She Threw Away Old Company, Now Doing $3.3 Million/year, $18,000,000 Raised With

Danielle Morrill

In Episode #318, Nathan interviews Danielle Morrill, the technology exec who left Twilio to found Mattermark, a SaaS business that’s aiming to make almost $5 million this year. Danielle’s an ambitious CEO who can’t stand to be bored. Listen in to hear why you should never split equity evenly, why focusing on churn rate will make you lose customers, and the one crucial thing you should think about before you sell your business.



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Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – The Pyramid Principle
  • What CEO do you follow? — Elon Musk
  • What is your favorite online tool? — Slack
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —It was all going to be okay. She should stop angsting and just keep doing what she’s doing.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:08 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:46 – Mattermark is a SaaS firm that lets customers research private companies
  • 02:20 – Helps people who are looking to sell, buy, or invest in companies
  • 02:41 – Launched in 2013
  • 02:50 – First year revenue was around $200k
  • 03:07 – Left Twilio to start a different startup – an affiliate marketing program
  • 03:43 – Shut down the company completely and started again with the same investors
  • 04:18 – Three co-founders. Danielle is the CEO, her husband codes, and her friend runs sales
  • 05:21 – “We don’t have a 1:1:1 split – because things aren’t ever even.”
  • 06:04 – “I think it’s the CEO’s job to offer equity portions that are fair and make sense”
  • 07:30 – “It’s intellectually lazy to not discuss the equity portions”
  • 08:01 – Topline revenue in 2015 was $2.4 million
  • 08:20 – Monthly recurring revenue is around $260k
  • 08:50 – Around 500 customers
  • 09:07 – Annual customer revenue is around $10k
  • 09:50 – Annual churn is less than 10%
  • 10:11 – “Not everyone has turned over on a year yet – around 80% of customers came on board in the last 11 months”
  • 10:34 – What other metrics measure customer engagement?
  • 10:40 – “By the time they churn, it’s too late”
  • 11:30 – “We think lifetime value will be in the $50k range”
  • 12:10 – Started up an in-house marketing team 8 weeks ago
  • 13:40 – What’s Danielle’s goal with the business?
  • 13:55 – “My goal is to work on interesting things my entire life. If I sold the company for $100 million today, what would I do?”
  • 16:02 – Danielle would be delighted if this year’s revenue hit $4.8 million
  • 16:28 – Connect to Danielle on Twitter
  • 18:08 – Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Discuss equity portions with your co-founders. All an equal split proves is that you don’t know how to have difficult conversations
  2. By the time customers have churned, it’s too late. Look at other engagement metrics to catch them before they leave.
  3. Think about your personal goals. Why are you running the business you are? What do you really want out of it?

Resources Mentioned:

  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • 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.
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives