September 13, 2018

How I Launched, Marketed and Sold my first bootstrapped SaaS


  1. 2

    Kalo, always impressed with how much you've shared in the past with HeadReach and now with this epic post, great stuff! Thank you!

    Had a question, you mentioned:

    We had to figure out a very tough tech challenge – how to index hundreds of millions of pages on a shoestring budget. To be precise, we had to crawl about 200 million pages each month.

    What made you understand that you needed precisely 200 million pages each month? Curious how you got to that particular number.

    1. 1

      Thank you, Chris.

      200 million up-to-date lead records/people contacts is considered to be the golden standard for our competitors (think Clearbit, for example).

      If you niche into a specific lead gen space based on industry, location, etc. you could get away with much less than that.

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        Interesting, Kalo. You mentioning this number caught my eye because as you mentioned it seems to be "the number" that I see many of these lead gen sites tout about themselves "we have 200+ million contacts"

        Any ideas/thoughts/feedback as to why this number is the "golden standard" for lead gen companies?

        BTW, I've been enjoying your Encharge.io progress updates (https://www.indiehackers.com/product/encharge) awesome that you're sharing those as well.

        From an outsider looking in, I think you're doing an awesome job that will have exponential payoffs in the future!

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          BTW, I've been enjoying your Encharge.io progress updates (https://www.indiehackers.com/product/encharge) awesome that you're sharing those as well.

          That's awesome. I was wondering if anybody reads these :D It's actually my co-founder and me updating it. We started it as an accountability practice. We've been struggling with early-stage entrepreneurial confusion and frustration so decided to put our thoughts out, haha.

          As for the 200-million benchmark. I doubt any software tool can justify it with confidence. But based on my observations is the number of B2B contact leads in 1st tier countries (+ some parts from 2nd tier countries).

          At the time when we were researching that for HeadReach, LinkedIn was at 500 million users, I assume much more than that now. As you could assume, a lot of these are from Asian countries and Africa. Then you have the fake profiles, incomplete profiles and the private ones. So when you draw the line, the relevant leads are less than that.

          You can actually do a country search in LinkedIn and see how many people there are available per country.

          And that's a benchmark number for account-based lead-gen. When it comes to emails only (without additional context), I'm sure tools like Hunter have scrapped a lot more than that. But that's just a blind guess.

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            @kalo totally understand that you are SUPER busy with Encharge.io (still following your progress!) but I wanted to mention that I've done a MAJOR update to https://webdef.com lately.

            Since your an industry expert who has already sold a similar product in this space, it would be amazing if you had a few free cycles to check this out. I'd love to hook you up with whatever you needed...

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              Sorry for the slow response. Actually, I had it as a to-do to reply since the weekend :)

              Love helping indie hackers and SaaS startups as you know :)

              Nice design!

              When I tried it on the weekend, it worked pretty well - managed to find 4-5 emails. Now I get - https://cl.ly/d7da32f3bd13

              How many records have you indexed so far?

              Do you have any plans to provide person name + domain search?

              That market is quite saturated as you already know, which is not a bad thing. The only thing I'd be cautious about is Hunter. They're now the de-facto leader in the category with good data, decent pricing and a looot of exposure.

              We have also used https://anymailfinder.com/ Last time I spoke to the founder (which was late 2016-early 2017) he mentioned they're growing quite good – so clearly there's a room in the market, albeit you're a bit late.

              With those tools, it always comes down to data superiority. No matter what features you offer, or how you market your product or what's your USP, in my opinion, is all about how good your data is. Good meaning - large and reliable/accurate.

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                Kalo, you rock! Thank you for the feedback. My response was getting a bit long so I just sent you an email from what was listed on your profile.

                Looking forward to hearing from you!

  2. 2

    Points for sharing your journey my man! It wasn't clear how much you sold your business for though unless I missed it?

    1. 2

      Thank you, Travis!

      It wasn't a big amount (although the multiplier in SaaS as you know is very generous considering userbase, datasets, and other assets). We agreed with Leadfuze not to disclose it, though.

  3. 2

    This is gold, bro. Thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Thanks, buddy :)

  4. 1

    Wow. That was a lot -- and I am grateful for it. The insight into things didn't even realize needed to know. I love IH for posts like this the most.

    Thank you for your transparency.

    1. 1

      Macario, you're welcome!

      Far from being a liability, starting with no resources can be your best competitive advantage. It forces you to be more resourceful and connect with your audience on a level that your rich competitors can't afford.

      It allows you to share value-bombs that your funded competitors can't. Their stakeholders simply don't let them.

      I believe that if you want to reach – you have to teach.

  5. 1

    Wow Kalo! What a write up - good work.

    Proud to have my face hidden somewhere in this post! :P

    1. 1

      Haha, love it. Thanks, man - doing my best.

  6. 1

    This is Amazing! So raw and honest. You did great Kaloyan. I hope your next venture really takes off. You can apply a lot of what you've learned from growing HeadReach.

    1. 1

      Thank you, Lenny :)