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I bootstrapped Floify, a B2B Mortgage SaaS, to 3M users. AMA!

I'm the founder of Floify - https://floify.com/ - the leading mortgage automation and point-of-sale solution.

I've been a software developer for over 19 years, and Floify was spun out of my previous company, Flux (which was also self-funded).

We currently have almost 3 million registered users on the platform, and the MVP for Floify was developed in under 3 months.

At one point we were doing 55k loans on our platform per month. Now we do more than double that.

Our first customer came from a press release, if you can believe it.

Anyways - looking forward to answering your questions.

  1. 2

    Hello Dave,

    Thanks for your time.

    You mentioned that your first customer came from a press release. What strategy did you use to acquire customers?

    1. 3

      We tried anything and everything until we finally saw some channels being to pay off.

      Over time, those channels change. Some stop working. Then you need to find new channels.

      But basically the usual things are what work for us: paid ads + seo + referrals.

  2. 2

    For background info, Floify streamlines and simplifies the mortgage process for borrowers, loan officers, real estate agents, and mortgage companies.

    Lenders subscribe to our B2B SaaS. Borrowers and real estate agents use Floify for free.

    Maybe you used Floify when you purchased a home or refinanced. 😎

  3. 1

    Hi Dave, thanks for doing this. How long did it take to build? How many months did it take before you got customer #1 (via the press release)? How long did it take to get customer #2?

    1. 1

      The very first public MVP release took ... maybe ... 2.5 months to build. The press release went out on Day 1, we got a lead from it that day or the next day.

      Back then we had 30 days trials (fools, we were!), so at the end of the 30 day trial, our very first customer signed up. She's still with us eight years later.

      Customer #2 came inbound about the time Customer #1 signed up, and they closed ~30 days later.

  4. 1

    Hi Dave, Thanks for sharing your story. There's so much great content here. I've launched 4 start-ups (some with success, some not.) My latest originated because we saw a big headache in B2B that we could solve. We built a platform and we're not getting any sign-ups. The demos we've given are promising, but there's always 1 excuse or another for not signing up. We've tried lots of methods to get sign-ups but still not getting any traction after two months. Two other interesting things have happened. 1) We've found a tangential market that wants to white label our product in various forms. And 2) we've also discovered that we might need to add some more features/3rd-party data to get traction in the original market. The first option might be a huge headache as each potential partner has their own version of what our product should look like if it's white labeled. The second option is no guarantee and there are some issues with licensing the 3rd-party data. Both have higher dev costs and time. Any thoughts? Should we stay the course and keep forging ahead with the current product, or try option 1 or option 2? Would love your thoughts! Perhaps we can chat offline. I think you'll really find our product interesting as it's a different market than yours but similar concept. Thanks!

    1. 1

      You're in a tough spot! I think there's a lot to consider and obviously a lot of deep information I don't understand.

      I wouldn't be afraid of going heads-down coding for a week to build a new feature or something new to try to sell.

      I would think twice before going heads-down for 3 weeks. We did that only once in the early days, and that feature didn't get customer traction.

      Ultimately, I think it goes back to doing experiments. One week of coding? So what, go for it. 3 weeks? Hmmm...

      1. 1

        Thanks Dave. The issue for us is in option 2 we could take one of two different paths for adding 3rd-party data to basically add two new features. Each will require about a month of dev work. And, I'm not a developer, so that's tough on the wallet since we're bootstrapping this.

        Would you be open to chatting offline? As mentioned, I think you'd find our product very interesting, and it could be helpful to your businesses.

        1. 1

          Sure, I don't mind chatting offline. Just DM me on Twitter @floifydave.

          1. 1

            Just sent you a Twitter DM. Thanks!

  5. 1

    If you were to start all over today which industries do you see as ripe for indie SaaS products?

    Also, what was the biggest challenge you faced as a solo dev and if you could do it all again what would you do different to solve it?

    1. 1

      PS: Speaking for myself, I wouldn't do B2C. I love B2B, you don't have to get nearly as many customers to have a self-sustaining business, people are willing to spend more, et cetera.

    2. 1

      Oh boy, my preferred method of figuring out "what's next" is to get out there and:

      • Experience different things, until something with big promise appears that woefully needs a better experience
      • Working with different people and organizations to trigger similar ideas as above

      So while I don't know what industries are waiting for a dramatic improvement, they're out there. For me in 2013, it was the mortgage industry. Still TONS of opportunity there.

      Biggest challenge as a solo dev: Making sales. Sales cures all.

      I've always been our first salesperson, and that naturally comes harder for me. But you can't not do it — gotta lower your shoulder and drive forward on sales and really anything I'm not innately comfortable doing.

  6. 1

    Hi Dave, thanks for the thoughtful answers! I'm in an adjacent space. Do you have a sense for what percent of borrowers come to your platform before they start seriously house hunting?

    These days, you can hunt online all day, but my sense is that things are more serious once you start attending open houses.

    Would love to hear any thoughts!

    1. 2

      Our customers are mortgage loan originators who bring their borrowers to Floify to rate shop, apply for a loan, sign disclosures, provide documentation, et cetera.

      Floify's not really a place that borrowers would go to first, before selecting a loan officer or mortgage company/broker to work with.

      Last thing: Getting pre-approved while shopping is a big thing! Having that pre-approval letter in hand, saying how much house you can afford, is very appealing to a large segment of folks.

  7. 1

    Who is your clients?
    Mortgage Agents? Real estate agents?

    1. 2

      Banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, mortgage brokers.

      Real estate agents use the platform for free, as do borrowers.

    2. 1

      Mortgage lenders probably

  8. 1

    Hey Dave! I'm a first-time early-stage, solo, bootstrapped founder with very limited time and some resource.

    I'm wondering from your perspective, amongst the millions of things to do.. how do you prioritize what to focus and allocate effort to. If something appears to be off/not working exactly. What's the thinking behind it?

    Like if I really had to I'd go way deep and investigate/do customer research and then build based off of that. But that would set me back time and money.

    1. 4

      In my life, I've tried to start ~8 companies, only 2 ever took off.

      In both cases, I had income already (for Flux in 2000, I had consulting income; for Floify in 2013, I had Flux income), and so I just made time to do the coding to build the product, then marketing, sales, and support came after.

      I kinda know when to quit. I went full-time on Flux in January 2001 after the first customer signed up in October 2000.

      Floify too MUCH LONGER to get going. SaaS is so competitive! And the price points for SMB SaaS are so much lower, it takes time to build up Monthly Recurring Revenue.

      As to your question of what-to-do-first: What's worked for me is to find something that's broken, make sure it's "early days" for that (don't be the umpteenth competitor), and something that's super intriguing to you and you to improve upon.

  9. 1

    Interesting, is Floify integrated with the appraisal ordering process at all?

    1. 2

      Close! That's something we want to build very badly, as we care deeply about the end-to-end borrower experience.

      Last year I did a mortgage for my mom (on Floify), and when we got to the appraisal step, everything suddenly went old school: texting and emailing to schedule the appraisal and to receive the final report.

      We plan on baking that into Floify for a proper borrower experience soon.

      1. 1

        Ha, I agree with "old school" (unfortunately).

        Would you be up for chatting some time? I'm the founder of Appraisal Flow (rebranding soon to Appraisal Inbox) which helps appraisers manage their appraisal order workflow.

        My long term vision is for appraisers to be able to reduce the amount of paperwork they have to deal with, including all the back and forth for scheduling an appraiser has to do with the borrower as well as their client (lender).

        1. 1

          Sure thing, please DM me on Twitter: @floifydave

  10. 1

    Would you say there's less opportunity for indiehackers in SaaS in 2021 than there was when you started Floify several years ago?

    What company would you be starting today if you were beginning all over again?

    1. 5

      In 2000 when I started Flux, it was on-premise software with perpetual licenses and annual support & maintenance. I typically made $4000 per sale and then a year later, $800 for annual support & maintenance.

      In 2013 when the Floify SaaS started and you're selling $79 seats, it takes A LONG TIME to build up monthly recurring revenue. It's just so much harder to get the flywheel going.

      But if you CAN get the flywheel going, SaaS is awesome. It just keeps growing and growing, if you've got something people want to buy, and you're able to constantly innovate.

      If I had to start all over again, I honestly don't know what I'd do. I'd probably just get out there and work with different people in different industries to see what early-stage problems in the world need fixing.

      But there's absolutely TONS of opportunity for indie hackers in SaaS in 2021. The world is an unbelievably big place, and opportunities to serve others via SaaS abound.

      1. 1

        Forgot to thank you for this answer, Dave. Really appreciate the seasoned perspective.

      2. 1

        I feel a bit better on my $100 ecommerce upwork contract

        I justified it as market research haha

        thanks for sharing Dave

  11. 1

    What marketing channels did you use to get traction and grow?

    1. 2

      Anything and everything. We just kept trying everything and tracking what worked.

      The very first thing was a press release. We got our first customer in 2013, and she's still with us today. She's brought us multiple enterprise customers.

      But over time, we found that the usual stuff works: paid ads + seo + referrals. No shocker there.

  12. 1

    How long it took to get the saas profitable?

    1. 2

      My wife and I were able to self-fund everything from our other company, Flux, so in a sense, we were profitable from the start, but also, we were self-funding from our Flux resources.

      Our days of self-funding are long past, but SaaS is a highly, highly competitive space. We've always wanted to reinvest all profits into greater growth. It's worked out in our case.

  13. 0

    What is your sale conversion rate, how you convert trail user to the customer and how much time it takes?

    1. 4

      I can say that the lead conversion rate is very high. Higher than you might suspect.

      Some customers sign on same-day, some take a week or three. Enterprise customers take several months.

      Having hungry, smart, talented salespeople is key for us. I did all the original sales. Once we had enough revenue to hire, we hired two salespeople, per Jason Lemkin's rule: When you're ready to hire a salesperson, don't hire one, hire two.

      1. 1

        I had never heard that quote from Jason. Love it!

  14. 1

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