Today’s podcast is dedicated to a small self-funded SaaS Company with three people in a team that has achieved fabulous success among the software business in Brazil. Today’s guest is João Gonzales – co-founder of MediaMobi company that helps businesses and digital agencies to manage and create engaging content across social networks.
Before launching their main start-up, the guys were developing marketing platforms for games, e-commerce and other SaaS platforms. But during the work, they felt the inefficiency of the process between digital agencies, brands and their suppliers to make content. And they decided to fix things.
Currently, this multifunctional place for content creation and edition is used by more than 500 companies in Brazil. But there are difficulties in any fairy tale. Every step forward has been hard won, especially the very first customer. The team faced a series of challenging decisions regarding how to establish contact with potential clients; how to deliver their SaaS; what price will they be willing to pay and will it be beneficial for the startup?
So what is the secret of the success of Media Mobi? Self-development. Having no investors behind them, the guys worked and learned new things, and mostly, with the help of the old-good Google! As a result – now they are deserved representatives of a new generation of marketing in their country.
On the example of Media Mobi, we learned that the key to the success of a startup depends on a really cool idea, incredible self-motivation for its implementation, as well as an understanding of who is your target buyer and what offer he cannot refuse.
Listen to the episode below
Katia Myroniuk: [00:00:08] Welcome to the SaaS for starters podcast. This is Katia Myroniuk. And it is a show where I interview SaaS company owners, marketers and those who have something to say about software making process. Together we identify ideas, pitfalls, marketing activities and other actions that lead to success. Interested? Keep listening.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:00:37] Today we are having conversation with the co-founder of Media Mobi company that helps businesses and digital agencies to manage and create engaging content across social networks. Media Mobi started as a project of software development agency and became popular among businesses on Brazilian market. It is a self-founded SAAS Company with three people in a team and I’d like to welcome their co-founder and digital entrepreneur with eight years of experience – John Gonzales. John, welcome to the show.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:01:09] Okay thanks Katia.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:01:10] You are now in Sao Paulo, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:01:12] Yeah-yeah, it’s where i’m right now.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:01:14] And it’s I bet it’s warm there?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:01:17] Yeah, it’s very warm here – 30 degrees.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:01:19] In comparison to other world your winter’s even warm.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:01:23] Yeah.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:01:24] OK so let’s get started. And can you tell the audience a little bit about your background and basic timeline of how you got to where you are today.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:01:35] Sure sure. So basically my major is in public relations, collage here in Brazil in public relations communication. But after that I started to study technology – seven years ago. So I start to learn about coding and I started Photoshop and all web design basically. So my first idea was to work as more like web designer and sometime developer but then, I think, I went to California to study marketing. When I was there in 2010 I met my co-founder. He’s with me since then. So we come back to Brazil after the program and we started to wonder if we can build a company together. So we start to develop some parts to agencies in Brazil. We also mix impressed with digital agencies in US and London for sporting bats and Toyota and basically in the process we develop platforms for marketing campaigns. So such as games such as e-commerce platforms and other stuff. But in just seven years we try another business. Of course with fail sometimes, we tried some other platforms, SAAS platforms, basically. But after all we got some though we already have some group deals platforms, we have a Contest Facebook platforms so was many kind of developments and startups here. But after two and a half years ago almost three years ago we developed a Media Mobi because we felt the inefficiency of the process between digital agencies, brands and their suppliers to make content. So if you see that the volume of the content, especially in Brazil, we are the second world country the most users engagement in Facebook so those two thousands million people almost everybody is connected to it right now here in Brazil. So we will solve this kind of opportunity to the web to help the business and agencies to manage their workflow the content workflow better. So we started develop the first NDP. We selled some agencies we made some changes in the pivote for a more workflow oriented platform. And right now we are running on around 500 users using the tool per month. We are starting to grow in little bits
Katia Myroniuk: [00:04:51] It’s nice. So this idea developed from you being like a part of development team for other agencies, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:05:02] Yes. Actually we are contractors.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:05:05] And do you still keep it at your agency or Media Mobi is your main target?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:05:17] We focus only for two years from now there’s always time only develop because it’s a process oriented so it’s very intensive. The government’s negative to stable and working fine with the clients.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:05:34] I see. And can you explain what your product does and basically what are your target customers for those who are not familiar with Media Mobi.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:05:44] Sure. Basically Media Mobi, it’s the turning point in the moment for the next level the way we are positioning digital assets management platform. So basically what we do we organize and an uncertain finds and make all the work flow from the vision approval and distribution digital content for brands and agencies to measure digital cordons. When I say digital cordons I mean Facebook posts, products formate emerged from e-commerce or something Pinterest or even PDF with thousands of distributions or something like that. So all the digital content that should be organized in his defiance and his management will be inside Media Mobi. So our main keep the eyes of our clients is reduce e-mail and increase, But it’s The team was more than 200 percent a start to develop. So there are some tasks they used to take two hours to make between creates content make your point we slow calendar to up to present to our clients. So and publish the content. We do everything automated. So as it’s pretty good when you when this came to the process you can have an external fast process.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:07:25] That is great. So basically you made a platform that allows users to keep all conversation and all work in one place without interfering to other tools.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:07:39] Exactly. So we organized the created files in easy way that evoked in distribute and yet make it what we calling right now – the unity brings voice across all the stakeholders they need to.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:07:56] Yeah. So you can see everything in one place with help of your app of your software.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:08:03] Yes.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:08:04] So as you mentioned you are self-funded, you don’t have investors, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:08:13] Yes.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:08:14] And didn’t it interfere with your growth as a company?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:08:20] Actually when you decide to be startup is a tough decision. Actually because when we started a company we knew that in other products I wasn’t really like focus to find investors. So what’s funny is in Brazil about it with all the projects. But it’s sometimes you can see SAAS, the duty of SAAS. You can have a cashflow when it got some revenue so you’ll be able to grow organic until you have the market succeeds really well and you can see all pros in certain. Okay I can help these 100 users. They are loving my product, they are liking how this product makes sense in the market. So you’ll be able to learnt to cash burn too much. It’s kind of gold, so this good, the not so good the part on the side it’s because it’s you. It’s like make us sacrifice in your personal life because you need to hold tight this process because when you are developing into AIDS at least one year to get the first really stable as to who can really rise and a leader with. I understand Cherney and other stuff so I don’t know. It’s like it’s good or bad but it was our choice so we can get trapped but probably an Grecia in the next round with the fun Herschelle because when you get to make a global expansion its I can see one of them.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:10:18] Yeah that makes sense. And you mentioned the price. How did you establish it for me Media Mobi and like now how it is placed now and how it was before. Was it always like that?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:10:32] Yeah. Really. We came up like it was so instable that the price point because suddenly when we when we started, we started streaming. First we didn’t sell for a real low price and we didn’t sell any copies. Suddenly we came up with change so we made some changes too were more like focus on the new users and we like put the price in 10 times higher and we take off online sales, only consuming sales so people requested no insiders are too and we make all the boards and we start selling. It’s almost the same process so it’s kind of the perception. So it’s a common mistake we do when we are starting the SAAS company. It’s price oriented. It’s not. Pretty sure now is not price oriented. It’s more like value oriented. What kind of value are your customer and if you can see value they are gonna pay more. This is a fact. You don’t need to make a dump in the market. You need to find the pain they are willing to pay. Right now we just came up with the online checkout after one year a half without a plan check out. We start the pricing with one one hundred fifty dollars per month for five users. So it’s pretty scary when we find our balance for users. We said this is a sweet spot. But we try a lot of pricing in the beginning it was like pretty crazy but the thing is you need to know your target, when you start to find your ideal customer profile you can find the right price and you can ship there and then you can make up selling the future.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:13:06] Yeah I think it’s a good point when you integrate like a balance between your offering and your customer what customers are willing to pay especially now you are working with agencies you mentioned 500 agencies and user wise it’s much better should be, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:13:25] Yes. For sure. You can have a pull-off. These users, they are willing to pay a certain amount per month to use my service because they can see value of my service. It’s became easier to find the right ones.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:13:45] So you’re in the market for two years, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:13:49] Yeah. Two years and a half.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:13:53] So and within this period you became number two on the market with this offer.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:13:59] Yes actually. Number two, I don’t see like that because this kind of software I’m doing right now is not like so pretty well. So here in Brazil my portfolio is too too small, if we consider the size of the country have millions of companies here in Brazil. So our personal market is too big. I guess like I started to find our pass more clearly. We are not an established market share because there are so many solutions so many companies. And so but we are we are doing fine. We are really small startup. But we are doing fine, we are making really good balance.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:14:52] I see. So have you reached a point of profitability?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:14:57] Yes. In the first year. First year and a half. After the first year with about 2. After that in six months we started making revenue pretty quickly. So we find our pricing quite a little bit more was tough but we can already make profit start selling 101
Katia Myroniuk: [00:15:27] This great. So you can reach this your goals only within Brazilian market now.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:15:39] Yeah. We are focused on Brazil market its pretty easy. It’s too, it’s a huge market. We have some companies here. They already make 200 million dollars right here in SAAS. So it’s a huge market. We have like companies such are comparable for HubSpot. They are Brazilian Products for HubSpot. They are like almost 1 billion evaluation. So there are market is too big for us, we have space with them.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:16:19] And with Media Mobi, how did you actually get the first customers like how did you market your product?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:16:24] Yeah the first customer was really tough because when you’re talking about a process at a company you need to change the process. So when you go in the B2B markets you go into the Sealab of the company or the directors and say “hey we have a best solution for process and you need to change”. And humans don’t want to change especially inside the daily daises activities. They don’t want to change. So it’s kind of tough. But when they start to use that to see the benefits they start to “OK it’s makes sense”. So the first customers we actually like the first users they see the path. Then we start to say “okay you want the beta or not” so that’s okay I’m willing to pay. It makes sense for us. But the first 20 agencies, they were for free and we need to prove. And Burtynsky degrees in their exchange because of the when they go to SAAS company say OK pretty nice so Who is using this to and they say because now you are the first one. Trust me. So it’s this kind of this can change you need to be really persistent and build trust with the first customers because they have to trust you.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:18:09] Yeah sure. So now have you reached the 6 number Mark in terms of revenue with your SaaS company?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:18:22] Year?
Katia Myroniuk: [00:18:25] Yeah, per year.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:18:25] Per year almost we are within their reach that. Yeah. I think like five hundred thousands here.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:18:48] It happens this year, last year.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:18:54] I was really growth year for us and so much right now in the end of the year because we just got into association program in Brazil. Actually is the biggest one in Latin America. They call Ace is soul that attacks. The old name. So those guys are helping us to reach the next level of the profitability and market share. So we are really hopeful for the next year too. They may need double or triple this number.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:19:35] So yeah let me know how it goes. And so with the way you market now which marketing channels work better for you as a B2B company, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:19:54] Okay.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:19:57] Yes.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:19:58] So we tried some. I’m going to tell you about my specific process in markets. For us ideal customer it’s like a company between 50 and 100 employees. They get a bit more rubles. So it is more because they can see really the benefits of the automation process and other stuffs. So for us we try a few sales. It’s our main channel right now. So outbound sales we basically made a parted list of top companies that we want to reach. It’s really like a telephone calls and contacts to get them. LinkedIn is really useful. People may be thinking it’s look like spam but not spammer. If you can understand the person you are approaching to and make the right pitch for them, it’s gonna be, can be really helpful and really good. In the other side you can’t, we tried inbound marketing which we clearly inside. We truly live here our team in inbound marketing, but our experience was like that. We have really good with numbers reports, I think forecasting for IP of Facebook ads and we got the next 45 days 9K of revenue. But the thing is the clients that we got that day there was too small businesses. So after three months they get churn. So if we can analyze the price of this as you are in SAAS if you’re more like middle market enterprise maybe it’s better to have a little longer life cycle of sales but you probably are going to have a better life than value added thens. Is that you make like online purchases at least for market, Brazilian market is on of that. We don’t have the culture of the future sales, it’s not like American market or other markets. Here is more like shooting and in this kind of selling process.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:22:33] Making connections with your target audience, knowing each other better.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:22:40] It’s really this is like. It’s pretty you can really see that. So talking and meeting and making them. It’s kind of common but you can see among the years passing the culture of yourself and no one does. They are all SAAS by life’s. They are coming up in Brazil. But when you talk about enterprise sales in Brazil the middle market is gonna be like few sales and not politicians.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:23:19] Yes it’s an interesting information for people who want to work with the Brazilian market.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:23:25] It’s a huge market. I can say.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:23:28] Thanks for sharing that and the one question I have to you is there any obstacles you face on the way to creating and establishing Media Mobi on Brazilian market? So far.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:23:46] Yep. Actually the thing one of the most obstacles we faced in the beginning it is was not like get the customers pains points when we thought we knew, for us was so clear. Okay they need this kind of feature but then we need to devote twice the all the coding or the strategy and until we got the right one. So we spent a lot of time developing, we developed the whole shakeouts and got in the first version and we didn’t sell any copy shoots, because we didn’t understand the process. So who isn’t my customer, how we gonna sell and we gonna deliver the service the software as a service for them. So this kind of question I really like having a clever device to really see the process over and over and over. You are pretty sure what you are doing in terms of NVP products and markets because sometimes you picture some global and huge company and you need to make baby steps to get there.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:25:16] Yeah I think it’s a crucial information because some business owners or startup owners so they forget about their a target audience and they just think that if they like the idea of the product everyone should buy it. But it’s not like that.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:25:34] But that’s not like that for sure. And you have to understand that there’s everybody’s make the math like: if I have 1 percent of this huge market I’ll be millionaire is not like that does this kind of thing doesn’t work at all. You need to find the really pay and find the first customer and just your products and then you start growing bigger and bigger and get more customers and get reviews of the product and then going. It’s locked. Sometimes people think it’s like a sprint but it’s more like a marathon than it is a print.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:26:13] Yeah especially now with all artificial intelligence and things you can think you can adjust to doing by robots and by the way in your market, your tool do you think something can be optimized more and in your opinion what is better to do by a human in this process and within your business and what should be done by artificial intelligence and growing robot market.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:26:46] Yes I am pretty sure that marketing would change a lot in the next two years especially because for a better marketing strategy a very communications you need data and this data you need machine learning to be with you. So for example what kind of photos I have shared in my mind social networks are my stars from stars of my city was the best for sound, for example. And with this data in this learning you can make better marketing decision. So the volume the content will increase this for sure, increase a lot from 5 years now. So with more data we need to organize that data and automates this kind of process of knowing which image is really okay if you bring line and use all those data you make you can automate the all those scenes. So it’s automating formation parameters and results and inside’s. I think these can be automated today. It’s really sometimes more like sense. Did the people do like that. But you automate all those classes then you’ve got to make better marketing decisions in those markets. I think humans can be more creative for until now and don’t know how those robots will be that I saw from Watson was and is kind of impressive. But I think really helpful that’s actually we gonna be better marketers in three years because we can impact them faster. We can combine sites better we can understand how my customers are interacting with all my channels that are because of the of the new technologies that coming in.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:28:58] In comparison to previous generations of marketing current ones like rocket science. How many data could be analyzed. But I think it’s also vital to keep personalized content relevant but still not creepy to customers because sometimes you see those ads..
Joao Gonzalez: [00:29:18] Will be both for everybody both for the users will be good for the users and it will be good for the marketers because we got to have better personalized content is what millennials want to if you see some researches Google researches, every millennials or nobbles next generation won’t be top of the 1 to 1 not massive communication. So these gonna be the next big challenge for the markters. How can I personalize for one billion people. I think machine learning that’s could be really helpful on that.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:30:01] Yeah for sure. And you talked about marketing in the future and what is your vision for your company for the future? For 2-5 years from now?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:30:14] I hope be the next for management. That’s what we want to be. We really have. That’s in 1 hour. Our goal is to build a standard of how you organize, find, share and manage your digital contacts better. And I think we learned that in this past. So to see all those kind of features we are adding right now. So we are making, we are all tools that is based on Amazon. So I think the next will is about search because finding content inside the huge organizations it’s really tough is some terrible task to do. So I think the main goal for the next five years is to read the leader the global leader for digital assets management or so.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:31:19] And it’s a good thinking for them. Nothing wrong with that I think. And yeah I think with such approach this is the approach that co-founder should have of any company. Just keeping those expectations tied up to reality and that’s what makes the process going on and you mentioned in the beginning when we started our conversation you mentioned that you started learning development only seven years back. Like it’s not your main specialization. Do you think it is possible to launch and run a SAAS company without technical background?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:32:16] Another day we were discussing this program about STOs. I’m the co-founder but I’m responsible for marketing and the UX. So I develop each mile and old design interface. I started a little bit about coding and but that was flash. They even no existing more. But if you could see I have my co-founder, he was a background of computer science but work for the business market. So we both didn’t know about code and we learn everything from scratch and really the main thing was Google we really spend a lot of time studying at Google. It’s kind of crazy right now. But everything I learnt about UX and design was Google. And why it serves for people want to create a SAAS company is to find some partners local farmers that know how to understand that, because it’s your core business. It’s really innocent if you are CEO, I want to make a company and I’m only gonna to be one administrator, one marketer and another guy from design. No, you need a background, because it’s increase your chance to succeed. It’s you going to people it’s a lifetime and get them make a large change in the products. It’s like when you make SAAS product you’re putting Sun in the words, you need to take it every day it’s pretty harsh. So my advice is of course you can launch without technical background for sure but I strongly recommend to finds a co-founder who know at least know about technology. And then you guys can both hire a good developer make for him a stock option for the team and probably gonna be way more successful than you try just for your own and outsourcing everything in any country in the world. Brazil, India doesn’t matter. But outsourcing your core products, I don’t recommend
Katia Myroniuk: [00:34:56] And you personally you hire a developer for a Media Mobi or your skills was enough.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:35:04] Actually we study until today. Every day we about that so we decided to not depend of anyone. Let’s bring the products home and stay at home and we do anything for his break because we don’t spend so if we have contracting those developers everything that I made in the first year will be cost more. Probably I went to one off the business because it’s too expensive, because if I have to serve virtually all those codes and reviews of codes and chains, that’s a lot of coding. So our decision was Let’s learn. You have you the new used CD HD XPoint that you have everything you want.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:35:57] And how long it took you to learn coding to launch SAAS company?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:36:05] It was a process because of course my coding is way better my UX design is way better than 7 years ago. It’s terrible. But it’s really like I don’t know how long it takes but we start to make for others so we really started selling websites so I was selling websites and learning same time. And many times I said to my clients I have no idea how to make that kind of platform. But we sell. Then we went to Google and learned it and spend nights reading-reading-reading, learning-learning and we need to deliver a really good products. So you take some risks but if you can learn and do anything and it is a real beauty when you discover that. You don’t have any limitations. If you want to learn sit and learn
Katia Myroniuk: [00:37:06] That’s a strong point.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:37:07] Especially with co-founder some of you really need to study relax a lot.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:37:14] Yeah. In this process you’re like a truly self-made man. And this process of establishing your business and process of learning is there any mistakes you could avoid when establishing Media Mobi, maybe you didn’t have experiencing promoting SaaS business you could avoid if you had knowledge or experience?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:37:39] For sure. Yes a lot of things. Because that’s we did many things. As experiments but if M.D though the experiments was my first experience at all in life. So I was actually I start to renew it was 20 years since 2 years old. So I was pretty young when I started. So I don’t have an excuse for my partner he was like 18 years of financial benefit, markets so he has a lot of management experience but for both of us was really this kind of the closet in Brazil especially because the market was too new. Nobody knows about that. So right now the ecosystem is growing is getting in shape. So mistakes I made a lot of like I and I didn’t presume the right markets. Sometimes I didn’t made the right each even for selling. So I definitely get some I probably I had to device. There’s a lot of material right now if you seeing now about start ups and methodology but just get to really attention because methodology was great. You are startup but find your own way to be productive and just do it faster because you gonna learn more in the process.
[00:39:28] Yeah I think it’s a strong point. Like learning makes perfect.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:39:34] I may love said because I want perfection and the perfection in the start up doesn’t exist at all. This illustrates her in the looks of is like OK I want to be like black but I don’t have five million dollars right now so I need to leave her. The little is love.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:39:53] Well practice makes perfect in small steps as you said yourself. Got you to where you are now I think.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:40:01] Yes-yes.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:40:03] All right so thank you I really appreciate you joining me today. And if our listeners want to get more information about your company they can go to Media.mobi, right?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:40:18] Yes right.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:40:20] Yes. And what is the best way to get in touch with you?
Joao Gonzalez: [00:40:23] Just shoot me an email and you can find me on social networks. Let’s talk more about business and if I can help and in any ways I’m here for you guys.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:40:45] Wonderful. Thank you for joining me. It’s been a pleasure to talk to you.
Joao Gonzalez: [00:40:48] Thanks Katia.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:40:50] Have a good day.
Katia Myroniuk: [00:40:55] Thank you for listening. If you want to get more information or related to SAAS go to SearchEva.org where you’ll find other informative podcasts and useful content on SAAS promotion. Don’t forget to subscribe and please show your gratitude with the like. It will help us a lot to promote this noncommercial project and stay tuned.