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The SaaS Podcast

A SaaS Founder Shares His Lessons on Overcoming Failures – with Sabba Keynejad [241]

Sabba Keynejad

A SaaS Founder Shares His Lessons on Overcoming Failures

Sabba Keynejad is the co-founder of Veed.io, a UK-based SaaS startup that provides a simple online video editor.

Sabba and his co-founder Tim were frustrated working with complex and time-consuming video editing software. They realized that for many tasks, these products were overkill.

So they set out to build a simple online video editing tool.

They failed to raise seed funding so they had to work contract jobs during the day. And then they worked on their business at night.

A few months later they applied to YC and made it to the final interview. They flew out to the YC offices in Mountain View excited to be on a cusp of a big break.

But they were rejected by YC because they weren't making any money.

So 48 hours later, the founders implemented a paywall and had their first 20 paying customers. It was a promising sign that they were solving a worthwhile problem, so they kept going.

But by August, they had less than one month's runway left and knew they were going to struggle to make payroll. So they doubled their prices with little to impact on user growth.

Today, they're generating over $10K in MRR and are growing 50% month over month.

The key takeaway from this story is that failure is part of life. It's how you bounce back that matters.

I hope you enjoy it.

Transcript

Read Full Transcript

Omer Khan [0:10]
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 share their stories, strategies and insights to help you build, launch and grow your SaaS business. In this episode, I talked to Sabba Keynejad, the co-founder of Veed.io, a UK based SaaS startup that provides a simple online video editor Sabba and his co-founder Tim were frustrated working with complex and time-consuming video editing software. They realized that for many tasks, these products were overkill. And eventually, that led them to joining forces to build a simple online video editing tool. They failed to raise seed funding so they had to work contract jobs during the day. And then they worked on their business at night. A few months later, they applied to YC and made it to the final interview. They flew out to the YC offices in Mountain View, excited to be on a cusp of a big break. But they were rejected by YC because they weren't making any money. So back in London 48 hours later, the founders implemented the paywall, and had their first 20 paying customers. It was a promising sign that there was solving a worthwhile problem and that helped them to keep going. But by August, they had less than one month's runway left, and they knew they were going to struggle to make payroll. So they literally doubled their prices overnight with little to no impact on user growth. Today, they're generating over $10,000 in MRR and are growing at 50% month over month. The key takeaway from this story is that failure is a part of any entrepreneur's life. It's how you bounce back that money. And there's some really interesting lessons here in this interview, so I hope you enjoy it real quick before we get started. Firstly, don't forget to grab a free copy of the SaaS Toolkit, which will tell you about the 21 essential tools that every SaaS business needs, you can download your copy by going to theSaaSpodcast.com. Secondly, if you're a new early-stage SaaS founder who needs help launching or growing your SaaS company, then check out SaaS Club Plus our online membership and community. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or wasting cycles figuring out what you have to do at each stage, you can get step by step guidance that helps you make the right steps with confidence. And you can connect with a community of like-minded individuals who can support you through challenging times, and help you find solutions to your tough problems. So if you'd like to learn more, or request an invitation, just head over to SaaSclubplus.com. And also, if you're enjoying the podcast, then please consider leaving a review in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. And follow me on Twitter to say hi I'm @omerkhan, O-M-E-R-K-H-A-N. Okay, let's get on with the interview. Sabba welcome to the show.

Sabba Keynejad [3:06]
Thank you very much.

Omer Khan [3:07]
So what gets you out of bed? What inspires and motivates you to work on your business every day?

Sabba Keynejad [3:12]
Well, the thing that actually gets me out of bed every morning is when I render note goes down. But jokes aside from that, we absolutely love creating content. And, you know, making products that other people do exactly the same thing. I just don't think there's anything cooler to do that. So we just absolutely love it.

Omer Khan [3:28]
So for people who aren't familiar, tell us what does the product do? Who is it for? And what's the main problem you're helping to solve?

Sabba Keynejad [3:38]
Sure. So Veed is a simple online video editing platform. And unlike most other editing platforms, it's very easy to use, it's collaborative, and we can render videos much faster than your average laptop, our users at any like anything from like big companies like Facebook and Pinterest to influencers, entrepreneurs and hobbyists. And so many of these people, they they want to make like content, but they don't have to dive in certain Adobe platform, which is, you know, designed for making long-form content. They just want to make sure sharp, you know, bits of content and subtitles captions and get it out on social.

Omer Khan [4:13]
Now, I came across you and Veed on LinkedIn, when you posted a summary of 2019 very succinctly, where you listed out your three top failures. And they were pretty significant ones, and how you turned things around. And basically took this bootstrapped business to I mean, at the time I saw that you were on track for about 150k ARR.

Sabba Keynejad [4:48]
Yeah.

Omer Khan [4:49]
And growing at about 50% month over month. Yeah, but before that there was there was sort of a couple of times where it looked like the business was going to go nowhere. It was just going get shut down. And I think it's a fascinating story. I also really appreciated, you know, your transparency to talk about this stuff. And so immediately when i saw that I thought I need to get this guy on the show and talk to him. So I'm glad we were able to, to make this work. And, you know, I'm really excited about sharing this story with, you know, with our audience here, before we sort of get into this roller coaster ride. And you know, how you sort of turn things around? Let's talk about how did you guys come up with the idea for this product?

Sabba Keynejad [5:35]
Sure. So maybe like, four or five years ago, I was working as a creative in London at production companies and startups. And and one of the contracts I was doing, I was being paid a pretty good day rate to basically edit videos for a social media company. And the Social Media Manager asked me to add text to a video about you know, 10 times that day, and that's kind of what I did. And I was just amazed that they weren't able to do it themselves. Like they were more than creatively capable of doing it. They do the images themselves, they do the posting cells, but when it came to video, there was a massive bottleneck. And they were kind of like using MacBook Airs, which you know, are the most powerful, and probably were, you know, able to use the really complicated software. So, at the time, I was also making gif's on giphy. Giphy has this really great editor for adding text to trimming gif's. So I thought, you know if we can make something that the Giphy editor but for videos, had it in the browser, that could be really powerful tool. And it kind of fits it really well like what I was doing at the time, I was like creating content myself. I was into technology. I was building apps and websites, and I just kind of thought I could bring those two things together in a really nice way.

Omer Khan [6:49]
And how did you get together with your co-founder Tim?

Sabba Keynejad [6:52]
Really interesting story we actually met online years ago when we were both in university. We met on a forum, which was doing this like online hackathon. And you would meet in two different like, groups via location. So the idea was meet some people in London, and we met at this Starbucks in ANGEL Huntington, and then just got on really, really well. And from that point on, we've been kind of like building two years, little, you know, little things, testing ideas. None of them really went anywhere, because we're both students, but then, you know, once he finished university, that's when we were like, Okay, let's do this for real.

Omer Khan [7:27]
And so what's the split like is, Are you the sort of the design guy and he's a developer or you guys do both bits of everything?

Sabba Keynejad [7:34]
Yeah, exactly. So he focuses on development, I focus on design. In the early days, we both kind of do a bit of everything. But as time has gone on, yeah, I focus more on designing growth. He does more product development.

Omer Khan [7:47]
Okay, so you've got this idea. And you think there's an opportunity for a business. What did you guys do next? Like, did you try to validate the idea? Did you build an MVP? What were the next steps you took?

Sabba Keynejad [8:00]
I'm not sure if this was in the LinkedIn posts, but there was a really big failure that we made around this sort of time. And that was we got into the King's College London University accelerator where Tim was studying once he graduated. And we didn't have that much runway, maybe about four months each. But on this accelerator, there was opportunities every three or four months to win grant funding from previous successful alumni. We thought the idea of a simple online video, it's a probably wasn't sexy enough to win this money. So we decided to start tweaking our idea and added the word AI in there and stuff like that. And basically, the good news is we want every competition during that year. And masters yeah, I think we must have had about 50,000 pounds in prize money. We got flown to Dubai to present the idea of VC gave us desk space, but fundamentally, it didn't work. So what was the idea? It was an automated editing product for e commerce for fashion. So like capital videos that you'd see on, I think they're on my Amazon Asos, you know, lots of really big eCommerce websites.

Omer Khan [9:05]
Okay, so if I understood this correctly, you had an idea for a simple video editing. And when you had this opportunity in this accelerator, you thought that ideas too simple, save me the more complicated.

Sabba Keynejad [9:21]
Exactly.

Omer Khan [9:24]
Okay. And then so how did things end up with that?

Sabba Keynejad [9:26]
So we're kind of getting somewhere, but we only have about one month's runway left. So we ripped out all of the complex parts and kind of left the simple online video. And with a couple of months runway left, we put on Product Hunt wrote a few books, optimized landing pages. And then we were out of money at this point, and it was kind of sad. So we had to go back to contracting but the good news was the MVP was live. And it had a few users at that point in time.

Omer Khan [9:56]
And how are you getting the word out apart from like Product Hunt? And sort of things like that, did you have an idea of who your target customer was? And how to find them? Or was it? Let's just try to get this in front of anybody who pay attention?

Sabba Keynejad [10:10]
Yeah, I suppose, like we had a bit of an idea of who are, you know, potential user might be, but it's very different to who they are now. So it was kind of just like thrown at the wall. Let's see what sticks. Let's just try and get some traction. And all we did was the initial product launch. And then we would answer questions on Quora, which I've heard quite a few people doing this podcast bit of a trend. And yeah, just, you know, get the initial stuff up to you know, 20, 30 answers, and we'd see maybe 2030 people a day coming to the site.

Omer Khan [10:40]
Okay. And when was that? Like, when did you kind of go through the accelerator?

Sabba Keynejad [10:45]
So we started the accelerator in September 2017. And then we left September 2018. So that was a full year. And that's the point of which we run out of money went back to contracting until March 29.

Omer Khan [11:01]
Okay, so what are you doing any work on the product in that time when you went back to contracting? Or were you guys like thinking this was a done deal and was trying to move on?

Sabba Keynejad [11:11]
The first month, we needed a bit of a break. But we kind of started seeing user numbers go up a bit. So we hired a couple of guys that help us out. And we work evenings and weekends just grinding, keep pushing.

Omer Khan [11:24]
Were you making any money at the time?

Sabba Keynejad [11:25]
No, the product is making no money.

Omer Khan [11:27]
Were you charging? Or it was just like a free product?

Sabba Keynejad [11:30]
Completely free.

Omer Khan [11:31]
Okay. And then sometime in early 2019, you try to raise some seed funding. What happened there?

Sabba Keynejad [11:40]
Yeah. So I mean, at this kind of time, we had like, 30,000 monthly users, so it was looking pretty good. And all the investors that I've previously spoken to and kept in touch, we have always said are we, you know, look for great founders. And, you know, you guys are great founders, but it's not the right time. And so yeah, we just kind of went And friends, hello people and we just didn't get any commitment. And we were just like, you know what, this is just wasting our time, we should really get back to focus on the products and you know, just going for it really?

Omer Khan [12:11]
Okay, so you try to raise funding, it doesn't go anywhere. And was it? Was it that user number that kind of kept you guys going? Like was that the thing that you just kind of felt like, okay, now we're onto something here.

Sabba Keynejad [12:25]
Yeah, exactly like we, you know, we were in the space of like four months, five months, we went from like, you know, 10 users a day to, you know, about thousand users a day. And so we were like, there's something here, there's something here like, you know, there's a problem we can we can do this.

Omer Khan [12:39]
Okay. And so both of you guys are working or contracting during the day and then you're working on this business at night. Which, you know, anybody who does that or anybody listening to that knows how tough that is to go through and you know, a full day of work and then kind of have the energy to put into this kind of project, you know, every night, day after day, week after week is not an easy thing to do.

Sabba Keynejad [13:05]
It was actually mornings we did mornings.

Omer Khan [13:08]
Such okay. Okay, that's different.

Sabba Keynejad [13:10]
Yeah, we just woke up early, you know, like 5am. And then because that's I feel like that's the most productive time of the day. So we just get a few hours in in the morning.

Omer Khan [13:18]
Okay, cool. So you're, you're contracting, you're, you're building this business on the side in the mornings night. And then it was around like a summertime that you guys applied for YCombinator?

Sabba Keynejad [13:32]
Yeah, that's right.

Omer Khan [13:33]
Okay, so what happened there?

Sabba Keynejad [13:35]
Sure. So my contracts came to an end after five months. So I went, I had about six months runway left, Tim was still in his contract. So I went full time on the product again, and during this time we put an application to I see, a couple of weeks later, we'll have a very fast we got a telephone interview, to mercury that and then we got invited to go interview at the office in mountain So, on that note, Tim quit his contracts as well. And we're like, We're going all in. We're going to YCombinator. We're going to make this work, and just didn't look back, really. So yeah, Tim quits his job. Two weeks after that, and on a plane, fly over there, check into our Airbnb. And, you know, we're nervous to be putting a lot of work in we think we're doing quite well. We've got, you know, 35,000 monthly users. We're growing at a good speed. We've, you know, got a great team behind us. And yeah, go into the interview. It was intense come out, and then we're just like waiting, waiting, waiting. And then we get this rejection email, I remember on the staircase at the green towards this hotel. And the rejection email said, you know, why you're not charging your users like is you really rejected because we don't know why you're not charging your users. So we get this rejection on a Thursday, and we thought You know what, like, if we can get ourselves paid users by Monday. That shows that we have like a lot of grit that was determined that we can get this done. So after the first night of feeling sorry for ourselves, the next day, we get up first thing in the morning and we start doing our accounts, our payment features, our logins like the law, and we just kind of grind for the next two, three days, absolutely hurry out. And then on Sunday, we just, you know, 24 hours before the Monday comes around, we put it live and like, instantly straight away, we got a paid user come through, and we were like, so, so excited, then we're like, you know what, we might actually just do this. And then over the next 24 hours until the Monday we got about 20 paid users on $5 a month at the time. And we were like, Oh my god, they're gonna say yes to this. Like that's, that's an incredible turnaround. So we wrote them an email saying, hey, we've now challenged your users. We've taken your feedback on board. We really want to do this. We want to you know, we're super, super excited. We reconsider and unfortunately, a few hours later we got rejection and number rejection from the original rejection, saying that we can't change our minds on this decision, which obviously they could have done. But so yeah, we got we got turned down. But we did leave, you know, we were our heads high, like, you know, we took a chance. And, you know, we had our first pieces of that point as well. So it was almost like the hardest bit done.

Omer Khan [16:21]
Yeah. And I guess it's got to be tough, like, if you just apply and just fill out the form and they just tell you, No, thanks. That's one thing but then to go through that stage and then a phone interview, and then to get on a plane and you know, have these in person kind of, you know, conversations. It kind of feels like you're so close to you know, getting through that that's, that's gonna kind of hurt more, right?

Sabba Keynejad [16:51]
Yeah, 100%. I mean, yeah, just going to San Francisco. You're in the office. You feel like you're kind of booty there. You think you've got good numbers. You got a great product? Yeah, it was really tough. But I, you know, I do think after we left San Francisco, we definitely, definitely came back better to London than when we left. You know, we had paid users, we had all the infrastructure bill. You know, we we were ready to roll, basically.

Omer Khan [17:17]
And how did you get people onto the paid plan? Like, did you kind of say, okay, you know, the people are used to the free product. And so what did you offer them in the paid plan that they couldn't get in the free product? And did you send an email out to people about it? Or did people just sign up once you roll this out?

Sabba Keynejad [17:36]
So we were planning to make it paid, but we were thinking for a long time about the right way to do it. And, oh, we'll do something where you get like a week free and then you know, then it's paid or, or like a usage-based system. That because we only have the weekend to do it. We were very limited with our options, right? So what we ended up doing is putting a watermark on the video. effectively making it redundant for brands or businesses to use it on their social media. So the second we put watermarks on that all the users that actually found value in the product paid for straightaway.

Omer Khan [18:13]
Interesting. Okay, so you kind of signed up about 20 people. That was, that was Yes. around what, June time?

Sabba Keynejad [18:24]
June? Exactly, exactly the fifth of June, it went live.

Omer Khan [18:27]
Okay. So you start the year, try to raise seed funding, you get rejected there, that doesn't happen. So you guys sort of figure out how to make some money and get some contracts and sort of build this business on the side. Then, in June time you get rejected from YC. But the upside of that is that it that rejection forced you to really think about charging people and that got you paying customers. It was a handful But it was still paying customers. And then kind of looks like you know, you maybe this is the breakthrough. Okay, things are gonna look better here, right? This is how the story is supposed to go. But then, in August, you guys got to a point where you had about a month of runway left. And you were kind of close to shutting down.

Sabba Keynejad [19:19]
Yeah. So as I mentioned, when we had that phone interview, and we're going to San Francisco to the interview, Tim left his job too. So that ended up that we had maybe three to three months runway left, we also had a couple of people working part-time for us even product going. And it looked like we were running out very, very soon. And you know, our monthly recurring revenue was coming up, but it looked like we were going to miss it by a month, and it would have been back to contracting, unfortunately, and it's just not the run we wanted. So we just all dug really deep, and then we put the prices up from the $5 to $10. And we were getting there and it was slightly better. Instead of like a month gap, it was like a two-week gap. And then again, we doubled it 20. And that gap just completely closed. And we pretty much sailed through running out of our savings to the company paying for everyone. That absolutely perfectly. It was dramatic, but fun and no really pleased the other side. And at that point, like no one could tell us we couldn't do it. Right. We had enough money to pay for the team. The servers were growing. We didn't contract again. It was incredibly bike. It was just amazing. Yeah.

Omer Khan [20:32]
How did you start changing the pricing? Did you grandfather in people who'd already started paying five bucks a month? So gt? Just tell everybody the price is going up? How did you handle that?

Sabba Keynejad [20:43]
Yeah, so we grandfathered everyone in so all the people at $5 we still have some of those guys today. $10. That was only there for you know, maybe a month so not so many of them. It was actually relatively simple. And I think that is it was more of a confidence thing. Like we didn't think the product was that valuable. Because we built it, and we're on the other side, but actually, there's a lot of people getting a lot of value out of it. And they're more than willing to pay for.

Omer Khan [21:06]
Yeah. And when I look at this today, and I see some of the brands on your homepage are people using it at Facebook and Phantom media and Visa, and so on. To me, it still feels like there's a disconnect between that like 20 bucks a month, it feels like a consumer product.

Sabba Keynejad [21:25]
Exactly. And you know what, earlier today, I was listening to another podcast you did on on pricing, and, you know, not selling seats, which is technically what we do, but you know, based on value and how much you use it. And so we've just had some conversations today about implementing that this week. So yeah, we're changing. We're always changing. We're trying to, you know, we're trying to improve, find more value and provide more value for our users as well.

Omer Khan [21:49]
Yeah. I mean, it sort of seems to me that also you kind of have a one plan right now like monthly or annually. Yeah, there's probably an opportunity like I'm sure there's something you could offer that there are clients, I would happily pay, you know, 100 bucks a month for

Sabba Keynejad [22:05]
Yeah, exactly.

Omer Khan [22:06]
I'm sure you guys are probably already thinking about that.

Sabba Keynejad [22:09]
We're literally pulling team accounts right now, which is 100 bucks a month.

Omer Khan [22:15]
And you and I didn't talk about this before.

Sabba Keynejad [22:17]
No, no, exactly. The other thing that we're doing is we're looking at all the data and you know, we can see that 20% of the users are just doing so much editing. And they've got crazy amounts of storage, that you know, of the videos and that transcoding, and transcribing and translating all of this content. And you know, if we put those guys on value-based pricing, we will get so much more a month from them.

Omer Khan [22:40]
So you double the prices, you double the prices again, and I think, as we've just talked about, there's an opportunity to do that. Beyond just adding sort of the paywall increasing prices. Have you guys been doing anything else from a marketing perspective to find customers?

Sabba Keynejad [23:02]
So I think there's two things that we've been doing since then one of them is, I probably spend five hours a day speaking to our users. It is crazy. I really love it, though. And it gives me a really good insight to who they are, what they want, and what they're looking for, what their goals are. And then I kind of funnel that information into the product. So we can think about how our landing page communicates to them. And, you know, make sure the tooling and the editors right for them. And that's been incredible for us. And just today, we had loads of shout outs and social media, who have, you know, marketers using the tool telling their friends, and that's been incredible for, you know, people were staring each other. So I think about 10% of our users now, if they referred which is great.

Omer Khan [23:43]
Love it. Before you tell me more. Can you give me an example of how you've, you've implemented that. So you talks about, you know, hey, here's how we've updated the homepage to talk to them. Give us an example of that, because I think that's a really important point that sometimes we forget is as a founder. It's easy. you to think about how you see the product and how you want to describe it. But when you talk to your customers, they often see it a different way. Sure. So I'm curious about, you know, is there some some example of that that you can share with us that these conversations helped you to improve your messaging.

Sabba Keynejad [24:16]
So, the second, paid user signs up for our platform, they get a welcome email, and a day later, they get a Hi, I'm Sabba, this isn't story so far. And then at the end of that story, it's like, tell me why you chose Veed and then I have probably over 100 responses to that one question alone, and everyone likes it because it's simple and it's great way to do subtitles. Right. And if you look at our homepage Now the first thing that you can see that it's simple online video editing, video editing Made Simple sorry, and it's a great place to add subtitles and great audience so I you know, taking exactly what they like about it and what they want from it into the you know, the first banner of the page. Love it.

Omer Khan [24:59]
Love it. Because that's probably like when those people, those customers are telling other people about the product and the referrals. That's probably what they're saying. They're saying, Oh, yeah, it says online video software, editing software that lets you do this.

Sabba Keynejad [25:14]
Yes.

Omer Khan [25:16]
And you've nailed that on the homepage. So that's great. The Great example. Okay, great. So what about in terms of anything else? Like, you know, content marketing, you know, reaching out to brands, outbound stuff. Have you been doing anything like that?

Sabba Keynejad [25:34]
Yeah, we tried a bunch of outbound, and it just didn't fly. It just didn't work. Unfortunately, something that we did get really good at, that we're still trying to get better at is, you know, I started discovering that if, you know, if you look at the general acquisition channel of different categories of businesses, they're incredibly similar. So like social publishers, obviously rely on social media to bring that traffic in. And a lot of web tools for like video editing. And image editing, about 80% of all the traffic was coming from search. So people would Google stuff like add image to video, subtitle video. And we thought, okay, let's make landing pages for every one of these kind of like longtail keywords, and then try and rank for them. So I wrote about, you know, 20 landing pages it took forever, got them up. And then what we would do is we'd launch each one of those landing pages on Product Hunt. And instead, what that did was brought the initial bit of traffic through, which was great. And then we've got a bit of social traction, so people tweeting about it on Twitter. And a couple of days later, there'd be a couple of articles saying, Hey, this is a great place to add text to video. You know, this is a great place to subtitle your video. And that kind of, you know, got those initial backlinks and that initial traffic and we could start seeing ourselves ranking in a couple of weeks on the first page of Google. And then as our tool was like, an actionable utility, unlike the other law schools, which were just explaining how to do it in like iMovie, we started ranking really well and got today, we're probably number one or two for most of those keywords.

Omer Khan [27:04]
So mostly the growth has come from word of mouth and being good at SEO.

Sabba Keynejad [27:11]
Yeah, exactly.

Omer Khan [27:13]
And when did you start hiring people? Because you said you've got a team of what, four or five people now?

Sabba Keynejad [27:18]
Yeah, so the initial hires that we made Matt and Lucas still works today. And they're absolutely incredible. We couldn't have done any of this without them. We hired them when we went back to contracting. And we did that because we were getting good day rates, you know, working in technology companies in London. So we're able to hire remotely, so we could kind of keep both things going. And then, you know, slowly, they started saying to their mates, like how, you know, this is a really cool startup, like, do you want to join us? And then the team's kind of grown organically since then?

Omer Khan [27:50]
Where are these guys based?

Sabba Keynejad [27:51]
One is in Serbia and one is in Budapest, and we've just hired Josie she is German but living in Vietnam right now. So yeah, All over the place, really.

Omer Khan [28:01]
So what's next for you guys?

Sabba Keynejad [28:04]
I think maybe founders always feel like their products never finished. I want to get

Omer Khan [28:08]
Of course, it never will be right.

Sabba Keynejad [28:10]
I want to get to 1.0 so badly. No, yeah, I think you know, we want to get our timeline editing done. So you can do multiple videos. And then the other thing, we want to build applications to connect, you know, the whole ecosystem up so you can edit on your phone than your laptop, and, you know, improve our collaboration features, and also start offering B2B packages as well. So we get a lot of inbound between requests, but we just haven't been able to fulfill them just yet, because we're just too small. And this is I think the thing with not raising money and bootstrapping is we've got enough to pay everyone and we're growing at a great rate. So you know, that's something we're going to have to address in four months. And we you know, we're okay with that. So yeah, we just have to grow at the same speed as the company.

Omer Khan [28:51]
Now, what was the big lesson or takeaway for you from these failures over the course that year.

Sabba Keynejad [29:01]
Yeah, I mean, I think I don't want to say don't give up. But it kind of feels like we, you know, it was the fact that we just kept going and kept pushing through, you know, that we really learned how to turn failure into success and not, you know, not let it bother us. You know, just having that great. terminations keep pushing through and believing in it. Yeah, it's cliche as it sounds. I think that's probably it.

Omer Khan [29:25]
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think in your LinkedIn posts, you'd said that failure is a part of life. It's how you bounce back from it. Right? It's, that's the lesson, right? In terms of really, it comes back to resilience.

Sabba Keynejad [29:37]
Yeah, definitely.

Omer Khan [29:39]
And one thing, I guess, is in the earlier days, when you didn't have that many users using the product, What kept you guys going then? I mean, when you have like 10,000 users or whatever, like you like, Oh, yeah, I mean, people like it right? And they using it and we're onto something, but in the end earlier days, when you don't have that many people there, I think that's where a lot of people get stuck in terms of Am I on the wrong path? Is this the wrong idea? am I wasting my time? So what was it for you? Was it just about? You believed in the idea? You just passionate about building this thing? What was it that kept you guys going?

Sabba Keynejad [30:20]
I think there was a few things like one of them was the fact that I thought that. We learned all the lessons we needed to learn. And like we, you know, we've done the thing that we shouldn't have done, and now we're going to do it right. And I just was so you know, really wants to execute on that. And I thought we were the right people to do it. Like we had, you know, the perfect combination of skills and, you know, experience in this industry in which I just thought would be the right people to do it. So, yeah, we just wanted to do it so bad that we just kept going. And I think this comes back to like picking the right idea. And moving on. I think if it was another idea, maybe we let it go, but we were So excited about it, and we just wanted to execute on it.

Omer Khan [31:03]
And now you guys are focused on that. 1 Million ARR number. That's the big goal for you guys.

Sabba Keynejad [31:09]
Yeah, I think I'm I tend to say we're going to hit it by summer by June, but we'll have to see.

Omer Khan [31:14]
Well, I'll make the same offer to you as I made somebody else. So on episode 220, I interviewed a guy called Reilley Chase. He'd been on my radar for a while back in 2018, like on Twitter and LinkedIn, and he was just talking about, you know, what he was doing and how he was trying to build a SaaS business. You can get the whole story, go and listen to the episode, but at the end of the day, I, you know, I kind of started talking to him and I said, you know, get to about 8.5k in MRR, which roughly about, you know, 100K, a year ARR, and I'll get you on the show. And less than a year, he was like, I've done it. And, you know, it was just great to sort of have him on and we talked about, you know, how he got there. And he's kind of on a similar journey now as well too. You know, he's doing really well. He got some money from Earnest capital and my buddy Tyler Tringas. And so you know, he's he's really kind of gone from sort of similar story to you in terms of struggling, he got fired from his job, because they found out he was kind of moonlighting and they thought there was a conflict of interest. And, you know, which actually turned out to be really good thing. So I kind of make the same offer to you like, you know, you get to that 1 million ARR number and then let's, let's have you back and maybe we have, you know, you, maybe you and Tim. And that's kind of continue the story and see what else we can learn from what you guys have done.

Sabba Keynejad [32:35]
That sounds amazing. Thank you so much.

Omer Khan [32:37]
Yeah, my pleasure. All right, let's wrap up and get on to the lightning round. So could ask you seven quickfire questions. Just try to answer as quickly as you can. You ready?

Sabba Keynejad [32:48]
Yeah, let's go.

Omer Khan [32:49]
What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Sabba Keynejad [32:52]
Charge your users.

Omer Khan [32:55]
What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

Sabba Keynejad [32:57]
I really like “Shoe Dog”, I think it's a great example of you know how long it takes to actually build a business and that it's not easy. And also, I think it's just a really nicely well-written story that's very entertaining.

Omer Khan [33:09]
What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful entrepreneur?

Sabba Keynejad [33:14]
I think the ability to spot trends and have an understanding of how they, you know, affect the world and how things are changing.

Omer Khan [33:21]
What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

Sabba Keynejad [33:25]
I think having amazing people work with you just as you sleep easier at night, you know,

Omer Khan [33:30]
What's in your crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the extra time?

Sabba Keynejad [33:34]
So I did say that I spent about five hours speaking to users every day, and the majority of them don't know how to use video calling software. So I'd like to make very easy to use video calling software that's just very accessible and very user-friendly.

Omer Khan [33:50]
What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't know?

Sabba Keynejad [33:54]
I used to be a pancake topper. Oh, what? A pancake topper. I used to top pancakes.

Omer Khan [34:02]
Okay. And finally, what is one of your most important passions outside of your work?

Sabba Keynejad [34:06]
I love snowboarding and sailing and being in the outdoors really

Omer Khan [34:10]
Love it. Great. All right. So if people want to find out more about Veed.io or give it a try, they can go to veed.io. That's V-E-E-D.io. And if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Sabba Keynejad [34:27]
So my email is s[at]veed[dot]io. And I'm Sab8a on Twitter and Instagram too. Awesome.

Omer Khan [34:35]
So thank you for joining me. Thank you for sharing your story. But as I said, When I came across your your posts on LinkedIn, I was like, I need to get this guy on. I think there's a really, really interesting story and you haven't disappointed so I know that a lot of people will really enjoy this episode and to, you know, hear your story and sort of the ups and downs that you guys have gone through. And I think it's going to inspire a lot of people who maybe are in a similar situation now to keep going and, you know, possibly look at failure in a different way. Maybe it's not, you know, failure is maybe just another hurdle that's in your way to getting to success. Right. So, I hope that's going to help people as well. Yeah. So thank you. And yeah, wish you guys all the best. And yeah, let's stay in touch and definitely. I'm pretty excited about the idea of getting yours back when you hit that that next big milestone.

Sabba Keynejad [35:39]
Yeah, I see you when 1 Million ARR then. Thank you all the best. Take care. Bye.

Omer Khan [35:46]
Thanks for listening. I really hope you enjoyed the interview. You can get to the show notes as usual by going to theSaaSpodcast.com, where you'll find a summary of this episode, and a link to all the resources we discussed. If you enjoy the episode. Then please consider subscribing to the podcast. And if you're in a good mood, consider leaving a rating and review to show your support for the show. Thanks for listening. Until next time, take care.

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The Show Notes

Omer Khan

Hi, I'm Omer, the founder of SaaS Club and host of The SaaS Podcast. I help early-stage founders and entrepreneurs to build, launch and grow successful SaaS businesses. Join me on this journey.