April LaMon - Alosant

Alosant: Lessons on Bootstrapping a SaaS to $2M ARR – with April LaMon [335]

April LaMon is the co-founder and CEO of Alosant, a mobile app platform for master-planned communities to create a single destination for their residents and future home buyers.

In 2017, April and her co-founder Mike were running a data analytics software company serving real-estate developers. They were approached by a master-planned community in California that wanted them to build a mobile app.

Initially, what started as a project to build an app for one client turned into a white-labeled product that is now sold to master-planned communities around the country. We talk about how the founders were able to make that transition.

We also talk about the importance of user experience and how their app gets a 90% adoption rate by continuously simplifying the UX and creating a seamless onboarding process.

April also shares the lessons she's learned about working in a market that can often have very long sales cycles and how they've been able to get a 100% renewal rate with multi-year subscription deals so far.

And we also talk about we can sometimes let our own internal biases get in our way, specifically some limiting beliefs that initially held April back, and she overcame them.

Alosant does around $2M in ARR, with over 80 customers and 200,000 active users. And their business has been bootstrapped from day one.

I hope you enjoy it.


Click to view transcript

[00:00:00] Omer: Welcome to another episode of The SaaS podcast. I'm your host, Omer Khan, and this is a show where I interview proven founders and industry experts who share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you build, launch, and grow your SaaS business. In this episode, I talked to April LaMon, the co-founder and CEO of Alosant, a mobile app platform for master plan communities to create a single destination for their residents and future home buyers.

In 2017, April and her co-founder Mike, were running a data analytics platform serving real estate developers. They were approached by a master plan community in California that wanted them to build a mobile app. Initially, what started as a project to build an app for one client, turned into a white-label product that is now sold to master plan communities around the country. We talk about how the founders were able to make that transition.

We also talk about the importance of user experience and how their app gets a 90% adoption rate by continuously simplifying the user experience and creating a seamless onboarding process. April also shares the lessons she's learned about working in a market that can often have very long sales cycles and how they've been able to get a hundred percent renewal rate with multiyear subscription deals so far. And we also talk about how we can sometimes let our own internal biases get in our way and specifically some limiting beliefs that initially held April back and how she was able to overcome them.

Currently Alosant does around 2 million in ARR with over 80 customers and 200,000 active users, and the business has been bootstrapped from day one. So, I hope you enjoy it.

April, welcome to the show.

[00:01:47] April: Thank you, Omer. It's a pleasure to be here.

[00:01:49] Omer: Do you have a favorite quote, something that inspires or motivates you that you can share with us?

[00:01:53] April: You know, it's something that my mother said to me when I was very young, and it's carried me through so many trials through my life, and that is that luck is spelled W-O-R-K, and the idea here is. You know, it's not that we're not fortunate, you know, to be born in this country and to have the opportunities afforded to us, but you have to do something with them and be ready to work for the things you want.

And so that has really guided so much of my life, particularly as a startup founder, there's a lot of work to get done.

[00:02:25] Omer: So, tell us about Alosant. What does the product do? Who's it for and what's the main problem you're helping to solve?

[00:02:31] April: So Alosant is a white label software product for the residential real estate market.

We create a community-branded app. It's focused on lifestyle and amenities for that residential development. We work with communities that maybe have 300,000, 40,000 homes. They, they're typically very active communities. They have shared amenities, clubhouse, pools, court, trails parks, and then they have a lot of programming associated with them too.

They might have community-wide events, or they might have sports clinics, fitness just ways for people to get engaged and get to know their neighbors and get involved in the community. So, what we do is create that branded app to that individual community, and our goal is to put everything together in one place.

So that as a resident, as someone who's considering moving to a community, I know where to go to find out what's going on, what's available to me, and I can, you know, really feel that the community is a reflection of myself as, as well as the place I live.

[00:03:38] Omer: So you founded the business in 2017. Can you give us a sense of the size of the business? Where are you in terms of revenue, customers, size of team?

[00:03:47] April: Yeah. So, when we launched our first community-branded app in 2017, it really was a pilot, right? We were working with a major developer in southern California who recognized that everyone has this phone in their hand and his view was they needed their community to be in the same place that on this smartphone that was important to all of the people that live there.

That's us on a journey of building the app for the first time. We launched it in the fall of 2017, and it was instantly a success. It was over 90% of the residents in that community were using that app within 90 days. And that was when the light bulb went off and we thought, gosh, if this is what we're experiencing in the Southern California community, I bet other developers and major developments throughout the country could benefit too.

So, we branded the underlying software as Alosant and we started taking the show on the road to other residential developers. Today we have 82 communities throughout North America, who use a branded community app on the Alosant platform, we reach over 200,000 logged in resident users and about 50% more on top of that, that are either home shoppers or people in the broader public who are interested in learning more about these communities.

[00:05:09] Omer: And in terms of revenue and size of team?

[00:05:11] April: Yeah. So, we have just surpassed `$2 million in annual recurring revenue. Most of our contracts are for three to five years. The thing about these communities is they're built to last, right? And so, once you get an app in people's hands and you reaching essentially everyone.

You just don't wanna, you know, take that away. So it's really important to our clients that, that we're a very sustainable, profitable company that has stain power to grow as they grow and, and, and be available to these communities for the life of their of, of the communities themselves. We have a team here in Bozeman, Montana of seven full-time employees.

Largely in bosom, we have the two founders, we have sales, and we have our customer success team. Our customer success team works with clients both to spin them up or onboard a new community, but we're not the kind of software that kind of LOBs over the fence once it's live. We actually have a live monthly call Cadence with these communities to make sure that the app is as current and, and complete and accurate as possible. And also, to bring new functionality into their apps that continue to cement that value ongoing.

[00:06:29] Omer: And the business is bootstrapped as well. Did we mention that ?

[00:06:33] April: No, it is bootstrapped. Sometimes Omer, I think I'm a little bit old-fashioned, and through the last 18 months with crazy valuations and venture funding, I really felt a little arcane. But in today's environment, I think, you know, as we lead into PropTech 2.0 or Propco, as some people say, you know, there's gonna be consolidation and those companies have built sustainable growth model, I think are gonna farewell.

And that's how we manage Alosant. We do work with a phenomenal dev team. They're all offshore and that allows us to extend to an 18-hour workday. So, we overlap in the afternoon as their day is getting started. And make sure that the dev requirements are really clear about what we need to work on, and then it's like Christmas every morning.

We have great work that's been accomplished through our night, and that allows us to be incredibly nimble and get things to market very quickly.

[00:07:38] Omer: This, this whole story started with this community in southern California. It's called Rancho Mission Viejo. That's where they reached out to you and said, can you build us this app?

What were you doing at the time and why did they reach out to you to build the app for them?

[00:07:54] April: Great question. So about 11 years ago, we started our first company as a data analytics platform for real estate developers looking at their consumer-facing website. And that allowed us to really understand the underpinnings of the consumer behavioral process and consideration exploration and ultimately buying.

And what Rancho Mission Viejo believed is that they had a better shot in working with a team that was really grounded in their industry and very grounded in their consumer. And that we'd figure out how to build an app versus hire an app developer who did not have the context of this very, you know, specific type of consumer behavior.

[00:08:39] Omer: Great. So, they reached out to you. How, how did you get started and was the intention at the time just this one-off project to build something for this one client and at what point did, did this vision of a product for, you know, other managed communities around the country sort of come up?

[00:09:03] April: Sure, sure. That's all great questions.

So when they brought us the idea, it was like a light bulb for us. Because we, we knew that this was a very robust, big industry, you know, building communities, residential communities, you know, it's a 30 to 40 trillion industry. Right? And so we felt like, wow, this would be a great place for us to expand our presence beyond just the web analytics that we had been doing.

So we had a hunch that if this worked well, that we would want to take this more broadly to the industry. And that was one of the things that we talked about very early on with the team at Rancho Mission Viejo and they were super supportive. They were like, why wouldn't we want you to do that? We, you know, they really wanted to set us up for success.

So much so that as we, to your question around how do we get started, they gave us unprecedented access to their entire team and operations. So, the development team, the builders, the marketing and salespeople to the operations folks on the community lifestyle and property management. So, in essence, we had that 360-degree view of all of the stakeholders who touched the resident.

So we, it really helped us envision what the product would be so that we didn't solve a problem here, but create a different set of problems for someone over there. We've really got that holistic view of what does it really mean to create and operate a master plan community?

How long did it take to build that product and get it in the hands of their customers?

Yeah, it took about nine months from a blank screen. And you know, we had a lot of experience on a global outsource development platform that, I mean, that's what we had done for the five years prior. And so, you know, and this is really the expertise of my business partner, Mike Swanson, who you know is our Chief Solutioner, he's our chief technologist.

He found kind of the best and brightest in all of the areas where we needed to get smart quickly, you know, whether it was iOS, android, server-based, and really understand this, you know, native app and ecosystem. And, you know, when you get really, really good people on board and you give them a, you know, mountain to climb and a desire to do so, we were able to do that fairly quickly from, from a, a dead stop.

You know, once we deployed to, or launched to the resident population, at that time there were about 2000 people who lived in the community. We knew that we would have a good sample set there because we had people that were 55 plus and older home buyers as well as all age.

So we, we really knew we were gonna get a, a great cross-section of tests against our UI and the assumptions that we had made around how to structure the product. And as it turned out, we made two really, really fundamental decisions that have been competitive advantages for us since. And the first is that it is white-labeled.

So, I, I don't think we would have had a chance of the adoption rate of someone we're downloading the Alosant app. You know, we feel such great affinity to where we live. It says so much about us, our aspirations for ourselves, for our families, that the fact that it's branded to the specific community was a really a really wise decision.

The second thing that technology folks did, Mike did in his team, was set up the database structure so that the content would live in one place, but it could be curated based on different persona type of users of the app. So that allowed us to really make the app feel. Unique and, and, and personal to different segments, whether they're that 55-plus homeowner versus an all-age homeowner versus a  home shopper versus a team member who's there to run the community.

So it allowed one app to serve multiple audiences in a, in a really powerful way.

[00:13:29] Omer: And once you'd built the, the app and deployed it. Was it a success? Did you discover a bunch of surprises and problems?

[00:13:39] April: No, it was pretty successful from the get-go. What we realized was that we need a, a couple of things. You know, one is, you know, we all are very focused on privacy, right?

And so we knew that we would have a known group of people to use the app. You either live in the community or you don't, and if you do, then you are invited to download the app and provide credentials to have, you know, your own account within that, within that. We really over-solve the problem by creating a complex way to log in.

And what we found very quickly was that, you know, we were, we were really trying to solve for an edge case that wasn't necessarily a big problem, so we did learn to simplify the onboarding process. For the end users, so that it was really very friendly to their experience in the community and easier for the local team as well.

So we learned a few things like that, that that were really helpful. Another thing we learned is not everyone's gonna use their mobile device all of the time. And so we later added a web version or web app based on the same admin CMS structure. So now we can, we're completely agnostic to the screen that you or I or the next person would choose, whether it's iOS, Android or, or web-based.

So things like that from really getting some experience in the market helped us take some of the rough edges off and add you know, some more breath to the product for future success.

[00:15:19] Omer: Can, can you give us an example of trying to solve an edge case and, and how to simplify the experience that, one of the things that I came across when I was preparing for this interview, Passwords and phone numbers.

I don't know if that's a good example that you wanna talk about or, or something else. But that one that one sort of struck to me was like, you know, sometimes we do over-engineer solutions and we create problems for the majority of our users who are probably never gonna come across and experience the thing that we are solving for.

And sometimes the simplest solution is just a better way to go.

[00:15:58] `: Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, when we launched, we. You know, the kind of password that you often see recommended, you know, it's letters, numbers, upper case, lower case. I mean, absolutely nothing intuitive or memorable, right? Even the idea on a small screen of cutting and paste that into a login screen was, was daunting for some people.

I mean, you're trying to solve for screens that are any number of dimensions, right? And so we really simplified it to be something that was more intuitive to the end user. So it was a combination, is a combination of variables. Not just one variable, but several variables that would be well-known to the end user.

[00:16:43] April: And that really simplified the, the process because it was just more intuitive and something that they could quickly like, oh yeah, I know exactly what my password is now. So that really streamlined that onboarding process and you know, we just don't wanna leave anybody behind. Right?

[00:17:01] Omer: Right. And, and the success of the product is really dependent on not only these people logging in, but actually using it on a regular basis.

[00:17:11] April: Absolutely. And we do track these metrics very religiously. I mean, right now we look across adoption across, so across all of the individual instances of the, of the platform. We also look at how often people are using the app.

You know, they're typically using it at least once a week. They're typically in for two and a half to three and a half minutes per session. It's not just presenting you with information, but there's a lot of things for you to engage with. Whether that's making reservations for events, whether that's for fitness classes, I, I'm having a, a party for my child and I wanna reserve a pavilion in the park.

I mean, so all, a lot of the interactions are a two-way dynamic interaction.

[00:17:58] Omer: So you've built this app, you've got it out there in the hands of users. Solved some of the, you know, kind of issues we'd expect as you deploy a new product. How did you go and get your first 10 or, or next nine customers? Did you just start doing cold outreach?

Did you, like how did you find them and, and how did you get them on board?

[00:18:24] April: That's a really great question. And there's so many ways to come out that, right, and depending on what industry you're. We're very fortunate in our industry, as large as it is, it's pretty concentrated in terms of the number of developers.

And also, you know, there, there it's pretty well covered by industry consultants. So, you know, there's two consulting real estate consulting firms that track the 50 fastest-growing communities in the country. And they publish that list twice a year in January and June. And that, you know, our feeling was, you know, everybody's watching this list in the industry and everybody's watching, which communities pop up, and then they wanna kind of dissect what's working for them.

And so we took that list and we built a database around the developers, the context of the developers. We leveraged Rancho Mission Viejo and our relationships there, we leveraged the largest industry association called the Urban Land Institute to make connections. And I mean, honestly, the very first thing I, I sent were LinkedIn in mail requests to people in those companies, and it just asked for an informational interview.

You know, I had the benefit of having Paul Johnson, the key developer at Rancho Mission Viejo, who's very well. In the industry and the project, the community itself is very well known, so you know, we've kind of taken the strategy of, you know, we will be known by the company we keep. And if we targeted started by targeting those highest-profile communities, the reference value of having them on our platform would go a long way to getting the word spread throughout the industry.

[00:20:11] Omer: And what was the response rate like when you reached out?

[00:20:14] April: Unpredictable, I think is, and, and, you know, which gets me to one of my learnings around patience, but you know, we were able to secure a meeting after launching with another big developer in Texas called Johnson Development Corporation and struck a chord, and they immediately said, we have 10 active communities that we would like to move forward with your product.

So all of a sudden we went from one to 11 pretty quickly, and we thought hot dog were, were on our way and we were on our way. Right? They were. Paying full freight. It was, there were three-year contracts. It really helped get us off the ground. And then the next one took a little while longer, you know, and so we had to persevere through like, oh, did we, was this a fluke?

Or is this really a market that's receptive to this idea? And it took about another six months to get the next client on board. And then ever since then we, we get 20 to 30 per year. And, you know, our pro, our name is known now, the, the product is pretty well known now. And so obviously four years later, you know, the traction starts to, to work in your favor.

But those, I would say that the first 12 months was, it took a lot of patience and perseverance for sure.

[00:21:38] Omer: How long is your typical sales cycle from first contact to closing a deal?

[00:21:45] April: Also, not as predictable as I would like. I'm just gonna be honest. You know, the most important thing is finding the right moment to come on board.

And so that was another key piece of learning is when is the right time to get started with a new community? And what we've cultivated is an understanding that if the community is early on to say the first 20% of their homes are sold. The developer then has dual obligations or dual motivations, right?

I need to deliver on the community promises, lifestyle amenities that I, that I've promised to people that are buying my homes now, but I got a lot of homes left to sell. And so, you, you still have a very strong motivation around marketing as well fulfilling on a lifestyle promise. That's a great time to get started with an Alosant app.

So that took some trial and error as well to, to kind of hone in on really where that sweet spot is to get started.

[00:22:48] Omer: And, and you mentioned that, that after that first big deal that you closed, it took about six months to get the next customer after that. When you look back now, what was the reason for that delay that, that sort of timing there. Was it because you just weren't going out and talking to enough prospects? Was it kind of the nature of the, the way that these things work, but what, why? Why was there such a big gap, do you think?

[00:23:17] April: Yeah, looking back, I would say that I really underestimated the challenge of creating a category. And the solution to the category problem simultaneously. So, you know, there its people didn't have a community-branded app before we started, right? So, we had to really make the case for why a community-branded app. And then why an Alosant solution to that need. And I think that's really what took the time Omer is really having a credible voice around establishing a category and that's something we work on every day still, you know, is because there are plenty of communities that don't have one yet, and we, we think they should. We envision, you know, within five years every community that is has a name, will have an app. And really building that case and really sharing the success stories and really making heroes out of our customers, frankly, around what they've been able to accomplish in working with us, has been, has been a, a really key driver of our business.

[00:24:27] Omer: I see this interesting dilemma with your business. May, maybe I'm completely wrong, but on, on the one hand I hear that, you know, the renewal rates, you've got a hundred percent renewal rates so far, which is touch wood, which is great. Once a community has invested in something like this, deployed, it got people using it, the switching costs are so high that they don't really want to go and find something else. You know, that, that's kind of one part of it.

And then you talked about, you know, having the patients to kind of work through the timing and, and kind of when these customers are ready, To, to go and build an app like this and go and deploy it. So, all of that makes complete sense. But on the other hand, I'm thinking about. You know, it's not a massive market in, in this industry, you know, the opportunity might be really big, but there's only so many customers in this market.

And so once you've, once you've closed them, you've pretty much got them for, for a long time. And so do you also at the same time, you know, thinking about, yeah, great. And the patience and everything, this sense of urgency to close as many of these, these customers and kind of like button down this market.

I don't know what the situation is, you know, in terms of the landscape with competitors and, and how much you think about that. But it kind of seems to me kind of an interesting thing where what you said there kind of makes total sense. But on the other hand I'm thinking, well, the faster you can move and the more of these customers you can get kind of locked down, the better it is gonna be for the business.

[00:26:09] April: All true. We made a commitment early on to sustainable growth. So, you know, we are growing at a pace that we can self-fund and innovate our product at the same time. We are not frankly turning away business obviously, and, so more business creates more revenue to invest in more growth, and we've chosen that path very purposefully, and it has served us well. Now, there's one thing that in this equation to consider, and that is residential developments can take decades to build. And so the lifetime value for a customer that you're serving well throughout the life of the build of that community, and then obviously beyond, creates an almost limitless LTV for, for our, our company.

And we reach so many people directly as homeowners, a high-value target audience using our products. So we think there's a lot of ways to create value in the business. You know, one of the things that we think about is, you know, what else can go in these apps, right? What else can really create value for the community and for the people that live there?

And there's a lot of new technology on the, on the forefront around autonomous shopping, where we are very involved already with several clients who are on the leading edge of that. We're involved in access control and getting plastic credentials key cards, and fobs out of the system. And we're constantly watching what the platform providers, the iOS, and the Android operating systems are creating in terms of innovation.

Whether that's augmented reality, advanced mapping, awareness, you know, those are all opportunities for us to continue to bring more value. So, you know, I think it's about having the best product with the most utility for our market. And you know, we, we continue to chip away at the, at the opportunity.

You know, time will tell whether that we're leaving a lot of business on the, on the sidelines. But I mean, those are strategic choices we've made as founders. And we believe that gives us the longevity in the market that our clients are looking for. What kind of objections do you typically get when you go out and talk to a new prospect who doesn't have an app right now?

Yeah, I mean, it's changed and evolved over the last four years, as you might imagine. I mean, initially, I think there was just some skepticism of would people download another app. App fatigue is real, right? We, we download them and then we never look at 'em again, right? So that's one of the key advantages of our app, is how we can connect to other systems in these communities so that you do have people go to a single source under your own name.

You walk them through a single door to then interact with obviously the things that are native to our platform, but connect to other systems that are part of operating these communities as well. There was some objections, particularly in 55 plus active adult communities, like, oh, you know, older people don't really use apps.

And so, you know, kind of overcoming based on metrics that we see in clients with that target audience. They not only use the app, they use it, they over index on every metric. Because they move into lifestyle communities for a reason. They wanna get involved, they wanna participate, they wanna know their neighbors.

And so, the app is, is kind of the connective tissue for the community to kind of galvanize that interest. So, it's, it's evolved over time. What we, what we really see as an opportunity for our company is to drift more upstream into the home shopping process. You know, the last, maybe until the last six months, it was not hard to sell a new home.

You know, today with higher interest rates and other economic forces. It's a lot more competitive to attract a home buyer. And so we see greater interest in leveraging not just the home or the product that's for sale in that community, but why buy that home here in this community? What's going on here?

What is. What is the lifestyle that you're buying into, not just the home that you'll live in. And so, we are moving further upstream and as really a key way to dimensionalize that experience in the home purchasing process.

[00:30:41] Omer: Okay. So generally, we talked about kind of like the first 10 customers and. I guess that second customer you got was so big, they can count as the 10 customers and more.

What's helped you get from that to the 80-yard customers that you have today? How did you find them? What are the, the marketing channels that have been the most effective for you to find customers?

[00:31:09] April: You know, we're incredibly vertically focused. Right. So, we are not a buckshot type of, of message or target. I mean, we have a, we are laser-focused on a particular segment of the real estate market.

It's huge, but it is very specific and the people in the play in that segment are, are, are also very specific. And so, one of the key things that we've done is got gotten very, very involved with the Urban Land Institute, it's the largest industry association's global, and it's all facets. And that has, that is where the C-Suite and many of our client’s organization, they go to learn and interact with their peers and people like, like Alosant.

You know, I think that's been one of the strongest channels for us is to become immersed in. Industry organization that is most important to our target audience. We also have had a very successful land and expand strategy with these developers. So where, you know, we go in and. We can prove the value of our product in one that gives us then the license to expand within the portfolio.

Toll Brothers one of the nation's largest luxury home builders and is a great example of that were you know, we went in with the first community and, and, and proved our, you know, value. And now you know that organization is helping us to expand much, much more broadly throughout their entire system. So that land and expand approach has worked really well for us as well.

[00:32:51] Omer: Okay. So, I think what's interesting about this is that the, the market you're in on the one hand you are, you, once you sign a customer, retention rates are great. Then you have this opportunity as you describe with the sort of the land and expand because you're going and talking to these kinds of, these big fish in, in this market.

And if you can prove yourself in one community, that gives you the op opportunity to expand into others that they own. And then the third part of this is going deep in terms of the innovation and what else can we deliver in terms of value, which can not only help us to retain these customers but also increase the lifetime value because, you know, we can deliver more value, we can get, you know, they'll be happily paying more for that.

So there's kind of some really interesting dynamics going on here. What, what are some of the challenges? Like what, what are some of the hard parts of, of operating in this market?

[00:33:55] April: You know, we talked a little bit about patience, right? And patience is, is really critical because it creates a space for listening and creates a space for understanding, you know, where can you refine your market fit?

How do you refine the way you talk about the product and the value that it brings? It gives you an opportunity to listen, not just at the C-Suite decision level, but at an operating level that the folks within the community who actually are in the admin every day, who are interacting with residents every day with the marketing team, who's working with prospective buyers.

So, I think this fast and furious grow at all cost might serve other industries well. It just wasn't the path that we took, and I think that we're better, a better company, a more sustainable, profitable company because of it. You know, one of the other things that's been a challenge that we reflect on and look for, you know, how to position into is that typically marketing a new community and operating a new community, were very divided.

Who did it and what software, what systems were used? And what we're finding is that middle area is really important in today's market. Why? Because cancellation rates are starting to climb. You know, I, I put a home under contract and now I wanna cancel it. And so, this land between. Point of the spear marketing and now I already live here, is this no man's land right now.

And that's another opportunity that we see to address how do we use the app to become the connective tissue between all the enthusiasm I had when I went under contract for this home to actually close it on that home and moving in. And we've got some communities that are doing a really great job.

Leveraging lifestyle as a way and leveraging that lifestyle before the buyer moves in to start creating that attachment, that affinity to the community and their future neighbors. So that's another whole area that I think is really right for our product to come in and, and, and really add value.

[00:36:10] Omer: Right. It's, it's a marketing tool. What's, what's the value for the, for your customers to create an app for residents? I mean, they've kind of already sold the homes and people are already living there, so that's kind of one part of what they're delivering on with the app. And then the other part, as we've talked about, is home shoppers or buyers, people who want to live in that community.

And so, the app is a great marketing tool in terms. You know, selling them on the lifestyle and all the wonderful things they'll be able to do when they, they buy a home there. And that part for me is clear in terms of the marketing, but in terms of like the value for residents, what, what's, what drives them there in terms of investing and, and, and doing that?

[00:36:56] April: It's a really good question, and it really goes back to understanding land development. Developers invest tens and tens of millions of dollars to create a place. Right? They build schools. They build obviously roads and infrastructure. They build amenity centers. They build pools, courts, parks, and trails. I mean, they really are making an enormous investment in creating a place.

A place that is, yes, people will live, but that they will engage with, that they will become active in, that they will take advantage of. And that's a very big part of the value proposition for why you buy a home in a master plan to the community. Homes and master plan communities typically sell at a 15% price premium to a similar house outside of one.

And so, creating that sense of place, wrapping it around a powerful brand does create economic value for the developer. And so, when you ask them like, what is, what are the most critical drivers of growth of new residents into their community? It's the people that already live there, right? And so, if you and I know each other well, and I'm raving about where I live and my kids do this and I do that, and I've made these friends, or I get involved in these clubs, You know, all of a sudden it's like, wow, you know, I, maybe that's a place that I would wanna live to.

And so, it's this cycle, this virtuous cycle of, yes, I sell once, but that one sale can ignite so many more. You know, some of our clients, larger communities, people buy once and then buy or trade up or down multiple times within the same community. So, you know, these folks, these developers are really, they have a much, much longer horizon in their planning view than almost any other category that I can think of.

They're looking at this much more holistically than just a, I'm, I, I sold that house and I'm out.

[00:39:10] Omer: We should wrap up and get onto the lightning round. Before we do that, I wanna just talk about one thing you told me before we started recording and this, this mindset shift that you had to make and you describe yourself as a boomer that you know, hey, why don't, why don't you tell us about that.

[00:39:29] April: Yeah. You know, when we started this business, the app business, in particular, I just couldn't imagine that people were gonna buy software from a boomer. You know, I didn't mention this, but my business partner and I started our company 11 years ago when I was 50 and he was 25. So we have a multi-generational founder team, you know, at our core DNA.

And so, there are things that he does exceptionally well that I would never, you know, wade into those waters and vice versa. But it's kinda like, Mike, you're gonna have to, you have to be the face of this company. And what I found is that the fact that I am a boomer, that you know that I have, you know, a lot of big business experience and chops that, you know, my way of talking about technology really resonated with a buyer who rarely buys technology. You know, these are people that build physical things that you can touch, you know, doors you can open. You know, they're, they live in the physical sense of community.

And it was just a great segue for me to have come from that world. To pick up the technology vocabulary and really be able to convey that in a way that made sense in this physical community environment. So, you know, one of the things you and I were talking about is, is sometimes the barriers that we ourselves, or biases that we bring to our business and, you know, it's really important to be willing to stare those down and shed the ones that aren't serving you frankly.

[00:41:08] Omer: Yeah, and now you are the face of the business.

[00:41:11] April: Yeah. Yes, I am.

[00:41:12] Omer: Yeah. That's great. All right. So, let's get onto the lightning round. I've got seven quick-fire questions for you. Just try to answer them as quickly as you can. Ready?

[00:41:21] April: Yep.

Okay. What's the best piece of business advice you've received?

Deliver on your promises.

What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

I just read Indra’s new book, My Life in Full. She was the recently retired CEO of PepsiCo and I'm a Pepsi alum myself. And so her journey is incredibly inspiring. She talks about performance with purpose. You know, it's, I've listened to it in her own voice. I just found it incredibly, incredibly motivating.

[00:41:49] Omer: What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?

[00:41:53] April: I think it is curiosity, right? We are always looking for the problem that we can uniquely solve and. Very often the first solution that comes to mind the easy one is, is not the best one. And so, continuing to be curious pull threads I think that serves founders really well.

[00:42:13] Omer: What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

[00:42:17] April: I'm a very early riser, so it gives me a chance to have a good portion of my day before my workday starts. I a big believer in the power of physical movement, of exercise both for your mind, your body, and so I think it's a great discipline to develop that sense of physical acuity.

[00:42:38] Omer: What's a new or crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the time?

[00:42:41] April: You know, I'm really interested in successful aging. You know, I'm, I'm 61 and I'm nowhere near have any interest in retiring.

And so, I think about what will my cohort's view of successful aging look like. And so, I'm, I'm very, very curious about that. I'm very curious about the role of influencers in that. Of course, we know we make 10,000 65-year-olds every day in this country, but you know, we've got the late baby boomers, we've got the GenX-ers coming in, and, you know, there's gonna be a very different framework around aging in the next decade and beyond.

[00:43:19] Omer: 60 is the new 30, right? Something like that. What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't?

[00:43:24] April: I don't think most people know that I'm an avid catch-and-release fly fisherman and that was a big motivation to move to Montana where we have more headwater rivers here and blue-ribbon rivers. But I love to fish.

[00:43:38] Omer: And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work? Other than fishing?

[00:43:43] April: Yeah, other than fishing. Fishing's great. And you know, it's, we become very involved with an organization based here in Montana called Warriors and Quiet Waters. And it really is the intersection of fishing with post-9/11 vets who are coming back and reintegrating into civilian life.

And so I'm very passionate about the work that organizations doing and we're very proud to be part of helping them get their work done.

[00:44:09] Omer: Very cool. Awesome. Well, April, thank you so much for joining me and, and sharing your story. Congratulations on the success you've had to date. If people wanna find out more about Alosant, they can go to alosant.com, which is a-l-o-s-a-n-t.com.

We'll include a link in the show notes as well. And if folks wanna get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:44:32] April: Yeah, email april, april[at]alosant[dot]com. We also are very active on LinkedIn, so follow us there as well.

[00:44:41] Omer: Thank you so much and I wish you and the team the best of success.

[00:44:44] April: Thank you so much for the opportunity, Omer.

[00:44:46] Omer: My pleasure. Cheers.

[00:44:47] April: Cheers.

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