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  • $100k MRR and $1m raised – here’s what I learnt building my startup

    updated 11 months, 1 week ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • Jessica

    Member
    October 27, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    Hello founders, my name is Nik. I’m happy to post here again. I founded , a platform that connects people with expert no-code developers to build their software and apps without a single line of code. All that is based on a monthly subscription. My startup just raised $1M in funding and we reached a monthly recurring revenue of $100k+ within less than a year. I have learnt a lot from other makers. So I decided to also share my experience about building a startup that is growing at rocket speed. I hope this helps other entrepreneurs (and if you are looking to join a fast-growth startup, I’m hiring). How did we achieve this kind of growth in a short time? Start with Satisfying your Customers: Sounds very basic, right? Because I had no cash to do any advertising, I let my work speak for me and I made first sales, controlled the quality of development, and asked for feedback later on. I tried to exceed expectations on all the work I did for clients. When you focus on delivering results that satisfy your customer, they will spread the word. Don’t be shy to tell them to share about your business. Sometimes people need that extra nudge to refer you to someone. Don’t forget to keep in touch with your customers. This part started becoming much harder when the team became bigger, so I had to be even more persistent with creating a culture of user empathy. What helped while growing: having weekly feedback from customers and keeping constant interaction based on that feedback. Educate the market I know that no code is the best option for fast testing of product ideas, releasing MVPs, getting user feedback, automating internal tasks, and shipping typical apps. All these can be done in days, not years, and in a very cost-effective way compared to doing it in code. Based on our experience, 95% of things that you can build with code you can also build with No Code, just much faster and cheaper. But NOT everyone on the market thinks this way! There are a lot of misconceptions regarding no code. So while building my startup I realised how important it is to teach the market and provide initial education before going into sales (this works for marketing as well!). An MVP tells you what your customer wants: I often see entrepreneurs try to build a flawless product before shipping. The problem with this strategy is that it’s often complex for customers to use or sometimes doesn’t even solve their problem. Unless your product is high-risk, creating an MVP helps you gather quick feedback from your customers so you can iterate better. It can also be a useful prototype for your potential investor. You can build an MVP with tools like Bubble, Webflow, or a mix of Zapier and Airtable. In our case, I built a landing page about no-code development and invited leads to book a call. This is how WeLoveNoCode started – a simple landing page built with Tilda. Even now our platform is MVP and I’m often feeling embarrassed about how “not perfect” it is. But, hey, it solved the customer pain and generated a constant revenue stream. Built MVP with users is always better than no perfect nothing. Find a model that works — think automation When we started, our model was to charge customers an hourly service fee. By the end of the first year, our monthly revenue grew to $20k. While it felt good, delegation and an hourly fee was no longer an efficient model. Automation was the answer. We decided to build a platform that matches developers with specific skills with projects that require that skillset. Today, we offer clients a low-cost no-code development subscription service. This allows you to start your project quickly, efficiently and affordably– a gap that exists in the market. Entrepreneurs get access to the best no-code developers who have been pre-vetted by us. Don’t be afraid to allow your model to evolve as you get feedback from customers. However, continue to deliver satisfying services as you evolve. No startup got a business model right from the first try! Be very clear with your value prop For WeLoveNoCode the value is the speed of product delivery, cost efficiency, and quality. For $1999/month the client gets a brain of 3000+ Nocoders with a stack of 241 tools instead of a single no-code developer with experience of 1-2 tools. It took us time to define our value prop and we are still working on it for different users. Approach Marketing with a growth mindset: Growth starts with finding product-market-fit. If you meet users’ needs with your solution, growth and marketing become easier. Our marketing is a mix of product-led growth, paid channels and outbound sales. Until recently we didn’t have a marketing team, so all the growth happened thanks to the product, which meets user needs. Now, we are much more focused on having a marketing strategy, marketing OKRs and even Head of Marketing! I do hope someone finds this write-up useful. I’m open to answering any questions regarding our journey so far. Would you like me to share an article about how we raised funds? Please let me know. Thoughts on fundraising Fundraising is hard. I learned so much while closing a $1M seed fund. You should see things from an investor’s perspective. As an entrepreneur, you’re completely absorbed in your startup. You’ve spent years building this business, you think about it 24 hours a day and you spend most of your time actively working on it. However, for the investor, what matters the most is the long-term viability of the business and returns on investment. Seeing things from this perspective will completely change how you approached raising capital and lead you to revisit how you pitch for investment. You must realise that to your investor, your start is not a product or a technology. You must position your startup as an investment. Ask yourself, what’s the underlying value of my startup, who is investing and how will investment grow over time. For us, we are in an industry currently valued at $17b and is projected to grow to $125b in 2027. We already have a platform with over 3K pre-vetted no-code developers and $100k in MRR to prove its viability. This is what we sold to our investors. Put these numbers upfront when you’re pitching to investors. Raising investment is not about asking for money. What you are doing is selling the value of your business to an investor, telling a story and creating Momentum. VC money is not the only way. You can consider crowdfunding, raising from Friends and family, Government grants, Angel investors or pure bootstrap. Whichever route you are taking (and you should consider more than one at a time) the key to success is talking to multiple people at once. This creates a buzz and a feeling that interest exists, pushing investors to act for fear of missing out. It works. This was just a small portion of my learnings and I will be happy to follow up in the comments! – by /hq/welovenocode – –

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