All the best founders start their company to solve a problem they have.
When Christian Owens, CEO & Co-Founder of Paddle.com, was 16 years old, he was already running several successful businesses. His biggest challenge at that time was payments. It was slowing his growth.
Christian started Paddle.com to solve those problems, and the company is now over 150 employees, and at $14 million in ARR.
- How Christian and his co-founder Harrison acquired their first 100 customers in the competitive world of payments.
- What changed when Paddle began to grow rapidly and reached 1000 customers.
- How Christian grew the number of employees from 25 to 130 people in 8 months.
Time Stamped Notes:
[2:35] - Christian talks to us about his time in 'The Thiel Foundation', and how the most valuable part is the people you get connected to.
[5:40] - Christian dropped out of school at 16 to start a couple of businesses. One of them was generating 3 to 4 million pounds a year. When running that business, Christian was looking for a product to solve his payment issues. Nothing existed, and so Paddle was launched in August 2012.
[7:12] - Paddle has 150 employees, has raised 35 million dollars, 1500 customers, and they're currently at 13 to 14 million in ARR.
[8:15] - We talk about how Paddle acquired its first 100 customers in the payment space. Christian and his co-founder Harrison reached out to businesses they felt were an excellent fit for Paddle and spent long time building relationships with them. Convincing people to try a payment system is a lot about trust.
[10:30] - The big change that Paddle made when going from 100 to 1000 customers is the type of company they sold too. It became evident their story and the problem they solved applied to much larger companies.
[11:45] - To scale Paddle's growth, Christian started by building out a sales team to replicate the relationship-building he and Harrison had leveraged to acquire their first 100 customers. When they were 7 to 8 sales reps in, they started to invest in inbound marketing, and referrals also became a big part of how they acquired customers.
[13:45] - The first marketing investment Paddle made was events because it was the marketing version of the relationship building that had been working great for them. They then started to talk at conferences and turned those talks into some content they could publish on their website.
[15:35] - When deciding what topics Paddle will create content around, they think about the higher-level problems and opportunities their product solves for, like growing via new markets or going international.
[16:50] - Paddle makes money by charging a transaction fee on all of their customer's payments. That means their pricing model is in sync with how their customers succeed. As their customers grow, Paddle makes more money.
[19:50] - The executive hires Paddle has made to date include their CFO (employee number 7) and their Chief Commercial Officer. They've also invested in sales leadership.
[20:30] - Christian thinks one of the essential things to get right is hiring great managers as you scale.
[22:10] - An important thing for Christian and Harrison when building the company was to create an environment where employees looked forward to going into the office on a Sunday night.
[23:25] - When Paddle were 25 to 30 people, they added hiring processes to help them scale. It was the first time they created processes around a function. That helped them a lot when they scaled rapidly - from 25 to 130 people in 8 months.