to save your users time and to really make it something where they get more out of your tool in less time.

[00:29:42.900] – Vlad

Yeah, exactly. We looked at what the biggest benefit for them was and would be, and that’s where we focused on implementing it.

[00:29:51.470] – Joran

Yeah, nice. If we go a bit more broad, is there anything you would advise other SaaS founders to maybe do or to avoid looking at your own journey?

[00:30:07.530] – Vlad

Obviously, now, just looking back at our conversation over the last minute, there were a few things that maybe I’d like to repeat in the context. On the one side is when you start, take your time and validate. It should be self-understood, but it’s oftentimes not because you fall in love with the idea or the product, and then you move ahead regardless of what the market tells you. But take your time and validate. I think that’s the first. The second, I would say team is everything, and it starts with you. Most likely, you will spend a lot of time, in a lot of cases, more time than with some of your loved ones. You’d better make it in a company of people you enjoy spending time with. That goes from cofounders to extended team. The Those choices are really important, I would say, on that level.

[00:31:04.350] – Joran

Yeah, and this might actually go into the next question. We’re going to add these questions or add these answers to the question I’m going to ask now, because when you look at, I guess, starting out and growing to 10K monthly recurring revenue, you mentioned take your time to validate, team is everything. What other things would you advise on going from zero to 10K monthly recurring revenue, which is often the biggest challenge for at least or first-time SaaS founders?

[00:31:32.360] – Vlad

I think zero to 10. It depends. On the product side, I would say you’d have to be very picky and in the best case scenario, productize a service that really well. On the team side, I would say, having grown now several products from zero to 10, and having grown several products from 10 to 20 plus millionaires, I would say that at different phases, you would need different people. In the very beginning, 0-10, you would need a team, your co-founder team or the first employees that are generalists. You would want people who are hungry and are generalists and they can Switch context and hustle on different fronts, if you will, while later on you would need a bit of a different skillset.

[00:32:40.570] – Joran

Yeah. Let’s assume we pass the 10K Monday with current revenue and we’re going to make a huge step. I know we’re going to go towards 10 million ARR. Can you give some advice to SaaS founders here who pass the 10K MRR going to 10 million ARR?

[00:32:55.380] – Vlad

Once you pass the 10K MRR mark, I’m not sure if it’s a 10K or whatever the mark is, but moving into the seven-figure to eight-figure range or wanting to hit that eight-figure ARR range. I would say this is the place where on the team side, you would go from the generalists to building up teams of specialists. I would still advise to have a few generalists in your team, but to build a foundation for specialists, finding the people who are better than each generalist that you had in the team before at specific tasks. That’s one thing. Then you start building processes, you start going through the motions of really structuring everything. I would say, while 0-10K might be something where, ideally, you would find one channel that works, whether it’s direct sales or it’s Google Ads, or it’s content, or it’s just a viral loop. It’s one thing usually that you find that really works, and that gets you to this first milestone, whatever it is, 10K in this scenario. But on the road from there to the 10 million mark in ARR, I think it’s most of the times an orchestration of channels and measures.

[00:34:24.660] – Vlad

I think one thing that people and companies could leverage more is partnerships on the one-side implementation partners that maybe tie into your product. For instance, we have 50 plus native integrations to CRMs and marketing automation tools and the likes. These are invaluable channels, but a lot of companies don’t use them. Next to all the traditional ones that you would know, SEO, content, performance, and so forth, I think there are also some other paths that you can explore on your journey to 10 millionaire.

[00:35:05.490] – Joran

Yeah, nice. I guess you mentioned partnerships, 50 integrations. If I remember correctly, you said you have 17 people, 15 people? Fifteen, yeah. Fifteen. How do you build them? Did you use a tool or did you build them natively?

[00:35:21.870] – Vlad

Yeah, we built them natively. We have somebody in the team who, most of his time is spent on integrations because they’re so pivotal to us. Involveme works best if it’s part of a bigger stack. It’s part of a bigger stack of tools. It’s integrated in a content management system. It’s on the one side, it’s integrated into sales automation, marketing automation, emailing, and so forth. And these need to be really well done, and we need to have control over them and be able to also expand them when needed. It’s very important for us to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to this. But then that opened up this whole marketing side of things and demand gen and new channels. Because each of these tools, including ourselves, everyone has an iteration of a marketplace where you can get discovered and you get discovered by exactly the right type of users. Then you can do promotions and campaigns together and so forth. There’s tons of things to expand on.

[00:36:36.990] – Joran

Yeah, it was one thing I wanted to say. We’re in the works ourselves, getting ourselves listed in those marketplaces because there’s a clear co marketing effect to it, even though we might not get extra co-marketing from the companies we’re going to get ourselves into. But at least we’re already in that marketplace. If people are searching for it, we can tap into their user base, basically. Cool. Let’s just summarize a little bit. I guess for for people to stay away from burnouts, build up healthy routines in the morning, move away from the day to day when you have to make big hard decisions, start maybe as a service or productise a service. Team is everything. Have people to… You. Have people you know you love working with because it’s going to be a long journey. Start with generatives, have specialists later on, leverage partnerships, integrate with other tools, which is going to increase the lock-in and you get co-marketing opportunities. And I think that’s a bit of a small summary into that. If people I want to know more, Vlad, where can they contact you?

[00:37:33.460] – Vlad

Best place to approach me is probably LinkedIn. That’s where I’m most active.

[00:37:38.250] – Joran

Yeah, and I can relate to that because I contact you on LinkedIn and we got this booked in. Cool. Thank you very much for coming on. What I will do is I will add a link to your LinkedIn, add a link to involve me, make sure that people can find you and your company. And then if you’re listening to this, make sure you add a reply to our poll, add a review to the podcast so we can help other SaaS to grow their SaaS. Thanks again for coming on, Vlad.

[00:38:03.150] – Vlad

It’s been a pleasure, Joran. Thanks for having me on.

[00:38:06.420] – Joran

Cheers. Thank you for watching this show of the Grow Your BDBC SaaS podcast. You made it till the end, so I think we can assume you liked this content. If you did, give us a thumbs up, subscribe to the channel. If you like this content, feel free to reach out if you want to sponsor the show. If you have a specific guest in mind, if you have a specific topic you want us to cover, reach out to me on LinkedIn. More than happy to take a look you want to know more about where it is, feel free to reach out as well. But for now, have a great day and good luck growing your B2B SaaS.

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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