The second best month in our history
Open Startup Report November 2023

Hard work pays off: We achieved the second-best month in Friendly’s history and completely reversed last year’s pay cuts. Welcome to our Open Startup Report for November 2023.

November at Friendly in numbers

  • 🤖 Software revenue: 17 726 CHF (+5%)
  • 🧠 Consulting revenue: 11 310 CHF (+87%)
  • 💰 Total revenue: 29 036 CHF (+27%)
  • 💸 Costs: 23 139 CHF (-2%)
  • 🧾 Profit and loss: +5 897 CHF (-947%)
  • 👩 Active customers: 120 (+4%)
  • 💔 Churn rate (lost customers): 4.3% (+59%)
  • 👋 New trials: 10 (-41%)
  • 🔎 Website visits: 3 934 (-10%)

These were the key developments in November:

Revenues: Record software revenue for five months in a row, new record for new and active customers

Our monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from software subscriptions continues to rise slowly but reliably. We have now recorded revenue growth for the fifth month in a row, with an increase of 5% to CHF 17 726 in November. This means that we have now set a new record for our most important KPI for the fifth month in a row.

Friendly: Software revenue November 2022 to November 2023

In November, we also achieved a small record with new customers: we were able to conclude 10 new software subscriptions. Among our existing customers, however, we recorded a slightly higher churn rate of 4.3% with 5 terminations compared to an average of around 2% in the previous months. Overall, our customer base has thus increased by 5 to 120 customers. This is also a record.

In Consulting, the rollercoaster continued – this time upwards again. At CHF 11 310, we recorded the second-highest consulting turnover in our company’s history; the only time this turnover was higher was in September 2023. We advised more than 15 clients, including customers from the financial sector, insurance and trade unions.

Despite the major fluctuations in consulting, we were able to count on an income of around CHF 7 000 per month on average last year. In absolute terms, the figure has never been below CHF 4 000 in the last 12 months, so we can also rely on this income with some certainty.

As a result, we also recorded the second-highest figure in our history for total revenue at CHF 29 036, having already reached a one-time figure of CHF 33 215 in September. Compared to the previous month, our revenue rose by an impressive +27%. Looking back a year, our total revenue has almost doubled compared to the same month last year: in November 2022, it was still at CHF 15 625 and has increased relatively steadily since then.

Costs: Wage cuts finally lifted, costs still down slightly due to further savings on freelancers

A year ago, our balance sheet did not look good: Our MRR was declining and we were only reaching a few new customers. As a self-financed start-up, we were forced to cut our costs. The result was self-imposed wage cuts.

We are proud that these measures and constant hard work have enabled us to overcome the crisis by our own efforts and that we have now been able to fully reverse the wage cuts. Lastly, we raised Joey’s salary by EUR 500 back to the original EUR 5 500.

This increase in costs was offset by further savings on freelancers, meaning that our costs fell by a total of -2% to CHF 23 139 last month.

Here are all our costs including wages for November 2023 in detail:

Is this all going too slowly?

One criticism we received in response to our last Open Startup Report was that Friendly should finally be profitable. According to them, there was not enough healthy pressure to drive us forward.

This is true. We have less pressure than some others.

I still earn my income from my second company Wortspiel. This means I can afford to work for Friendly for free.

If this were not the case, we would indeed have to invest more in short-term successes such as outbound sales.

However, this does not mean that we are not “putting our foot down” and working less hard.

On the contrary, we can afford to invest in things that will take us forward in the long term:

  • Building our brand
  • Enhancing safety and quality with certifications in ISO 27 001 and ISO 9 001 (to be completed shortly)
  • Strengthening our team culture

This does not bring high short-term profits, but I am convinced that it will pay off and is currently the right use of our resources. And I am glad to have this freedom.


Revenue vs. costs from November 2022 to November 2023

Thanks to strong revenue in Software and Consulting and stable costs, we achieved a “plus”* of CHF +5 897 in November.

This is the second-highest “profit”* in our history. The only time we did better was two months ago in September 2023.

Looking back on the current year, we are very satisfied with what we have achieved. Overall, we were in the black* in 5 out of 11 months in 2023.

This is a clearly positive trend, after we only just managed one “profitable”* month each in 2021 and 2022. Over the whole of 2023 so far, we have even achieved a “plus” of CHF 12 645.

I am particularly pleased that we were also able to completely reverse last year’s pay cuts in November.

In addition to a salary for me, my main goal for 2024 is to build up financial reserves at Friendly.

* “Profit”, “plus” and “in the black” are deliberately put in quotation marks because I have not yet paid myself a salary for my work and, as a sole founder without investors, I have yet to make up for the loss so far.

Friendly in your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.