SaaS: Almost Broke, Pivots 2013, Now $5m+ in ARR in Social Hashtag Tracking Space

Tim Sae Koo

In Episode #833, Nathan interviews Tim Sae Koo. He’s a 26-year old, LA-based native residing currently in San Francisco, California. He’s dreamed to become the first Asian American president of the United States to solve impactful problems with a purpose. He found his legacy rules to be inefficient. He studied entrepreneurship at the University of Southern California and graduated early to naively start a company and fulfill his original life mission. His company is TINT.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Delivering Happiness
  • What CEO do you follow? – Mark Cuban
  • Favorite online tool? — Wunderlist
  • How many hours of sleep do you get?— 8
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “It’s okay to make mistakes because that’s how you’re going to learn”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:53 – Nathan introduces Tim to the show
  • 02:26 – TINT is a marketing software platform that works with B2C brands
    • 02:37 – They help source the best customer content on social media
  • 03:11 – TINT is SaaS based
  • 03:19 – ACV is from $1K to 5K a month or $12K to $60K a year
  • 03:31 – The variations in price depend on different options including the number of hashtags to track
    • 03:58 – They have a high base price
  • 04:14 – The moderation feature can also be included using manual moderation or machine-learning
  • 04:41 – TINT was launched in 2013
  • 04:48 – TINT is completely bootstrapped
  • 05:00 – Tim raised $370K for the previous company before pivoting to TINT
  • 05:18 – The initial product was a consumer application and the market was quite saturated—this led to the pivot to TINT
  • 05:55 – The initial company was getting zero revenue with 5K users and 3 team members
    • 06:35 – Tim and the founders were paying themselves $36K a year
    • 06:54 – Tim worked while he was still in college
    • 07:35 – Keep your expenses low
  • 07:44 – TINT’s team size is around 30
  • 07:52 – TINT currently has 700 customers
  • 08:23 – Average MRR is around $700K
  • 08:50 – 2017 goal is to get around $7.5M in revenue
  • 09:15 – 2016 ARR is around $5M and cash basis is around $6M
  • 10:08 – Current ARR is around $5.5M
  • 10:30 – Tim hasn’t raised capital yet because he thinks he won’t be a good CEO if he does that
  • 10:36 – Tim identifies himself more as a founder than a CEO
  • 11:32 – TINT has always been profitable
  • 12:16 – CAC is around $2K
    • 13:00 – TINT is still figuring out the best channel for them to invest more
    • 13:38 – Paid ads is $10-15K a month
  • 14:10 – In the beginning, Tim used to acquire more customers by offering to draw any animal
    • 15:20 – The main idea is to make something that can bring a smile to someone’s face and that will help them remember Tim
  • 15:35 – Team members are based in different states and other countries like Dubai, Brazil and London
    • 15:50 – There’s now a big push for a technology investment in Dubai
  • 16:23 – Tim is now paying himself something modest, but nothing too grand
  • 16:39 – Tim has two co-founders and half of the company is owned by the team; the other half for investors
  • 17:35 – Tim shared how he started entrepreneurship and his plans for the future
  • 18:20 – Tim might consider a $30M acquisition at the moment
  • 20:10 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. The most successful in the entrepreneurial world are not the ones who know how to expand their revenue; they are the ones who know how to reduce their expenses.
  2. Think about how you can make people happy—this will make you memorable.
  3. Be the leader, not the boss.

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