SaaS: Pre Rev SF Based with $3.3m Raised Aiming to Help SMB’s Build Mobile Apps, Will People Pay?

Arun Saigal

In Episode #823, Nathan interviews Arun Saigal. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Thunkable, a Ycombinator-backed startup in San Francisco. Thunkable is a platform that allows anyone to build their own mobile app without needing to know how to code. Prior to Thunkable, Arun was the lead android developer at Quizlet. He also worked at Khan Academy, Aspiring Minds and Google. He holds a BS in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – High Output Management
  • What CEO do you follow? – Shantanu Narayen
  • Favorite online tool? — Google Calendar
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 7-7.5
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Investing in others is one of the best ways to invest in yourself”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:26 – Nathan introduces Arun to the show
  • 02:13 – Thunkable is a drag-and-drop tool to make a mobile app
  • 02:23 – The space is quite crowded
  • 03:08 – Thunkable is simple but powerful enough for non-coders to have a powerful app
  • 03:20 – Thunkable is currently free
  • 03:34 – Thunkable has raised $3.3M to date
  • 03:59 – Arun shares why they’ve raised first before implementing a paywall
    • 04:07 – They wanted to hire the team and have the platform that they needed with the money raised
    • 04:30 – They’ll start charging in a few months
  • 04:48 – Thunkable was launched in 2016
  • 04:53 – Team size is 10
  • 05:16 – Thunkable has turned on their revenue for a small stream
    • 05:35 – The charge is a high 5-figures and is an annual contract
  • 06:16 – Long-term model: charge for a premium product
  • 06:36 – When they turn-on their features, that’s when Thunkable will charge
  • 07:25 – Arun saw problems they didn’t know existed from those who were building an app for Thunkable
  • 08:30 – Arun wants to help people who really need an app for free to solve their problems
  • 09:00 – The conversations they’ll have with people who will use Thunkable for profit
  • 09:24 – Target price is $20 a month
  • 09:40 – Arun believes they can maintain profitability
    • 10:14 – Arun believes that SMBs need Thunkable more than the enterprise businesses
  • 11:03 – Thunkable’s goal is to capture most of the apps from the app store
  • 12:38 – December 2017 MRR goal is $10K
  • 14:16 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Assist those who need help in any way that you can.
  2. Choose your timing wisely when it comes to putting up your paywall.
  3. You learn and grow by investing in other people.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Simplero – The easiest way to launch your own membership course like the big influencers do but at 1/10th the cost.
  • 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