The No Pricing Manifesto

Learning with you, not at your expense

Sandro Munda
Dec 1, 2016 · 4 min read

Forest is the first company to provide an admin interface as a service. In order to accelerate our development, we’ve decided to review our pricing.

Forest is now free to use, with no limitations.

We’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks. You may be surprised by this decision. This is why we wrote this manifesto.

Three months ago we introduced a pricing based on four different plans:

  1. Hacker plan (free, for one user)
  2. Starter plan ($19 per month / user)
  3. Pro plan ($39 per month / user)
  4. Enterprise plan (custom contracts)

As a SaaS company, our main KPI was our MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue). With this per-seat pricing model, we were focused on finding new projects ready to pay for Forest. Another growth lever was to make customers happy with their daily use of Forest and have more of their teammates joining the admin.

Our experience with early pilots and paying customers helped us prove that companies were getting value from Forest and were ready to pay for it. This was a huge win for the project. However, we realized that the way we used to approach the market was not optimal.

While more and more mature companies were showing a genuine interest in Forest’s value proposition, we were creating friction for startups. This was leading to a weaker adoption within smaller teams.

This friction was not the mere result of our pricing: all companies are operating with limited resources. The main reason is that startups do not always anticipate the increase in complexity of their operations. As a result, they are less likely to understand the full value proposition of Forest.

We’re convinced that using Forest from day one on a project can bring great operational value and avoid a lot of unnecessary costs as the business grows. This is why we try to make Forest a no-brainer solution for any company wanting to start a project. The decision to make early companies pay for Forest was not aligned with this vision.

This experience, as well as the discussions we had in San Francisco with successful tech companies (thank you Stripe, Segment, Docker & co…) and advice from investors we met in the Bay area, led us to this conclusion: trying to convert startups into paying customers is not the best choice for our long-term vision.

It does not make sense to focus on profitability when you’re addressing a completely new, untouched market.

Don’t get me wrong: we know that profitability is key to building a serious business. We’ve already proven that companies understand the value of our product and are ready to pay for it. My point is that today, focusing on MRR is only slowing us down.

Instead, we should focus on engaging even more teams to use Forest. It will help us to secure a leading expertise and build a product people love to use.

We have tons of ideas on how to make Forest profitable in the long run, some more obvious than others. Third party integrations, audit trail and approval workflows are a few examples of both exciting and needed features that we’re in a prime position to address. With Forest in the hands of many, we’re confident that we will find fair and clever ways to monetize our product in the future.

For the time being, only Enterprise customers with highly specific requirements (SLA, dedicated implementation team, VIP support, etc.) will be discussing with our sales team, working toward agreements that are mutually beneficial.

For all other teams, Forest is now free to use, with no limitations.

We are giving out Forest for free, to empower your new companies, side projects, MVPs, apps, and upcoming unicorns with a powerful admin interface.

Be sure that we’ll be as transparent as possible with our current and future users regarding this decision. We want to learn with you, not at your expense. This means we’ll be extremely cautious when rolling out paying features, and will make sure there’s always a way to stick with a free option for a regular use of our admin interface.

Forest is the first company to create an admin interface as a service. We’re excited to get even more feedback from you to make our product even better!

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