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109 Comments

We sold our SaaS!

I'm happy to finally announce that @daniksimpson and I sold our startup FeedbackPanda!

We built this EdTech SaaS to $55k MRR over two years, from idea to exit. We never took any funding nor did we ever hire an employee.

FeedbackPanda is now joining the existing EdTech products in the SureSwift Capital portfolio. Which is quite exciting because they know what they are doing.

We could not be more thankful for all the support and encouragement of this wonderful community. I talk about this more in the interview article linked below, but IndieHackers had a big impact on our business.

Not only is this community a treasure trove of information and guidance, but it also is home to the wonderful IndieHackers podcast (by @csallen of course), where I first heard of SureSwift Capital years before we even considered selling. It goes back to the episode with @moritz and his tales about DocParser and MailParser. A lot of serendipity here, and we are grateful for every part of it.

The IndieHackers community is a true blessing, and we intend to give back as much as we can.

https://www.sureswiftcapital.com/blog/bootstrapped-saas-founders-sell-business/

  1. 11

    Congratulations and thank you for writing an insightful article. Was going to ask you questions, and realized you've already answered them all. Clever!

    1. 2

      Awesome! Glad to hear it.

    2. 2

      Haha, thanks so much!

      1. 3

        Second what @kirill said. Congratulations, @arvidkahl!

        1. 1

          Thanks, much appreciated!

  2. 4

    Congratulations. Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story!

    1. 1

      That is very kind. Thank you!

  3. 4

    Congrats man, this is awesome!

    1. 1

      Thanks so much! It really is awesome.

  4. 4

    Congratulations! :)

  5. 4

    Congratulations. This is really inspiring :)

  6. 4

    Congratulations, excellent example of a successful bootstrap!

    1. 2

      Thank you! We feel blessed to have had this opportunity for sure.

  7. 4

    Congratulations! How much did you sell for?

    1. 2

      Usually, you take the ARR * growth factor coefficient, for a SaaS business it really depends on the industry and if your revenue is on the rise or not. On average for a SaaS business it's around 8x so you can deduce that they sold for more or less $5 million. And since this is capital gains the take-home is great. Congratulations guys!

    2. 1

      Thanks Jon. Can't talk about that! 🤫

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

  8. 3

    Congrats! Really inspiring to read :)

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!

  9. 3

    Outstanding....and a great read

    1. 1

      Glad you liked it! Thank you very much.

  10. 3

    @arvidkahl and @daniksimpson congratulations! Couldn't have happened to 2 better humans. It’s a great story. Love the laser focus in a day when we debate servicing everyone .vs. A niche that you can just crush. Really impressive.

    1. 1

      Awww, thanks so much, Tom. Much appreciated!

  11. 3

    Very inspiring! What are you gonna do now :)? That's the question! Have you a project in mind?

    1. 1

      Thank you, Romain! My next project will involve mostly writing, but there are already SaaS ideas floating around. Once you're in SaaS, you see SaaS opportunities everywhere :) Nothing specific yet. If there is anything more clear, I will certainly talk about it on IndieHackers. This here community is the best place for that stuff.

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!

  12. 3

    Nice work, Arvid. What you guys built wasn’t easy. But rest assure, SureSwift Capital is the best in the business. So, you’re in great hands.

    Enjoy it for a while before jumping back in the entrepreneurial saddle.

    1. 1

      Thanks, Marvin. Much appreciated.

      SureSwift has been great indeed. I would not have thought to find a bunch of people who understand small SaaS businesses this well. And then I found them.

      We do hope to find some relaxation soon. But first, MicroConf EU :)

  13. 3

    Congrats!!!
    The sureswift article was great! I have a friend trying to do an Ed tech startup and it was very inspirational and informative to read your story

    1. 1

      Thank you!

      EdTech certainly needs every single new startup that is willing to do something about education. It is such an underserved market. And teachers have been such wonderful customers. I sometimes miss talking to them on Intercom, solving their problems but also just chatting about their day and their struggles.

      And struggles they have many. So there are a lot of opportunities!

      What is your friend working on?

      1. 4

        She's a speech therapist and I think she's onto something in the realm of a self-guided speech app/course for parents who have kids on the spectrum of autism.... some really good stuff she's working on, but she has no understanding of the tech end of things.

        I told her to find a tech co-founder. how did you and your partner meet? She needs to figure that out.

        1. 2

          Ah yes, that is the magical ingredient. Danielle and I met at a mutual friend's party. We were a couple first, and business partners later. If that is a bit too much commitment for your friend, I have a few recommendations.

          First off, being an active member of the Indie Hackers community and talking about your idea will attract the technically inclined. And that can be done from anywhere, at any time, without needing to actually do much work.

          If you live in larger cities, being a member of co-working spaces will allow your friend to embed herself in a more technical community. Sometimes it's really serendipitous, you talk to some person while you're grabbing a coffee and they have this friend that knows this tech wizard, and a few days later, you may get talking. It's increasing the opportunity surface that matters. Increase the chances of meeting the right people. You will meet a lot of the wrong people too, for that idea at least, but everyone has a network, and if the idea resonates, it will reverberate through that network and find the right person.

    1. 3

      First, I'm gonna have a nap. Didn't get too many of these over the last two years :)

      We are in the lucky position to take a breather and reflect on what we want to do with our time from now on. I personally have the urge to write. And help people with their own bootstrapped businesses.

      But first, a vacation.

      1. 1

        That's Great Arvid :)

  14. 3

    That’s inspiring! Congratulations and keep us posted with your next venture 😆

    1. 1

      Thanks so much! I sure will :) This community was so essential to our success!

  15. 3

    Nice to hear your story! Congratulations on the sale!

    Hope you guys get some time to recharge :) Do you have another bootstrapped startup idea in mind?

    1. 1

      Thank you! We certainly need some time to relax after two years of 24/7 focus on the business. We have plenty of ideas, but none have clearly crystallized yet. I think we just need to take a deep breath before we jump into anything new. But I bet we will. It's too much fun.

  16. 3

    Nice work! It's fun seeing a couple find success in business together. My wife and I went through the same process last year, for many of the same reasons. Best of luck in your next venture!

    1. 1

      Very cool! What are you and your wife working on?

      1. 1

        Thanks! Our first company was a meal planning app - Mealime. This time we're focusing on the journaling space. Will hopefully be launching by the end of the year or early January 🤞

    2. 1

      Thank you! It was quite the adventure, and it deepened our bond substantially. Building a company together is a wonderful project.

      1. 2

        Completely agree. Glad you had a positive experience!

  17. 3

    Congratulations to both of you!!

    1. 2

      Thank you very much!

  18. 3

    Curious -- and this is a somewhat personal question, so feel free to ignore -- but why did you sell?

    1. 7

      A number of reasons.

      It was good timing for us. We noticed we were reaching a point where the business could take on more risks, but we as owners couldn't. It was our income generator, and we wouldn't want to mess it up. But continuing to grow a company at $55k MRR requires different strategies than at $5k MRR. And we didn't really know what to do there that would feel safe for us. It's the unknown unknowns that kept us from experimenting too much.

      We also had a very small team, which was essentially just the two of us and a few people working as contractors. We had never really hired, so there we were. That was immediately resolved once we transitioned the company over. Big learning for me: hire early.

      Handing the product to a company that had both the experience and the team in place to deal with the next stage sounded like a very good idea. And the transition has been silky smooth, way beyond my expectations.

      1. 2

        Interesting, thanks for sharing!

        I hear you on not wanting to mess up your primary income generator. And you've got me thinking about how our strategy changed over the years. Never thought about that before :)

        Glad to hear you guys had a good transition. Hope you get some time to disconnect.

        If we ever make it over to MicroConf Europe would love to buy you a coffee and hear more.

        1. 1

          Thanks!
          Are you a team of 2 working on Geocodio as well?

          1. 1

            We are! Just my husband Mathias and I. No employees or contractors.

            1. 1

              Very cool!
              I just took a read of your story from January. Lots of similarities... and lots of truth in your list of the simple keys to growth.

              1. 3

                Super cool to see another couple working together, by the way. Love that about the bootstrapped world!

  19. 2

    Congratulations @arvidkahl and @daniksimpson. I like the clarity with which you answer the questions in the interview. I am sure the decision to let go was not an easy one especially after building something from scratch.

    One of the best stories I have seen on IH. Hope to see you on indiehacker podcast with @csallen soon.

    Cheers and enjoy the vacation guys!

    1. 1

      Thanks so much! We would absolutely love to chat with @csallen.

  20. 2

    Congratulations what are you looking to do next ?

    1. 2

      Thank you. We will take a vacation and then reflect on what we learned and how we can apply it to more ideas in the future. And then, one day, we will encounter a problem, and we will think of a solution, and a new business will appear :)

  21. 2

    Congratulations! This is really cool...

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!

  22. 2

    Just amazing guys, a big congrats

  23. 2

    Congartulations Arvid! This is such inspiring news :) So happy for you both!

    1. 1

      Thank you, much appreciated!

  24. 2

    Congratulations!! I'm sure this is very inspiring to all indie hackers :)

    1. 1

      Thank you so much! That is very kind of you to say. I certainly was inspired by similar stories when we started out, so I hope this is entertaining and instructive for other entrepreneurs.

  25. 2

    That's amazing news! Congrats @arvidkahl

    1. 1

      Thank you very much!💪

  26. 2

    You probably have an NDA - but I am curious what annual revenue multiple your company got sold for? Is it 1X the annual revenue 2X, 10X? I doubt the last number but I been trying to find a sweet spot for something I am working on. 1X is usually for the consulting companies. Not sure about yours, since you were roughly doing $660,000 in revenue.

    1. 5

      Multiples in bootstrapped SaaS are often somewhat misunderstood. In my preparation for the acquisition, I researched this extensively, and I have seen many different approaches. Sometimes it's X times revenue, sometimes it's Y times EBITDA, sometimes it's Z times earnings. All of those times, it's actually a composite factor, taking into account not just the numbers from the P&L but also growth trajectories, market size, customer retention metrics, industry cohort position, operational complexity, and many more.

      You're right, I won't be talking about our numbers here (or anywhere), and I do that because I feel this won't be useful for anyone. Expectations and guesstimates already run rampant in the bootstrapped SaaS world, and a sale is always one of a kind. There may be industry averages, but the deviation from the mean is very high.

      I recommend listening to a few select episodes on the Built to Sell podcast. I did that leading up to our negotiations, and I think I may have listened to over 100 episodes over a week and a half. You can find the podcast at https://www.builttosell.com/podcast-3/ . I came out of that learning experience with a clearer understanding of the subjective nature of these numbers (and what matters in a sellable business).

  27. 2

    Congratulations! I love hearing these stories. I can’t help but think about how you will replace that income now that you sold?

    1. 2

      Thank you very much!

      Yeah, that becomes a very interesting question at this point. The good thing is, a sale provides a runway of sorts, and capital, when well invested, be it the stock market or other businesses, will provide its own returns.

      Can't say I have figured this out, but I definitely want to continue working in the bootstrapped SaaS world. It is just too exciting not to be part of that.

  28. 2

    I understand you can't speak about it but hopefully you got north of 6M from the sale :) Congrats.

    1. 1

      Thanks very much! We're quite happy with the sale :)

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