How Mobile Analytics Company Went $0 to $4 Million in 12 Months

Sunil Thomas

In Episode #736, Nathan interviews Sunil Thomas. He’s had a ton of experience working in tech companies and decided in 2013 to take the plunge himself and go all in with his 2 co-founders. They’ve since raised a total of $9.6 million – $1.6 million seed and $8 million in series A. They launched revenue in 2016, broke $1.5 million in total sales and this May 2017, broke $400,000 in MRR out of about $5 million ARR. He wants to double that by the end of the year, amounting to $800,000. They have a team of 45 based between California, New York and India—again, making it easier for mobile applications to understand what the heck users are doing in their apps.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Play Bigger
  • What CEO do you follow? – Satya Nadella of Microsoft
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7-8 hours
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – I wish I knew as much as my kids knew at 13, I had no clue what I was doing at 20

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:44 – Nathan introduces Sunil Thomas to the show
  • 01:32 – Sunil Thomas is the co-founder and CEO of CleverTap
  • 01:46 – CleverTap combines people-based analytics with user engagement, it can be used in your mobile app and website and you get to understand what they are doing
  • 02:23 – It is like a combination of Mix Panel plus App Boy for mobile apps and websites
  • 03:17 – The average customer pays them $2500 – $3000 a month based on event data
  • 03:37 – The top cohorts pay $10,000 to $20,000 a month
  • 04:21 – CleverTap is one of the few companies that has both Accel and Sequoia as their funders and they have raised a total of $9.6 million dollars with a seed of $1.6 million and $8 million in series A
  • 05:18 – CleverTap started in 2013 and has 3 co-founders—Suyin has had various work experiences in the tech industry
  • 05:56 – CleverTap came about because of the need to engage users
  • 06:47 – Nathan says there are only a limited number of apps a person engages with on a daily basis
    • 07:02 – Sunil says their business is targeted on the companies and not the consumers
    • 07:28 – There are more than 10,000 apps that go into the app stores every day
    • 07:53 – The pricing starts at $1000 a month
  • 08:23 – An average monthly active user does 15 to 20 events in your app
  • 08:54 – They currently have 200 paying customers and 2000 apps that are sending them live data
  • 09:13 – A plan of the company is to cover 10 million events a month for their free plan in 3 years
  • 09:31 – The conversion rate is 30% for those who are using the free plan to a paid plan
  • 09:44 – Nathan computes the revenue is at least $400,000 a month
  • 10:05 – In terms of competition, there are three sets of apps: apps that get app data for sales, attribution provider apps and the one about user engagement and app analytics where CleverTap is
  • 11:19 – Their growth churn is very low with everyone on the less than 1,000 plan who are still sticking around
  • 11:51 – The company started to monetize just a year ago and has a 400,000 growth rate
  • 12:15 – They have 45 people globally – 11 are in the US and 32 are in India with the core engineering team in India
  • 13:10 – To acquire new customers, they have marketing qualified leads from websites and they hit bigger accounts on the outbound, focusing on direct sales rather than marketing and advertising
  • 14:41 – The biggest expense is in the hosting
  • 15:18 – It was hard during the early days, but it has now come to a point where they are benefitting
  • 15:55 – In 2016, they broke $1.5 million in revenue and are targeting to get to $10 million by the end of the year
  • 17:04 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Look for a need and fill the gap in today’s current technology.
  2. Know your target market well!
  3. You may start slowly at first, but it will pay off in the end.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • GetLatka – Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • 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