Sramana Mitra: At what point did you start to get a steady stream of new customers?
Othamar Filho: It was in the middle of 2018 – a year and a half later. We started to see revenue from our direct clients grow. The reason was we were simplifying the product. What will help them make a decision faster? What will be something that would solve a pain point right now? That was the path. About two and a half years later, we got to a point where Cielo was 20% of our revenue.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of customers did you get that traction from?>>>
Earlier this month, Bill.com (NYSE:BILL) reported its third-quarter results that outpaced the market’s expectations driven by the addition of a record number of net new customers. The company is expanding its product portfolio to provide more services to its existing customer base.>>>
Sramana Mitra: All this is developed by Eric and your Vietnamese developer?
Mary Oemig: We now have a much bigger team. The original was developed by someone who left. We couldn’t continue to pay him and has come back. Eric and Zach were our early developers. We now have about five US-based engineers with one in Indiana, one in Wyoming, and the rest in Seattle.
Sramana Mitra: Your business model is a membership fee?>>>
Co-founder and CEO Paroon Chadha has bootstrapped Passageways from Indiana, now doing business as OnBoard based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and he wants to help other regional entrepreneurs succeed. Along the way, he has pivoted from licensed software to cloud software, and made other strategic decisions that helped his company become more successful. Read our conversation from 2019 to learn more on his moves.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Paroon Chadha: I was born in Chandigarh, India. I was born to a family of entrepreneurs. Growing up, the choices basically boiled down to being an engineer and then perhaps being an entrepreneur. I went to Punjab Engineering College and found myself a little bit at odds with technical internships that I did and felt like sales was my true calling. It was mostly influenced by some of my mentors in life. My dad ran businesses. It led me to join a sales job out of engineering. My first job was at Wipro. I sourced hardware and software solutions for two years in India. That’s how it started.
According to a recent report, GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) remains an undefeated leader in the web-hosting business by managing more than 44.18 million websites globally. Cloudflare comes a distant second with 12.32 million websites. GoDaddy recently announced its near-term financial plans and listed the areas of focus that will help it attain its goals.>>>
Sramana Mitra: How did Cielo find you?
Othamar Filho: Three years before, they had a scout go to Brazil and to many other Latin American countries to talk to RPO companies there. I had an RPO company in Brazil. That person was at Cielo. When I had the solution ready, I showed it to him. He presented that solution to the CEO.
Sramana Mitra: Before you raised money, what was the deal size that Cielo had put together with you to use your product?>>>
Sramana Mitra: In the 2012 to 2018 period, you were moonlighting and being creative with your bootstrapping. Was it just you and Eric?
Mary Oemig: Yes. Starting in 2016, we paid for a developer in Vietnam. We trusted the provider. We felt comfortable with the pricing. They gave us an early discount.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of revenues at that point?>>>
I’m very bullish about market opportunities that are large enough to build sizable businesses but not large enough such that VCs end up funding numerous competing companies. This case study – my interview with David Lloyd, Co-founder and CEO of The Intern Group – shows you how a niche player with a $150 million TAM is growing nicely without outside financing.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
David Lloyd: I’m from the UK. I was born in London. I spent the first 22 years of my life in London before spending approximately the last 10 years of my life between London and Latin America.