He’s Really Smart So Why’d He Quit for Startup?

Pavan Boob

In Episode #349, Nathan interviews Pavan Boob, the founder of Fuel Panda, a weekly subscription service that means you’ll never have to hunt for a gas station with an angry fuel light again. Fuel Panda refuels commuters’ cars while they’re parked. It’s in the early stages of the 500 Startups accelerator – but Pavan has big ideas. Tune in to hear how he plans to keep up with the Tesla, how he bootstrapped from the bottom up, and why it’s crucial to give your ideas 100%.



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Famous 5:

  • Favorite Business Book? – Crossing the Chasm
  • What CEO do you follow? —Mark Zuckerberg
  • 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? —Go for what you want. Pick something and give it 100%

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:12 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:50 – Fuel Panda is a weekly gas refueling service
  • 02:15 – They’re a SaaS business that charges a subscription fee plus a margin on the gas
  • 02:40 – Started in January 2016, working with over 100 customers and doing around 80 refuels per week
  • 03:10 – Close to 1,000 refuels
  • 03:24 – Made close to $15k
  • 03:36 – Originally bootstrapped – they’re now in the 500 Startups accelerator
  • 03:57 – Investment from 500 startups – $125k for 5% of the business
  • 04:21 – Why go into the refueling business?
  • 05:00 – “I had an 80 mile commute…I was stuck in traffic and I didn’t want to take 20 minutes to refuel when I saw the dashboard light”
  • 06:44 – How do you prevent people from stealing gas when the lid is left open?
  • 07:31 – Nathan: “I’m skeptical…I think that very soon the asset of a car is going to live on the balance sheet of a company”
  • 08:00 – “Well, anything that moves on the road is going to need refueling…I think it will be possible to adapt”
  • 09:11 – What does the business look like when people switch to autonomous electric vehicles?
  • 10:00 – They’re investing in mobile charging stations that could carry anything from gasoline to batteries to hydro fuels
  • 10:10 – Pavan’s invested around $25k in the business himself
  • 10:20 – Less than $200k total investment – and the company is cash flow positive
  • 10:45 – Monthly RPU is $20 per month plus fuel margin – around $50 total
  • 11:00 – MRR is around $6k
  • 11:34 – Churn is around 4% – though the company is so new that it’s hard to tell
  • 12:13 – CAC is $5
  • 12:26 – Targeting consumers, and also building managers and company managers
  • 14:17 – Connect with Pavan via email and at the FuelPanda website
  • 14:45 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Find a pain point. Test the market to see if other people feel it. Market your solution.
  2. Don’t be scared to do what you really
  3. If you’re going into a changing market, you’d better understand how it’s going to change.

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.

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