738: Is He The Future of Design Collaboartion? 1200 Customers and $3m in Revenues Say Yes!
August 1, 2017•21 min
Mariano Suarez-Battan. He’s the founder and CEO of MURAL, a digital whiteboard for exploring complex challenges visually. Global 2000 companies like IBM, Intuit, Steelcase, and Autodesk have deployed MURAL at scale to enhance collaboration in their digital workplace. A former startup in residence at IDEO, Mariano also founded Three Melons, a game studio that designed and published online games like Bola, which was acquired by Playdom and Disney in 2010. Famous Five: Favorite Book? – Purple Cow What CEO do you follow? – Aaron Lewis Favorite online tool? — LinkedIn How many hours of sleep do you get?— 8 If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – To trust in your gut always Time Stamped Show Notes: 02:12 – Bola has created games for large brands like Lego 02:23 – Back then, the social games industry was moving fast with Zynga, Playfirst and Playdom 02:31 – Mariano thought that, strategically, it made sense to grow bigger with those companies 02:45 – It was also a great decision, financially and professionally 03:00 – Mariano started Bola in Argentina 03:24 – Acquisition price was with stock and equity 04:12 – The cash was $4-5M 04:26 – $600K was the payback for the investors 04:44 – MURAL was a startup in residence in IDEO 05:03 – IDEO brought in Collaborative Fund as a funder for MURAL 05:10 – MURAL’s vision is to make every designer share their design thinking globally 05:36 – IDEO was like an incubator 05:49 – Prior to IDEO, MURAL has raised closed to $1M 05:59 – Collaborative Fund invested money on MURAL while IDEO made MURAL known to big companies like IBM 06:33 – Some of IDEO’s DNA are in MURAL 07:00 – MURAL’s pricing 07:02 – $12 per member per month and billed annually, $16 billed monthly 07:10 – The pricing on the website is for online customers 07:23 – A quarter of their customers are online and the rest are enterprise costumers 07:46 – MURAL is a SaaS business 08:22 – MURAL has over 40K active users monthly 08:58 – MURAL has no free plan but has introduced a free education plan to help kids 11:00 – MRR is around $280K 11:11 – Average ARR 12:06 – Currently, MURAL has raised a total of $2.4M 12:16 – Team size is 35 12:45 – Most are in product development and engineering 12:55 – Office is located in San Francisco 13:30 – Gross monthly churn 14:17 – Some of the customers are entrepreneurs selling to multiple departments 15:23 – MURAL churn on online customers is quite high 15:38 – Average cost per new customer 15:55 – One of MURAL’s new customer is from an event they’ve sponsored 16:04 – The cost of the sponsorship with other expenses was $3K 16:29 – What Mariano does is split up general cost with the number of new customers 16:50 – Gross margin is around 85% 18:45 – The Famous Five 3 Key Points: The investment in your company doesn’t always need to be cash. Before going into an acquisition or partnership, go on a vacation and think about it with a clear head. Having different revenue sources leads to different churn sources—focus on where churn is the least. Resources Mentioned: The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences GetLatka - Database of all B2B SaaS companies who have been on my show including their revenue, CAC, churn, ARPU and more Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE Hotjar – Nathan uses Hotjar to track what you’re doing on this site. He gets a video of each user visit like where they clicked and scrolled to make the site a better experience Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives