Statbot

Åke Brattberg explains how he bought a $100/mo business and grew it to $7,000/mo by talking to customers and focusing on the product.

Tell us about yourself and what you're working on.

I am Åke Brattberg from Sweden. Father of 2, husband of 1. A designer/maker. I've been working on digital stuff since '96. I started with marketing, and now I spend 100% of my time on products with a focus on SaaS.

I run Statbot, a one-click, zero-setup analytics and insights tool for Intercom. Basically we grab and process all the data you have in Intercom and present it in different reports. We have reports around acquisition, engagement, retention (with cohorts), segments, and tags, as well as customer service.

We do all of this so you can keep building your product without wasting your in-house developers' time.

How'd you get started with Statbot?

In 2015 I was about to start developing a product (for ad agencies) that I had been thinking about for a couple of years. I had pivoted a couple of times even before anything was released or tested. Now, I am not really a developer, so during those years when I tried to launch my own product, I was always looking for a technical co-founder. It was my main struggle, and it kept me from launching.

But then something happened. In April 2015 my boss (I was working at another startup at the time) showed me an analytics product he had tried for a few months. I immediately thought it was a really interesting product.

I had worked with data and visualization a lot before, and so I thought I could email the guy that created it and ask if we could team up. The product lacked the packaging and design needed, so I thought I could do a lot in that area. We had some back and forth conversations where it ended with me buying the product instead.

He helped me a great deal with getting up to speed with the codebase and with finding a part-time developer to work with me. Up until a couple of weeks ago my developer and I worked on Statbot as a side project, but as of recently I'm 100% focused on making this the best analytics and insights product for people using Intercom.

How've you found the time and funding to work on Statbot?

So for the last 1.5 years I've been doing this as a side-project. I had some money saved since I was planning on releasing my own product and needed a runway. That helped a lot when hiring a developer. During this time I've re-packaged the entire product, removing and adding metrics and graphs, etc.

But most importantly, I've talked to every customer about what they need and what they desire. That has been the main thing since the start: my focus on finding and keeping product/market fit. It's something I work on every day, and I will keep that focus going forward. Creating more value for more people.

How have you attracted users and grown your business?

It took almost 6 months, I think, before releasing a fresher look and feel, a new landing page, new pricing etc after buying the website. During that time I talked a lot to Intercom employees and customers.

By talking to Intercom, I was trying to get and retrieve as much value from their API as possible. However, it was also largely about developing a personal and trusted relationship with them. We had (and continue to have) a lot of great conversations about our use-cases together.

That relationship has brought me customers. I am thankful of Intercom for recommending Statbot to their customers who are looking for more insights. This has basically been my main channel of getting new customers. I haven't even started working on different channels yet, although I probably will eventually. :)

How have you grown your revenue?

When I bought Statbot, it had one plan with $9/month. Since then we've added more value and more features. We've introduced more plans (based on amount of users on Intercom) and raised prices a couple of times.

We got our first new customers by tweeting to people who we knew where using Intercom. A couple of years ago Intercom had this thing where they welcomed new users with tweets, so I just searched for those and reached out. That gave me a good amount of first new customers.

We are using Stripe and tracking economics through Baremetrics. When I bought Statbot, it had around 10 customers and was doing around $100 in MRR. Today it's around $7k MRR. Luckily, each month has been better than the previous one so far. I hope to double that MRR in 4-5 months.

If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

If I had to do it again, I would start working on Statbot full-time earlier instead of staying employed for as long as I did.

Also, I think the biggest issue has been around scaling, and it's still something we think a lot about. I've had fears since the start that our infrastructure won't hold up with new customers coming in. Things have worked out pretty good so far, though it's a lot of work every now and then. Going forward and building out new features, we need to make an even more robust architecture. Our plan is to get one more developer who can spend lots of time focused on this.

What have been your biggest advantages?

One of the things is probably my background in product design and data visualization. I was able to re-package/re-launch Statbot and make it more attractive and valuable.

Also, the fact that I really love talking to customers and want to deliver maximum value has helped. And just looking at how other bootstrapped companies operate and make decisions around product has been very valuable.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to create the best platform for insights and analytics into customers' products. I will continue to build upon Intercom and be the go-to add-on everybody use if they need more insights. I plan to do this over time and in a profitable way.

What's your advice for other aspiring indie hackers?

Talk to potential customers. Then get something out quickly. Learn and iterate until you have product/market fit. But yeah, the most important thing is just to get something out. Just do it.

Where can we learn more about you?

I have all the juicy stuff at my homepage: akebrattberg.com. Otherwise it's basically @akebrattberg everywhere. :)

You can also leave a comment below, and I'll try to get back to you:

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