— In this post I’ll cover:
— What it is like to live and work in Siberia;
— 15 SaaS startup journeys to follow;
— Websites where to benchmark your metrics;
. . .
Update: read our latest story how we built and grew our Slack bot from zero to profitability: Slack Bot Business Tutorial: From Zero to $25,000/mo.
. . .
We’re based in Siberia. Yes, people live and work here. Sadly a startup ecosystem is missing. Yet, we believe there is nothing impossible.
In our snowy little town, we don’t have a chance to discuss churn reduction over a beer with fellow founders.
We’re optimists — there are tons of learning materials out there. In the next post, I will share resources we use to learn how to build a SaaS startup from anywhere in the world.
But today let’s talk about stories.
Stories with real examples are so useful and engaging. You can explore team’s actions and see what works and what doesn’t. But, only few startup journey stories are available online.
The value that you get from looking at another business’ growth strategies and tactics can be tremendous.
— Alex Turnbull, Groove.
We learn a lot by following transparent companies and reading their blogs. In this post, I’ll feature 15 such companies. Also, I included websites to benchmark your metrics at the end of the post.
By the way, we decided to share our story and start blogging about our startup journey. We’ll be covering our actions being transparent about our metrics, ups, and downs.
The first post to come: From Startup Idea to a Successful Beta — the Story of 3 Pivots. Subscribe to our email list and follow our story:
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15 SaaS Startup Journeys to Follow
I researched hundreds of blogs and startups. And you know, very few of them talk about their actual steps and results.
It’s the opportunity for others and the flaw for the ones who don’t do that.
I think it’s much more fruitful to talk about your process than about the actual advice you “think” you should be giving them.
— Gary Vaynerchuk
Here are the great teams that talk openly about their startup journeys. It attracts interest to them and builds trust. As a result, their revenues go up.
Thanks for your invaluable lessons, buddies.
Groove started a journey from $28k to $100k MRR. Now the company is heading to $10M ARR. This incredible story inspired us to do the same.
Alex took a break in November 2017, but hopefully, he’ll get back on track soon.
Some of Groove’s hits:
— Behind the Scenes: How We’ve Built a $5M/Year Business in 3 Years With Content Marketing
— The Story We Haven’t Shared: How Our Startup Almost Died
— How We Got 1,000+ Subscribers from a Single Blog Post in 24 Hours
Baremetrics founder Josh Pigford decided to get out of the startup rat race. He blogs about his beliefs and experiences of running a $1M SaaS company.
If you’re more into listening, you can check out Josh’s podcast here.
Moreover, you can see Baremetrics revenue and other metrics in real-time. Everything is 100% transparent.
Hubstaff metrics are available in real-time. See it here.
There are 39 posts of their journey on Hubstaff blog. Check out these by Dave Nevogt, a co-founder of Hubstaff:
— 43 Lessons Learned from Growing Three Startups from Zero to $1M+
— Don’t Build a Unicorn: What I Learned Starting, Buying, and Selling 3 Businesses
You’ll find lots of posts about the company’s journey and culture on Buffer’s blog. Their revenue and other metrics can be found here.
Another source to follow is the blog of Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer. Here’s his post from 2011 worth checking out: 10 lessons from my startup journey so far.
Now ConvertKit is $10M business that’s also 100% transparent about their metrics.
Along the way, David Darmanin and the team have been documenting their lessons. On their company’s blog, you will find dozens of posts of their journey.
— The Hotjar Story (Part 1) — From Idea to 60,000 Beta Signups in 6 Months
— The Hotjar Story (Part 2) — From Beta to €1 Million ARR in 6 Months
— The Hotjar story (part 3) – growing our team & product while going from €1 to €3 million ARR
The team documented their journey starting from 2007. It’s the longest story on my list and surely worth checking out, in full.
The latest post is from May 2, 2016: It’s our birthday! Three years down, $600,000 annual revenue, and what’s coming next.
There are nine posts about Ghost startup journey. You can read more about the company’s culture and explore their metrics at https://ghost.org/about/.
In 2016 StatusPage had been acquired by Atlassian. They continue blogging, but nowadays you may face more marketing posts. Scroll down, and you’ll find gems in their older posts.
In the early days, he blogged quite often so you can find many great posts from Des. Like this one — How Intercom got our first customers.
All the 18 pages of Des posts are surely worth checking out.
You will find dozens of posts to learn from their experience. ReadMe doesn’t share revenue and metrics, though.
Here’s their story — The journey of a startup, from idea to growth.
There are 11 detailed posts on the blog. Following this journey will be interesting. Good luck, Elevio team.
The team shares behind the scenes stories on company’s blog. You’ll find 20 insightful stories to learn from.
There are dozens of posts about Quuu journey and the product vision on their blog.
Pieter Levels is a solo-entrepreneur who bootstrapped 12 startups in 12 months. NomadList, Remote OK do well enough so that he accumulated $50,000 revenue in Feb 2018.
Pieter is the author of MAKE bootstrapper’s handbook and regularly blogs about his experiments and experience.
Benchmark your metrics
There are websites where you can get in-depth data of other companies metrics. It’s invaluable to compare how we’re doing having no one around in Siberia to talk about metrics.
Some people advocate against benchmarks — every company is unique. Well, that could be true especially if metrics are calculated differently.
What’s your story?
Are you running a startup and learned something along the way? Share it with all the details in the comments below.
Let’s learn from each other.
. . .
Do you want to ask for my advice? Here’s my profile at Standuply Mentors, reach out directly to me for any help you may need.