Bootstrapping a $40K/Month Lead Generation SaaS Platform – An Interview with AeroLeads CEO/Founder, Pushkar Gaikwad

In this article, we interview the CEO and Founder of AeroLeads, Pushkar Gaikwad. AeroLeads is prospect & lead generation SaaS platform. We talk to Pushkar Gaikwad about his business, how he came up with the idea and how he run it.

Key Stats

  • Monthly Revenue: USD 40k per Month
  • Date Started: April 2015
  • Location / Homebase: Bangalore, India
  • Number of Employees: 8 in House + few working from home

Give us some backstory

Before AeroLeads, I was running another marketing software company called InBoundio. We noticed that building is easy, selling is not and after building the product, most of the startups hit a brick wall of “now what”? So we thought, OK, we can build a prospecting software which can be the starting point for sales, especially for b2b companies. It took off well so moved all your resources to AeroLeads.

How did you validate the idea?

We sent emails to our existing users of the previous product as well as posted on Reddit for initial feedback.

During the launch phase, did you maintain a full-time job? (or even currently)

No, AeroLeads was/is full-time job.

Can you describe your business model and how you feel it works?

AeroLeads is a b2b prospecting software which finds business emails of decision-makers as well as company phone numbers. It is ideal for any business who want to sell their software or services to other businesses but don’t know to whom they should contact.

Did you do any email marketing/outreach?

Not initially but later. We are actually eating our own cake by using our own software to find prospects and pitching them our software 🙂

How did you acquire customers/subscribers/users?

Most of them are inbound either come via Google or from some other sources. There are users who moved from other tools to us too as they stopped working in last 12 months.

What software/platforms/tools have you utilized since launch? Which have worked / not worked?

Most of the tool is in-house. We do use chat as it is driving lot of inquiries. On the backend, we are using Sentry for error tracking. We are currently only using emails for support. Zoom for software demo, Skype for International calls etc.

How did you fund your startup and how does it make money?

Currently, AeroLeads is bootstrapped and profitable. It makes money from 2 sources. Firstly, Monthly software subscription. It starts at $49 per month. Secondly, Prospect and lead generation Services. That starts at $299.

What were your KPIs when you started, have they changed?

We didn’t track much as in the past, I noticed that KPIs are of not much value due to the sample size. With KPIs, you also get stuck in unnecessary numbers instead of just finding and converting customers.

For us, we were tracking the number of signed up users though later realised that it is not a meaningful metric, even after tens of thousands of signups, the number of paying customers is less due to nature of the product.

To date, what have been your biggest challenges as a company? What have you done to overcome them?

Scaling is the biggest challenge. We want to build much polished and smart product considering the domain knowledge we have but still, things are slow on the ground. Though we are sure we can double the revenue in next 6 months with more focus on marketing, something which we never focussed on.

What are your plans for growth?

Like I said above, we want to focus more on marketing. We are expanding our team from this month to almost double to increase the visibility of AeroLeads and to have more inbound inquiries.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? a. What would you do differently?

Will ask others first, especially the users whether they want the features and if yes, will they pay for it? We made the mistake of building some features which had nothing to do with original software, nobody really asked for it and nobody wanted to pay for it.

Any advice to give?

Find your business model. Do not build another SaaS product because everyone else is building it. Many big businesses started with the need of solving a problem and they figured out the business model in the process.

Learn from other businesses. There are some patterns which are working and some are not. You can save a lot of time and money if you can pick up these patterns.

Learn, Learn and Learn. The more you know, the better decision maker you will be. It is especially helpful in technology as wrong tech decision can hurt you badly later.

Lastly, if anyone reading this wants to know more about your company… where do we send them

Please send them to our website. We have a live 24/7 chat (almost) so any one can talk to us and ask their queries.