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Bootstrap First from Belarus, Raise Money Later from Silicon Valley: PandaDoc CEO Mikita Mikado (Part 6)

Posted on Wednesday, Aug 2nd 2017

Sramana Mitra: That’s my question. What was the monthly recurring revenue when you raised the money?

Mikita Mikado: When we raised $600,000, we were around $30,000 monthly recurring revenue.

Sramana Mitra: This was for the new product?

Mikita Mikado: It was for the old product, but I was selling a division of the new product.

Sramana Mitra: They thought that you would be able to switch the clients over to the new product. That was the thought process of the angels?

Mikita Mikado: I actually don’t remember pitching that.

Sramana Mitra: Yes, I’m just too familiar with how investors think. I’m just extrapolating.

Mikita Mikado: Probably.

Sramana Mitra: Then you added another $400,000 after you delivered the new product?

Mikita Mikado: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Out of that exercise of talking to the early visionaries, you closed some deals that turned into revenue also?

Mikita Mikado: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Perfect.

Mikita Mikado: When we launched PandaDoc, we had some cash cushion because the previous product grew by itself without us investing much.

Sramana Mitra: What timeframe does this bring us up to?

Mikita Mikado: That was mid-2104. We launched PandaDoc in October 2014. After we went out of beta, we funneled all of the new traffic to PandaDoc.

Sramana Mitra: What kind of revenue run rate did you finish 2014 at?

Mikita Mikado: Maybe like $10,000.

Sramana Mitra: It was just the beginning.

Mikita Mikado: Yes, it was very early days.

Sramana Mitra: How did 2015 go?

Mikita Mikado: We got to $100,000 in MRR. In 2015, we raised Series A. We got to a million dollars ARR in less than 12 months. It was very fast.

Sramana Mitra: The Series A is the Altos Ventures round?

Mikita Mikado: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Strategically, what else is worth discussing in terms of your maneuvers? What else is interesting in the story?

Mikita Mikado: Thinking about the readership and the audience of One Million by One Million, what might be fun is starting a business that’s targeting global markets out of a third-world country.

Sramana Mitra: We have a lot of entrepreneurs who are doing that right now. Some are scaling very nicely. One of the companies in our portfolio that we incubated has 100,000 global customers out of India.

Mikita Mikado: That topic is a pretty cool one.

Sramana Mitra: What is the distribution of your customers?

Mikita Mikado: It’s worldwide – mostly English-speaking and mostly where the electronic signing law is similar to America.

Sramana Mitra: Are these people finding you online? Is the lead generation primarily inbound with online marketing?

Mikita Mikado: Yes. 70%  of our leads are inbound. We also have a channel that’s about 10%. We have an outbound arm. Then there’s virality.

Sramana Mitra: Where have you put your telesales organization? Is that in the US?

Mikita Mikado: Yes, in the US.

Sramana Mitra: What are other highlights between 2015 raising Series A and getting to $100,000 MRR and today? What else are interesting strategic moves that you’re making?

Mikita Mikado: We’ve got over 7,000 clients now. We did a $15 million Series B with Rembrandt, Microsoft, EBRD, HubSpot, and Altos.

Sramana Mitra: Great. What is happening in Belarus? Are there a lot of entrepreneurs like you who are founding companies?

Mikita Mikado: There’s a little bit and there’s a reason to it. It’s similar to many other countries. Lots of engineers, but not enough businesses. Particularly in Belarus, people were told how much to produce and you didn’t have to sell or market anything. Sales and marketing are non-existent. People don’t know how to do it.

They might be able to build amazing products and wonderful visions. As a founder, you’re always selling. If you can’t sell, it’s going to be very challenging to push a business forward. The problem is that people are just picking this up as well as English. In Belarus, education is in Russian.

Sramana Mitra: There’s a language barrier.

Mikita Mikado: It’s pretty tough. The Russian-speaking market is small.

Sramana Mitra: Your English is perfect.

Mikita Mikado: Because I had to do whatever I can to make money when I just moved here. I had to learn quickly.

Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Bootstrap First from Belarus, Raise Money Later from Silicon Valley: PandaDoc CEO Mikita Mikado
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