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Bootstrapping by Piggybacking from Romania: 123FormBuilder CEO Florin Cornianu (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 3rd 2020

Sramana Mitra: You said it took you two years to get to $60,000 annual revenue. That’s 2010 then, right?

Florin Cornianu: It took us all the way to 2014 to get to a million dollars in revenue. 

Sramana Mitra: Besides Google SEO for customer acquisition, was there anything else that you did for customer acquisition?

Florin Cornianu: Yes. In 2012, we got very lucky. We were one of the first applications available within Wix’s marketplace. When they launched, we were among the first 30 apps. Then we managed to monetize it pretty well. Even today, the revenue we’re getting from their marketplace is a very large of our business.

Sramana Mitra: Interesting. That started in what year?

Florin Cornianu: 2012. 

Sramana Mitra: When you reached a million in 2014, what percentage of that revenue came from Wix marketplace?

Florin Cornianu: Around 30%.

Sramana Mitra: What did you need to do by way of integration? What did it require for you to get on the Wix marketplace?

Florin Cornianu: We almost didn’t get there because they were very picky. They had a lot of guidelines that we had to oblige to. We developed an app that included our core platform. We listed our product as 123FormBuilder under Wix. It was basically a form-building app.

Sramana Mitra: Wix is a website-building product, right?

Florin Cornianu: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: There was a need for form-building as an extension of their platform and you were providing that piece. 

Florin Cornianu: Correct. You might wonder why did Wix not have their own plugin. They did, but ours was more suited for more advanced use cases.

Sramana Mitra: That’s great. You found another credible and reliable customer acquisition strategy on the way to $1 million. In 2014, you reached $1 million. How many people did you have at this point?

Florin Cornianu: We had quite a few developers. We had a lot of customer support people and a few marketers. 

Sramana Mitra: What’s the next major inflection point?

Florin Cornianu: In 2015, we got a Series A. It was a bit more than $1 million. 

Sramana Mitra: This is from an investor in Romania?

Florin Cornianu: Yes, but they’re part of a larger VC firm. It goes all the way to Cisco and a VC from Silicon Valley called 3PS.

Sramana Mitra: You raised a million dollars in 2015. What happens next?

Florin Cornianu: That allowed us to change our mindset completely. We started investing into AdWords and other marketing channels. We hired more people. We started trying other projects. We wanted to go into different markets. We ended up becoming part of Salesforce’s marketplace as well. 

Sramana Mitra: In 2015 when you went on this marketplace strategy, which marketplace started producing good revenues for you?

Florin Cornianu: Some of Wix’s competitors like Weebly.

Sramana Mitra: Weebly was producing good revenues?

Florin Cornianu: Reasonable revenue.

Sramana Mitra: And Salesforce?

Florin Cornianu: It picked up quite well in the last two years. We joined Salesforce only in 2017. 

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrapping by Piggybacking from Romania: 123FormBuilder CEO Florin Cornianu
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