Quit 6 Figure Corporate Job With a Kid to Launch SaaS Startup

Prem Bhatia

Summary:
In Episode #267 Nathan interviews Prem Bhatia, CEO and co-founder of Cooleaf. Cooleaf’s a B2B platform that helps companies organise, coordinate and track their engagement efforts. Listen as Prem and Nathan talk about breaking out of the corporate world, getting startup funding, and acquiring customers at no cost.

Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – The Alliance
  • What CEO do you follow? — Dharmesh Shah
  • What is your favorite online tool? — LinkedIn
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —Do it sooner. You’ll learn on the job.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:10 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 02:10 – Welcoming Prem to the show
  • 02:40 – Prem left the corporate world aged 35 to begin a startup
  • 03:20 – Gave up a salary supporting his family
  • 04:40 – Cooleaf is a SaaS platform designed to help businesses with engagement efforts
  • 05:30 – Currently has 25 active customers
  • 06:05 – Average annual contract of $25-30k
  • 06:20 – Acquiring customers through inside sales – personal outreach; a blog
  • 07:05 – Not spending any money on acquisitions
  • 07:30 – Have raised about $800k in funding – in part from 500 Startups
  • 08:10 – Funding is largely in equity
  • 08:30 – Founded 4-5 years ago, but pivoted later into B2B
  • 09:05 – Team of 11
  • 10:30 – Annual churn of around 10% – a little unclear right now
  • 11:30 – Average LTV is around $100k
  • 11:45 – Model right now is to ‘nail it and scale it’ – tighten up what they’re doing
  • 12:50 – Made less than $500k in 2015
  • 13:20 – Aiming to make $88k per month this year
  • 13:30 – Connect with Prem on Twitter
  • 15:45 – Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Startups don’t come with guarantees. To be an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared to give something up.
  2. If you’re working with a small number of high-value clients, you shouldn’t have to spend money on acquisitions. Reach out through your networks first.
  3. Learn on the job. No one ever feels ready to start something – accept that you aren’t, and jump in anyway.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.