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INSIGHT: CrazyLister’s journey from zero to 1M+ ARR in two years

Name: Victor Levitin
Age: 33
Role: CEO
What is your SaaS called: CrazyLister
Founded: 2015
How many people are on the team right now? 17
Where are you based? Israel, Tel-Aviv
Did you raise money? Raised $600k from Altair VC

How did you use the money?
Most of the funding was used to assemble our technical team – developers, QA engineers, Designer, VP product. Further on we turned on paid acquisition on Google. Today we spend ~$20k / month, this spend is returned in customers revenues within 1.5 months.

Can you tell us what CrazyLister is and how you make money?
“Wix for marketplaces” – CrazyLister is the easiest solution to create professional product listings for marketplaces. Starting from eBay, we’re now expanding to Amazon, Wallmart, Rakuten, Wish.com, Etsy, Alibaba and more.

CrazyLister website

How did you get this idea?
Growing our first company, an eCommerce business from zero to $4.5M in annual sales – we felt the pains on our own skin.

How long did you work on it before you launched? When did you see your first dollar?
Saw first dollar about half a year after the first line of code was written.

Who are your clients? What is your target market?
Retailers who sell on marketplaces

Are you profitable? if not, when do you think you will get there?
As soon as we hit profitability in June 2017 – we went back to cashflow negative to accelerate growth.

Starting point MRR: $9k

MRR after 6 months: $23K

MRR after 12 months: $51K

MRR today: $110k

Number of paying customers: 4,400

ARPU: $25

LTV: $900

Churn: 2% monthly

How did you get your first 100 customers?
Facebook groups and content marketing.

What are the 2-3 main distribution channels that work best for you? What channel didn’t work out for you?
Adwords CAC:LTV 1:6
Content marketing & SEO = 70% of growth
Now brought a Facebook acquisition expert on-board.

As far as channels that didn’t work for us, we haven’t yet managed to operate a successful affiliate program. We haven’t yet managed to operate a successful referrals program – similar to Dropboxe’s one. We’ve utterly failed with banners positioning.

Tell us 2-3 growth challenges you encountered recently (and if you have a strategy how to solve them.)
The challenges we’re having with customer support – we need to serve customers 24/7, customer service experts from Israel is not enough so we hired in Brazil as well.
Challenges with passing knowledge to new customer service experts that are not physically present in our offices. How to build a scalable process between customer support and the tech team? Bug and feature prioritization etc. When you’re small customer support can jump to the nearby room and talk to the developers, as we scale this is becoming a challenge. We’re building processes that will be sustainable for 50 and 100 customer service experts.

Some of the tasks are not worth to do in-house. What do you outsource?
We use an agency for SEO – just started, let’s see how it goes. We felt that we need an SEO expert, it’s a complicated ever-changing space with a lot of contradicting opinions. We had too many questions and too few answers.  Is our site fast enough? What should we include in robots.txt? How to use canonicals, no-index, is our blog post SEO optimized enough? Why are we down in rankings for certain keywords?

What are the 3 tools you and your team can’t live without?
Gmail, Intercom, Jira

Tell us the biggest mistake you had through building and promoting your product and what you’ve learned from it.
Not having a technological co-founder from day one. We were two business partners with a SaaS company. It caused a lot of pain and lost resources. Some of the challenges of not having a technical co-founder:
How do you interview, asses and hire developers?
How do you decide with which technology to build the product?
How do you asses if the estimates given by the developers are realistic?
How do you raise funding for a technology company without having a technology partner? 🙂

If you had to start CrazyLister today, what would you do differently?
Migrate to the US. Israel is more about Cyber than about eCommerce 🙂
It was VERY hard to get off the ground in Israel with an eCommerce startup.

If you’d moved to the US early stage, what would you do differently there?

40% of our customers are in the US.  We would have gotten faster to more customers. We would have gotten faster to more partners and platforms, and learn faster from these relationships.
It’s very challenging to communicate with customers and partners across the ocean via Skype.
We fly to the US several times a year for strategic meetings and conferences, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be where your business is.

It would have probably easier for us to raise funds in the US, where eCommerce is huge.
In Israel we’re the CYBER and deep-tech nation. Very few VC’s truly understand eCommerce.

Where do you see CrazyLister in 5 years from now?
CrazyLister will become a platform for Marketplaces to supplement their supply.
Today we already manage some 30 million products from thousands of retailers – we have very rich data about these products and retailers that is highly valuable for marketplaces and platforms. Marketplaces will be able to supplement their supply from CrazyLister with very precise filters.

For example – Wallmart turns to 3rd party retailers to supplement the demand for long tail products the company doesn’t offer itself.
Instead of on-boarding and vetting the retailers, Wallmart will be able to ping CrazyLister – “Hey, we need Iphone 8 white 128gb, from retailers with a minimal feedback score of 99%, who can deliver to north america within 2 business days, and their price is below $740”.
We have all this data and much more.

Highly driven entrepreneur, co-founder of Poptin and Ecpm Digital Marketing. Nine years of experience in the digital marketing field and internet project management. Graduated with a Law degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. A big fan of A/B testing, SEO and optimization, CRO, growth hacking and numbers. Enjoys testing new advertising strategies and tools and analyzing the latest start-up companies.