IPinfo: Bootstrapping a Side-Project to a 7-Figure SaaS
Ben Dowling is the founder of IPinfo, a web service that provides IP address data for thousands of businesses and developers.
In 2014, Ben was writing code for a project at work and found himself wasting a lot of time looking up information about IP addresses.
So he built a simple API to help make his life easier. He posted about it on Stack Overflow so other developers might also save some time.
His API turned out to be quite popular, so a year later, he added a paid plan. And he was blown away when someone signed up for $50 a month.
Ben continued working his day job and slowly started adding new customers to his API side-project. Two years later, his API was generating over $100K a year.
And that's when he finally quit his job and started working on his business full-time. He figured that without any distractions, his company could grow even faster.
But instead of growing faster, his business stopped growing for some time. It didn't make much sense, and Ben struggled to grow his business for some time.
He also made some fundamental mistakes along the way. For example, he allowed people to use his API without ever signing up. While that made it easy for people to use the product, he couldn't even market to those people or even contact them about outages.
Today, his API project has grown into a multi-million SaaS company with a team of 15 people. The API handles 40 billion requests a month, and its customers include companies like T-Mobile, Datadog, and Demandbase.
In this interview, we explore how Ben grew his business, why it stopped growing when he went full-time, and how he overcame some of the critical mistakes he made.
I hope you enjoy it.