What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company?
I’ve run online businesses for the last 18 years (my first when I was 15) and built everything from affiliate sites to full e-commerce sites to marketing agencies and it seems everything inbetween.
One thing I realised was how many tools and software options there are and with many working on SaaS basis they quickly would add up. I discovered after some hunting that some companies offered discounts or even free access for startups so I decided to bring them all together in one place and offer deals for existing founders too. That’s where FounderPass was born and it’s quickly grown into a hub for quickly finding deals on software and most importantly ones that work! We negotiate all discounts and deals directly with each company to ensure they do!
What no code tools did you use to build FounderPass and what purpose did each play in the final product?
I used to be a Wordpress advocate but after discovering Webflow I know solely build any project on it, it’s fantastic and getting better each year. It’s allowed us to build a website that looks exactly like we want and to make changes quickly and easily.
We also integrate MemberStack for our membership side of things, which is a great option if you want a no-code way of building memberships into your website, allowing you to restrict certain parts to certain membership levels and so on. Our payments are processed via Stripe due to how easy it is to integrate with the above and we use Sendinblue for our email marketing due to being able to do what Mailchimp does but at a much better price. We’ve got a big list of tools we’ll be adding in to our stack soon too.
What were the initial costs to get FounderPass off the ground?
Costs were low as it was mainly down to my time to build the website and grow both the membership and partner (offers), the biggest single cost was the domain name FounderPass.com as it wasn’t available so I purchased that for around $5k.
What was the process of building your product from idea to launching?
I sat down and mapped out the main features we wanted to offer, how a user would navigate and use the site as well as how we would display deals to our users. There was a lot of trial and error as with any new business and one of the biggest stumbling blocks was the ‘Chicken and Egg’ issue whereby we wanted great deals for our members but we didn’t have many members so it was hard to negotiate good deals but we needed these good deals to attract members!
It essentially came down to a lot of perseverance, time and ‘growth hacking’ to acquire members to be able to get the deals we currently have (a good year + of work!)
How do you attract customers?
A lot is via word of mouth at the moment, but we did at the later part of last year devote time on SEO and are now seeing the results start to come in. We’ve also tested out with short form video on TikTok, Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts and seen quite a good uptake, we’ve posted approx 6 videos and got over 2.5k followers on TikTok and around 150,000 views.
What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building FounderPass?
One of the hardest challenges as mentioned above was getting the deals, as we grow it is getting easier but it still harder to get deals from the big companies. Our main challenge going forward is growing both partners and members!
What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?
There's a tool for everything!
Quite simply if you need something doing, there is a tool for it, and they are often free or very cheap, whether it’s adding subtitles to a video, converting an image, sending out emails, hosting a website etc, Google is your friend and you’ll likely find something to help.
What are your future plans for FounderPass?
We really want to become a hub for founders of all sizes, from bootstrapped founders to those who run multi-million dollar companies and customize offers that are shown to each type of entrepreneur. We've got big ambitions to not only help founders with discounts on software but to be able to offer them perks across various industries from insurance to travel to restaurants to hospitality.
How do you think the rise of no code tools will impact entrepreneurship?
I can only see it as being a positive, it will allow more and more people who are entrepreneur minded to build stuff without large capital to begin with, going back years if you had an idea but it needed some tech behind it you’d have to spend thousands building the tech to test it, nowadays you can build something in a weekend, have it tested with audiences in days and within a week you can have a pretty good idea if the idea is worth pushing more.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Only that if any of your readers run a SaaS business and want to get listed on FounderPass to reach out on our site as well, we’re always actively wanting to work with companies of all size and help them get more customers too!