SaaS, $242k MRR, $13 Million Raised to Re-Invent Business Email with Mathilde Collin of FrontApp

Shooting portrait Mathilde et Pierre

In Episode #413, Nathan interviews Mathilde Collin, CEO and co-founder of Front. Her app has developed email and inbox features meant specifically for teams. Growing up in France, Mathilde realized that being an adult wasn’t fun—that getting a job usually meant a life of misery. She would not settle for that. She knew from the beginning that she had to create a job that she loved, and so Front was born.

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • What CEO do you follow? — Patrick Collison
  • Favorite online tool? — Front! and Slack.
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep? — Yes.
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? – We can be happy at work. Get a job you love.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:40 – Nathan introduces Mathilde Collin
  • 02:00 – Front App is an inbox for teams
  • 02:25 – A SaaS company founded in 2014
  • 02:50 – She started the business when she was 22
  • 03:05 – She realized a lot of people didn’t like their job, and she wanted to solve that issue for herself
  • 03:35 – 2015 revenue was $1 million
  • 04:00 – 1210 companies use Front
    • 04:20 – A large variety of company size
  • 04:50 – Why they raised millions in capital
    • 05:25 – Email is complicated, so you need to invest in resources and good engineering
    • 05:45 – She already had a loan from studying in France
    • 06:15 – They raised with key people who could help
    • 06:37 – They wanted to invest in hiring super qualified people
  • 07:05 – Team of 21 in San Francisco
  • 07:15 – Monthly expenses are about $200k
  • 07:50 – How did you get over the psychological barrier of that red line?
    • 08:20 – Spending money when you have money
    • 08:35 – A more rational spending plan
    • 09:05 – She will keep that money in the bank
    • 09:45 – That extra money has allowed for growth
    • 10:20 – She has people under her responsibility
  • 10:55 – She has one co-founder
  • 11:05 – How they determined equity
    • 11:15 – An even split for people who will be there for the whole life of the company
  • 12:05 – They have no marketing team
  • 13:10 – Customer lifetime value: Customer churn is 3%
    • 13:35 – Revenue churn is negative
  • 13:45 – They sell three plans.
    • 14:10 – Selling the upsell versions to new teams in the same companies
  • 15:00 – An inbound sales team
  • 15:15 – Monthly and annual plans
  • 15:35 – Lifetime value is about 33 months, or $6300
  • 16:15 – Valuation was not disclosed
  • 16:45 – Her goal is to make as many people possible happy at this company.
  • 17:20 – They will try to go public eventually.
  • 17:40 – They want to keep their product as it is, which would be difficult if it were acquired.
  • 18:15 – Why customers churn
    • 18:25 – They dislike how often changes happen.
  • 19:05 – They grow 10% each month
  • 19:30 – They would like to hit $300k this year.
  • 19:45 – Connect with Mathilde on Twitter at @CollinMathilde
  • 21:30 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Get a job that you love.
  2. Starting a business is hard—all entrepreneurs go through challenges.
  3. In the early stages of your company, keep perfecting your product.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using TopTal for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal developers. 
  • 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.
  • FrontApp.com and @CollinMathilde on Medium and Twitter – Follow Mathilde and her company!
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things – The business book that completely changed Mathilde’s outlook on her business.
  • Slack – The tool that Mathilde and her team use a ton at Front
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives