How we save money by spending a lot

Pablo Pazos
Mar 10, 2016 · 3 min read

As we continue to grow Barkibu, becoming a better-known startup throughout Spain, more fellow entrepreneurs contact me looking for help or advise. Usually, it is about money: how can I raise investment? How can I get accepted into X accelerator? Obviously, having enough money to start and grow your business is important, but I‘ve seen already a bunch of startups failing because of a totally different problem: Not spending enough money.

In this post, I’ll talk about one key point where I’ve seen several startups spending much less money than they should: Tools. I’ll list exactly what tools we’re using at Barkibu and how much money we’re spending on them.

But first, you must agree with me on this: time is the most precious resource for startups.

Startup is not equal to tech business, nor to online business. Check Wikipedia here:

The essence of startups is generally related to the concepts of ambition, innovation, scalability, and growth.

So, how much do we spend on tools and why?

Our list is an ever-evolving long list:

  • Sendgrid: for pet lovers newsletters. We use to used Mailchimp but the price with more than 100K emails was over 300€. 80$
  • GoAnimate: what we use to create educational and funny videos for veterinarians. Easy to use and time-saving. 79$
  • DNSimple: used for managing some domains. 5$
  • Rollbar: our error tracking software. 29$
  • 15Five: we use it to get feedback from our team and improve communication. It helps to keep everyone aligned with the values and vision of our company. 49$
  • Codeship: our continuous delivery platform. 41$
  • Unbounce: we make hundreds of test and landing pages with this tool. It gives independence to our marketing team, as they can build and modify websites without any help from our devs. It may look expensive but is not. 130$
  • Typeform: we use it for testing new formularies before implementing them in Barkibu. It’s fast and allow us to learn a lot about our customers in an easy way. We have dozens of forms currently active. And they are from Barcelona ;) 35$
  • Fotolia: we need a lot of images to create good content for our social networks. We don´t agree with using other’s pictures without permission, so we pay for the rights. 70€
  • Segment: is our integration data hub. It saves us a lot of integrations with other platforms like Mixpanel. 39$
  • Jira: is our project management tool for our tech department. 10$
  • Semrush: SEO research tool. I wish we’d started using it earlier. It is a must-have for any web business. 70$
  • Slack: well, sure you know slack ;) It is our main communication tool. We prefer Slack over emails and have some norms not to disturb others too often by using a group chat like Slack. 100$
  • HelpScout: we use only the knowledge base tool and as a filter to all the emails we get at our public email addresses. Check Barkibu help to see it in action: 100$
  • Buffer: our share on social platforms tool. We love Buffer and their transparency culture. 50$
  • WPEngine: our wordpress hosting. We used it for Barkinews before but now we are migrating all the posts to Barkinews in Medium. 30$
  • Zapier: saves me time by automating some repetitive tasks. 15$
  • MaxMind: our IP geolocation tool. 20$
  • Intercom: it is by far the most important tool we use. Our support team spends 80% of their time at Intercom. I think it is the most valuable Saas tool I know. 190$
  • OneSky: we use it for some small translation services. Around 5$
  • Infoe: our virtual call center. 70€
  • Github: our code repository. 25$
  • Signaturit: I use it to e-sign documents with employees, partners and investors. A lot of time saved by this tool (also from Barcelona) :) 30€
  • Heroku: it is our cloud application server. It allows our dev team to just focus on our product. 350€
  • Google apps for Work: we use Gmail, Calendar, GDocs and Drive. 85$
  • We also use some other free tools like Trello, Mode Analytics

The total is around 1,700$ and it only includes monthly recurring tools. Our total expenses on web tools use to be near 2,000$ per month. It may seem too much money every month, but is not.

How much money would you need to achieve the same results without these tools? That’s the right question.

Pablo Pazos

Written by

Founder at Barkibu is the biggest online veterinary and pet lover community. Traveller, climber and snowboarder. @barkibu.