The most obviously striking thing about the latest guest on the SaaS Revolution Show, Christian Owens, is his age. Only 23, Christian is the CEO of Paddle. He started the company when barely 18 years old. Paddle was his third company. He had been meddling with the Internet since age 11.
Christian’s previous two businesses had helped him find a very interesting problem to focus on. Something he struggled with. Building software was fun, everything else related to selling it, wasn’t.
Paddle was initially a marketplace for developers, but Christian and his co-founder Harrison Rose quickly changed it to a tool that takes care of the tedious tasks related to selling software. Things like pricing, payments, international tax systems and siloed data. They have grown Paddle to an integrated checkout, eCommerce, marketing and analytics platform.
As such, the company has been growing 3x year on year. It has hundreds of customers, some of which alone bring 500K ARR. In 2017, Paddle was recognised by Deloitte as the fastest growing software company in the UK.
The company’s traction is the stuff of dreams. As an example, Christian recently closed a $12.5 million Series B round. He didn’t necessarily need the money, but Paddle clearly had the traction for it.
So what’s behind that success?
This is where the other striking thing about Christian and Paddle comes in — up until 6 months ago, there was no marketing effort behind that growth. It was rather viral word of mouth and genuine customer referrals.
In the heart of that were the sincere customer relationships that Christian and Harrison have been building and maintaining since day 1. The two co-founders fostered genuine friendships with their first hundred customers by trying to deeply understand their challenges and building Paddle together. Christian and Harrison approached these people as human beings they admired rather than businesses. If Paddle was the right tool to address their challenges, they could become customers one day.
Listen on to learn
- How Paddle approached people initially and got their first customers
- How they built sincere relationships and maintained them
- Why they never advertise their referral program
- How to make product decisions with both customers and strategy in mind
- What Christian has learned as a Thiel fellow
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