Our year in numbers and events:
Open Startup Annual Review 2023

Finally in the black, and a lot of things have happened. Welcome to our Open Startup Annual Review 2023.

We reach the black figures

2023 is the year in which we reached the “black figures” with Friendly. Although total revenue increased reliably in the first few financial years, so too did costs. It was not until 2023 that we succeeded in significantly increasing total revenue with only slight cost increases.

In 2023, our annual recurring revenue (ARR) from software subscriptions was CHF 188 691, while consulting revenue amounted to CHF 90 313. This brought our total revenue to CHF 279 004, an increase of 60% compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, our costs rose by only 29% to CHF 266 038. After the previous annual losses, we thus achieved a small profit of CHF 12 966 at the end of the year for the first time.

ARR26 823 CHF117 391 CHF156 327 CHF188 691 CHF
Consulting0018 385 CHF90 313 CHF
Total Revenue26 823 CHF117 391 CHF174 712 CHF279 004 CHF
Costs-52 672 CHF-133 038 CHF-205 736 CHF-266 038 CHF
Profit/Loss-25 849 CHF-15 647 CHF-31 024 CHF+12 966 CHF
Key figures at Friendly in a year-on-year comparison 2020-2023

The balance for the entire business time still shows a loss of CHF 59 554, which Stefan, as the sole founder without investors, paid out of his own pocket and which the company still has to make up.

And we missed our repeatedly communicated target of being able to pay Stefan a salary within 2023.

That is why we continue to write “black figures” in quotation marks. But we have come one step closer to real profitability.

Open Startup – what’s the point? Stefan shares his motivations on indiehackers.com.

We establish consulting as a key business area

After initially maintaining our strategy of generating most of our revenue through software subscriptions, we started offering consulting as a service in March 2022.

At first, our monthly consulting turnover was only just in the four-digit range, but since shortly before the turn of 2022/23, we have been achieving a significant turnover.

In 2023, consulting has established itself as one of our core business areas. To be sure, in the Open Startup Reports we have repeatedly described the rollercoaster ride that our consulting turnover represents month after month.

However, a quarterly comparison and the annual overview show that we can count on solid consulting income.

Friendly: Consulting revenue per quarter in 2022 and 2023 in CHF

Over the whole of 2023, we earned an average of CHF 7 526 per month through consulting, or a total of CHF 90 313, which accounts for 32% of our annual turnover.

We support innovative projects

Our customers implemented some impressive projects with Friendly Automate and Friendly Analytics in 2023, some of which we would like to highlight:

We strengthen our position in data protection

Since our company was founded in 2020, we have been focusing on data protection and information security with Friendly.

In 2023, we were able to significantly strengthen our position in data protection even further, as the introduction of the revised Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection in September 2023 sensitized many Swiss companies and institutions to the issue.

The new Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection explained simply in a webinar by Friendly and Threema (in german language)

We set high data protection standards for our software, are visible with a detailed blog post and at events (link in german language) and now also offer data protection training courses on request.

Read more: The new Swiss Federal Act on Data Protection will be introduced on September 1: The comprehensive guide (+ checklists and templates)

We obtain important industry certifications

With “swiss made software” and “swiss hosting”, we received our first official labels last year. These labels confirm that we are a Swiss company that generates most of its added value in Switzerland and that the data we host remains entirely in Switzerland.

Then shortly before the end of 2023, we successfully passed the initial certification for ISO standards 27 001 & 9 001.

Both standards are recognized worldwide and are among the leading standards in their respective fields. ISO 27 001 certifies that we have implemented an information security management system (ISMS) and ISO 9 001 that we have introduced a quality management system (QMS).

We are proud of these awards and are certain that they will strengthen our value proposition and our customers’ trust in us.

We build our team culture

Stefan, Joey, Lukas and Kathrin at the Friendly company retreat in Budapest in August 2023

At Friendly, we place a high value on team culture. This includes mutual appreciation, which we would like to express to all our team members for their achievements in 2023.

József “Joey” Keller, our CTO and first employee of Friendly, continued to work with great dedication in 2023 to maintain and further develop our infrastructure, and competently answered numerous support requests for Friendly Automate with his technical knowledge.

At the same time, Joey continued to be a key member of the Mautic open source team in 2023, on which our Friendly Automate software is based. He was the third most active individual member of the Mautic community and even brought Friendly to the 2nd place of the most active companies. We are proud to have Joey on our team.

     Most active members at Mautic 2023Contributions
1   Ruth Cheesley5390
2   Jan Linhart1700
3   🙂 Joey Keller1505
4   Mohammed Abu Musa1358
5   Matthias Michaux995
Source: Mautic Annual Report
Most active companies at Mautic 2023Contributions
1   Acquia1926
2   🙂 Friendly1511
3   Dropsolid1425
4   Steer Campaign1359
5   Leuchtfeuer1064

Lukas Sigel, our CCO, has managed demanding customer projects in 2023 and thus significantly developed and expanded the consulting sector at Friendly.

Our customers appreciate Luke’s professional approach, his accessibility, the creative design of templates for Friendly Automate and his innovative solution finding. Luke’s contribution is extremely valuable to Friendly.

Peter Boehlke, our independent analytics consultant, worked numerous freelance hours for us again in 2023 and advised our customers on Friendly Analytics. Peter is part of the core team at Matomo, the open source software behind Friendly Analytics, and his expertise is a great asset to us and our customers.

Matic Zagmajster has been supporting us as a developer with a small part-time job since August 2023. Thanks to Matic, we have already been able to improve the important link between Friendly Automate and the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and fix several software bugs.

Dr. Kathrin Schmid, our CMO & CISO, has expanded the marketing and data protection area at Friendly over the past year.

With her contributions on our website and at events, she increases our visibility in the public eye, and her achievements for ISO certification and data protection strengthen public trust in us. Both are very important to Friendly.

Stefan Vetter, our founder and CEO, has continued to shape Friendly in 2023 with his forward-thinking management style.

His focus on team culture, appreciative working conditions, personal responsibility, sustainability and friendliness creates a company that the team is very happy to work for.

We are focused on a sustainable future

Like the reflections on the company’s two-year and three-year anniversaries, we conclude this review with a reminder of the future:

We don’t see the journey with Friendly as a sprint, but as a marathon. We have an exist strategy, not an exit strategy. We’ll see whether we’re successful after 10 years. Not before. And we very much want to go down this path. If possible, for much longer than 10 years.

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