How we built a user feedback tool by scratching our own itch!

User feedback tool with feature voting, product roadmaps, and a Changelog.
Mike Slaats

Upvoty

Revenue: $100,000 + ARR

Founded: November, 2018

Founders: 1

Employees: 6

Who Are You & What Business Did You Start?

Hey, I am Mike and the founder of user feedback tool Upvoty. I started the business around 3 years ago with the team of my previous startup, which was an online home improvement platform. We grew to over $100,000 ARR within 2 years. We even had our first paying customers before we launched. Excited to talk about our journey here.

 

How Did You Come up with the Idea?

My previous business, an online home improvement platform, was doing great. We're talkin 7-figures here. Because of our growth, we needed a way to collect and manage all of our user feedback in a more efficient way. When I was researching existing tools, I couldn't find a great fit and most of the tools were really expensive.

Given the fact that I wasn't fulfilled working on the home improvement platform anymore, I quickly decided to jump on this opportunity of building a SaaS product myself. This became user feedback tool Upvoty.

 

Describe the Process of Launching the Business

We started with an MVP, which wasn't more than just a landings page with an explainer video and a signup form on it. I started spreading the word in my own network and we launched on a couple of launch-platforms such as BetaList.

Within 3 months we had over 100 signups and, given my own pain, I knew I was on to something. We then started designing and building the initial prototype and launched it in private beta in October 2018. We gave away our product for 3 months to the first beta users. It turned out, they already loved this prototype! We had our first paying customer within 1 month in private beta, which was crazy.

We launched publicly in February 2019 on Product Hunt and several other platforms such as Indie Hackers. Within 6 months we already hit the first milestone of $1,000 MRR.

 

Since Launch What Has Worked to Attract Customers?

Content marketing is by far our biggest hit next to our referral marketing system. We write a lot of content focused on the real target audience for Upvoty. A lot of blog posts are converting like crazy.

We're also rapidly publishing great free eBooks that help our target audience in building a better product.

Besides content marketing, our biggest channel is our referral system. In our product, we refer to our website with the 'Powered by Upvoty' link:

The users of our users are impressed by the product and they then start to investigate what kind of tool they're looking at. By adding the link to our product, we see many new users coming in as a referral.

 

Describe a Moment Where You Had to Overcome a Challenge – Before or After Launch

We thought we initially had the best ICP set (Ideal Customer Profile), but we really had to do a lot of ongoing research in order to get to the right one and the right channels to reach them. This took a lot of hard work, testing, and trial and error. One big lesson we learned: Narrow down your target audience as far as you can. Start really, really small. And then take it from there.

 

What Platforms Do You Use for Your Business?

Of course we're using our own user feedback tool to gather user feedback from our users.

Besides that we use Asana for project management, Slack for internal communication, Notion and Google Docs for documentation, Crisp for chat and knowledge base, Baremetrics for subscription analytics, and Sendgrid for our transactional emails.

 

Advice for Other Entrepreneurs Who Are Just Starting out

Solve the problem for a small group of users and take it from there. If you want to create a product for a large group, chances are that you're creating a cluttered product with a bunch of features no one really uses. Start small, narrow down your target audience, listen to user feedback, and build real solutions to real needs and problems. 

 

Where Can We Go to Learn More About Your Company?

You can check out Upvoty.com, follow us on Twitter, or connect with me personally on Twitter as well. For all the SaaS peeps out there: Join our amazing SaaS Pirates community on Facebook or subscribe to our podcast where we interview SaaS Pirates!