Oribi: How a B2B SaaS Startup is Competing Against Free
Iris Shoor is the founder and CEO of Oribi, an AI-based web analytics tool that gives you actionable insights to help you make better data-driven marketing decisions.
In 2016, Iris had an idea for a new SaaS product.
She'd already built two successful startups and was ready for a new challenge. As a marketer, she knew how hard it was to make good data-driven decisions and so she decided to solve that problem. She spent the next year talking to people and researching her idea.
She had one big question: why is nobody doing something about this problem?
During that year she also hired a developer and started building an MVP.
She used Facebook ads to get her first customer for less than $50. In fact, you'll be shocked how quickly she got that first customer. The product was clearly solving a pain point because it didn't take long to find more customers.
She had a great product, early customers, and was ready to raise money.
But then Iris decided to kill the product.
She shut it down and started looking for a different product idea. In the interview, you'll learn exactly what led to her making such a drastic decision. She talks about why the decision made sense at the time but is something she still regrets today.
There's an interesting story behind that decision and a useful lesson for all founders.
Eventually, Iris did build another product.
This time her product was focused on web analytics. And in the last 4 years, she's grown her company to 60 employees and several thousand customers. And she's also raised $28 million in funding.
It's a great interview with some interesting insights.
As a serial entrepreneur, Iris already learned some tough lessons with her previous startups. In this interview, you'll learn about some counter-intuitive things she did this time. Those insights may help you to avoid making the same mistakes too.
I hope you enjoy it.
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[00:00:00] Omer Khan: Welcome to another episode of the SaaS Podcast I'm your host, Omer Khan. And this is the 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 in this episode, I talk to Iris Shoor, the founder and CEO of Oribi, an AI-based web analytics tool that gives you actionable insights to help you make better data-driven marketing decisions.
[00:00:40] In 2016, Iris had an idea for a new SaaS product. She had already built two successful startups and was ready for a new challenge. As a marketer, she knew how hard it was to make good data-driven decisions. And so she decided to solve that problem. She spent the next year talking to people and researching her idea.
[00:01:01] She had one big question. If this is a pain, why is nobody doing something about it? During the year, she also hired a developer and started building an MVP. She used Facebook ads to get her first customer for less than $50. In fact, you'll be shocked how quickly she got that first customer. The product was clearly solving a pain point because it didn't take long to find more customers.
[00:01:24] So now she had a good product early customers and was ready to raise money, but then Irish decided to kill the product. She shut it down and started looking for a different product idea in this interview, you'll learn exactly what led to her, making such a drastic decision. She talks about why the decision made sense at the time, but it's something she still regrets.
[00:01:48] There's an interesting story behind that decision and a useful lesson for all founders. Eventually, Iris did build another product. This time her product was focused on web analytics and in the last four years, she's grown her company to 60 employees and several thousand customers. And she's also raised $28 million in funding. It's a great interview with some interesting insights.
[00:02:13] As a serial entrepreneur, Iris already learned some tough lessons with her previous startup. In this interview, you learn about some counter-intuitive things she did this time around, and those insights may actually help you to avoid making the same mistakes too. So I hope you enjoy it.
[00:02:28] Iris welcome to the show.
[00:02:30] Iris Shoor: Hi.
[00:02:31] Omer Khan: So you're a serial entrepreneur. This is your, the third startup that you're working on right now. What gets you out of bed every day? What inspires you to, to work on, on these businesses?
[00:02:42] Iris Shoor: Well, I like doing the best is building stuff. It's interesting because I was very artistic and they studied architecture and they have to say there's a place that they feel most creative at in life is in my company since it's mainly about like tackling your challenges as thinking about how we build things from scratch.. So you're not speaking just about the product. It's also about challenges with HR marketing crisis.
[00:03:11] So I think that's what inspires me most to, to build new things, to build things that they don't have any reference to and to solve challenges.
[00:03:22] Omer Khan: Great. So tell us about Oribi, what does the product do? Who is it for? And what's the main problem you're helping to solve.
[00:03:31] Iris Shoor: So Oribi is the marketing analytics tool. The main problem that we're helping to solve is to help marketers, to be data-driven, to understand how to allocate the budget, to really understand if the different efforts that they're working on, actually convert.
[00:03:48] So I see it's one of the toughest things to do today is to really understand that if I'm writing content does it actually bring them more people to convert. And if I make new videos, advertising, email marketing and what we'll be doing very differently than other tools and mainly Google analytics, and we probably speak more about it later is to have everything in a no-code problem.
[00:04:14] So we really want to take the developers out of the equation and to have the marketing teams, to define the data themselves, to ask all the questions. I say that to all of you probably knows it as an issue of trying to collect new data and then their marketers need to every developer to add new events to the website.
[00:04:35] And usually it's about an exit don't have enough time as a marketer can do it by themselves. And that's what we're trying to change with Oribi. How to collect data and how to collect the entire customer journey in a super-easy way without code, without entering the website until this was in Oribi but to also export each, to create audiences on Facebook, new fields on HubSpot and so on.
[00:05:03] Omer Khan: Who who's your, you said marketers, but who's your ideal customer, is there a certain type of company or size of company or a vertical that you're focused on?
[00:05:13] Iris Shoor: So today we working mainly with the mid-sized companies. We work with e-commerce marketing agencies, SaaS companies, and finance. So a few different verticals, usually with a marketing span of a few thousand dollars a month, up to a few millions.
[00:05:32] Omer Khan: Got it. Okay. So give us a sense of the size of the business and where you are right now. So Oribi was founded in 2016. So you've been, you've been working on this business for four of five years or about four, five years. Tell us a little bit about like, how big is the business today? What's the size of the team? How many customers do you have?
[00:05:55] Iris Shoor: So today we're over here, 60 employees. We have a few thousand customers. We raised 28 million dollars to date..
[00:06:05] Omer Khan: Okay. Awesome. Before we get into the story of how you, how you came up with the idea for this business and got started, tell us a little bit about what you were doing before, because as I mentioned earlier, this is your third startup. So just, just give us a quick recap of like your first two startups. So people have a little bit more context about your background.
[00:06:25] Iris Shoor: Yeah, definitely. So, as I mentioned before, I studied architecture when I was just about to graduate, I decided it and that's not what I want to do in life. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do.
[00:06:38] It was a period that many of my friends started a company. It seems like there is a past, it wasn't one, but it was a very exciting one. And I decided to start my company together with two founders, we were pretty clueless and here and everything is a hard way. And we decided to start with something that came from, says a word at I care for men of the architecture, and how to take 2d and 3d models into the web and mobile.
[00:07:08] So these were, the early days of mobile apps and that it was a very interesting challenge over there and it took us a while, but when we managed to create and build a product, we were backed by Sequoia and the company was acquired by Autodesk later on after the acquisition, we were in charge of all of the mobile developmental phase of Autodesk.
[00:07:33] I've been with Autodesk for two years and I, co-founded another company called OverOps a very different one. I really loved the world of CAD and 2d and 3d modeling, but it's really hard to build large companies over there. And that's why I decided to move to a different space. Yeah. The second company was a company solving production debugging for developers, DevOps, a very technical one.
[00:07:59] A very interesting challenge. I was there for the first 10, four years, and then left and started Oribi, company is doing very well raised over 70 million doors to date. It was both of my first companies. I led the product and marketing. I was always intrigued by how challenging it is to be data-driven for marketing saying that what I love best about marketing is that the sales cycles are very short and you get like almost immediate feedback.
[00:08:33] Every time you change something, you create new content, you change your videos, ads, and so on, and you're able to see the results, but it was very hard for me to answer more advanced questions. So I can see like the CTR of a new video, but it was very, very challenging to understand how it really impacted sales.
[00:08:55] Or if I change something on the homepage, I can see how many people are clicking a different button right now, but then we want to understand the entire funnel and the entire impact. And that's what I decided to do with Oribi..
[00:09:06] Omer Khan: Okay. So tell me a little bit more about how you came up with the idea. So you're seeing this, this kind of pain and as a, as a serial entrepreneur, you're probably your, your brain's already ticking away at how you can solve this problem.
[00:09:20] But tell me a little bit more about like what led you to that actually kind of get to the point where you were like, yeah, this there's enough here. For me to want to commit the next, you know, X number of years on solving this problem. Yeah.
[00:09:34] Iris Shoor: So the first question that to ask myself is what is like my zone of genius. What am I doing best? Where do I shine as an entrepreneur? I say this is like a very important question for entrepreneurs. In many cases, [inaudible]. There might be a very big challenge or a very big opportunity, but you're not the right person to solve it. So the first question was like, what do I do best?
[00:09:59] And his answer was B2B low-touch high-scale. I love products. I love marketing. I love B2B products and they felt that I can do a very good job at creating something that is low-touch, self-served. And then I started asking myself, in which spaces is there still like a huge opportunity around it? So in which spaces, there are lots of great tools for the enterprise and also, but also not, not enough tools for a mid-market or thing that ourselves serve.
[00:10:36] And they really. I found it very interesting as a space of of analytics and marketing analytics because of this reason. So this is like a combination of something that I felt by myself. They felt that as a user, but also an area that they felt that they, I can really be good at and I can create a simple product and to create a smart goal to market.
[00:11:01] And then I started investigating it. So before I started the first year for Oribi was for me, mostly about speaking with people, understanding what was the main barriers things like my, my main question was, okay, so how come nobody's doing it? So it's obvious it's all marketers want to be more data driven through is a pain as a market is big enough.
[00:11:26] And I can say that the challenge is becoming more and more challenging because of all the different channels that you've used and challenges and so on, but the market still existed before. So I really try to answer the question of like, what is the number one barrier and try to tackle it.
[00:11:44] Omer Khan: Like when you say you spend the first year having those conversations, was this just through your own personal network, were you reaching out to, to strangers and other marketers, like what, what was, what was that process like?
[00:12:00] Iris Shoor: One important shift that they made us entrepreneurial was instead of trying to reach out to people that it's easier for me to reach out to. I always try to create to myself like this. The people I want to speak with one of the common mistakes of entrepreneurs is that let's say that you have a challenging time with marketing, and you're not sure at what is the right go-to-market for you.
[00:12:24] And then in most cases you'll say, okay, so I know I know this guy and this company is doing well and my investor can help me to reach out to them. So usually like the way you think about how to reach out to people is who I can get to plus who's interesting. And I find that it's pretty easy to get to people.
[00:12:42] So I usually try and creating to myself just like wishlist of all the people that I really feel that I want to speak to speak with. And can you give me another example of that is a more, more recent one about like four months ago, I decided to change the pricing and to change the packages.. And there wasn't sure about the right way to do it. And they want to speak with companies that they have like zero contact to an adjust, reached out to people on LinkedIn in a seamless way, when you have a good story. And I think today it's very hard to, to succeed with cold emails, if you just like trying to reach out to customers and so on.
[00:13:21] But when I write to someone who is in charge of pricing at a company that resembles Oribi, but doesn't compete in the percentage, this is where I'm at right now. And I would love to hear their feedback about this specific issue. Then I say I can, 80% of the cases I got a reply and managed to set, to set the call and any lots of young entrepreneurs that are meeting lots of people because they're trying to get to like the right answer and so on.
[00:13:50] And my advice is just create a list of five, 10 people you really want to, to speak with. And in most cases you'll be able to which most of most of them.
[00:13:59] Omer Khan: I, I think that was great. And then ultimately I think for what you're saying, it boils down to making sure that when you're reaching out to these people, it's super relevant and you know, if you're kind of going in and really thinking hard about why you want to have a conversation with this person and explaining that to them. You're much more likely to get a response than, Hey, let me just copy and paste a cold email to a thousand people and hope, you know, some of them reply.
[00:14:28] Iris Shoor: I see that most of people really enjoy helping other people if they feel that they can help. So I can share that, like, when I get an email of someone saying like, I need your help with a marketing of a mobile app and they don't have any experience with it. And I will usually say no. Even if it's someone that they know, but I will help someone that they feel that is very related to my space and can help.
[00:14:54] They can share more about like this topic that when I started to Oribi, one of the common questions to take off from investors is how can you make sure that Google won't build something similar? So I just reach out via LinkedIn or email to X product managers of Google analytics set from Google and told them that's where I'm at right now.
[00:15:15] We'd love to hear your feedback and they're happy to share what they could and they managed to get to them and to get interesting answers.
[00:15:24] Omer Khan: That's awesome. And when you reach out to people like on LinkedIn, with that example with X product managers, the message you were sending. Like, were you being that specific in terms of, you know, I'm doing this, this is a concern, I want to get your feedback on, on whether this is going to be a problem for me or not, because I think a lot of the times people kind of do the outreach and it's, it's kind of pretty vague. What they're asking for is just like, yeah, can I have a chat?
[00:15:51] Iris Shoor: Yeah. So I'm very specific. I seen it in many cases. It will also help you to save time because in some kinds of mindset, Like, I'm not the right person. I can't really share anything about it. And I feel that if they can help, it will being very specific is, is going to help you to get more in services.
[00:16:10] And once you say, like mentioned something like let's chat and I'm building a new startup and looking for feedback, as in people you're seeing that you probably reached out to thousands of different people and you don't really need their help.
[00:16:26] Omer Khan: So you, you spent, you said about a year having these types of conversations, trying to understand what was going on.
[00:16:33] And I think the question you, you, you mentioned a little earlier was if there's a need here, why is nobody doing it? So what did you learn at the end of that? What were your takeaways?
[00:16:44] Iris Shoor: So, first of all, it was a year of conversations, but also building the product. I'm usually very against of that. Just like being able to theory and just learning. And there is limited that there was limited data that you can pull from people. I always try to start developing a small product and test it around and also learn more about to go to market. And the main thing that we got to is that to build a good product, you need to have the data layer set. So let's say that you're building like a very nice product of a understanding of analyzing content marketing, for example, to have it right, you need to really understand. What is each blog post? How do people interact with it? What do they do later? What which other conversions are related to it? In most tools or in all tools, you need developers to use call-based events. They don't have enough time. And what happens is that you don't have the basic data there.
[00:17:49] And therefore, even if you have this like amazing system of insights and reports and so on, once you don't have that as a foundation of, of data, you can do much. And that's why we decided the Oribi, to focus mainly, and this is like the core of the technology. On how to collect customer data without being dependent on developers.
[00:18:11] So think about, it's a bit like a WordPress and Wix or WordPress and Shopify. The main differentiation is that you can do it without developers having like different templates of fare designs and a marketplace and so on. It's amazing, but that's not the main reason why people decide on that on choosing this alternative. So, so that's what we're doing very differently.
[00:18:37] Omer Khan: Got it. You mentioned a Google analytics, but the first product you built was actually built around for Facebook, right?
[00:18:47] Iris Shoor: Yeah. So I shared before the story that the initial space I decided if I want to deal with was analytics. I felt that it's really hard to get answers.
[00:18:59] And, but it also mentioned that he really loved getting to the market and understanding. Yeah. I also feel that it's very important to send, to sense the field, to sales people, to understand how challenging it is to get to them how do they seeing, what they are the looking for. And the initial tool that I decided to build was around Facebook analytics.
[00:19:20] So the idea was always to build something bigger. But I saw a very interesting opportunity around Facebook analytics. Are you seeing that this is like the main platform for advertising today was the same as two years ago. And their analytics and ads UI is very, very basic, very hard to get insights from and people lose lots of money because they don't really understand what's working and what doesn't. And we just created a better analysis of how the ads behave.
[00:19:53] Omer Khan: Okay. And initially, that was bootstrapped the business, right? You hadn't raised any money at that point?
[00:19:59] Iris Shoor: Yeah.
[00:19:59] Omer Khan: Okay. So you've kind of built this product. And from what I understand, the feedback was very positive. It sounded like you were onto something here, but that kind of changed when you started talking to investors. Like what happened?
[00:20:14] Iris Shoor: Yeah. So there's something that in hindsight I will change and I would probably act differently. So actually the price was amazing. I remember like the first day we launched it and I put like a place like $50 on Facebook for a few ads. So okay, let's see if people are using it. And if I can even like acquire customers in $50 a day, by the way, the reason that we were bootstrap at first, it was because it was very important for me to really understand the market and to understand the space.
[00:20:47] And I see that many entrepreneurs many today that was lots of money rush into taking money. And it's important to understand that because there was no way back. Once you took money, can't tell your investors, okay. I don't realize this, this space. I want to change it completely. Like you can pivot, but it's not as easy when, when you were bootstrapping.
[00:21:07] So I started telling them we had like a very limited budget. I started like the Facebook ads and probably 30 minutes after. I started to Facebook as they got an email from a customer to say, like, info for Oribi I always like for the first user we sold, did someone signed up, started using it. And it was an email saying like, wow, this is amazing for the first time I understand my audiences.
[00:21:36] Omer Khan: Did you say you got somebody in 30 minutes?
[00:21:39] Iris Shoor: Yeah. I got like somebody clicking the ads, using the ad and sending us an email that this is amazing.
[00:21:45] Omer Khan: Wow.
[00:21:46] Iris Shoor: And, and yeah, and this was like, wow. I think like it's so hard to get to to great feedback with something that is low- touched and to get someone who doesn't know your brand, seeing an ad on Facebook, using the product and really managed to get value out of it.
[00:22:03] And that was amazing. And we, so rate engagement, great feel that ability to, to bring customers and inbound, low- touched. And then I decided now it's time to raise money. It was like two months after we launched it. And I got very negative reactions from investors. So they're all telling me that Facebook are probably going to change their UI soon.
[00:22:34] And you're building a bit. Yeah. Based on that Facebook not having a good interface, that's the entire business. And they agree with them. I see that they were right in some sense that we had something really good that they seen, it could have been like the seeds of a more mature product. And I decided just to kill it because they felt like, okay, I'm just like racing with Facebook.
[00:22:59] And now like four years later, the Facebook UI looks exactly the same and it hasn't changed. Does it have more advertisers? So in hindsight, I would live this product, use it as like the growth and change, revenue and change, I think like the main lesson is that it has something really good and I decided to kill it.
[00:23:20] If I had something that didn't really work out, it had an issue and that's something else we already had something really good.
[00:23:28] Omer Khan: Yeah. Was there a lesson there because you know, I think that, it sounds like you did the smart, rational thing. You're you're, you're talking to people, you get feedback from investors.
[00:23:38] It's a very valid concern, right? If you're building this whole business and raising money on something that Facebook could change tomorrow then that's a huge potential vulnerability, but I think deep down intuitively something told you there was something here.
[00:23:56] Iris Shoor: Yeah. And I think it was already working if it was like an idea direction, that's something else. But I feel that we had like the smaller gold mine and it might've been seen that we should have had like a plan B and all the time. I've never sort of like, Oribi, just Facebook analytics, but they feel that we had something really good and I dropped it just because of like an investor's concerns.
[00:24:21] Omer Khan: So, okay. So, so you've, you've been kind of building this thing for a year, having conversations, you launch a couple of months later, things are looking great. And then the investor conversations sort of basically pulled the plug on the idea. Some people. Might have given up there or moved on you. Didn't what did you do next?
[00:24:45] Iris Shoor: And I decided to go after the bigger, the bigger vision of new methods for marketing analytics, that was actually like initial plan. But they, I felt at the beginning to want to start with something that is easier to develop. It was very important for me to also understand that. How to reach users, health workers, marketers.
[00:25:06] And that's why I decided to start with Facebook analytics, but they decided to start from square. Just start developing like the, the quality technology of that cordless identification effect, creating the customer behavioral data without using code and the product based on it.
[00:25:25] Omer Khan: Well, how big was the size of the team then? It was you and who else?
[00:25:29] Iris Shoor: And one developer.
[00:25:30] Omer Khan: One developer, Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
[00:25:33] Iris Shoor: By the way, I have to, I have to say that like their staffing, when it started the Oribi was like after two successful startup, I could have raised money probably pretty easily, but they seen as there's something very healthy about starting with with a very small team.
[00:25:50] I think it takes time to understand the direction, to make some mistakes, to feel that the market, they don't see that it should be as tiniest too, but they see it as their staffing. Very healthy. You starting out like five people, eight people.
[00:26:04] Omer Khan: Yeah. I, I totally agree with that. So how long did it take for you to kind of get that next? Next kind of version of the product shipped.
[00:26:17] Iris Shoor: So it wasn't kind of like the other way around from there. Like the initial product was okay, let's take everything we can from Facebook API and develop like this very basic UI and really something in two months. And with the second round. It was mostly about, okay.
[00:26:36] Let's build like a very, very different technology and let's base every single different aspect on a different technology. So from the get-go we knew like it's meaningless to build a, yet another Google analytics, even if the UI is going to be nice, are we're going to have some other features, but it was really like, it was really about like different building.
[00:26:58] Yeah. And a completely different approach. And it took a while. It took us there, like over a year to have the first beta, eh, it was very challenging together.
[00:27:09] Omer Khan: So, so by now you've been working on this idea for what? A couple of years?
[00:27:15] Iris Shoor: Yeah. About like three or four years.
[00:27:17] Omer Khan: Wow. Okay. So tell me about when you, when you did eventually launch this, this kind of next version of the product. How did you get your first 10 customers? Where did they come from? Was this again, more kind of just outreach where you were, you running more ads and trying to find people that way? Wait, where did the first customers come from?
[00:27:40] Iris Shoor: So over here also had a shift, comparing to how I used to work with my previous companies. I see that's what most people do when you have like your own. First version is to far as speaking with some companies, you know, friends as a portfolio companies of your investors. And in most cases they don't represent your typical customer for both sides. So it can't be that as they're going to work with you much more and interact more, and if they have a problem, instead of ditching the product that they're going to work with you and wait for explanations and also the other way around. So sometimes they're a niche picking and in many cases, and that's like the main reason I decided not to reach out to people I know, or that I get to from my network, in many cases, they don't really need your product. So you reach out to another standard company.
[00:28:42] They say, okay, let's try it out. It's not something that they really need. They're really looking as a really, really actively looking for. And what they try to do with Oribi. This is like a concept I'm a big believer in it is to find people that really need my my product. So from day one, I started with Facebook ads and that's what gave me the ability to really test the entire loop.
[00:29:10] So it was what is the right messaging to hook people. So that was also very interesting too, to understand if If it's something that people are interested at, how do we get people to understand the product? And this is critical because this is entirely the entire difference between a low touch company and a enterprise company doing managed to get people, to see a Facebook ad, to install the product and to, to see the value.
[00:29:38] And then gets them to pay. So I seen, there was something much, much more interesting with getting inbound leads from the get-go and you're able to get to more people stopping for example, that happened to me a lot with my previous company and in which the first like 10, 20 customers were, eh, Israeli companies we knew we got to, and in many cases we started working with that they found it interesting, but there was always something to tap in someone they're just after companies, they have a bigger project and it was always in many cases it got stuck. And when you really simulate getting to potential customers where you will, when you will be bigger and you learn much more and much faster, I would say that it's not like you can do like a technical lab.
[00:30:31] Like one thing we've done at the beginning is asking favors for friends to just install a Oribi on their website. And we checked it, everything worked correctly. And so on the technical side, it's something else. But to really understand the product market fit, I will try to simulate getting to people that are not on your network and to understand how they're working with people.
[00:30:56] Omer Khan: Not many people rule out Facebook because they're thinking, well, I'm selling a B2B product. And for, for whatever reason, people think Facebook, you know, it's like a B2C kind of platform, but we know that people, people work at companies, people, those people are on Facebook. So tell me a little bit about, like, what did that sort of initial kind of funnel look like?
[00:31:18] How did you figure out who to target or how to target people on Facebook. And then what were you doing? Were you just like running ads and trying to get people directly to sign up for a trial? Were you doing some kind of initial message and re-targeting, what was the, what was the approach that you would taking in those early days that you've found was working for you?
[00:31:41] Iris Shoor: So lots of trial and error. I feel that the beauty about marketing is that unlike product, you can try a lot of different things. So I tried with like five different ads. They were very basic, which was mainly about some messaging and some nice image. And I worked with freelancers on Upwork and Fiverr.
[00:32:02] For the design. I tried out different audiences. I seen Facebook is probably the easiest place to start with because it's much easier to create audiences. And unlike, for example, like LinkedIn, that is more B2B where you need to understand much better what you're doing. And in many cases, the funnel is is longer and more complicated.
[00:32:22] So we're seeing that the Facebook is a very good send blocks. Unlike search and unlike a where it's less about the messaging and unlike YouTube that you need to prepare videos and it takes longer.
[00:32:34] Omer Khan: And, and how did you figure out who to target on Facebook, where you're using just like targeting people in particular, whatever you could get in terms of demographic information about them, where they might work or were you trying to build your own custom audience. Like how did you do that?
[00:32:55] Iris Shoor: So there were two different approaches. The first one was working with interests. So just to target digital marketing, Google analytics, other names of of relevant companies and so on. And it works to an extent as in one of the main challenges is that look alikes always works best, but in order to get a good seed, you need to have like a few hundred people to sign up to your service and with B2B takes awhile.
[00:33:25] So another thing that they've done was like gated content with articles about marketing analytics. You need to sign up, you need to leave your email, but it's much easier to get people to do it. And then sign up to a product or installing a product. So I seen as it cost me like let's say like a dollar or two to get someone to sign up for the gated content and then I was able to get to a few thousand people to create the initial seed for look alikes.
[00:33:57] So my approach is to try to think of like a cheaper way to create your first set of lookalikes and start working with it.
[00:34:08] Omer Khan: Okay. Awesome. Do you remember what you were charging for the product at that time?
[00:34:12] Iris Shoor: Well, we actually started for free. It's very tricky because they seem like one of the main challenges of entrepreneurs and I feel it all the time and they guessed it all entrepreneurial that are VC backed, I also experienced it a lot is that you have like two customers. The first one is like the real customers and the second one is investors. And I think it's very, very tempting to start charging from the get go, because you want to learn if people are paying and you want to earn money. So we have a local version rate, you have low ARR, and then you get to the next round and you say, okay, so I have like a 10K ARR and it's much easier to say I'm pre-revenue and not to get into all the metrics.
[00:34:56] So the reason it was free, it was because I was before the next round. I didn't want to show like low metrics and, and in super tricky, because you have like two customers to churn and then you have like 10% churn and then investors start dealing with it. So it was free at first, after the round we started with $79 a month.
[00:35:20] And I said, what really helped us to grow is it was at one point we decided we want to really increase the prices. We increased it to $300 and then $500. We saw that people that are serious, that are actually using the product really see how much it saves them with marketing expenses.
[00:35:41] They're serious about it and they're willing to pay much more and it works much more for them and people with very low, very small websites that have a very limited budget and probably can't pay a few hundred dollars a month. Are usually not a very good fit for the product, we don't invest in much if we don't see enough value.
[00:36:02] So for us changing the pricing and by the way, something that we're doing in an ongoing basis. So right now we're not changing a lot price itself, but we're playing a lot with packaging and upsells and so on. I think, I think it's really critical for having a successful company because in most cases we were.
[00:36:22] So obsessed with getting more leads and all traffic that we forget how easy in most cases it is to optimize the revenue by 20, 30% by finding the right process pricing packages.
[00:36:36] Omer Khan: Yeah. Now this I think is very interesting. WhenI looked at Oribi, it was like, I think the plans today, or certainly when I saw, as they were starting around $500 a month.
[00:36:47] And so you're thinking about, okay, this $6,000 a year for, and there's a positioning challenge here, I think. Right. Because a lot of people will say, oh, It's a, it's an alternative to Google analytics. And so there's a big leap that someone has to make from paying nothing for Google analytics and paying, you know, $6,000 plus a year for Oribi.
[00:37:09] Now, a lot of founders would, would sort of think about a market like this and say, You know, God, how do I compete when there's a free alternative, it's going to be really hard for me to be able to charge anything. If I do, maybe I should just be charging a little bit, but not going kind of super high. But when you and I were talking earlier, you were saying that actually that was one of the things that you regret regretted that you actually, you know, you, should, you wish you hadn't started with, with such low pricing.
[00:37:41] Iris Shoor: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, first of all I seen is when we look at many successful products, you can say that there is some free alternative or a cheaper alternative. You can even say. Why do I need the CRM if I can manage all my customers say I was in an Excel file. So there was always a reason why you need to pay more. And that I think it was Oribi with our customers they see it definitely sees it value. So is there a two ways in which you can justify that as a pricing. So it was the first one is just they, they get better marketing analytics and they're able to optimize their budget much better.
[00:38:24] So let's say for example, that you're spending let's even take like a, a pretty modest marketing budget of like 10K a month. If you're able to optimize it by even like 10%, you have serving $1000. And in most cases, people that use Google analytics are unable to really understand what their channels are doing.
[00:38:44] So if you're able to allocate the budget better, to understand which content right to understand that we change is to make to your website, it's super significant and, and, and aspect the cost of developers. So what happens today and that's bringing me back to the example of like WordPress compared to Wix or to Shopify.
[00:39:06] Most companies work with either like in-house or external developers. Every time they need to collect new data, they need to set a new report. And that usually cost them a few hundred dollars a month and they need to be relied on someone else. So it's pretty easy to explain. How's it going to see this money back and which costs you're saving today and the things that I do. Like in many cases, if you have a superior product, you can charge more.
[00:39:37] Omer Khan: Yeah. That's a good point. Okay. So you'd been working on this, this idea for a while. You, you had the one developer with you. The, the Facebook product didn't, didn't work out as planned. And then you went back to the drawing board and, and built this, this alternative.
[00:39:52] What point did the, did you sort of feel the business started to take off? At what point were you able to start hiring? Or maybe another way is just like, you know, how long did it take for you to get to, you know, like the first million ARR.
[00:40:07] Iris Shoor: So until two years ago, we're a pretty small team of about like 10 people. And it took me a while to get to the point that for the day I have like product market fit, it, it wasn't about pivoting the product, but it was more about polishing his product. And I'm a big believer in that. Taking things from good to great, or for me to go to great all the time. And that is something that we keep on doing with Oribi.
[00:40:38] It's more about taking the existing features and improving them and polishing them and changing that performance. And so you are in the capabilities all the time and the same, like the initial feedback that we received, from customers was that they really need this kind of product. And they were very excited about the cordless collection and about this concept of a different approach for Google Analytics, but it wasn't there yet.
[00:41:05] So, so the engagement wasn't high enough and we kept on polishing it. And by the way, As I mentioned before, I think today companies to grow as fast as possible and with today's cloud, we made I really understand it, but it also feel that it's much easier to move faster and to get to product market fit when you're a smaller team.
[00:41:28] And when all the changes are quick, here, you have a smaller customer base that you need to add. So it might took us longer, but they're very happy that we took the time. So until like two years ago, we were only 10 people. We were to very low ARR and then we really start hitting the guess. So we saw that everything is working and people are reacting well, and it seemed that we moved from like a marketing spend of like $2,000, a month to 50K a month, building all the marketing in that and sales machines and tools.
[00:42:05] And we were mainly R and D and then we were able to grow pretty fast. So I seen it from like 100K to 1 million inARR. It took us like, probably like less than one year, maybe like eight or 10 months.
[00:42:20] Omer Khan: And then marketing spend was most of that still. Has that still been going on, on paid acquisitions? Are you still doing Facebook ads?
[00:42:29] Iris Shoor: Yeah, we're still doing mainly Facebook and YouTube ads.
[00:42:33] Omer Khan: That's interesting. Okay. All right. We should wrap up before we do that. Just one quick question. I know one of the things that you you've also decided to do is to go into you, focus on verticals. So you focus as you mentioned, marketing agencies and e-commerce businesses, and so on.
[00:42:50] Is that something you've done recently or was that a while back? Because in many ways it's smart to be able to segment your, your, your audience and target them in different ways. But it also feels like there's a lot of work that suddenly, you know, you, you kind of have multiples of, of work just by having these different verticals and funnels and so on. So what was the main, main driver for that? And is that something that's working today.
[00:43:20] Iris Shoor: So I think there are two levels of going vertical. The first one is to really change the product. I think it's amazing. And it's something that we were really planning to do even changing the terminology within the product for each vertical, but also adding the specific features.
[00:43:40] And another level that is easier is packaging the product in a different way. And that's the main thing that we've done. So. We create in different creative, different landing pages and onboarding flow for e-commerce and marketing agencies highlighting as a future for them. We created some features for them, but it's still pretty minor within the product, but is say, once you tell people that say, okay, now we have a tool for e-commerce analytics and the seed from the onboarding, and we see the right terminology.
[00:44:17] It makes magic. And there's a huge difference in the conversion rate. Once people feel that it's specific for them as real and put more resources to test out the product. So I, I feel that that was a very wise decision and definitely the direction that we're going to explore more and probably create more packages around different verticals.
[00:44:43] Omer Khan: Awesome. All right. We are out of time. So let's, let's just wrap up. I'm going to go into the lightning round. I'm gonna ask you seven quick fire questions. So just try to answer as quickly as you can. Ready to go?
[00:44:55] Iris Shoor: Yes.
[00:44:56] Omer Khan: All right. What's the best piece of business advice you've received?
[00:45:00] Iris Shoor: Try to stay focused on work on too many projects features in parallel. So do one thing right?
[00:45:07] Omer Khan: What book would you recommend to our audience and why?
[00:45:12] Iris Shoor: I have to admit it like two or three years ago, I decided to stop reading business books and to start reading fantasy books. I really need this like vacation for my work and to visit different words when I have some time. So right now I'm reading a book, called as a book of dust, but then maybe my recommendation is to take some time off from business books.
[00:45:34] Omer Khan: Yeah. Not bad, not bad advice. What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?
[00:45:42] Iris Shoor: Being very modest. I think that's the word is changing all the time and you need to be very flexible. So yeah, being modest, understanding the changes, learning everything from scratch all the time.
[00:45:56] Omer Khan: What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?
[00:46:00] Iris Shoor: Actually, one very good habit that I adopted about like a year or two ago was to stop making to-do lists. So it was always very much about like, what am I going to do every day? And I felt it did lots of stress to my life. Always felt that, Hey, I'm completing with the to-do list.
[00:46:20] So right now I have this like very long list and it's unstructured and it's not by day. And there aren't very specific goals for the personnel test that they have and they found it like something that really helped my pre productivity and creativity.
[00:46:38] Omer Khan: So you just kind of look through there and see what, what kind of pops out and decide to work.
[00:46:44] Iris Shoor: Yeah.
[00:46:44] Omer Khan: Yeah. Yeah. I've done something similar to that. I think that, I think there's something to that other than waking up and feeling stress because all the stuff that you didn't do yesterday is not carried over.
[00:46:55] Iris Shoor: 20 things that they need to complete today. Yeah. And. I really like, I feel that every day I come back home and I tell them I didn't manage to complete my test today and I have so much to do.
[00:47:08] And then it dust like, and then I decided to start to, to do less and to try to manage my time better. And then I just decided that like, I want to do what they feel the most productive with every day. So, my productivity advice is to be more loose about your productivity.
[00:47:27] Omer Khan: Yeah. I love that. What's the new, crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the extra time.
[00:47:32] Iris Shoor: Wow. I have plenty. I think it's something that they,
[00:47:36] Omer Khan: Or maybe you're already working on one.
[00:47:38] Iris Shoor: No, but something that they find very interesting is everything around economics. So like trying to build like different models, like something that they find very interesting is the entire concept of fair like salaries. If there is a different way to pay people, to build different structures, they feel that decent start entire space, didn't change it all for like hundreds of years. And so that's something that they find very interesting.
[00:48:10] Omer Khan: What's an interesting, well, fun fact about you that most people don't know?
[00:48:14] Iris Shoor: I go to lots of workshops and every single one like being more spiritual, I've seen that they say like mature more. I I'm less about like the effects of the words and then. The kind of I believe more about like the spirit of the world and that there are lots of things that we can't explain.
[00:48:36] Omer Khan: Cool and finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work?
[00:48:41] Iris Shoor: Well, I have to admit it to be between like managing a startup and having young children I have like no personal life. So it used to be more around like hours. I hope to, to get back there soon.
[00:49:00] Omer Khan: Well, good luck with that.
[00:49:02] Iris Shoor: Thank you.
[00:49:03] Omer Khan: All right. Well, thank you so much for joining me. If people want to find out more about Oribi they can go to Oribi that's O-R-I-B-I dot I-O. And if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?
[00:49:20] Iris Shoor: Probably on the LinkedIn or Facebook.
[00:49:22] Omer Khan: Okay. We'll include links to your, your profiles that are in the show notes. Well, Iris, thank you so much for for joining me and sharing your story. I think it's always inspirational for a lot of people who listened to this show too, to hear about somebody who not that long ago was bootstrapping with one developer and now is in a very different place.
[00:49:46] And so thank you for sharing your story and kind of your lessons along the way. And hopefully it's going to be helpful or inspirational for, for people listening so appreciate you making the time to do this. And I wish you and the team the best of success.
[00:50:02] Iris Shoor: Thank you.
[00:50:04] Omer Khan: Cheers.
[00:50:05] Iris Shoor: Thanks.
The Show Notes