3 years journey to 10 million monthly visits
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
4 mins read.
Our 3 years journey to 10 million monthly visits. This is not a show off, “We're honored”, “We're glad to”, “Very proud of” LinkedIN cliche kind of post. It’s more of a memoir that captures different questions we all go through starting up our businesses. The details might be different but I can assure you the questions are usually the same. So here’s our look back, you can agree or disagree on the conclusions but the sole purpose here is to trigger your thoughts. Whether you're in year 1,2 or 10 of your startup.
First and foremost, the product. Is it a distraction or a user driven decision?
Conclusion one, everyone pivots! Yes we all do, that’s if you want to build a user driven product. While continuous pivoting could be alarming, user driven pivoting is actually healthy and recommended. Sometimes the world changes, or the user changes, or simply they want more or want less. We started off with a simple dialer that picks the cheaper SIM card in every call for dual SIM users. But then users asked for Tariff suggestions, then a way to pay for this suggestion, then savings beyond telecom, then advance balance. As much as all these additions/suggestions added up to our commercial strategy, they were all coming from the people. It’s simply why our average user went from using the app 15 times a month to 120 times with the top ones (probably those who use every feature) doing 1000+ app visits/month. In the app world that’s a huge number, imagine you have a daily 5-30 time slots to communicate with your user, amazing right? So yh if the user asks for it, it’s healthy pivoting.
Fundraising. When and Who?
Well that’s the tricky sensitive one, with debates going around all the time. Should VCs be harsh on startups or should they be lenient. Founder focused or portfolio focused or LP focused. Should I play hard to get or be clear and honest with VCs. The market is over valuating their businesses, should I follow? In our experience which could be quite different from many people, you want to find one thing “Believers”. They’re the ones who will stick in the hardships of the rollercoaster and support you when you need it. Of course VCs track record is important but what is way more valuable is a VC who tells you “We believe this will one day change the way people live”, if you’re told this I guarantee you you’ll fight day and night to prove them right. That’s why every single VC investor we have on our Cap table has followed on in every round we had (stay tuned for news). With our product being unique and new, not an ‘Uber for’ kind of model, it was hard for sure but every investor who joined had one thing in common to tell us “I haven’t seen this before, it’s either going to be huge or it will be too hard to do. I’d like to help you make it huge”. One investor even once told us “Everything this big had a 50-50% chance of failure or success at some point in their journey”. If this is the kind of people pouring money into your business, there’s no other option to be as honest and straightforward with them. Fair valuation, raise what you need and ignore anyone who tells you to raise just for the sake of raising.
Profit vs Growth. Which?
Easy answer is both, but life’s not so easy. So here’s how we thought of it. Simply don’t overspend, and build a product user’s would want to share with friends and family. Our business again could be different from other startups, we have ZERO cost of assets or on ground operations. We’re a pure tech product we only spend on people. We spend on people who build the product and people who use the product and that’s about it. We’ve managed to launch a product that has a smart dialer that saves money, has a directory of all businesses in Egypt and a built in truecaller of 100m+ mobile numbers. A product with payment solutions for telecom and bills with 5 possible ways to pay (online and offline). A built in loyalty and cashback gamified experience. A product with data driven saving tips and instant advance credit solutions with only 12 people! Could have done it in less time with more people for sure but here’s what we decided not to do, we decided not to hire for seasonal capacity issues. In other words, we made sure that every member of the team is always occupied with building the product rather than having a huge team with seasonal efforts. For growth, well we have probably one of the lowest costs of acquisition in the region 0-1.5 EGP per user, it’s simply because we built a product for the masses, millions of people who want to save money. Not only do they download and use it, but they share it with friends and family in their circle to share the benefit, bringing down our weighted cost of acquisition even lower.
Which takes us back to the question of profit vs growth. Guess what you can do both with the same strategy! Product first and don’t overspend.
Well, those were the three probably biggest questions we’ve had across our journey. The product, The money and The commercial strategy. For those of you who enjoyed this, we will try to keep this a regular thing and share with you more detailed and technical features like Team, Tech, Data Science, Marketing. Stay Tuned for more.