The Art of Your First 120 Customers With Matt Berman of Sonar

Matthew Bernman The Top Podcast Episode 201

In Episode #201, Nathan speaks with Matthew Bernman of Sonar, a business that makes is super convenient for customers to chat with the companies they buy from.  Listen as Nathan asks Matthew about his journey into the startup game, Sonar’s financial backing, and their long-term development goals.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – None
  • What CEO do you follow?— None
  • What is your favorite online tool?— Trello
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be?—It’s all about who you know and forming good relationships—you can’t do it yourself.


I’m the co­founder and CEO of Sonar ( We’re changing how customers communicate with companies by making it as easy as messaging a friend (SMS, Messenger, WeChat). Before Sonar, I worked at 500Startups as the first Distribution Team member helping startups with growth. I’m a technology enthusiast and entrepreneur.


Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:09 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:39 – Welcoming Matthew to the show
  • 01:52 – Why he left 500 Startups
  • 02:08 – Matthew always wanted to jump back into the startup game
  • 03:09 – Used to work with Teamly—a company that folded
  • 04:10 – Convertible note versus equity
  • 05:03 – Lead Cap negotiation
  • 05:34 – How Sonar makes money
  • 06:00 – 120 paying customers, on average contributing $2K per month
  • 07:30 – Customer acquisition is primarily through word of mouth
  • 08:05 – Month over month revenue increase is 35%
  • 09:20 – Inbound leads tend to convert at a much higher rate
  • 09:48 – 3rd party integration will also be a growth driver
  • 10:22 – Want to hit $1M ARR in 2016
  • 11:49 – The interest is in taking a lasting vestment in the company

2 Key Points:

  1. You need help so involve other people in your life.
  2. Understand the differences between a convertible note and an equity round.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Edgar – Nathan uses Edgar instead of other scheduling tools for Twitter because Edgar cycles through content over and over (buffer/others you have to re-input content over and over – time consuming). In the last several months, Edgar has driven Nathan over 3728 clicks that he didn’t have to work or pay for.
  • Host Gator – Powerful web hosting made easy and affordable.
  • Trello – The online tool Matthew can’t live without



Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives