To celebrate $10k MRR, we're donating 5% of our revenue

Working on and growing a bootstrapped, self-funded and open source startup is not easy. The web is a noisy and competitive place. Raising awareness and building trust is challenging. Most projects fail in their quest to reach sustainability.

At Plausible Analytics, we’re very fortunate to have reached sustainability with our recent $10,000 monthly recurring revenue milestone. We’re a team of two, we’re based in the EU and at these levels, we can pay our rent and other bills from the salaries we get for the work we do on open source software.

It’s a dream come true and a fantastic feeling that allows us to start thinking about giving back. So we’re now announcing our pledge and commitment to give back 5% of our gross revenue to the environmental causes and open source software. That's $842 in January alone!

Becoming sustainable is tough and sacrifices need to be made

Getting a startup to sustainability is tough and sacrifices need to be made. Looking at my personal finances, since I joined Plausible as a co-founder in March last year, I’m down more than $27,000 in personal savings. My co-founder Uku has lost a similar level of savings since he started working on Plausible.

Just because you take a risk and start working on a startup doesn’t stop the bills from coming in. We had some months without salaries and we’re still not at the levels of what we used to have in the corporate world but we’ve made huge progress.

My personal goal for this year would be to pay all my bills and other personal expenses from my Plausible salary, recover the savings lost in the first year and hopefully start saving money again. This is something that is now a realistic goal.

And our stories are not uncommon in the world of indie hacking. To work on something new, to try and make a difference in your own way to the things you care about, many people and teams sacrifice a lot of their time and resources. And only some can tell the story of making it work too.

This is why we have sustainability as the purpose of our donation fund. We’d like to contribute to our planet’s sustainability and the sustainability of other open source projects that we rely on.

We dedicate 5% of our gross revenue to environmental causes and open source projects

By us being in control of the decisions and the direction we want to take Plausible in, we don’t need to cut corners or force things to achieve our personal goals. And we can still do our tiny bit to help and give back to the initiatives that we care about.

When you don't need to "maximize shareholder value", you can make "financially irresponsible" decisions like these just because it feels like the right thing to do.

We’ve started this commitment on January 1st, 2021 and we pledge to donate 100% of this fund at the start of 2022. No questions asked. We will take some time at some point this year to decide the environmental causes and open source projects we will donate to.

Every Plausible subscriber contributes to our fund. And the price you pay for your subscription doesn’t change. Thank you for supporting us and for helping us make a bit of a difference!

You can learn more here 👉 https://plausible.io/giving-back

  1. 9

    I have come to accept that you can have an open source product and still make a living from it. The first people I learned of that were doing this were @alvarotrigo and @zenorocha... you are the third.

    Congratulations on your success and I wish you many more milestones going forward!

    1. 4

      thanks Andrew, it's definitely possible especially if you can find a nice business model for your project! (don't count on donations)

      1. 2

        Ha! I tried donations for about a year and half, and got only 7 dollars!

        Like I say "If they are already milking your cow, they will not buy it"

        1. 2

          this is my first involvement in an open source project and i'm really surprised at how difficult it is to get a donation. it's for sure the most challenging part of this startup. and i've really tried over the last 3 months or so to incentivize people... makes me wonder why pretty much every open source project counts on donations as the main way to get funded...

          1. 2

            I think it depends on the target audience of the org trying to get funded. For us it's very difficult to get an thousands of individuals to donate a small dollar amount for using Plausible for their own needs.

            But take the Linux Foundation as a counterexample. They get $8m/year just from their platinum level sponsors including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, etc. These companies derive billions of dollars of value from using Linux and depend on continuous kernel development.

            I think donations can work in the enterprise space. But they are not made from the goodness of corporate hearts. The donations buy influence & services. I'm not a fan of the model because essentially you end up with multinational private corporations controlling the direction of OS software. But you can't say donations aren't working for the Linux Foundation unless you consider $8m/year a failure :)

    2. 3

      Yeap! Definitely possible!! :)

      Huge congrats @markosaric!! You are doing great and even serving as in inspiration as I told you on Twitter DM!
      Keep that good work!! 💪

  2. 4

    And with that announcement sir, you have made my selection process to replace Google Analytics from our main application easier. Way to go Marko and Uku! 👏

  3. 2

    Congrats Marko & Uku, love using Plausible. I'm not sure why so many cling on to Google Analytics ;)

    1. 1

      thanks Kym! times are changing and an increasing number of people are happy to get rid of Google... hope it continues!

  4. 2

    I love the donation component, that's actually built into my company too. It's great to see the altruism built into the DNA of young companies. Congrats on the wins, sacrifices and hard work!

  5. 2

    Good work! Love the name too :)

  6. 2

    This is fantastic! Congratulations 🎉

  7. 2

    Love your design. What did you use for it? Framework/Tech/etc.

    1. 1

      thanks John! On the frontend we use TailwindCSS for styling and React to make the dashboard interactive.

  8. 2

    Love this and congrats on your success! I was looking around your site and read your post on ethical marketing as well - very cool. I love what you're doing! I hope I'm not being cheeky asking, but I'm doing an interview series for my newsletter with socially responsible and ethical business owners - and I wondered if you'd be willing to participate? It's a written interview, but we can hop on a call if you prefer to do it that way. No pressure, but I'd love to feature your story if you're interested! :)

    1. 1

      thank you! and sure. do reach out with the questions and i'll get back to you.


      1. 1

        Awesome! Thanks so much, and will do!

  9. 2

    Congrats Marko on achieving $10k MRR, I hope this is just the beginning and you will go a long way. Have been following since you announced building in public.

    1. 1

      thanks for your support Rajan!

  10. 2

    That's - awesome. Great to see founders put giving back front and centre of their efforts.

    I run https://getoffset.io which allows businesses and individuals to easily plant trees and offset their carbon footprint.

    Would love to chat about what your priorities are in finding the right partner for your environmental efforts - not to snare you guys as partners (that would be awesome of course) - I'm currently just trying to talk to as many environmentally-conscious founders as I can.

    1. 1

      thank you Fran, it's good to see more projects like yours that makes this process easier! we haven't decided yet what to donate to. the idea is to take some time later this year and handpick a few initiatives that make sense to us.

  11. 2

    Amazing to see this. Ethics are at the core of any good company so I'm proud to be a customer of Plausible.

    1. 1

      thanks for the support!

  12. 2

    Congrats and wonderful giving back. We use Plausible and the interface is so straight forward. I can in a min get the info I need, which I can't going through GA dense forest of data.

    1. 1

      that's great to hear Geoffrey, thanks!

  13. 2

    Love it! Congrats! I work at a growth hacking agency and will make sure to recommend your product to my clients <3

    1. 1

      that's very nice of you! it's due to word of mouth that we get the word out to more site owners so thank you!

  14. 2

    Great news, congrats Marko & Uku!

  15. 2

    Great initiative, happy to be a paying customer!

  16. 2

    Excellent - well done.

  17. 2

    Amazing milestone, happy for you! I trialled Plausible a little while ago but I am now testing again. I like the UI a lot. :)

    1. 1

      glad to hear that Vito, enjoy the trial!

  18. 2

    So nice to read 🙂. You guys do a great job writing blog posts.

    We've also been contributing ~5% of Standard Resume's revenue to open source developers/projects and it feels so good.

    1. 2

      thanks Riley! that's a nice initiative from your side! i was trying to find other startups doing the same but couldn't find too many. those i found mostly do 1% for carbon removal using stripe.

      1. 2

        I guess we should probably follow your lead and be more open about our sponsorships, even if only to encourage more startups to do it 😃.

        1. 1

          i would say so as when researching this over the last few days i certainly couldn't find many examples

          1. 2

            Please PLEASE be more open about these things! I know some people feel uncomfortable doing it, but as long as you are actually doing the good things you say you are, then it's good for your business, good for other businesses and good for your beneficiaries to do so!

  19. 2

    Congrats on the $10k/mo milestone, @markosaric!

    Can't believe that just 4-5 months ago, you were at $4k/mo. Such an incredible growth. Keep it up!

    1. 1

      thanks Nico! and yeah, it's been an incredible journey!

  20. 2

    Good job! Your transparency at Plausible is unparalleled. 👍

    1. 1

      thanks Niklas, appreciate that!

  21. 2

    congrats, wow! ;)
    I'm still building some of my projects

    1. 2

      thank you Fajar, and good luck on your projects!

  22. 1

    Brilliant on so many fronts - and proud to have OneSub chip in its little $12 towards your MRR.

    Yikes - I realise, technically, we're giving you guys 10% of our current MRR! 😆

    Keep up the great work. 🚀🌳

    1. 2

      thanks Jim! and good luck increasing that mrr!

  23. 1

    We all depend on the quality of the environment and on open source software. Good idea to give back.

  24. 1

    Good to hear that! I just built & launched, let's see where we get in one month!

  25. 1

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