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The SaaS Podcast

Trackier: How 3 Guys in India Bootstrapped a $2M SaaS Startup – with Udit Verma [255]

Udit Verma

Trackier: How 3 Guys in India Bootstrapped a $2M SaaS Startup

Udit Verma is the co-founder, and CMO of Trackier, a SaaS performance marketing, and affiliate marketing platform.

This is a story about 3 guys in India who were about to graduate from university. They'd started a web development company and they were building websites for clients as a side-project.

They started talking about what they were going to do next and decided that instead of getting jobs, they were going to build their own software product.

So after they graduated, they started their new company. Their first product idea didn't go anywhere. But as they talked to potential customers, they got an idea for a different product.

They spent 9 months building that product and landed a handful of customers.

But they didn't have a strategy or plan for growth. They didn't know how to find and acquire customers. They tried a few things like spending $150 on Adwords but got zero leads.

Eventually, they decided to focus on inbound marketing. And they did something really simple – they wrote help docs which showed how to use particular features.

And then they republished those same help docs as blogs. And they started reaching out to other websites and get them to also publish their content.

Each blog post had a simple call to action – try our product.

That simple idea and approach helped them to go from zero to $2M in annual recurring revenue in about 4 years. And on top of that, their business is 100% bootstrapped.

In this interview, we dig into exactly what they did and how they've been able to bootstrap a multi-million dollar SaaS company.

I hope you enjoy it.

Transcript

Read Full Transcript

Omer Khan: [00:00:00] 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 business. In this episode. I talked to Udit Verma, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Trackier, a SaaS performance marketing and affiliate marketing platform.

[00:00:37] This is a story about three guys in India who were about to graduate from university. They'd started a web development company and we're building websites for clients as a side project. And they started talking about what they were going to do next and decided. That instead of getting jobs, they were going to build their own software, product and company.

[00:01:00] So after they graduated, they started then you company, but their first product idea didn't go anywhere. But as they talk to potential customers, they've got an idea for a different product. They spent the next nine months building that product and landed a handful of customers. But they didn't have a strategy or plan for growth.

[00:01:23] They didn't know how to find and acquire customers and try a few things like testing $150 on Google ad words and getting zero leads. Eventually they decided to focus on inbound marketing, and they did something really simple. They wrote help docs, which. Explain how to use a particular feature. And then they republish those same help docs as blog posts.

[00:01:51] And they started reaching out to other websites and getting them to also publish their content. Each blog post had a simple call to action at the end, sign up and try our product. That simple idea and approach help them to go from zero to $2 million in annual recurring revenue in about four years. And on top of that, their business is a hundred percent bootstrapped.

[00:02:16] In this interview we dig into exactly what they did and how they've been able to bootstrap a multimillion-dollar SaaS company. So I hope you enjoy it.

[00:02:27] Real quick before we get started, don't forget to grab a free copy of this 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.

[00:02:41] Secondly, if you're a new, early stage founder, who needs help launching building or growing your SaaS business, then check out SaaS Club Plus, it's our online membership and community. Instead of wasting time, figuring out what you have to do at each stage, you can get step by step guidance to help you take the right next steps with confidence, connect with a community of likeminded people who can support you through challenging times and help you find and solutions to your toughest problems.

[00:03:09] If you want to learn more or already to join, just go to SaaSclubplus.com, that's SaaSclubplus.com. Okay. Let's get on with the interview. Udit welcome to the show.

[00:03:21] Udit Verma: Thanks for having me.

[00:03:23] Omer Khan: So do you have a favorite quote, something that inspires or motivates you or gets you out of bed every day?

[00:03:28] Udit Verma: Yeah, one goal, which I liked and motivates me to try new things is, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

[00:03:36] Omer Khan: Do you know who said that? I dunno. I don't know where that came from. I've heard that before.

[00:03:39] Udit Verma: Yeah. I just know something that, I don't know. I'm sorry. I apologize for that. That's okay. I don't know the author.

[00:03:48] Omer Khan: Yeah, that's totally fine. Yeah. Do one thing every day. That scares you.

[00:03:51] I like that. Okay. So for people who, aren't familiar, can you tell us about Trackier? Like. What does the product do? Who is it for? And what's the main problem that you're helping to solve.

[00:04:03] Udit Verma: Alright, Trackier is the daughter company off Gloucester technology, we are on a mission to make lots of the one of the best ad tech company in the world.

[00:04:14] So currently we are having two ad tech products in CloudStuff. One is Trackier and another one is OffersOptimize. So I will tell you a little bit about both of the product.

[00:04:24] Omer Khan: Okay, so hold on. So, so CloudStuff is kind of like the parent company.

[00:04:29] Udit Verma: Yeah.

[00:04:30] Omer Khan: And then within that, you've got Trackier, which is the main product we're going to talk about today. And then what was the name of the second one?

[00:04:38] Udit Verma: It's OffersOptimize.com

[00:04:40] Omer Khan: offersoptimized.com. Okay, great.

[00:04:43] Udit Verma: So checking into advanced before with marketing software for some companies, and it is an ad was affiliate marketing software for some company from some other companies. So, so we are helping advertisers, ad agencies, ad networks, affiliate networks, and some giving companies to track their analytics for their performance-based campaign.

[00:05:06] Ad agencies, ad networks, advertisers create their own market pace with the help of Trackier, and begin automate their operation, where two way API. We have that and point for every action in the API so that it will make very seamless working for the affiliate networks before we are, we also providing customized solution on their demands. And we have made our tech that much flexible that instead of building in-house platform, you can have more scalable, more features enabled platform and have competitive advantages. So I'll tell you a bit about OffersOptimize. So OffersOptimized is a offers link checking tool, which is helping like affiliate to automate the link testing of the campaigns.

[00:05:57] Okay, great. So I think most people understand, like, you know, what an affiliate platform does. I wasn't clear about what a performance marketing platform is. So maybe if we talk about one of your types of customers, whether it's a ad agency or a publisher, can you just kind of explain, like how would they be using a performance marketing platform?

[00:06:21] So, yeah, so for the deck advertisers, it's a performance marketing software and for the affiliate networks is that affiliate marketing software. So. right now, like the ad agencies in the field who are working directly with advertisers, they give the reporting of performance. They give performance-based reporting to their advertisers.

[00:06:39] While affiliate networks are running some rebooking campaigns. So. They are using it as an affiliate marketing software. So I, I hope it would clear for you.

[00:06:53] Omer Khan: Yeah. I'm still not clear about what a performance marketing platform is. Like, give me an example of, of how that gets you.

[00:07:00] Udit Verma: So yeah. So suppose I'm X agency. I have, Coca-Cola my advertisers. So like, you're saying that I have launched one new train and I want to like 4% of the bottle. I will just, I will pay you 1 cent. So for agencies who is working for like direct for the direct campaigns, they are giving their advertisers the performance report.

[00:07:28] Omer Khan: Got it. Yeah. Okay. So an ad agency for an ad agency, this is basically what they use to show them. Clients how campaigns performed.

[00:07:40] Udit Verma: Yeah. So it totally depends on the lead generation campaigns. So how you take it as the product. So for like 10 difference between performance marketing and affiliate marketing, actually

[00:07:53] Omer Khan: Okay. We need to get into that. We're going to talk about that because. I want to know how you can basically have the product positioned for two different types of customers as a two different types of solutions. And how do you do your marketing to work in a way that that kind of, you know, attracts these people and converts them.

[00:08:13] But before we get into that, let's kind of set the scene for the business. So people can just kind of get a, get a sense. So. The business was founded or Trackier was founded in 2016 with your co-founders Faizan and Hemant. And in the last four years, you have bootstrapped the business and you guys have gone from zero to 200K in MRR.

[00:08:46] And apart from spending a little bit on an AdWords test, you guys have pretty much spent zero on marketing.

[00:08:54] Udit Verma: Yeah. So, yeah, so we have spent, you know, on like on marketing for the like you know first year of operation

[00:09:02] Omer Khan: [00:09:02] Okay. So before we get into that details of how you guys have built and grown this business, let's kind of go back and talk about like where the story starts. So where did the idea for Trackier come from?

[00:09:18] Udit Verma: We started in a studio out of passion with my colleagues. Started generally a in full service of their college. So me, Faizan and him and who belongs to the same college. So we started with a tech service company where we bid for the product and build a product for different companies while building the project for like different cognitive.

[00:09:37] We found our ikigai. We love building product. We feel sad like when some other guy holds the ownership of that product. So we decided to build a product and made a company from it. So it was our last semester of engineering. So we via coming back from our trip, we decided who goes with our B2B product.

[00:09:59] So we have decided we have to go with product side. We have to build a B2B product not B2C because of our capabilities of. Promoting and building a B2B product.

[00:10:11] Omer Khan: So let me just ask you, you mentioned, we found our ikigai for people who aren't familiar. Can you just kind of explain what that means?

[00:10:20] Udit Verma: It's a, it's a, it's a Eureka moment. Like when you, when you feel comfort, it will be something when you feel passionate about something. So it's a, it's an ikigai for you.

[00:10:28] Omer Khan: Yeah. I mean, for people who don't know these, I think it's a Japanese term and it's just, yeah, it's kind of like finding this overlap between like what you're good at and what you're passionate about and where you can add value, I think.

[00:10:39] And so you guys decided, okay. You know, we want to focus on the product piece and we want to build a, B2B business. And this was something that you were planning to do, like, okay. We're kind of going to be graduating and then once we're done with college, this is the thing we want to work on full time.

[00:10:57] Udit Verma: Yeah. So like so we have like strong alumni connect. So while talking to salt Lake, one of our like alumni, so he showed one product of exponential interactive. So exponential is having, he launched one product VDX, video driven experience. So we, we founded like it was one of the good way to monetize your video.

[00:11:21] So while looking to that product, we thought that we will build a native recommendation engine for theft. So it was not a final product. It was just the initial product for, we started with building native recommendation engine and we named it as vNative. In vNative, if we were planning the entertainment into content for, so that the user who was using what we're coming to the left side got confused, whether it's an content or advertisement.

[00:11:48] Omer Khan: Okay. So did you kind of go out and talk to potential customers or was this just basically like, this seems like a good idea. Let's, let's build it because it sounds like a cool product.

[00:12:01] Udit Verma Yeah. So maybe it's all being a product guy or we are attracted to the product and we thought to build that. And so we were like good at technology.

[00:12:09] So we, we just build that product. And then after that, we, we use our alumni connect again. We asked our alumni to an angel meeting with one of like with a lead and rug, who was the CEO of Effigy Media, one of the India's biggest media agents. So after talking to him, we, we found that this sort of niche should be sold to publisher.

[00:12:34] And publishers like to pay less for this, for this particular product. So while having the demos for vNative. We met one guy. So we pitched that product to that guy. So instead of using native recommendation engine, so he asked us to build an affiliate network for his click-based affiliate network. So we build that, so it was our first step towards our main product, Trackier

[00:13:02] Omer Khan: Okay. Got it. So I've got another question for you here. You kind of use your alumni connections to, to get in front of this guy. You said it was one of the largest media agencies.

[00:13:16] Udit Verma: Yeah. Media agency, media agency in

[00:13:19] Omer Khan: India

[00:13:19] Yeah. And so basically the feedback from him was look, the product that you're trying to build, you're not going to make, you're not going to have to charge a lot for it.

[00:13:27] And then through the chance you got this other feedback from somebody else saying. Build this affiliate platform for me. And that's something I could use, but weren't there already other products out there that did kind of affiliate management, like why did you need to go and build another product?

[00:13:46] Udit Verma: So yeah, for any other affiliate it was like booming. So there was no affiliate tracking platform, we can see in later in back 2016. So it was a India first affiliate tracking platform. And like while also there, so if you talk about the global market, so the platform who were in the market, we're having some UI, UI issues, some, some kind of issues while in UI or like UX.

[00:14:14] So there was like issues in using, using the analytics for like, by, by using their product. So we thought that we can make a UI friendly and user friendly and scalable platform than the others.

[00:14:29] Omer Khan: Okay. So you've got feedback from one guy. Was that enough for you then to say, okay, we're going to go and change the product. Did you try to get any commitment? Did you try to pre sell the product to him?

[00:14:41] Udit Verma: No. Then then link. So we were keep on asking people to use the vNative. So while asking one user in Russia for vNative, he told us to build a conversion tracking platform. So then we improvised Trackier from click- based tracking to conversion-based tracking.

[00:15:04] Then after we never looked back, we keep on implementing things and complete and completed the whole product and launched it in 2016 September.

[00:15:13] Omer Khan: And did you ever start charging for vNative. Did you make any money from that?

[00:15:18] Udit Verma: No, we didn't make any money.

[00:15:22] Omer Khan: Okay. So the product was out there and you were trying to find customers and get people to use it, and you didn't get any sales there, but you started getting feedback from people who looked at that and they started telling you.

[00:15:36] Actually here's some other problems that we have right now that, that you could help solve. Is that kind of how it went?

[00:15:42] Udit Verma: We made our focus on ad tech. So we, like, we made something clear in our mind that we will do something in ad tech. So right now, so vNative wasn't working, but Trackier, it was working for, we were getting traction with Trackier, like for tracking, but not for vNative.

[00:15:57] So we thought that let's focus on one product. Let's devote the time for one product so we can move forward with trackier.

[00:16:04] Omer Khan: Got it. And then, so you launched tracky air. That was in 2016.

[00:16:11] Udit Verma: Yup. So it was September, 2016.

[00:16:13] Omer Khan: Okay. And how did you find your first customer?

[00:16:16] Udit Verma: So, yeah, so I already told you that there was like, while we were building the product, we were having a client and you know, like we got our break even in like within, within three, three months of Trackier.

[00:16:30] So we got like three clients for Trackier for like in a, in our like initial list. And that guy who are like, who asked us for building click-based tracking. So he will also be doing that time because because of the platform that we made is like kind of scalable for him and he was making lots of money.

[00:16:50] Omer Khan: Right. But how long did it take you to build Trackier?

[00:16:55] We

[00:16:55] Udit Verma: started development from like January, 2016. Then we completed it. The whole module, September, 2016. It took us like nine months.

[00:17:05] Omer Khan: Okay. Did you generate any revenue between January, 2016 and September, 2016?

[00:17:12] Udit Verma: Yeah. So people who are like using Trackier were paying us like for, so we have maybe built that click-based module, like initially we build the click-based module and they were paying for that because their businesses are like, click-based tracking.

[00:17:32] Omer Khan: Okay.

[00:17:32] Udit Verma: This what they were, they were needing like, so we have implemented conversion-based tracking. Afterwards. So the tracker is built on the customer feedback. So we got the feedback from the customer. We implement that features, and then we made it for the client.

[00:17:48] Omer Khan: Got it. And then, so when the product launched in September, 2016, how many customers did you have?

[00:17:55] Udit Verma: We have like 10 customers, like at the time.

[00:17:57] Omer Khan: And how much revenue are you generating?

[00:18:00] Udit Verma: I'm not sure about that, but like, some of them was on like model because we were new for the conversion tracking.

[00:18:07] I like, I don't know. I don't hold all the exact number at the time,

[00:18:10] Omer Khan: Yeah, just ballpark, like just a rough estimate,

[00:18:15] Udit Verma: 60 to 70K,

[00:18:18] Omer Khan: Okay

[00:18:20] Udit Verma: If I talk about like, is that only like $1,200?

[00:18:24] Omer Khan: Okay, so just over a thousand dollars MRR?

[00:18:27] Udit Verma: Yeah, just one thousand dollars. Yeah.

[00:18:29] Omer Khan: Okay, great. Okay. So you've got a handful of customers. You've seen use the feedback that you got from them, and you're generating some revenue. It's not a lot, but it's still revenue. So where did you go from there? How did you start finding more customers?

[00:18:48] Udit Verma: Everything was like new for us. But, like our basics and intention was clear and strong. So we followed two strategies that worked very well for us.

[00:18:58] One is content marketing and another one is like another one's like from where we got clients is a word of mouth.

[00:19:06] Omer Khan: Content marketing and word of mouth have been the two biggest drivers for your business. And from what I understand, the only time you've spent money for marketing was when you did a Google Adwords test and you spent about $10,000,

[00:19:28] Udit Verma: No, 10,000.

[00:19:32] Omer Khan: Okay.

[00:19:32] Udit Verma: Yeah. So you've, you can say one $150,

[00:19:37] Omer Khan: $150. Okay. Yeah. What results did you get from spending that money?

[00:19:43] Udit Verma: Yeah, so it was terrible, so that's was terrible, have you got like. Five lead and four of them was junk. And one lead was a kind in a like initiative stage four. It was for, and that guy. And I remember that that guy didn't beat us.

[00:20:02] ] Omer Khan: Okay. So you basically, you ran this test, you know, $150. Isn't a huge amount of money for a Google AdWords campaign. But if you're a college grads and you're already generating a thousand dollars in revenue. It's a big chunk of your revenue even to do that.

[00:20:20] Udit Verma: Yeah, it was a lot for us because we have to manage, the CSR, like for the team and you have to manage, and then several cost was also there.

[00:20:31] Omer Khan: Okay. So, I mean, content marketing, I want to dig into that. I want to kind of figure out exactly what you did there, because it sounds like that's been a big part of your growth, but as you know, content marketing, the downside of it is that it takes time. It takes time to get it out right there and to educate leads and whatever it takes to get them into the funnel.

[00:20:52] So did you, do you start with content or did you start with sort of word of mouth and using referrals or, or working through your network, like how did you kind of get to that next step from that 10 customers to the a hundred customers?

[00:21:08] Udit Verma: Yeah, for us word of mouth was working side by side. So we were giving our clients the best possible service.

[00:21:17] So we have, we are getting that line from the reference as well. But what we focus in marketing is inbound marketing. Not like not specifically on content, I'm a big fan of inbound marketing. So, what I did is like I tried to make content. So it was a content marketing. I tried to make a knowledgeable content on and put it on, like on their site about, and the content would be on the features.

[00:21:43] So how to use that feature to build the ROI and how to use that feature to generate more revenue. So I keep on like building this kind of content and even like, I did some cool marketing thing as well. like I asked the, some, some that sites to like post an ad and I'll just give you some, some kind of like usage of Trackier. So this is, this is kind of barter system that I did, you know, initially

[00:22:11] Omer Khan: Okay. And were you promoting the content anywhere else? Like, you know, social media or was it kind of just basically looking for these types of kind of co-marketing opportunities with other sites?

[00:22:24] Udit Verma: For the co-marketing thing. I just like, I always believe in, in like offering something knowledgeable. If you were giving something knowledgeable to your users, then they will definitely read your stuff. So what I did is I just asked the site to post the content of Trackier into their site and just ask the users to just get involved.

[00:22:48] Omer Khan: So how clear were you about your, your customer at that point? I mean, you know, the product, so you can pick a feature and you can write about that product, but who did you know, like when you talked about like ROI and benefits like that, like, did you have a, a specific customer in mind at that point, or was it sort of fairly broad and trying to appeal to anybody who might need that kind of product?

[00:23:16] Udit Verma: It was clear that I have to focus on affiliate network and ad agencies. So I will look for content on the basis of like, I just studied that what an affiliate network like what an ad agencies like. So I build that content that revolves around the problem solving statement of ad agency, than affiliate networks

[00:23:38] Omer Khan: Okay. How much content were you, were you creating? Was this like. You know, a handful kind of talking about the main features where you trying to go for volume and right. You know, a bunch of content every week, or like, what was the approach here?

[00:23:55] Udit VermaYeah. So what I did is I built the support article in that way that it becomes a content for me. So it was kind of like two things that I involved, like including one thing. So, this is how I ended the content marketing. And I just having some like a one button at the bottom that you have to, you can, you can use it for free 30 days. So I just gave that and got a leads.

[00:24:22] Omer Khan: Wait, they would even blogs. You were kind of like just writing, like help docs and using them as content as well?

[00:24:28] Udit Verma: Yeah. So in that way, I just draft the content in that way that it was, it sounds like a help doc and like, and it was making sense for some marketing as well. So it totally depends on boosting the ROI. So the content was so you can use this feature to boost your ROI.

[00:24:50] Omer Khan: Okay. And then, so how, how did this work? Like when you. When you went out there and you started to do this sort of co-marketing and get, get this website to promote the content, what happened?

[00:25:00] Udit Verma: Yeah. So I approached the forums. Yeah. So they were like volume forums. There were like lots of forums that I approached, so it was good for me. Like it was giving, giving me the results.

[00:25:12] Omer Khan: And so will you sort of focused on finding customers in India or were you kind of going out and looking for customers in other markets like you had tried, you know, you'd said you were trying to do with the web services business when you were at college.

[00:25:30] Udit Verma: Yeah, my, my, like my mindset was to make this a global product.

[00:25:34] So. I build the content for the global market and Indian market both. I didn't like I didn't have that focus on Indian market. I just focused on like outside Indian market because India is my home ground. I can meet anyone anytime, but like for outside India, I have to think out of the box.

[00:25:53] Omer Khan: Yeah. And so what kind of, you would just find like what affiliate related forums?

[00:25:59] Udit Verma: Yes. Yeah. So it was like a affiliate related forum. So there was some. Four and for like just associated with some ad agencies, some ad affiliate networks. So, yeah, so I just approached them, I pick up the niche and just stick to that niche.

[00:26:16] Omer Khan: Okay and what were you doing in the forum? Like, you know, I presume, you know, you, weren't just going in there and spamming and telling people, buy your product, but there was a, a bit more of a plan to this, right.

[00:26:26] Udit Verma: So I know a fan, any anyone until it was like email marketing and for just a followups thing. So, yeah. So for, for forums, I never, I never have this kind of a behavior. I'd never noticed them people. I just like give them the knowledgeable content. If you, if you are like, okay, with that, like you can, you can just sign up otherwise, like I have, like, I have something more beneficial for you because I have seen the other capability in the product, I believe in the product. So like, in that way, I don't want to like do spamming because people's getting irritated and I don't want to do in the relations.

[00:27:03] Omer Khan: Yeah. Yeah, no, totally. And I didn't, I didn't assume you were going to do that. Like, what I'm trying to figure out is when you went to the forum where you just sharing links to the content that you've created and saying, Oh, I created this content, which can kind of help you get, you know, this result or ROI with this feature or where you sort of spending time and looking for conversations where people were asking related questions and then using that as an opportunity to reply to them and, and tell them about the product or explain about your feature or was it a combination of both of those things?

[00:27:41] Udit Verma: It was a combination of both things. So I was just keep on posting the blogs. I just offer them some deals like, I have a, I have 30 days free trial you can use it for free for 30 days with I have some API integrations that that might help you in boosting the ROI. So being a tech founder, I have like many things to offer. The problem solving mindset, I just post my content and engage audience.

[00:28:09] Omer Khan: Okay. And then, so how did the forums work? How successful were they? What kind of results did you get?

[00:28:14] Udit Verma: It was like, okay. So yeah, I, I generally, like, I didn't say that forum didn't generate the need for me, but it was generating, it was working for me because I got like, if I get like one or two clients from one forums, then it's okay. Because we were like, we were in early-stage and like two clients with like, with one forum is okay for me, we were just paying like $2,000.

[00:28:38] Omer Khan: Right. Yeah. And that's a, that's a good distinction to make because like the kind of companies that you're going after, I mean, you guys have built a, almost a 2.5 million ARR business with what about 350 customers?

[00:28:57] Udit Verma: Yeah. Including smaller than big interface.

[00:29:00] Omer Khan: Right? So the average contract value. For each customer is pretty high. So even getting one customer through a forum, especially in the early days is a good boost to revenue for you.

[00:29:17] Udit Verma: Yeah. So what I feel is like, so when somebody starts a company, so it was like, it was on the initial, like initial plan.

[00:29:25] When they start building their team, building their, like connections, then they. Definitely upgrade your platform, upgrade the plan. So this is how, like we had people in their initial stage and then they started growing. So that's how we build this kind of revenue. Right?

[00:29:43] Omer Khan: Okay. So the word of mouth is kind of happening in parallel. As you get customers using the product, you're doing everything you can to give them a great experience. And some of those are kind of turning into referrals. Were you asking customers for referrals or where that was? That just something they were doing themselves

[00:30:03] Udit Verma: For a while meeting some clients like face to face. So yeah, later on, we also did some exhibition in, in like global events. We also went and started attending the events, like all around the world. So we start meeting our clients. So they were like, eh, so we find that there's a hundred thousand of customer satisfaction and they will that much happy. They just introduce us to their partners.

[00:30:29] And so this is how the thing will work. Thing is working for, we sometime ask last hour, like client four, that efforts, but they majorly their time. They refer us automatically that we don't have to ask them.

[00:30:46] Omer Khan: Got it. And then for the, the inbound marketing, the content you created, we talked about, you know, sort of distribution and you said one way, I was distributing, that was sort of like co-marketing and finding relevant websites that could basically promote this content and do some kind of, some sort of Botcher and not pay for this.

[00:31:07] And then the forums were another way that you were getting the word out with the content. Was there anything else that you were doing to distribute that content?

[00:31:18] Udit Verma: So I also like side by side, doing SEO. So we have some, a few tools. So we also focus on doing SEO and we improve our ranking on Google for like, for particular like keyword.

[00:31:31] So we research that which keyword is working well in the market. So whenever we feel that this keyword is working well, then we build a content around that keyword.

[00:31:42] Omer Khan: Okay. How are you learning this stuff? Because you hadn't learned any of this stuff in college, right?

[00:31:47] Udit Verma: Yeah. So, so we are also like, not from the tech background. Nobody like from my team is from tech background. So I'm, I'm personally by, from. production and industrial engineering. So I learned I'm a big fan of Wingify. So how Paras created the content and I'm a big fan of Hubspot, so how, Hubspot like follow the ideology of inbound marketing? So, yeah, I just read the content of HubSpot and I followed Paras' like a strategy.

[00:32:21] Omer Khan: That's interesting. And so you were just learning and teaching yourself as you sort of went.

[00:32:25] Udit Verma: Yeah, I learned by myself.

[00:32:27] Omer Khan: That's cool. Yeah. I mean, and I think like Paras, you know, for people who don't know, you know, founder of Wingify and the Visual Website Optimizer, which people, you know, have heard of it. And in you know, in many ways, I guess, you know, he was sort of a pioneer right. For, for many entrepreneurs and SaaS founders in India. Cause I guess he launched back in probably 2010 and you know, I don't know where they are, but when he was on my show, he was on episode 16. So we probably talked about five years ago and at that point they were doing.

[00:33:06] Over 8 million ARR. So I'm assuming the last five years, you know, I haven't checked in, but I'm assuming it's a lot more than that now.

[00:33:16] Udit Verma: Yeah. So Paras is like from my college, so yeah, definitely. So it's a, it's it's again, the alumni connect. So we always wanted to connect with the alumni.

[00:33:27] Omer Khan: Yeah. And I think from the sounds of it, you guys were pretty smart about taking advantage of those alumni connections to get introductions and, and kind of have the, I guess, the conversations and the feedback to, to help, you know, get or stay on the right track with this business. So you launched the business in September, 2016. And where were you in terms of revenue? After year one around sort of late 2017, how was the business doing? How much were you generating in revenue? How many customers did you have roughly

[00:34:09] Udit Verma: As far as revenue is concerned? Like, I'm not sure about that, but I was close to around own 50

[00:34:17] Omer Khan: And typically how much were you charging those customers at that time?

[00:34:20] Udit Verma: So it, it varies. So, so it was like, it's also, having this like stories, all our commotion and also we drastically changed like commercials from clicks to conversion base in, in the, in the favor of making the platform more pocket friendly for our users. So initially we were charging on click-based on per click. Then we found that there's a more efficient way of charging people and make the platform pocket trendy for them.

[00:34:49] So we start charging them on conversion-based. And when we came out with that conversion-based, driving. I think that people love that driving. And because instead of paying for 10,000 clicks, they love to pay for one conversions, one conversion, and when a store.

[00:35:08] Omer Khan: Right yeah.

[00:35:10] Udit Verma: So. It was like still the same. So for 10,000 conversion, we were charging some clients like $299. And there were some clients who were paying us more than $1,000 for like a 100K conversions, like more than a 100k conversions. So it varies from, from the site of client.

[00:35:32] Omer Khan: Got it. Okay. So like, if I look at the pricing today, you, you sorta started $299 a month, and there's sort of some various ad-ons that people can do, like an anti-fraud at a hundred dollars a month or a link checker at $49 a month.

[00:35:47] But that's kind of like the starting point, your middle sort of tier plan is $499 a month with the same add-ons and then you kind of have a custom tear there.

[00:35:58] Udit Verma: I found that people love the add-ons. So if I'm adding value to their vision or like to their goals, so they would love to pay us like anymore because these add-ons are helping them grow.

[00:36:11] Omer Khan: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So, I mean, I'm trying to get a sense of like where you were with revenue, like what the growth trajectory was. So kind of end of year one, where do you think you guys were? I mean, from what you've described to me in terms of pricing and the number of customers, I'm guessing maybe. 20, 30K MRR around that ballpark.

[00:36:34] Udit Verma: I think, I think it was like around 50 ARR, maybe 50, like, so it was like 50, 60 ARR.

[00:36:43] Omer Khan: Oh, okay.

[00:36:46] Udit Verma: So it was, it was like that.

[00:36:47] Omer Khan: Okay. So it was about 5K monthly recurring revenue.

[00:36:51] Udit Verma: Yeah. It's like 5K in year one.

[00:36:54] Omer Khan: Got it. Okay. So what happened? What changed? Like, so you go into starting 2018 and you're, you know, give or take 5 around 5K MRR.

[00:37:10] And then in the last two years, you've gone from that to 200K MRR. Yeah. What has driven that growth? How did you do that?

[00:37:22] Udit Verma: So it was that time when we go global. So initially, like people weren't like believing that this, this can be like on this platform can be that, that must scalable. When people start using Trackier that they, then it was word of mouth that worked well for us.

[00:37:42] So people saw that there's like a, there's a platform Trackier who is like 100% scalable. Like you can, you can extend any amount of like traffic. So currently we have tracked around like 80,000 RPS. So like for Google like, it was like around 86,000 RPS, Google track, like 86,000 RPS. But right now, like we that we can handle like 80,000 RPS traffic. So people started referring us to the client, like who were like facing problems with the current platform. So then got like many of the enterprise clients, 2018 and we were attending some international events, we also got some, some traction from there as well.

[00:38:28] So then like 2018 was like miracle for us. So this is a good one in global was a key for, for this kind of MRR.

[00:38:36] Omer Khan: Okay, but you were already, you know, when we talked about this, when you started out, you were from the start trying to be global and find customers outside of India. So what was different about 2018 when you said we going global.

[00:38:55] Udit Verma: So in 2015, like I started writing the blog. So. At one point, it can make it convincible for the product. So you have to use a prototype is this feature will solve a problem. But if you are like, if you meet someone like in person and, and like show them the demo. Yeah. Like it generates that trust because their whole business is on Trackier. So their MRR, ARR would be on Trackier. That's why I like generating just would be the main factor for, for like, for us as well for being a tracking platform and being a place where they can create the marketplace. It's a very better for them.

[00:39:40] Omer Khan: Okay. So how did you go out and kind of go global? What did you start doing differently? How did you attract those customers?

[00:39:49] Udit Verma: Initially. So we, we started setting up the meetings with the client, so we start uploading them on LinkedIn. So we know like who all are coming from the events app. So we know the name, we know the company, then we start approaching them via LinkedIn.

[00:40:06] Then we fixed meeting for like face to face meeting in the UN. And then we showed them the like product info like in, in some, some of the events, we also exhibited. So exhibition makes also like also make some impression on like, on, on person that this, when this, when this company is exhibiting, then it might be applausible.

[00:40:31] Omer Khan: Give me an example of an event that you attended.

[00:40:34] Udit Verma: My, my first year was the GMIC, which was, which held like in Beijing, China. So I got like one client from that, from there. And like I had, so when I scored one client, so my ROI, all that even. It's justified. So I got one client from GMIC. I just pick up one random person to talk.

[00:40:57] Then I told him that I'm building this product and I'm helping this kind of market. So that guy was also from the affiliate, like network side. So he, he told me his problem, the challenges he was facing. So I solved his problem. When, when I came back to India, I just had the tech meeting and, and like, discuss about the problem that he was, he was facing and implement all those features. All those problem solving features in Trackier. And from there, like, I just bagged one, like first time from the international event.

[00:41:34] Omer Khan: Okay. And in 2018, you said you started going to events. So how many. How many events did you do? And the LinkedIn piece of that was that you would just finding people who were. Going to be attending the event and using LinkedIn as a way to schedule meetings.

[00:41:51] Udit Verma: Yeah. So I use LinkedIn to a scheduled meeting and even like, I started them on Facebook. I post them on like Skype. So wherever, like I found them, like I just asked them like to set up a meeting. But I never spammed them.

[00:42:05] Omer Khan: Okay. And then at the events, it was the opportunity you got face to face time with them and you would just give people a demo.

[00:42:12] Udit Verma: Yeah. So I got to know them very well by meeting them face to face and like, in, in some cafeteria, I just showed them the demo.

[00:42:22] Omer Khan: How many events did you do in 2018?

[00:42:25] Udit Verma: In 2018, I did three events. One was in like China and another one was DMEXCO in Germany. And the third one was the European Summit in Prague.

[00:42:34] Omer Khan: Okay. So you were in Prague, you were in Germany and in China and of those three events, do you know how many customers you're able to, to win?

[00:42:48] Udit Verma: Yeah, so I think, from. So you all day, even like, I think I got like 10 to 30 prospects, not customer language later on become the customer afterwards after the period of seven to eight months,

[00:43:00] Omer Khan: So by the end of 2018. Where were you in terms of revenue?

[00:43:04] Udit Verma: So we were like around 70-80k ARR

[00:43:09] Omer Khan: Okay. 70 to 8 K ArR in 2018. Yeah. Okay. So let's talk about 2019. What happened here? Because now I'm kind of like, we're looking for that hockey stick growth here, right? Because you guys have been in business for three years now, and you're doing about, you know, 6 or7K in monthly recurring revenue. What happened in 2019? How did you grow?

[00:43:35] Udit Verma: In 2019 like, our growth was 2X, like I would say 2.5X. You got the trust of customers are inbound marketing was start working and like, these are the way that we generated huge amount of leads. So I think in 2019 word of mouth worked very well for us.

[00:43:59] Omer Khan: Okay. So you said like two X or 2.5 X growth. What did that mean? Like you were kind of basically doubling MRR.

[00:44:08] Udit Verma: Yup. Like, first of all, our sales strategy, like on solution-based shelf, we never did other product, product selling. We also did like solution selling.

[00:44:18] Omer Khan: Okay. For people who don't know what that means, just explain what the difference.

[00:44:21] Udit Verma: So in product selling, you just like keep on building relation. And then, then after building relation, then you sell the product to the, to the client and in solution selling, you ask the client about their, about their problem, and then you solve the problems by our solution.

[00:44:40] Omer Khan: Yeah. I guess some people also describe it, like consultative based selling or something like that.

[00:44:45] Udit Verma: Yes. Yes, exactly. It's kind of consultative

[00:44:50] Omer Khan: Yeah. Okay. And so how did that work?

[00:44:55] Udit Verma: Yeah, it worked fair because we were, we were solving the problem because during, during those days people were facing issues with the current platform. So they start shifting, they start migrating from that l– to Trackier.

[00:45:10] That brings us the revenue, because anyone likes some of the platforms we're charging on, like on clicks while we were charging on conversions for some, some of the company that was like more of pocket friendly platform and more scalable platform than others.

[00:45:29] Omer Khan: So revenue wise, where did you guys get to by the end of 2019?

[00:45:34] Udit Verma: I think it was fun. 40K like MRR.

[00:45:40] Omer Khan: That's a lot of growth in, in a very short space of time.

[00:45:44] Udit Verma: Yes. It was like, it was miracle for us.

[00:45:47] Omer Khan: How much of the growth was coming from new customers versus customers kind of upgrading and making more use of the platform

[00:45:57] Udit Verma: Yeah, right now, like I think so I have to get rid, read that for, for that particular, I haven't,

[00:46:04] Omer Khan: but just generally, like, do you feel like most of the growth came from new customers in that year? Or most of it came from existing customers.

[00:46:14] Udit Verma: It definitely came from like new customers because the number of customers was like way too high in 2019 for us because people were sifting. I told you that people are shifting from the current platforms to Trackier.

[00:46:28] Omer Khan: So one thing that I think is pretty remarkable here is that, I mean, you know, you guys started out from zero and for the first three years of the business, it was very slow growth.

[00:46:45] And then suddenly 2019, all the work that you've been doing for the last three or four years started to pay off and you started to see growth. And it sounds like 2020 has continued to be a strong year for you. And despite all the pandemic stuff, you guys haven't really been impacted by that, right?

[00:47:06] So it's like,

[00:47:07] Udit Verma: It's a big ocean for us so we can get clients from anywhere.

[00:47:11] Omer Khan: Now, one thing I want to talk about, and I touched on this at the beginning is, you know, one thing that everyone I talked to will say is, you know, it's super important to be clear about. What your product is like positioning your product and making it clear who you serve, how you solve their problems. And that's one of the reasons I always ask that at the beginning of every interview, in terms of, you know, who's your customer, what problem are you helping to solve? I think it's interesting about tricky areas. It kind of basically sounds like there are two different products there.

[00:47:50] Udit Verma: Yeah. So it can, it can be used as a, like for, for managing your partners too. So it's kinda analytics for them. So instead of like having different, different dashboards, you can automate all the operations, all the analytics operations in Trackier

[00:48:07] Omer Khan: But does that make it difficult for your prospects to understand what your product does or does it make it more difficult for you to market the product in a way that, that helps them understand kind of how you're positioning and what you do?

[00:48:30] Udit Verma: So it totally depends on the content. So for affiliate marketer you're like, so performance marketing is similar. So they, they understood that what is performance marketing and what is like affiliate marketing. For some peoplge like affiliate and performance marketing, same, but it's kind of big, big bi like very little, like thin difference between performance and affiliate. To attract affiliate marketing networks we create some content for affiliate marketing networks to attract performance marketing network we create like, All content for performance marketing network. And we right now, we have distinguished the help doc. Initially that was a period that were where we were like mixing the content with the help doc. But right now we have differentiated the help doc and the content.

[00:49:22] Omer Khan: Yeah. I mean, I think it's a, it's a challenging thing because for most SaaS products, it's, it's hard enough explaining to the customers what one product does.

[00:49:33] But once you have a product, which is. You know, like yours in terms of serving, you know, two different types of customers and two different types of problems, it can potentially be kind of confusing. And I think, for example, like, you know, when I go to the track, your homepage is interesting. You've got this kind of, what do they call them ,the slideshow kind of thing, where it says it's a performance marketing platform. It's a. Affiliate platform. And, you know, even initially, like when I was going to prepare for this interview, I was like, it took me a while to kind of get to a point where I could understand or describe what the product did.

[00:50:17] Has that ever been an issue when you talk to customers?

[00:50:20] Udit Verma: Yes. Well, like in initial time when we were like, Initiate initiators. So we had that kind of issues, but right now, currently, so we have, we have the content ready and then, and it's not an issue right now.

[00:50:34] Omer Khan: And, and that's because the type of content you're creating, you're starting with a very clear idea of who that customer is that you're writing this for.

[00:50:45] And then is the actual content still focused around like, Yeah. Usage of the features or are you now creating different types of content?

[00:50:56] Udit Verma: Yeah, so right now it's mixed. So we have mixed the content. So we are still, as you know, or like, our strategy is to create a knowledge knowledgeable content so that, and we don't want to get the content, which doesn't seem healthy for the, for the users.

[00:51:12] Like our main goal and main strategy is to create this knowledgeable content it's like industrial, report, or like a, or it's like feature-based clock.

[00:51:24] Omer Khan: Okay. We should wrap up. So I'm going to go into the lightning round. I'm going to ask you seven quick five questions. Just try to answer them as quick as you can.

[00:51:31] Are you ready to go?

[00:51:32] Udit Verma: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, sure.

[00:51:34] Omer Khan: The best piece of business advice you've ever received?

[00:51:36] Udit Verma: Yeah. The advice which I got is to settle on one product and make it a success then think on something else. So here, the dedication was a key.

[00:51:48] Omer Khan: What book are you, would you recommend to our audience and why?

[00:51:51] Udit Verma: Yeah. The challenger Sales by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.

[00:51:59] Omer Khan: What's the book called? Challenger. Sales.

[00:52:02] Udit Verma: Yeah, it was Challenger Sales I said like the points that I was talking of, like product selling and solution selling it, it was in there.

[00:52:13] Omer Khan: What's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?

[00:52:17] Udit Verma: Discipline for you, name any of the successful founder. Like you, you will find that they're very disciplined guy and and they're very focused.

[00:52:27] Omer Khan: What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habits?

[00:52:31] Udit Verma: So I might –. That's my, like, one of the productivity tool. And like, if I talk about some apps I love Todoist and Blinkist and Todoist like help me in, in some task management and bring guests, like provide me 10 to 15 minutes summary of any book, which I want to read.

[00:52:53] Omer Khan: Yeah. Yeah. I'm a big fan of, Todoist well. What's a new or crazy business idea you'd love to pursue. If you had the extra time,

[00:53:00] Udit Verma: I would love to merge at tech with MacTech. The product I would like to work would be like Activision technology for the gaming and then involving that at tech, with the marketing technology.

[00:53:13] Omer Khan: [What's an interesting little fun fact about you that most people don't know?

[00:53:16] Udit Verma: Yeah. So I bunked 70% of my college to attend the office and startup events during that time.

[00:53:25] Omer Khan: You did what?

[00:53:26] Udit Verma: I have bunked 70% of my college. College time.

[00:53:30] Omer Khan: You bunked, you didn't attend.

[00:53:32] Udit Verma: Yes. I didn't attend the college. So it was like, I think my, my attendance wasn't was like 30, 30%,

[00:53:41] Omer Khan: 30%. Oh my God. And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work?

[00:53:47] Udit Verma: Yeah, travelling, like, I would, like, I like travelling is my passion and like knowing the culture of the place and see them live. Like when I, when I like really to any place I used to read about the place before going to any place. So wherever I visit any of this, I'll feel the vibe and emotion associated to that particular place.

[00:54:06] Omer Khan: That's awesome. Okay. Great. Udit, thank you for joining me today. It's been great to go through your story and talk about this kind of an incredible journey. You guys have had congratulations on the success and, and getting to 2 million ARR and, and doing that with a bootstrapped business.

[00:54:26] That is totally awesome, if people want to find out more about trickier, they can go to trackier.com that's TRACK-I-E-R.Com. And we'll include a link in the show notes to that. And if people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that.

[00:54:40] Udit Verma: Yeah, they can reach me like through email it's udit.Verma[at]trackier[dot]com.

[00:54:52] Omer Khan: U-D-I-T.V-E-R-M-A@trackier.com

[00:54:58] Udit Verma: Yup.

[00:54:58] Omer Khan: Awesome. Udit, thank you so much. I wish you all the best and, thanks for taking the time to talk to me. And I know it's, it's like past midnight they're in right now. Isn't it?

[00:55:05] Udit Verma: Yeah. It's around like 8 to one o'clock

[00:55:09] Omer Khan: I appreciate you doing this at this time. Thank you. And I should say, I did offer it, do this a little earlier and you actually preferred to do this time.

[00:55:19] Udit Verma: So yeah, I feel, I feel vital during this period.

[00:55:25] Omer Khan: Great. Thanks so much. I wish you all the best. Cheers

[00:55:28] Udit Verma: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

[00:55:31] Omer Khan: [All right. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy the interview.

[00:55:33] You can get to the show notes as usual, by going to thesaaspodcast.com where you'll find a summary of this episode. And the link to all the resources we discussed. If you enjoyed the episode, please just subscribing. If you haven't already done. So. And if you're in a good mood, consider leaving a rating and review to show your support for the show.

[00:55:53] That's always appreciated. 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.