How We Started Strong in a Tumultuous Marketplace

Hello! What's your background, and what are you working on?

Hello, my name is Mohammad. I'm a computer science graduate and have been working at one of the top tech companies for five years now. CryptoSuite is a suite of tools in the cryptocurrency space that allows you to discover new coins, set up price alerts, track your portfolio, research ICOs, discover arbitrage opportunities, and a lot more.

CryptoSuite was launched eight months ago, and we've made over $350,000 in sales so far.

home

What motivated you to get started with CryptoSuite?

Cryptocurrencies were trending in the news and, as a result, the crypto marketplaces were getting flooded with a lot of people looking to invest and build out portfolios. There were a bunch of ugly investing and trading products that were good for experts, but for newcomers there was lack of simple tools to help with getting started, building knowledge, and jumping into the marketplace. I really felt like there was a gap. I did some trading on my own, buying a few alt coins and investing in some crypto funds. Overall, things seemed pretty overwhelming, even for me as a software engineer, and it seemed like there was no one place to get all the information you needed to kick things off.

So we decided to build a basic version of Cryptosuite with an early access webinar where we sold a one-time purchase version of the tool. We explicitly stated that it was a beta tool still in the works, but we wanted to give early access in order to get some feedback as we continued to build out the product and iterate. That webinar alone grossed $40,000.

What went into building the initial product?

I started off with sample code around crypto APIs which I extended to build some alerting functionality. I also focused a lot on the design—I wanted to make cryptocurrency look more accessible and enjoyable. There are a lot of ugly exchanges built entirely in boring, ominous all black, but I wanted CryptoSuite to look fun and enticing.

Identify a target audience and work towards improving the experience of that core audience.

Tweet
Share

From a feature perspective, we were clear about our target audience: Newcomers to the crypto space. We intentionally dropped a bunch of the more complex features in the interest of casting a wider net and making the tool accessible and useful to those potentially looking at crypto for the first time. We also decided against features like automated trading as there’s more risk in managing these kinds of services than we were willing to take on.

How have you attracted users and grown CryptoSuite?

We drew potential customers into a launch webinar by sending out a blast email to a list of users who had previously bought products from us. At that point, the software was not complete, and the purpose of the webinar was to gauge interest and get some early feedback and validation. We sold a lifetime license with the caveat that the product wasn't fully ready. The webinar was a great success and saw around $40,000 in revenue.

The response to the webinar affirmed our confidence in the product and we used the $40k to buy a premium .com domain for $5,000, recruit affiliates, and run a sales contest. A good portion of our sales came from the launch competition we organized, which had a $20,000 prize pool.

I definitely recommend that you start selling as early as possible to gauge interest. Beyond validation for the market viability, the early adopters are also really keen to give good feedback, which you can use to prioritize features.

What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?

Our business model is based on a monthly subscription model and a discounted yearly subscription. Our revenue has mostly come from an affiliate launch competition we held with popular marketers in the internet marketing niche. We also regularly run some private promotions in conjunction with popular marketers to gain more subscribers from their audience.

As of today, we have around $150,000 in yearly subscriptions and around $12,000 monthly subscribers. The subscriptions have been on the decline due to the fall of cryptocurrencies. While the popularity of cryptocurrencies did give us a quick boost, it seems that the instability of the market may lead to our eventual demise as well.

Our primary distribution model relies on affiliates, who get a 50% cut of the revenue. This is definitely our biggest expense but also takes care of promotional aspects. We have spent near to nothing on ads. Our server expenses are minimal, with the biggest being transactional email expenses, which used to run us $100 or more each month. Moving to Amazon SES has reduced that to around $5/month, which is nice.

pricing

What are your goals for the future?

Given the fall of cryptocurrencies, we're not too hopeful for the future.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced and obstacles you've overcome? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

I believe the biggest challenge we have is that we're totally based on top of cryptocurrencies. Our success or failure is closely tied to how cryptocurrencies perform.

Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

It was helpful to have a focused audience, i.e. people that were new to cryptocurrencies. Time and again, we've received feedback from customers who have asked for complex features that would cater to advanced users. We were clear that we didn't want to address those markets and it was good that we didn't spend time on them.

What's your advice for indie hackers who are just starting out?

Identify a target audience and work towards improving the experience of that core audience. Avoid feature bloat and launch early. Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn has offered some advice that I’ve found particularly helpful in saying that, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late."

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more about the tool at app.cryptosuite.com. Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help. :)

Mohammad , Founder of CryptoSuite

Want to build your own business like CryptoSuite?

You should join the Indie Hackers community! 🤗

We're a few thousand founders helping each other build profitable businesses and side projects. Come share what you're working on and get feedback from your peers.

Not ready to get started on your product yet? No problem. The community is a great place to meet people, learn, and get your feet wet. Feel free to just browse!

Courtland Allen , Indie Hackers founder

Loading comments...