Entrepreneurship born out of the Soviet Union

If you’re buying ads, you might relate to what today’s guest does. Here’s a use case: Imagine you’re buying Facebook ads and Google ads, and you’ve got data coming in from Google analytics. It tells you what’s happening on your site with traffic, and maybe you want to figure out if your subscriber number growing.

To know all that, you might have to go to Facebook ad manager and then your Google analytics and other places. It becomes a bit of a hassle.

Well, today’s guest noticed that people were doing this and he said, “I think software should just be able to go pull in all that data, create a dashboard for people and enable marketers to have one spot that they get all the data that they need.”

That’s the company he built. I invited him here to talk about how he did it and how it ended up doing well after a previous failure.

Daniel Kravtsov is the co-founder of Improvado, an automated marketing data pipeline.

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Daniel Kravtsov

Daniel Kravtsov

Improvado

Daniel Kravtsov is the co-founder of Improvado, an automated marketing data pipeline.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew:   Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses for an audience of entrepreneurs. And, if you buying ads, you might relate to what today’s guest does. And if you were watching the video, you might see him wince.

When I just say ads, because he wants everyone to know that he does more than ads, but, but here’s a use case. Imagine you’re buying Facebook ads and Google ads, and you’ve got data coming in from Google analytics. It tells you what’s happening on your site, traffic, and maybe you are YouTube, or you’ve got a small YouTube channel.

And you’re trying to figure out is your subscriber number growing and. To know all that. You might go to Facebook ad manager to get the data for Facebook ads, your Google analytics. I, Oh, he’s smiling. He knows that we’re getting out on the ride, go to Google analytics to get the data from there. And you get what I’m talking about.

It becomes a bit of a hassle and he noticed that people were doing this. And he said, I think I have, yeah. A better way to do it. I think software should just be able to go pull in all that data, create a dashboard for people and enable marketers to have one spot that they get all the data that they need.

And yes. It is for advertising and yes, it is for social, but it’ll work with other tools too. Like if you’ve got email marketing software that you need to know how effective all of your campaigns were and what your subscriber growth is, he’ll pull it all in and put it all in one place. That’s what today’s guests did.

That’s the company that he built. And I invited him here to talk about how he did it and, and how it ended up doing well after a previous, is it one failure or several failures that you had before? Let’s be

open here.

Daniel: one big failure, a lot of small failures, that I even don’t count, but one big failure. Yeah.

Andrew: You look at this, I’m looking at your LinkedIn profile CEO. Co-founder go past CEO, co founder tech line to CEO. Co-founder like, it just goes on and on and on. And then boom, this company is doing really well. It’s called Imprivado. They are a data aggregation and transformation platform. They will pull data from the software you use and make it accessible to you and your team.

So you can make decisions based on it. This interview is sponsored by two. Sponsors that are phenomenal. The first, if you need somebody to host your website, you got to go to hostgator.com/mixergy. The second, if you’re hiring developers or designers, go to top tower.com/mixergy, but I’ll tell you about them later.

As always first, I got to ask Daniel, Daniel crabs. What’s your revenue.

Daniel: Thank you, Andrew. it’s a 2.4 million ARR.

Andrew: $2.4 million annual recurring revenue. Impressive. Where’s your accent from?

Daniel: Russia. I actually, I was born in Soviet union and then it became not a scheduled exam. And then I moved to Russia, but from my childhood that I speak Russian.

Andrew: What was it like to grow up in what’s today? Kazakhstan.

Daniel: I mean, it’s more like actually Soviet union, so it’s very Soviet union country, everyone speak Russian communistic country. So there is no private property.  most of the people don’t understand.

Andrew: Yeah, I don’t understand. What did it mean that there was no private property. You owned your house. Could somebody come and kick you out of the house that you were in the apartment,

Daniel: No, you don’t own your

house.

Andrew: could somebody come and kick you out of your place?

Daniel: so easy to, , but government sync everything for you. They give you three education, free medicines. They will give you jobs. They will give you house. So they plan your life. And that’s why probably a lot of people were happy because they don’t need to sing governments sing for you.

They just, ain’t never, since

Andrew: What did they think for your dad? What did they think that your dad and mom needed to do for work

Daniel: Yeah. They know my mom and dad’s that you work in North, scares us down and they send them, the motor scares us down and they tell you, this is your factory. This is your house, this house. When they have two kids, they say, okay, now you have a new house. They gave us a new

Andrew: That’s it. Did you, did your parents like that?

Daniel: Because he believes this is the best, best country in the world. Now they, of course they understand that they were brainwashed, but at that moment they were happy

as they don’t have any problem.

Andrew: No problem. You get your house, you get your, you get your job at the end of the day. What would they do for fun? What would they do , other than take care of you?

Daniel: what they do is they watch TV, they read books, my mom and father elaborate books. They do sports. They swim. yeah. I mean like

Andrew: Look, I’ve got no problem putting down the Soviet union and communism, but I also have to say  if it made sense for them and there was happiness into it, I gotta, I gotta be open about that. All right. What do you, what do you think of that as I’m saying that I’m watching your face and it seems like you don’t love that.

I’m saying that there was happiness in it.

Daniel: A hundred percent, but I mean, it’s, the equation is when you don’t know another life, for example, this cause that live in my factories, they don’t know another life and they probably happier. You feel like you feel was born in a cage and you don’t know that there is a matter of life and there is a capitalism in the cage.

So it’s a question.

Andrew: Got it. If they knew that my parents were sending me to the movies with a $20 bill every Saturday, and that they could go out and have a, not movies on their TV, but being movie theaters, they might had second thoughts about what their life was. Okay. But I get it. What I wonder is about you, you told our producer that, you had a few bars that you had online businesses.

. First of all, in America, not only can 18 year olds not have a bar, they can walk into a bar, but at 18, how did you open up a bar in? Was this the Soviet union still?

Daniel: No, no, I wasn’t like to think you Samson, but I mean, I started drinking like seriously, it was my school teacher and when I was like, well,

My programming teacher teach me how to code. Then I won international program in Olympia. So here’s a good time out of mind. My situation was, if I solve this tasking, can you give me a shot?

And it was at that moment, the nineties and Rashad, it was only one way how you can find because a so union crash and as a result now, still like private businesses. So. Everyone let’s type on everyone. And, but yeah, so I opened my bar,

Andrew: Got it. How, how did you get, did you just go rent a spot or did you buy a bar

that

Daniel: At that moment, I already have as far as biting places. So we have offices where people can make as far as bad as an adjusted momentary allies. Oh. But if people can drink and make bedding, same time, that’s where I’ll be much better.

Andrew: This was at legal or illegal sports betting

Daniel: Oh, it was legal. It’s legal, international support,

Andrew: Anybody I can just go into Russia, set up my own sports betting operation.

Daniel: You need to buy a license and that co-founders who bought the license and for Julie’s license?

Andrew: So you’re like super entrepreneurial to come from a background that doesn’t support, encourage and train entrepreneurship, and have a sports betting business, have a bar. It expanded beyond that. You eventually sold it 10 years later when you were, what? 31 years old.

Daniel: No, I mean, I started this. I was 19. I sold it in 2010.

Andrew: 2010, you sold it. How much money do you get from selling all your Russian

bars?

Daniel: Yeah, that’s a

Andrew: Give me a sense of it. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands,

Daniel: less than a few million dollars.

Yeah. My stock, my stock. I didn’t want to have a big stock in this company because it was guys who own a license and money. So I had a, just 10% of the company and it was less than female.

Andrew: you were physical founder and other people put in the money. And so I ended up with the bigger piece of the business. Do we do a millionaire, U S dollar millionaire at the end of that, you are. Wow. What’s the, what’s the most fun that you had owning bars and sports betting in Russia and, and being a millionaire.

Daniel: I mean after I sold it. So when I became a millionaire, I, start another business and invest all my money in another

Andrew: Well, before we get to that, did you have fun? Did you like get to go out? Did you get to date? Did you get to drive around nice cars? Whatever fun is for

you, did you

get to know he didn’t

do none of that.

Daniel: yeah, I learned to have the wife and when I sold it, I already had I business. And so when I sold it, I put all my money in this business and then this was my biggest fail.

So I burned all my knee very fast

Andrew: before we get to the business? Did you have any resentment that you, you were in a marriage at a time when you were finally doing well, that you finally had a bar I’m seeing a smile on your face. That’s gotta say something. Did you feel like I should’ve gone out?

Daniel: never have a bra. These girls, I don’t think you need money  we, we do have interest in the relationship is my wife. So it’s, not, yeah, so ever since I was a good, I

Andrew: I think I get it. You’re saying, look, if you, if you could date on the sides, the wife would be okay with it.

Daniel: should I fill with Bob likly? yeah, I mean, it depends. It depends, but there are some cases when yes,

Andrew: Okay. All right. I won’t push them more than that.  So what’s the business that you lost it all in.

Daniel: it’s a knowledge management tool. It’s a, if you remember Google wave,

Andrew: Yeah,

let me describe for people at Google wave is going to be everything. It was going to do it all. It was this idea. The part that was amazing about it was the chat happened interactively. And in like real time, you’d see somebody write as they wrote it, it would show up on the screen, but it would do everything right.

If you wanted to share documents, it would be in there. If you want to talk to your friends, it would be in there. Right? They were piling everything in.

Daniel: Yes. And now if you look at motion or, or crib that scan that next dimension,

Andrew: I do know notion notion is like an, like a note app that is also for project management and also for communication and

all that.

You know what? I never thought of it that way.

Daniel: I mean and called that all of them. So it, this, this new space called digital canvas. When, before you have multiple places, docs in one place, spread sheets and another task in store and chatting in force. So you have four platforms, all of them separated.

And that’s what the Google way tried to do. What motion called the Amazon, or what we try to do is that all your working environment have to be in the same place. If you have tables in one place, chat in another document. So it was like one digital kind of house you can put tables, task mentions communication.

And so I was super excited about the idea. And I think because this is right, I still believe prism is the best collaboration tool in the world, but.

Andrew: it’s called  I’m on the website. This is the thing that you think is the best collaboration, because it has it all in one spot.

Daniel: Not all because notion have all in one spot as well and call the hem all in one spot and keep them all in one spot. I think that like biggest things that what we have and none of them have, we also change the way. How people think about communication. So the problem is resolved. It’s not only the tool, it’s also also new methods, how people should come and is it because difference was we call it contextual that people currently talk

in shop and in Slack, for example, it’s impossible to find information in Google in Arizona. And then Google wave was amazing. Things that you can comment anywhere like in Google docs, you can comment anywhere, but if you have already comments, you can put comments inside the comment like in between, and that’s why we call it contextual communication.

So when you have some comments and you want to add information, you always should put in the context. And everyone, if everyone communicate in this way, as a result of communication, they have a structure document, and this is very beautiful phenomena that nobody had. So just imagine you chat about something and as a result, it’s structured document.

Andrew: you know what I get now, I get that. Absolutely for I’ll give you a great example every time I want to find out why a redirect doesn’t work. On mixergy.com like I’m going to go live and maybe I need mixergy.com/live to redirect to something. I go in a grade, redirect. It doesn’t work. I have to go and hunt down the email where I sent it to Michael or the, base camp message.

And it, it’s hard to find it. Cause we use the word redirect all the time and to screenshot, they took to explain to me what I need to do to fix the problem I’m having is not something that’s searchable within base camp or Gmail, et cetera. I get it. But he did answer it for me. It’d be nice if that answer somehow became our documentation for the company.

And this is part of what you’re saying. I’m, I’m, I’m in a resume by the way, right here. Look, you can see it on my iPad. Look at back, right? That’s it all in one. So what’d you come up with the idea for this.

Daniel: Google wave. I was inspired by Google way. So we build a lot of regions from Google where Google, actually, it was the first chat bot system. as a woman, nobody even talk what’s the chat about Google wave have a story with chatbots and they have stars, regions, and we build a lot of chatbots for Google wave.

So one of our chat bots, if you ask, create a task maximum, can you do this task tomorrow is create automatically passed for you. It simply means your Google calendar, Google and Wednesday close Google wave. I was super upset because I believe this is a huge, big idea. And that’s why I solved my business and start

Andrew: Oh, wow. You know what? There are a lot of people who are, who are excited about Google wave, who was going to change everything. Google, I don’t think officially ever launched it. They did launch it in preview right in their beta to a small that they didn’t launch it today.

Daniel: I seen it launch it, according to my memory, but it was so long ago maybe I forgot, but I think they launch it.

Andrew: Oh, you know what you’re well, no, look, according to Wikipedia, Google accepted, most requests admitted starting November 29, 2009. soon after extent, as soon after September extended release of the technical preview. Oh, I see. On may. 2010. It was released to the general public. And then it looks like a few months later, just like three months later it was suspended.

Got it. So it was up for a few months. And so you were in it and you decided I’m giving everything up. I’m going to launch Google wave the way that it should have been launched. Oh, wow. How, how did you do that? It was a pretty involved piece of software.

Daniel: Well, yeah, I mean, we have a great engineering team. So my background was I’m computer science engineer. I won international program in Olympia. So calf of my team was like Olympic level guys. We have a lot of experience with, I was forced by some company. We have Kyla, it was like top five sports medicine company in X rated union.

Andrew: And it was digital

Daniel: what. It wasn’t laying them off. So we had the bars, we have a, so it was combination of online and offline.  So when I saw the same team join me, we started this, we started resolve, we, got fined and that’s actually funny story. I, I met, I met the guy, in a restaurant for like a day and he decided also, West, and we get all team 25 people.

We moved to black seed city called the ADESA. All right. Why I’m huge house and spam two months in this house to five people in Zanda this two months, we hate each other very much, but yeah, it was fun. Probably one of the best experiences of my life.

I mean 20 people in one house and the UC has 20 days.

There is no privacy, basically like them, people live in a rooftop. So like  in dorm. So yeah, it wasn’t that it’s just the months

Andrew: How much

Daniel: We did a lot. So we actually build the first version. after this system, you already have a working prototype. first clients are, our goal was to publish it before Google you’ll close Google waves. So to get users from Google wave and we do that successfully. so yeah, it was a very productive and farm, time.

Andrew: Yeah, two months before Google wave shut down. You guys apparently launched.

I see now observer tech team of developers. So crushed by Google Wade’s shuttering that they built their own version. That’s the thing.

Daniel: Yeah, we have a, if I remember correctly, 300,000 users after four or five months. So a lot of you is yours and that’s, what’s the problem. That’s why I was actually a biggest problem because it has so much users that our tech was not ready for this type of scale. Then it wasn’t possible for me to categorize what type of clients we have, what type of use cases.

And I start reliving the PR next Facebook so that we will build, we will. Kill you mail and we will grow. Like you may be our next phase. We can even do it. As this project Everlast so everyone really use it. Like everyone uses email, everyone uses resolve, and that was a big mistake. And now I realize it.

So it’s like creep or quota. It’s not for everyone. It’s, for tech knowledge workers. and, but before I did not realize it tried to build it forever. Awhile. Didn’t stop monetization platform monetization. So we are free for a long time. And.

Andrew: So, what did you think you were going to do better than wave?  why didn’t you say wave is shutting down. This doesn’t work. If Google can make it work, we can’t either.

Daniel: I can stay as it will go away if it doesn’t work. So it doesn’t work in Google scale because they want to kill a email and I want to kill Facebook. So they seem to be like next social network. I made the same mistake, but for knowledge workers, I think this is a good tool. And why have you seen Google over engineers?

Because they build it for a few years. They have a lot of features. They have chapels, they have widgets, they have a lot of seats. So I was like over engineered and I saw that I will simplify it a lot. And I, on the simplified wise, I was happy that we have twice less bottom Zen, Google wave, but they also over engineer.

I also that said. Problem of second product, second project then like when I started my first company, I was shy and was not sure I started MVP small scene. We use Google way. We have money. We have time. so we over-engineer, we build very robust system, and it was a

Andrew: Can I say it’s impressive. I think you guys raised what $400,000,

Daniel: If I remember correctly,

Andrew: at least a million, maybe 400 is what Crunchbase is showing for your angel round. So impressive though. What you’re able to build. Let me take a moment to talk about my first sponsor and then come back into this. My first sponsor is HostGator.

Anyone was listening to this interview with Daniel has gotta be fired up about entrepre. The idea that you can just keep iterating, keep trying lots of new ideas. See where things go. It does not all have to be as big as a Google killer or a wave. Replacement. It could be something as small as just a blog.

How many times have I interviewed people here who started with nothing? Nothing more than just a simple blog, simple content site. If you’re out there and you want a place to experiment, forget creating your next big success, but a place to just experiment, build a site, crush it tomorrow. If you don’t like it, build another site experiment with the, keep it up.

Play with one, one, maybe for your kids, one just for your family, whatever it is just so you have experience building, making and producing. I want you to not just go over to hostgator.com/mixergy, but pick that middle option on that page, which will give you unlimited domain hosting, which means you can come up with a bunch of different ideas.

Maybe you want to ask somebody out like your wife and say, Hey baby, I want you, I want to take you out. And I created this website invitation. Think about how you will amaze her. Think about how, if you wanted to hire somebody, creating a website to say, I want to welcome you on board. If you wanted to sell to somebody, create a website, just for them, just play with it until you find the thing that says, Hey, this is where I want to spend more of my energy.

Why are you smiling at that? Daniel? I feel like I’ve hit, I’ve struck a nerve with you on this one or is it just my energy? You’re digging.

Daniel: Yes. Yes. I like how, when actually you pitch my company, I think, wow. My speech, I showed the list.

Andrew: I’ll get you a transcript for it, for them to hostgator.com/mixergy, go experiment, go play. I promise. You’ll love it. And it’s not an empty promise. They’ve got a 45 day money back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to pay. If you do like it. And years from now, you don’t like it. You take your website and you move it to a different hosting company.

And if you decide. That you have an idea that’s worth investing in a little bit. Guess what? They’ll even give you a hundred dollars in Google ad credit to help you build your business. That is host data.com/mixergy, not mix energy mixer. G M I N E R G Y. How did you know? And when did you know that it wasn’t working?

I want to kind of close this out, by understanding that, and then the aftermath before we get into, and provato, how did you know that

Daniel: I mean, we stopped growing. I can say that it’s not working completely. We still felt like such a thousand users. Even we don’t do any engineering philosophy. Eighth year. So like six years I’m still exists. So we have big audience. We have a lot of funds, money. I ran out of money. Yeah. And I was able, I wasn’t able to raise money here in Silicon Valley.

So I moved here to the Valley. My English was terrible, but actually I found a way to meet a lot of stars as a main guy behind Google wave. And, but in some reason, I think my English was a big part of it. I was unable to raise additional funds. And, but we have, we had good growth. We have Google Jones just does mine.

So then I decide to, I found some outsource people. We just started doing four a year outsource, and then I started another company with a different focus. So it was a good lesson for me. And I started my next company. You have to be media. We started from rabbit. So we first sell and then we built.

Andrew: You saying you couldn’t raise money partially because of your accent.

Daniel: My English, not just accent. I mean, this was like super terrible. It’s still not, not good, but it was super terrible

if you don’t, if you can’t understand. Yes. I mean, identify as impossible to understand me. I mean, it’s, for me, I understand maybe 20% of equations. So communication was

Andrew: How’d you learn English? your English?

Daniel: So just, just practice that’s all. And I didn’t learn it,  in Russia, it’s easier to go live in the English speaking country and there is no way from me. I will learn.

Andrew: I feel like San Francisco is a hard place to learn because people don’t talk to each other here. I’m surprised that you didn’t create like a cofounder. I’m looking at the list of people here at the company. You got like PB, which is a cute dog officer , but I’m surprised that you don’t have like someone who’s the pretend founder, the founder that you just need as a, as

Daniel: No. I actually have two cofounders, a Miami cane alley, uh,

Andrew: a partnership and she’s not even listed as a co founder.

I’m looking at your own website, head of sales for an Amica, right. SETI and Allie Quigley is head of partnerships and they’re not listed as co founders. Are they co founders?

So then why didn’t you send one of them to do the interview here?

Why don’t you put them as a cofounder on the site and then say, listen, I obviously don’t love language. I’ve got an accent. This is a podcast. I’ll audio. Let’s just send Andrew a woman entrepreneur, which means a little more attention because it’s different. We don’t see enough female entrepreneurs on Mixergy and someone who’s American.

Daniel: I get something. I don’t know why. I didn’t think about this really great idea. So think about it next time I, as that’s how I will do it. Yeah. It’s really good idea.

Andrew: Well, I don’t, it’s not, it doesn’t bother me. I prefer that you’re here because I prefer the interesting story. I want the accent that I know, to be honest with you is going to turn off some people who are listening to me and they’re not going to listen. They’re going to say this is an accent. Screw them.

Shove off, if you don’t really care and you want to just be narrow-minded and have the same type of entrepreneurial story over and over again, I can find 12 different podcasts you should be listening to. And 12 different, no two different websites. You can go and check out. but for me, it’s interesting.

I thought maybe you had like a thing that you did. You need to be the boss. You need to be the person who’s talking. You

Daniel: actually, what was it? I actually, I think I’m opposite. I. Obviously, I have a lot of co-founders in the company and I never push my decisions. I want the people will be agreed with me. I tried to explain all my decision and, so I’m, and I’m mainly my cofounder. So it’s like, and then again, ally Zika founders that we fell publicly, but there are a few people, some engineering sides of both those, but they just don’t want to publicly say about it. Oh, they just throw out the engineers.

Andrew: You then create it. Let’s go on to the next, the next business. RTB media, if not for RTB RTB media, there wouldn’t be no Imprivado what was RTB media

Daniel: It was a advertising platform where a market just can buy a marketing and advertisement from many channels and optimize it.

A DSP Facebook ad words. So we have API is multiple GSP, became our own DSP and you can buy it. So yeah, one major DSP demand side platform. It’s LTB. It’s a huge market called real time video.

So every time you open any site, like. Times.com information about you, the multiple DSP companies, they make a beat on you and who make a higher price at that company show you ads so ends up many DSP on the market. And we were integrated this year. We have our own DSP and we also integrate to Facebook and

social media.

I mean, in all my companies, good marketing, I like to study humans and marketing is a part of, how I can implement my knowledge about humans. And so when we did the Zoma, we invest in us. So, find audience and it was a challenge. And then I realized that LTB market is a. Yeah on the hype was on the hype in Russia.

And it was very obvious for me that the will be easy to make sales because everyone needs ads. Everyone needs advertisement. And because it was caught and understands that it will be easy for me to raise mine. combinations

this seeing that’s why I stopped.

Andrew: And that business did better because there was money coming in the door sooner, right away.

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, now I believe that in all my companies, I always build a bid. We’ll do B to B enterprise, I think consumer business. And the SMB is a LOC B to B enterprise as it is. No, like there is a, you can, you can build successful businesses, like hundred percent almost guarantee.

I mean, because when you do SMB and consumer, You need to invest a lot in marketing.

You need to invest in a lot of, in workflow so that your software will be like smooth and you understand the pain and all this iteration is expensive and law. When you do it in enterprise, you just sell to one client. You don’t need product at all. You can hide. Your product is good customer success. So if you have good customer success, you can do any service for enterprise sounds.

You still want a client to sell to yourself five clients, you can do it as a service, and then you can productize. See. So, because that’s why it’s not the lack. You can sell your house and then build the Prague with SMB and the consumer needs to build the product first and then sell.

Andrew: Ah, got it. Okay. And so at RTB, you were selling to enterprise, you weren’t selling to S to small and medium sized

Daniel: We, I mean, we try to sell to enterprise. So we sell the books we sell in less than B op mid market enterprise. So we try to sell to all, all that. Cause at that moment, I was not sure that I want sell only enterprise. So it was like kind of a discount for me. What’s very, we should sell. But yeah, we had some enterprise clients and Rasha midsize

Andrew: So one of the things that I I read was that at RTB media, you had clients who wanted more data, more easily accessible, right? That’s what led you to create this new company. But when I look at the past versions of your site, like even from 2015, one of the key things that you offered was. Cross channel advertising report, download our cross network CSV or ETL reports in one click.

So you, this was something yeah. You were offering. What were they missing that led you to create this new software company?

Daniel: I mean, so I started it to be medium. I was, and I moved here at the San Francisco, Stanford, similar business. And the, when I sell here, in two marketers, they told me that they don’t want buy media, but like part of our products where we extract all data, make sense of it. And that’s why I might as this feel it.

So I caught all media buying functionality and focus only on data extraction and data

Andrew: Ah, okay. So this is the part that they liked about the business enough that were you going to start a brand new business then?

Daniel: I mean, how it’s happened. So I, I was in Russia. Then I sold this company and started with similar business share in us. And then we in the year, or maybe you’re in the house, you realize that. It’s impossible to sell the same, what I sell them. And actually, because I’m actually going to have competitors here has a lot of competitors.

Also have investors told me that not being the best in that bank and bankers stocks

Andrew: Ad tech is toxic.

Daniel: toxic. Yeah. Is there any reason? So I texted was called five, eight years ago, all of the best ones that made an attack, I actually failed. So it’s a bad time for tech, a lot of big companies like, Oracle, many other GSP and my software doesn’t, she’ll go. So majority of the companies, as an, as some exception, but Missouri, each of them

Andrew: Got it. So they said we don’t want to do this, but the question I have at this point is if this was working in Russia, why not keep it in Russia? Why, why did you even want to come to the U S.

Daniel: I, before I moved to San Francisco travel five years, my goal is my wife. My goal was find the best city in the world. So I believe San Francisco is the best city in the world. And that’s why I’m here.

Oh, ever since I got again, I left people. So I think the people is the most interesting senior and most complicated scene.

So I like people and San Francisco is like modern Babylon. There is a, all nations here. All cultures share a zone. The difference in by we build it. tower doors, God. the day we built power store that artificial intelligence it’s new God, all nations here. Build this tower to artificial.

Andrew: So it’s a work thing and the collection of different people, all aspiring to do something big.

Daniel: Yeah. So, I love, where’s our, here I am from Siberia, so I’m not scared of San Siberia. It’s it’s like a paradise for me. It’s very ideal. I like that. It’s not too cold. I don’t like to hold my legs. Even. It’s called the like sleep when it’s called. So everything is just like perfect.

Andrew: And you were, your juror deli square, which is kind of nice. The weather’s nice. They’re a few blocks away and you’re in pain, but. Do deli square. That’s where your office is, right? Yeah. You get to walk down. It’s not really a beach, but what does that cov call? The quad a Cove is kind of like a beach.

They got sand. You can go swim there. If you can deal with cold weather, do you go in the water there?

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. almost every day.

Andrew: you do

Daniel: Yeah, I’ve been a few weeks ago. So I spent such a second in the ocean.

Andrew: Wow. I, I used to go do that before, before I had kids. I’d have my whole Sunday to myself. And what I would do is ride my bike to aquatic Cove, which is a good, like seven miles. I’d go swim in the water there. Which is incredibly freezing, credibly, freezing credibly cold, and then I’d ride my bike to the office, drop it off at the office and run home.

So I’d have my own little triathlon every day. And it was just wonderful. And what I like about big cities, like New York, like San Francisco, like Los Angeles is I have this range of things that you could do. And each one of these activities is fun on its own, but you could do it all in one city. Alright, I’m getting a little bored of San Francisco.

That’d be honest with you. I don’t know where I would go next, but I’m getting bored of it. All right. I get where you are at this point in your story. I want to know how you got your first customers. I have a couple of theories, but let me take a moment to talk about my first. My second sponsor is a company called top towel.

Do you know what top down? No top tells a place you go. When you want to hire San Francisco level developers, mountain view level developers without paying mountain view and San Francisco prices. Let me ask you this. As part of this ad, they’re all about the best of the best developers. Give me an idea of something that an amazing developer has been able to do for a company that you created that even five Soso developers couldn’t have done, you must have like an amazing feat don’t you.

What’s what’s one amazing thing that a great developer that you worked with was able to do that other developers could not do

Daniel: Ah, I dunno, like let’s say

Andrew: do what? Oh, quick search. What’s the problem with quick search? Why could a great developer do that for you?

Daniel: was again a great developers. Do. I mean, because we use a different, very specific database that was new at the times. There is no Greek. We have a lot of information, a lot of documents. I just like scientifically complicated task. You need to understand about shellfish, about natural language.

Andrew: I remember I had this huge issue with my side. It was all run on WordPress, which I thought was simple. The frequency would take over a minute to load. I swear. Over a minute per page to load. Yeah. Something about my listeners. They would sit for fricking minute and, and, and wait for the page to load just so they could listen to an interview.

It was just, it’s incredibly painful. I hired a company to do nothing but solve that. They couldn’t do it. The hosting company said we love being associated with you. We would like to give you help for this. They couldn’t do it. I finally said, you know what? I need the best I paid. A lot of money to have somebody solve it.

A lot of money, power per hour, the guy was able to solve it within a matter of few hours. It was like less than $2,000 to finally resolve it. But I realized one smart developer configure it out in a way that I couldn’t even explain to you here in this interview, what the hell the guy was able to do.

Anyway, if you are out there and you’re looking for amazing developers, bring your big challenges over the top Tao, they will not only help you hire fast, not only help you hire the best of the best people, but yeah. Any more expensive than other platforms. But I’m telling you going to be shocked that the price is reasonable.

Considering the level of developers that you get from them. People who I’ve sent over to them have thanked me for years. And so will you go to, I just don’t even take my word for it. Do this, go to top towel.com/mixergy. There’ll be a big button that you press. Once you press that button you’ll schedule, you’ll be able to schedule a call call with their manager, talk to the matcher, tell him what you’re looking for, challenge them.

And I promise you if it’s not good fit, they will tell you to go away. And I know that because they’ve told people. Nicer than that. They’ll say, sorry, it’s not a good fit. You don’t have anyone to review their code. Things like that. If you’re not a good fit, they’ll tell you. But if it is a good fit, they will put you in front of a few developers that will just blow your mind, that will solve your problems and change the course of your business.

Again, I promise because there’s nothing to lose. Just go to the site and hit the link and talk to them. That’s top  dot com slash Mixergy top isn’t top of your head, talent and talent. T O P T a l.com/mixergy. are you thinking maybe you should be buying an ad here? The way that you’re looking at these ads?

I feel like you like it. You like my

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. I would love to see

Andrew: I don’t know if it would be a good fit for you guys, but we’ll see how well this does for you. I’m not looking to sell you ads. I’m looking to get the best story out of, out of this conversation. When you changed, you created a brand new site,

Daniel: I mean, when we change your name, we already have a lot of clients for our product. and they just, one of our advisors told us LTB manager, it’s a bad name because it’s crazy around connotations that we do media. And that’s why we changed our name. And the first version of product does the same. What I mean almost the same, what we do now at that moment, we focused on visualization, visualizing data in our UI.

And right now our main value proposition is that you can bring your data in your BI tool. Like if you have Tablo and will bring your data inside Tableau. That leaves one of the most popular business intelligence tool for data visualization.

Andrew: So you will pull it out of these data sources and put it into a Tableau for, for helpful visual visualization. And you focused on which connections, where were you going to pull data from?

Daniel: or any marketing and sales, integrations, any marketing and sales. So we call ourselves data agnostic. It can be your advertisement data like Facebook and Pinterest, Twitter already. It can be your web analytics like Mixpanel, Google analytics can be

your data. mother, of course. So we started, so we had customers, thorough clients ask me as well. That’s what we integrate. It. Shouldn’t be just sales. So marketing and NSL, someone could invade their integrated

ads and web analytics sends them.

Andrew: And you knew that that was helpful because you were selling media and you had these data,

Daniel: Yeah. And clients Stoller. So yeah, we don’t want to buy immediately or ask, but the way you are aggregated all data, the like it, we want to pay for it.

Andrew: The first value prop that I saw on your website was saved 70% or more on advertising reporting. You mean help them save them, save the money that they were paying to get reporting.

Daniel: time. So

Andrew: Got it. So all the time that you’re spending, putting together Google spreadsheets, we’ll do that for you. Don’t have to do that. It was. And in fact, you even said, upgrade your spreadsheets. We’re expecting, we’re accepting that this is what you’re the world do you have? We’re just going to give you a better version of the worldview that you have already.

And I see the connections. You had 38 connections from day one, Facebook and Google, where one of them, you, YouTube, Twitter, Taboola ad roll. All those things put in one place. And then allow them to access it everywhere.

All right. And, and so the first customers came from your existing customer base. At what point did you start to move beyond the people who already had bought ads from you?

Daniel: then I just, almost immediately. So as soon as we bought first client who told us that he won’t do use only analytics. So, and I started to reach out to in LinkedIn, to other people or as our client. And, that’s how I found the first clients.

Yeah. LinkedIn.

Andrew: emailing LinkedIn

You. So again, language is an issue. Why are you the one who’s doing this? You’re the, you’re the

Daniel: Because Micah founders a focus on selling our current product and I always do kind of research phase. And then you shall, I believe founders have to do your sales because that’s how you learn what you sell, actually. Yeah, that’s why I had a child, but that’s that moment as well as, I’ll read you a little bit more than a year.

and, but my English was

Andrew: What, what do you remember learning from those early sales?

Daniel: yeah. I was surprised that when, this first potential client told me that he can pay a thousand dollars their months for Aziz and they say came a lot of time. And that was inspiring because initially I saw that you’ll be like $50 per month. and, yeah, that was a big lesson that that’s can be a, Relate to li better ARR and MRR

Andrew: Because in a one on one conversation, they’d be willing to tell you I would pay even more for this versus a website where they

Daniel: Yeah. I didn’t feel some brides from the beginning. And so I just asked him how much you pay, how much it will save your time, how much you think it’ll cost. And he’ll say, yeah, I can pay a thousand.

Andrew: I’m looking at the first prices that you offer. There were two options that I could see going back. One of them was $70 a month. If you pay annual or a hundred dollars a month, by the way, your pricing was a little confusing there, but $70 a month for the business plan. And then enterprise, our agency just contact us.

Right. And you discovered that was too, too cheap. How long did it take you to discover that was too cheap?

Daniel: I mean, we realize that people can, some people can pay more almost since the beginning. And so our first client told us that he can pay a thousand, but for a long time, we believe that we can do self serve. And people will go sell surf and put $57. And let’s really to be a syllable that Avenue for us. And because I’m going to analyze them, I still believe I’m big believer go off market again.

Don’t do self serve 50, $70 because this is a, this is a gambling. This is a bedroom. it’s very expensive to build self serve company.

Andrew: I don’t understand why. Yeah. You told our producer that I’m seeing it here in my notes. You’ve said it several times and they still don’t understand why, why not? It’s it’s, it’s a data integration, company. It’s not that it. It’s not that customized people need data, pull that in one place

and then put somewhere else

Daniel: it’s still customized. So, I mean, first of all, it’s a, there is almost no self company where you pay like 10,000 a month.

Andrew: right. You definitely need more customers at a lower price point, but it’s software. The software should be able to do this.

Daniel: Yeah, but it’s two different products. Oh yeah. Products for Appian market enterprise for self serve. If you do a self serve, you’ll focus on lot on workflow usability.

This is very expensive. It’s a long iteration. And instead of like a buildout function and for enterprise, you don’t care about workflow. You don’t care. At least since the beginning about usability, you just do useful things as they need. And let’s help. And again, if there are some mistakes in your products, problems, your customer success, help to figure out if itself, sorry, he’ll not figure it out.

Something he wants to Butte in the overflow. You lost this quiet.

Andrew: Got it. And so you have to keep improving that usability and that’s not a solvable problem. You can’t just hire usability person to

Daniel: There are some examples when people like slags, they build it, but there is it as one Slack and sawzall as our chats that failed because they were. They were, they can solve this workflow, probably Amanda’s this product marketing, because this is a gambling. There’s a good thing about a consumer brands, SMB that when you found it, then it’s easy to scale,

Andrew: Ah, you know what? That makes sense. So I keep thinking Zapier, very complicated integrations. But they’re doing it at scale all for small meat, largely small, medium sized businesses, but you’re right. Anyone else who is trying to do this is not going to have the same kind of results. It’s tough to deal with.

How do you explain all these different integrations to consumers? How do you make it visually accessible? If there’s a problem, they leave you there. Got it.  And enterprise what’s enterprise sales. Like how do you get customers now?

Daniel: Yeah. So again like a sore thumb. So you need to invest a lot in the market, do funnel and see how analyze and again, the market and for his MBA for enterprise, it’s much easier, especially for the beginner. You probably have some relationship or you always, what I did. I wrote a very harmlessly guys. I am. A young entrepreneur, I working on this type of product and would love to hear you otherwise.

And surprisingly, a lot of people were happy to meet and they give me advice on some of them later become clients.

Andrew: And I see that that’s the type of thing that works better and enterprise. And if the product doesn’t work, they’ll come back and give you feedback. And then once they do like it, they’re paying you. You told our producer, it’s not unusual to get a hundred thousand dollars sale. Do you guys do a hundred thousand dollars sales?

Daniel: We have, yeah, I’ve got some firms at the beginning of the week. I didn’t sell to enterprise. We sell to mid size companies and our average contract value was like , but still live. When you have 10 clients on your leg, you have a business.

I mean, I mean, we don’t have public pricing, but yeah. We sell sometimes to small plans, sometimes to midsize plans, but

Andrew: Let me see I’m hitting the pricing link on your site. Oh, look at that. It always goes to schedule a demo

because enterprise wants to see it. They want to talk to

Daniel: Yeah, it is, it is no companies, enterprise and UC pricing.

Andrew: Right. And enterprise also doesn’t want to play around with the software and connect it to Facebook and hope that it makes sense. And if it doesn’t, then they cancel God. They don’t. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned enterprise customers don’t care about the free trial. In fact, it’s a pain for them.

They can’t connect it to their software. They can’t do certain things. someone to show them what it can do and then take it to the

Daniel: Yeah. So then that, that’s a big thing about enterprise. They still like when you do everything for them, so you don’t need the product. You can just have a build a good Samuel since the beginning, and then a problem.

Andrew: You had a period, it feels like everything is going well here. Once you discovered in provato.io, things started to take off, but you told our producer a couple of months before you talked to her or to him, excuse me to Brian Benson. You said you were, you were going through some stress. What was going on?

Daniel: I mean, it’s always stress. A startup life is a, is very stressful. And I think all life is stressful. Life is stressful in general, very dangerous. And, I mean, what’s, I am looking for the appeal of sales now for a few months. and then it stopped. It’s tough to find a good VP of sales. And also it’s like my first business in the United States, I made a lot of mistakes.

So he goes, it’s my sales business. I’m legal mistakes. and, yeah, so nothing that’s typical about the just it’s about, I’m not, I don’t know. It seems that stress is bad. I actually seen it is that like, you need some level of stress, to be healthy and, to be productive.

I think it would a long time, some better be some level of stress you need to, you need to find a way how to manage it. So it’s a little bit, not

Andrew: how do you manage it? I agree with you. I feel like a little bit of stress is good once it becomes so overwhelming that you can’t stop thinking about it. It becomes a problem, but just enough to kick you and move you. So how do you, but you still need a process. Everyone. Everyone who deals with stress seems to have something what’s yours.

Daniel: Well, I have a lot of things, so I meditate a little bit. I write things down. So if something’s stressed, you just write things down and screen your mind. Also, I found. in my stress, even, I sometimes send in an excited at time stress, like, Oh, I’m stressed. Oh, interesting. Okay. What’s why you stressed.

And I try to get even a little bit excited. I find some joy, in, in a stress. well, they do scores. Of course four is really helpful. I talk about points of like what it mean. If you talk to somebody it’s help you. I smoke weed sometime also helping sometimes it’s actually will make me even most stressed.

Yeah. Yeah. For like sales hour, I am super stressed, but it’s like, you’re stressed and then you come and then you come for like many hours. It’s just like very stressed, very intense. Like for such Armenians, you’re like super worried. They’re super, well, they would say, but then you clean your mind and then you come and after we trust that.

You mean it’s I can, for them after

Andrew: And you work on weed.

Daniel: On evenings. Yeah. So I have the different type of tasks. So on evenings, I try to do big tasks, like one hour, two hour task. During the day I do a lot of small tasks, like emails, checking these people. And after a week, yeah, it’s me to concentrate on big flowers.

One hour class.

Andrew: It’s so big here in San Francisco and the places that sell it are just so like, they have such good vibes, good environments. I just can’t figure out what to even get.  alright. For anyone who wants to go check out Daniel’s website? It’s  dot IO. I M P R O V a D o.io. And we do show notes now, so there should be links. And if there isn’t let me know, you’ll see it. Of course, on our side. I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen and will allow me to say their names super fast.

I’ve kind of got to slow down with the sponsors. I appreciate them, not complaining that I say their names. So fast sponsors are top towel.com for hiring developers. And for setting up a website, go to hostgator.com.

Thank you all for listening. Bye everyone.

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