We are celebrating our first anniversary. Almost exactly one year ago, I founded Friendly.
I would never have dreamed where we are just 12 months later. Nearly 60 customers rely on our software and we generate close to $85,000 in annual recurring revenue (ARR).
So we are (almost) profitable – our next goal is to break even and pay out at least a small salary for yours truly. So far, my work for Friendly is still a pure investment.
I’d like to take this opportunity to look back at the highlights of Friendly’s first 12 months – here they are:
- February 2020: Domain registration
- March 2020: Friendly Analytics launched on ProductHunt
- April 2020: Launch of Friendly Automate and first paying customer
- May 2020: From zero to $1,000 MRR in 94 days
- Juni 2020: Angestellter Nr. 1
- July 2020: We publish our costs and salaries
- August 2020: Our partner program generated $19,243 annual recurring revenue – with 30 lines of code
- September 2020: The Government of Greenland uses Friendly Analytics
- October 2020: JOOP! uses Friendly Analytics
- November 2021: +18% revenue, on track for profitability
- December 2020: Stefan in the CRM Podcast
- We’re an LLC now
- Thanks and outlook
February 2020: Domain registration
The official launch of Friendly was the registration of our domain Friendly.is on February 21, 2020:
March 2020: Friendly Analytics launched on ProductHunt
On March 17, 2020, our first product, Friendly Analytics, went live. The launch of the privacy-friendly Google Analytics alternative took place on Product Hunt:
The result was 12th place of the day on Product Hunt, almost 600 visitors on the landing page, reports in Swiss magazines Werbewoche and Horizont – and 0 sales.
April 2020: Launch of Friendly Automate and first paying customer
Less than a month after Friendly Analytics, I launched our second product, Friendly Automate.
In contrast to Friendly Analytics, I first published Friendly Automate to my personal network and in the newsletter of my agency Wortspiel.
This allowed me to collect and implement feedback before the launch on the big platforms like ProductHunt.
However, even the “small” launch was a complete success. The day ended with a first trial with a credit card on file and two appointments for demos.
Later that month, I launched Friendly Automate on Product Hunt as well.
And we won our first paying customer in April!
May 2020: From zero to $1,000 MRR in 94 days
On May 25 the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of Friendly has exceeded the remarkable limit of $1’000 – only 94 days after its foundation!
In the Baremetrics blog I recount how exactly we reached this milestone. Click here to read the article.
Juni 2020: Angestellter Nr. 1
In June, József “Joey” Keller joined Friendly as CTO and employee #1. Joey is also the first person I have ever hired permanently.
This was one of the best decisions in the history of Friendly. Without Joey, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Not only does he keep our server infrastructure for Friendly Automate and Friendly Analytics running reliably, but he also helps our customers with any support request, no matter how complex.
By the way, Joey has recently joined the product team of the open source software Mautic, which is the technical foundation of Friendly Automate. In this role, he directly influences further development of the software.
July 2020: We publish our costs and salaries
“Transparency” is usually just a marketing catchphrase. Not for us. As the first and only Swiss Open Startup, we share our key figures such as revenue and website visits.
In July 2020, we decided to share our operating costs in detail as well – including our salaries. You can see them in our monthly Open Startup reports.
The first time we published our costs was with the August report – here they are:
August 2020: Our partner program generated $19,243 annual recurring revenue – with 30 lines of code
Our affiliate program is still our most important acquisition channel. In August, it generated over 70% of our revenue.
I had decided to develop the affiliate program myself – partly to have more control over it, and partly to save the cost of an external tool.
For the nerds, here’s a tutorial on how you too could implement an affiliate program yourself with just 30 lines of code.
September 2020: The Government of Greenland uses Friendly Analytics
In September we won our first customer on a state level. The government of Greenland uses Friendly Analytics for its official representation in Denmark under ghsdk.dk.
October 2020: JOOP! uses Friendly Analytics
The fashion company JOOP! uses Friendly Analytics for their official website Joop.com.
We were very happy about this feedback from them last week:
We use Friendly Analytics as a privacy friendly alternative in our analytics setup. For our brand JOOP! we could already gain valuable insights with the tool to optimize our pages and content for our customers and make them even more attractive.Kevin Bogatzky, Head of E-Sales & Communication, HOLY FASHION GROUP (Strellson | JOOP! | windsor.)
November 2021: +18% revenue, on track for profitability
Our monthly recurring revenue increased in November by +18% to $6,041, and the monthly loss decreased by -32%.
This again brought us a big step closer to our goal of profitability in the near future.
December 2020: Stefan in the CRM Podcast
In the CRM Podcast with Nico Zorn you will learn how to improve your customer relationships.
In the current episode (in German only unfortunately) I talk with Nico about the story behind Friendly and about the advantages of open source technology in marketing. We also talk about how you can use marketing automation for your business and how to avoid typical mistakes during the implementation.
We’re an LLC now
When I launched Friendly just under a year ago, I wanted to get started as quickly and easily as possible, in line with the lean startup philosophy.
That’s why I deliberately didn’t set up an own company for Friendly yet, but initially handled all sales through my existing company – the agency Wortspiel LLC.
In the meantime, Friendly has “grown up” and stands on its own two feet financially. For me, it is an important signal to reflect this in the legal status as well.
Since January Friendly LLC is registered in the Swiss commercial register. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, we will transfer all contracts from Wortspiel LLC to the new Friendly LLC.
Thanks and outlook
I heartily thank my fantastic co-worker Joey, our customers and partners – this journey would not have been possible without you, and I look forward to continuing to combine powerful marketing software and data privacy in the years to come.
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you might like our newsletter. We share insights from our journey as a bootstrapped open startup, marketing best practices, and Friendly surprises!