HookFeed Acquired by Simple Focus 👏

HookFeed was Joelle’s and my first SaaS product, and our first chance to interact with Stripe’s API, team, and ecosystem.

We didn’t know it at the time, but it would also be our ticket to getting to know hundreds of other software developers and startup founders (including meeting Ken Johnson, who is now our partner).

Finding the Core Value in HookFeed

As we grew HookFeed and worked with various customers over the years, we tried to find the core use case that made it valuable. Which was SUPER hard as a strange mix between an analytics tool and an operations/support tool.

When we would talk with customers, they all seemed to have different use cases. But there was one common thread: failed payment notifications.

HookFeed would notify customers when payments would fail (amongst other things) in their Stripe account (Stripe didn’t offer this at the time), but it wasn’t able to take action on their behalf.

We found that customers would:

  1. Use these emails as triggers for their support team to reach out (if they were small)
  2. Use Gmail filters to escalate annual or high-value payments to the customer success team
  3. Pipe them into other tools to measure the impact of failed payments at-scale

Seeking Professional Help…

Rather than building functionality to automate failed payment recovery, we decided to talk with the pro, Andrew Culver, the founder of Churn Buster.

We’d become friends while attending MicroConf and hanging out in a Slack channel for bootstrappers, and we wanted him to know that if he ever considered selling Churn Buster, we wanted to be the first to know.

During the process, we learned that most companies are doing dunning wrong. They grossly underestimate both the possible tactics, as well as the LTV impact of getting it right.

We realized that not only was this a problem that deserved solving, but that it deserved a growing team’s full-focus to do it right.

We pitched Ken, he joined us, and we raised a round of funding to make the acquisition.

Fast-forward several months, and we were being handed the keys to an intelligent failed payments machine.

Andrew had gone where no one had gone before with his work on Churn Buster, and we collectively had big ideas for where to take it. So much so that he chose to re-invest in the new team and vision.

Over the next year or so, we learned A TON operating Churn Buster.

We fixed bugs, hardened security, improved scaling, learned how to work better together, and improved the business model in many ways.

But we found that not as much of our time was going to new feature development as we wanted. We weren’t moving fast enough towards the vision that had us so excited in the beginning.

We wanted to be the best churn-reduction system on the planet 🌎, the easiest growth hack for any SaaS. We knew what achieving that consisted of...and we knew that with a small team, we wouldn’t be able to pull it off with distractions present.

With momentum in our sights, and a new baby on the way (👋 👶 Max), we tried to work smarter, and cut out anything that was consuming our energy or time that wasn’t in line with our vision.

We thought about consolidating payment analytics and payment recovery, but the problems are just too divergent, and the value in solving payment recovery 1% better is worth so much when you factor in LTV from renewals that we knew it was worth our focus.

We’ve seen other analytics companies launch dunning as an add-on. While convenient for smaller companies, dunning as a side project won’t ever be optimal. A volume of payments data, evolving documentation, edge cases and more require that it takes priority. And it’s been encouraging to see larger companies partner with us for our ability to handle their scale.

Paging JD Graffam…

When we decided to focus on Churn Buster 100% and sell HookFeed, there was no question as to who was the right buyer.

We’d become friends with JD from Simple Focus, and he was actually the guy that coached us throughout our own acquisition of Churn Buster (in exchange for some bourbon of course).

In May of this year, we began the transfer of ownership for HookFeed, and it now resides in the Simple Focus portfolio alongside Ballpark, Sifter, and other great SaaS apps

The team at Simple Focus has a lot planned for HookFeed, and is using it to further analyze the performance of their own suite of applications.

What comes next for HookFeed is super-exciting, and I’ve been sworn to secrecy. You’ll have to follow JD for updates there.

In the meantime, as a current customer, you won’t experience anything differently. For the past few months, you’ve been in the hands of their team, and they’ll continue to take good care of you.

For now, we have the focus at Churn Buster that we’ve been craving. It shows with the updates we’ve been making. And it’s really going to show with what comes next…watch this space.
And most importantly, Churn Buster has many more happy customers with our renewed focus:

To stay in the loop with Churn Buster, you can follow us on Medium. On Twitter. You can sign up to try it out. Or you can hop on a call with a partner to learn more about how we’ll outperform your current system.