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Candid Discussion of a Bootstrapper’s Journey Through Failures to Success: Robly CEO Adam Robinson (Part 6)

Posted on Saturday, Aug 17th 2019

Sramana Mitra: You got this $3 million cash cow. You had other people running it. You didn’t have to spend time on it and it gave you cash with which you could do other things.

Adam Robinson: Yes, that’s great to have but it’s not that exciting. I had been building this product. I went down to Argentina. Tate was the sole developer the entire time. We never had anybody else. We wanted to hire a team.

We decided to do an overseas development effort. If you have your own employees, somebody needs to go live in that place. The outcome will be much better. The timezone is quite between here and there.

I learned that it’s not a perfect solution. The labor laws are not great for this. It’s a really good spot to have a small team. I went down there. We were building two different products at that time.

Meanwhile the previous October, I had hired up the guy who founded BigCommerce and who is now a business coach. He’s great. From day one, he has been pushing me in this direction of, “You’ve got a really good brand with Robly. You’ve got a product that’s going to do almost the same thing as the product you’re going to build. Why are you building two things?”

The straw that broke the camel’s back with was that Tate is an unbelievable individual contributor, but he has no aptitude or interest in project management. We just had no idea when any part of it was going to get done.

We had some other technologies that we were really excited about. How do we get this technology out into the market the quickest? It was in Robly; not in Lead. I had hired this girl from this other company. She had been doing outbound sales the whole time. We had her outbounding from Robly. There was no difference.

If anything, it was a little better because we do have such a great reputation on the internet. We have thousands of reviews. People love the customer service.

It was in April where we scrapped I felt much better about it. A little before then, we discovered this amazing technology that has been the greatest door opener for us. We’ve grown $150,000 a month since April with the new Robly. We were stuck at $250,000 forever. Now we’re somewhere between $400,000 and $450,000 with the same expenses.

Sramana Mitra: What is the turning point that changed the growth rate?

Adam Robinson: People love it so much and it’s opening so many doors. We’ve a new thing called Robly ID. You put this code on your website. Using device-matching technology and a list of partner opt-ins, we can identify people on your website, tell you what page they’re on, and then give you emails that you can email to people who aren’t on your list yet.

These are really aggressive digital marketers that we’re going after. We’re getting the attention of these guys who are spending $20,000 to $30,000 a month on email. It’s allowing us to just close them onto our existing platform. We built up a whole deliverability competency organization which involves people. These guys are pushing the envelope really hard.

Every once in a while, they run into problems. The problems are solved with tweaking. Everybody says they have great deliverability. Really, deliverability as we’re selling it to people is the service you provide to large and aggressive spammers.

They don’t have to be spammers. Retail companies are a great example. They can have five million contacts on their list. They’ve been told that they can only email the last 18 months of email. There are ways you can mix that old data back in and get some re-engagement.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Candid Discussion of a Bootstrapper’s Journey Through Failures to Success: Robly CEO Adam Robinson
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