Uber Co-Founder and CEO Travis Kalanick explains, “In the beginning, it was a lifestyle company. You push a button and a black car comes up. Who's the baller? It was a baller move to get a black car to arrive in 8 minutes."
Etsy provides a fascinating look at a company who found traction among a very passionate and idealistic group of people, rode that wave to massive growth and an IPO and now must find growth through decisions often at odds with the beliefs of its earliest members. In this growth study, we look at how they did it in the early days, the decisions and dynamics of their business that allowed them to scale, and the company's efforts to keep finding the new growth lever.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the last year, it’s likely you’ve seen more than one story from Upworthy, the viral hit-driven new media company that packages content designed to spread like wildfire across the social web.
In part one of our look at Upworthy, we identified the keys to their hockey stick growth, which includes an impressive understanding of human psychology, the ability to mine and frame viral content, and the engineering chops to test and iterate toward a user experience that drives massive audience growth and sharing.
The location-based dating app Tinder was founded on September 1st, 2012, and launched the following October out of Hatch Labs, IAC’s “innovation sandbox.” IAC is the parent company that owns much of Tinder. Since the launch, the Tinder app has become a phenomenon. By January 2014, the app boasted more than 10 million users.  By December of 2014, the app had been downloaded more than 40 million times with users swiping 1 billion times per day.
There is a revolution taking place in the world of startup growth, and we wanted to help people understand this new phenomenon. Those who understand growth hacking will have a competitive advantage that is hard to overstate, and we wanted to provide a robust framework for thinking about it.
By combining an elegant integrated payments system with a distinctive conversation-triggering piece of hardware, Square has disrupted the credit card payments establishment while making credit card processing more accessible to small businesses everywhere.
In 2002, Reid Hoffman gathered a team of old SocialNet and PayPal colleagues to work on a new idea—a network that allowed professionals to find and connect with one another.
Much has been written about Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s “rags to riches” story. The simplified version, as she recounts in her recent memoir, is this: a community college dropout who had recently been fired from a high-end shoe store, Amoruso was a self-described “broke, anarchist ‘freegan’ dead set on smashing the system”  when she developed a hernia. Unable to afford treatment, she took a job checking IDs in the lobby of an art school and worked there 90 days, just long enough for her health insurance to kick in.
The San Francisco-based software analytics company New Relic was founded by Lew Cirne in 2008, just two years after CA Technologies purchased Cirne’s Application Performance Management (APM) company Wily for $375 million.
Snapchat has raced to the top of the photo sharing hill and captured the imagination of the valuable teen market. We all know that word of mouth and the ‘sexting’ controversy surrounding the app sparked interest that helped drive its meteoric rise. The question is, how?
Jan Koum founded WhatsApp in April of 2009, and the earliest version of the app was available for download in Apple’s App Store the following month. Run on the programming language Erlang, WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging app that serves as a reliable, affordable alternative to SMS and MMS—for which carriers often charge per-message.
In 2004, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, former PayPal employees (part of the famed ‘PayPal Mafia’ of entrepreneurs that includes Elon Musk and others ), reconnected at MRL Ventures, a business incubator founded by former PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. Their goal was to come up with a new consumer Internet concept, in particular something related to looking up local businesses online.
Customer onboarding has come up a lot lately, which is great since having a poor onboarding experience for your customers can pretty much kill your growth… if not your business.
User Onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product.
You got people to sign up for your free SaaS trial – great! Trouble is, a significant percentage of users sign up for the trial, log in once, and never come back. You might as well have burned the money it took to acquire them.
There’s a philosophical statistics debate in the optimization world: Bayesian vs Frequentist.
This is not a new debate; Thomas Bayes wrote “An Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances” in 1763, and it’s been an academic argument ever since.
Recently, the issue has become relevant in the CRO world – especially with the announcement that VWO will be using Bayesian decisions (Google Experiments also uses Thompson sampling, which is informed by a Bayesian perspective).
So what the hell does Bayesian statistics mean for a/b testing? First, let’s summarize Bayesian and Frequentist approaches, and what the difference between them is.
A few weeks ago, we shared some key startup metrics (16 of them, to be exact) that help investors gauge the health of a business when investing in it.
This is awesome; I’ve been watching the lectures on this course, and isn’t it absolutely amazing, the content? And now, you’re stuck with me. We’ll see how that goes.
Unlike Paul when he was talking in the Q&A and you guys asked him what he’d do if he was in college today and he said physics, I actually indulged myself. I went and did physics at Cambridge. I think physics is an amazing class to give you transferable skills that are really useful in other areas, but that’s not why you’re listening to me today; physics isn’t the class.
If you’re just starting out on Instagram it can be a daunting task to catch up to brands and competitors that have built a loyal following over the last 5 years.
I recently caught up with fellow Melburnian – Nathan Chan who cofounded an online magazine for entrepreneurs called Foundr.
We chatted for a few hours on various growth strategies, until a particular topic really piqued my interest.
A year ago I made the decision to focus full-time on ConvertKit—which at the time was a failing product with only $1,337/month in revenue.
Most high-growth businesses stare down periods when growth unexpectedly slows down or stops altogether. At some point, that stomach-churning moment has visited the leadership of most of the companies I’ve advised. We also faced it at OpenTable, eBay, and Reel.com when I was managing them. And it has reputedly happened to a number of today’s mightiest internet businesses as well, including the likes of Amazon and Facebook.
Brian Balfour, VP of Growth at HubSpot and author of the Coelevate blog, talks with us in-depth about his process for building a growth machine. He walks us through each step of their experiments and how they determine what to focus on. He talks about the key differences between being iterative vs. incremental. This was an incredibly enlightening interview.
HubSpot invented the term Inbound Marketing, and has lived it’s mantra, driving their business from an idea in 2004 to a $50M+ run rate in 2012 in the competitive marketing tools and services category. But is the story that simple? A deeper dive reveals that a deep belief in metrics, an organizational focus on growth, and a commitment to sales excellence has fueled their explosive rise.
Developers love Stripe, and so do venture capitalists who continue to pour money into the payments startup to the tune of a $3.5 billion valuation. But how does something as unsexy as a payments company get so much love, hype and growth in a market dominated by incumbents like Google and PayPal? In this growth study we break down just how Stripe has found growth.
This post is by Alice Default, Head of Marketing and Growth at Front – a shared inbox for companies and teams. You can get in touch with Alice on Twitter at alice_default.
Recently, I stumbled on customer acquisition expert Brian Balfour’s blog CoElevate and his detailed essay on becoming a customer acquisition expert. I had been digging around the subject to find new ideas to push our growth and that led me to the 97 different links Brian recommends.
I started my career out as a “product guy.” But about 4 years ago I realized that product was a small piece of the startup puzzle. I became fascinated with how products were growing. Thus, my journey on learning growth and customer acquisition began.
My original definition of the SaaS Business Model, published way back in 2009, included a tight-coupling of Core Product/Intellectual Property, Marketing, Revenue Model, and Network Centricity… but now I’m modifying the definition to include Customer Success.
Frequently after an entrepreneur has built the first version of their product I get the question: now what?
This is usually coupled with another question: why aren’t users doing what I wanted them to do?
Below are 21 SaaS marketing growth hacks you could test right now.
Of course, these are tactics and while everyone loves tactics, if they don’t make sense within your very well thought-out SaaS marketing strategy, you should probably not implement them, right?
Okay, that might be a bit harsh… maybe SEO isn’t dead, but things have changed and you need to look beyond SEO to drive traffic to your website.
If you put all your eggs in Google’s basket by focusing only on SEO to generate traffic for your SaaS app, you could end up with much less traffic – especially quality, qualified, relevant traffic – than you’d like, which means less trial signups, less customers, and less revenue!
Industry-wide benchmarks shows that it costs about 5x more to acquire a new customer versus just retaining an existing customer (and maximizing the amount of money they thus spend with you over their lifetime).
This book includes a whole bunch of best practices, tips, tricks & techniques to not only help you retain your customers, but also maximize your Customer Lifetime Value.
Welcome back to our series ‘Cutting Churn’ where we interview founders of successful startups and find out how they have been keeping their churn rate low.
We’ve all been there. We’ve slaved over our web copy. We’ve carefully crafted and polished each sentence. We’ve rewritten, and edited, and tweaked again.
We finally publish our web copy…and face total letdown. We find web visitors are bouncing. We don’t get the email sign-ups we’re looking for. We don’t get the sales we deserve.
A great deck by Mention on how they've managed to reduce churn by measuring NPS and building engagement, win back and up sell loops off of their survey results.
We all understand the importance of analytics as it relates to website optimization. But analytics is only one piece of the complex puzzle—it can let us know there is a problem, but not necessarily what to do in order to diagnose or fix it.
Smart salespeople have known this for a while now: Email prospecting is one of the most effective ways to get in front of your potential customers.
If you’d like to join them, I’m going to make it easy for you.
Email Prospecting, the once-secret method (still) used (to great effect) by the hottest companies to get the attention of the biggest enterprises out there – even if all they talk about publicly is inbound marketing, adwords, and social – is no longer a secret.
In Part 2, we continue our analysis of the growth levers for a company that has now become an industry standard, including the unique company culture, 'just ship it' mentality, and more...
This is going to be a slight departure from our typical growth study. Our other growth studies generally cover the entire growth history for a company. But this one begins in January of this year after we’d experience three frustrating months of stagnating growth. Up until this point we had largely grown on the back of Twitter, reaching around 90,000 MAU (Monthly Active Users) in the first year. But increasingly the hands-on execution of our Twitter playbook was preventing us from generating and testing many new ideas. This is ironic because I generally advise other growth teams to “test, test and test some more.”
Initially known as Tiny Speck, the company we now know as Slack first worked on a Flash-based online game called Glitch, which developers around the country worked on for close to four years.
Spotify is a truly remarkable growth story. In just six years the company is valued at more than $10 billion and has more than 50 million users, 12.5 million of which pay for the service. But how did the company get to where it is today and what is its growth engine? We dive deep into Spotify’s story to uncover the key elements that helped them grow to incredible heights.
GitHub was founded in San Francisco in 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett as a community for developing and managing open source code using Git—the independent version-control software created by Linus Torvalds.
Evernote has never been sexy, almost ran out of money, and doesn’t benefit from the network effects that drive many of today’s successful companies. Yet Evernote’s 75 million users and $1+ billion valuation prove they’ve figured out their own unique growth engine. So what is it? And how did they get those first 100,000 users?
Whatever the scenario for the SaaS vendor – during a Free Trial, as a free user of a Freemium, for Demo requests or Enterprise Pricing Inquiries, or after a prospect becomes a paying customer, I get asked all the time what the best email follow-up sequence is.
In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia couldn’t afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment. To make ends meet, they decided to turn their loft into a lodging space, but, as Gebbia explains, “We didn’t want to post on Craigslist because we felt it was too impersonal. Our entrepreneur instinct said ‘build your own site.’ So we did.”
Alex Schultz gives an overview of Growth for startups, speaking from a position of authority as the VP of Growth at Facebook.
From early traction to today’s growth, see how Belly cracked the code of a multi-sided, network effects driven model to find success in the small business marketplace.
You may not have heard of Belly, but what they’ve achieved by building a multi-sided marketplace business in the notoriously difficult small business market is nothing short of impressive.
Have you ever wondered how Facebook is able to automatically display your Instagram photos? How about how Evernote syncs notes between your computer and smartphone? If so, then it’s time to get excited!