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Bootstrapping Using Services from Ireland: Shane Evans, CEO of ScrapingHub (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, May 27th 2016

Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to hit the $1 million mark?

Shane Evans: I think we would have come just under it in 2013. In 2014, we would have been $2 million.

Sramana Mitra: In 2013, you were at $1 million revenue. At that point, what was the distribution between professional services and actual product sales?

Shane Evans: In terms of revenue, it would have been heavily professional services.

Sramana Mitra: At what point did that start to shift? At what point were you able to get enough technology that you were able to start generating product revenues?

Shane Evans: From 2013 till now, that has shifted. Now, maybe 50% of our revenue comes from our platform.

Sramana Mitra: How do you charge for the platform?

Shane Evans: We have a typical SaaS pricing model where there are different plans depending on what you want. There’s an entry level plan that’s inexpensive. It’s based on usage. You can add more resources to run these web crawls and you pay more for that. We don’t charge per user. We don’t charge for specific features. Everybody gets, essentially, the full product.

Sramana Mitra: You are doing this company from Ireland and you’re doing it with a global virtual team. You have bootstrapped the company with services and have now started generating some product revenue. You’ve self-financed this company, more or less, except for a little bit of friends and family money.

Shane Evans: Right.

Sramana Mitra: Is there anything else that you want to highlight in your strategic choices that helped you reach this level of revenue? The information that I have from the pitch is that the company is over $5 million in revenue today. Do you want to add more color to that?

Shane Evans: In US dollars, it would be $ 5.5 million in 2015.

Sramana Mitra: What are you forecasting for 2016?

Shane Evans: We’re doing the forecasting now actually but we’re hoping to continue the same growth. $10 million would be our goal.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s actually talk about the customer acquisition and the customer base that you’ve been able to tap into. Who is your typical customer?

Shane Evans: In the early days, our typical customer was primarily developers or CTOs. Now we see that the world is becoming more data savvy. We’re dealing with different departments in companies. It could be the Marketing department. Data science has really taken off. People are used to getting datasets.

Sramana Mitra: Is the open source project still there and is that what generates the lead for you?

Shane Evans: The open source project is still there. We use it a lot. Our whole solution is based around the open source tools.

Sramana Mitra: That’s your primary lead generation mechanism for your business?

Shane Evans: Early on, it was. Since then, I think we’ve spread out. We got on Quora. We started blogging. Last year, our blogging took off. We now have other channels I guess. Because our developers were very active in the open source community, they also quite like to talk about what they did in several conferences. It’s much broader now.

Sramana Mitra: What I’m hearing is your lead generation is more content marketing kind of stuff and then you get inbound leads based on that? Is that an accurate observation?

Shane Evans: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Your marketing is very much an inbound marketing where, whether it’s through open source or through your own content marketing blogging, people are coming to you and identifying themselves as prospects.

Shane Evans: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Very good. That’s hard to do but that’s the best kind of marketing actually.

Shane Evans: Yes, it worked really well for us.

Sramana Mitra: Great to see a good story developing in Ireland. We love to cover global entrepreneurs and try to make it a point to give visibility to entrepreneurs everywhere and not just Silicon Valley.

Shane Evans: I think you’ve got a lot of virtual stuff, right?

Sramana Mitra: We’re completely virtual. We’re 100% virtual.

Shane Evans: I think ScrapingHub is the largest distributed company that’s not based in the US.

Sramana Mitra: How many people do you have?

Shane Evans: About 130.

Sramana Mitra: That’s awesome. It was great talking to you. I enjoyed listening to you. Good luck moving forward.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services from Ireland: Shane Evans, CEO of ScrapingHub
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