November 22, 2018
Hi, I’m Robert - entrepreneur based in Poland. Last seven years I’ve spent working in software development business. Last year I made a transition from the service business to saas. In this article I’ll cover short story, mostly focusing on last year and how we got our first traction. Check more articles and updates on “My saas story.”
I did it after 3,5 years from starting my company. It was straightforward because we had a good brand and few enterprise customers waiting to deliver orders. It gave me a massive advantage in negotiations with potential buyers showing them what type of customers I’m able to win. I’ve decided to go with www.tenderhut.com. New owner offered me a decent proposition and a VP of sales position, so I’ve joined the team. It was a newly formed company (30 people), but the founders had many years of experience in the one prominent software development company in Central Europe. Their previous company (SMT Software) has sold for $40M USD. I’ve spent nearly two years there developing sales & marketing department from scratch to more than ten people on board. The company itself tripled the size concerning headcount and revenue. My new founders wanted to replicate the success of their past employer.
But I wanted to change. I didn’t want to do just outsourcing. I felt I’d like to do some more than only selling skilled developers by days. I wanted to focus more on marketing because it was also something I was passionate about over the years. I’ve decided to change and leave the company and search for exciting ideas. I’ve started working as a freelancer for tech companies helping them develop sales departments. Also, I’ve started talking with my colleague - Artur from Aexol. I thought it could be good to do something together, cause he had considerable experience developing his products - mostly simple mobile apps. I knew that to grow a great product I need a product experienced co-founder.
Before focusing on our final project, we started working on three other ideas. Those projects were cute, but their vision and market were local. We wanted a big hairy audacious goal! The third project was the thing - Artur showed me the idea of visual node designer called www.slothking.online. I thought - funny name and a crazy idea, let’s do it! That time he had a beta version of the app and his developers were using it to speed up the development process. It was a proper MVP with internal users. It was a great idea to start. It was a side project, and I was sharing it with my part-time freelance consulting . That time we didn’t discuss shares or positions. We wanted to deliver excellent value, focus on pure work and stay lean on the money. That time I’ve watched a few YC videos on product market fit, and we started looking for traction
Working on my new startup gave me huge motivation and a lot of fun. In a few hours, we made the ugliest landing page that we could and started talking with customers. We got a little bit of response, but it wasn’t a thing described in YC videos. We didn’t get that feeling. So we made a better quality version of our landing page. It also didn’t work so well. That time I thought - we need great advisors. It’s my fourth business, and I don’t want to do it myself. I’ve checked my LinkedIn and tried to find someone who I know and might be a great fit. I was looking for someone who has success experience in dev products, saas or high growth companies. I got in touch with Tomasz Karwatka from Divante.co - a global e-commerce software company. He and his brother had launched open source vue store front which had nearly 3k stars on GitHub. That was the team that I was looking for. They agreed to help for small % of shares after hearing about our idea.
Do you want to try our mock backend from GraphQL app. It is in beta phase and 100% free.