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Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later to $120M from Colorado: Madwire CEO JB Kellogg (Part 2)

Posted on Saturday, Jun 20th 2020

Sramana Mitra: How did you acquire customers for your digital marketing?

JB Kellogg: We always say that we eat our own dog food. Everything that we do for ourselves is what we sell to our customers. We started doing digital marketing for ourselves which generated leads. We would call those leads and open those accounts. It’s a recurring revenue business.

Sramana Mitra: What format of digital marketing gave you the leads?

JB Kellogg: At first, it was Google Ads. Over time, we went multi-channel, which is as it is now. There’s social media marketing, email marketing, and all the different channels in the digital space. When we started, it was mostly Google Ads.

Sramana Mitra: Was there any particular category of customers that you went after?

JB Kellogg: We intentionally built the business to be diversified. That was because of our trading background. We made sure that we were diversified across different industries. We have small business customers in hundreds of industries, but 40 of the local business industries are the most popular acquisition channels for us.

Sramana Mitra: What’s the trajectory of the business? You started this in 2009?

JB Kellogg: Yes. 

Sramana Mitra: What’s the average monthly fee that your clients pay for your services?

JB Kellogg: Our average account is about $1,800 a month.

Sramana Mitra: Is this all services?

JB Kellogg: It’s a software that you’re buying on a subscription basis but you can add more functionality to it. You can also add on on-demand services if you need help with design, video creation, or content creation.

Sramana Mitra: So you have a SaaS product that you sell?

JB Kellogg: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: In 2009 when you launched, was that with that product?

JB Kellogg: We wanted to be a product company, but we didn’t know what to build. We had no history. We started with services and we learned a lot. We understood what we needed to build and then we eventually built the product.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers were you able to bring on in that services mode in 2009?

JB Kellogg: I don’t remember. We were opening 15 to 20 accounts a month in our first year. 

Sramana Mitra: How much were they paying you?

JB Kellogg: Our average price point back then was between $300 and $500 a month. 

Sramana Mitra: To fulfill that business, what did you need to hire? Where did you hire those people?

JB Kellogg: We needed to hire somebody at about every $20,000 MRR. As our bulk of business grew, we would add headcount.

Sramana Mitra: You did that locally?

JB Kellogg: Yes, at first.

Sramana Mitra: Your operation is in Colorado, right?

JB Kellogg: At that time, yes.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later to $120M from Colorado: Madwire CEO JB Kellogg
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