As the Canadian company in Quebec City enters its second decade in business, DashThis CEO and Partner Antoine Paré sat down with the GetLatka team to discuss the state of their SaaS reporting business. Paré shared his insights on what’s working to drive their growth, why they are comfortable being bootstrapped, what’s next for the company, and how they would respond to a $50m purchase offer today.
Paré began his journey at DashThis as a consultant. The SaaS reporting company with intuitive digital dashboards works with marketing agencies and marketers who want to automate their marketing reports. In the last ten years, Paré explained how the client mix has changed from big agencies with data scientists to practically everyone with a business that is marketing online.
- Launched in 2011
- Fully bootstrapped
- 2,600 clients
- Team of 32 people, with 12 engineers and 2 sales reps
Founder Shares 30% Equity
As Founder and President Stéphane Guérin began to believe in Paré’s ability and capacity to grow the business, Guérin offered Paré a 30% equity stake. Guérin continues to control the other 70% of the fully bootstrapped business. Guérin’s instinct was correct, as SEO expert Paré focused on inbound marketing tactics, SEO and PPC to grow the company’s total number of customers.
SEO and PPC Increases Customer Base 30% YOY
Paré explained that while Guérin and his team created a wealth of helpful organic content for DashThis before he arrived, it was not SEO-optimized. Paré closely examined all of the specific keywords and took more of a sniper approach to SEO. Paré discovered that a very small number of specific keywords were driving the vast majority of the business for DashThis. As a result, he focused on those specific keywords for the growing SaaS reporting platform, and fought hard to own them.
$450 CAC Paid Back in 3-4 Months with $135 ARPU
DashThis currently spends about $450 on CAC, which pays back in 3-4 months with a $135 average monthly subscription. This model of SEO plus PPC helped increase the total number of customers from 2000 to 2600 in the last year. Testing revealed that Google is driving better results for the SaaS than Facebook retargeting ads. Pare noted that they sharpened their creative last year and haven’t needed to adjust it since. Their messaging focuses on how marketers can stop wasting time gathering data and instead focus on making good decisions based on that data.
How the SaaS grew their MRR from $240,000 to $350,000
Paré revealed that approximately 40% of their revenue growth in the last year came from upsells, predominantly that means additional dashboards. Paré explained that, unlike competitive platforms, DashThis doesn’t charge by the number of clients but rather by the number of dashboards. He believes this distinction is a significant point of difference. The company’s explosive growth has consistently landed them on the Growth List as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies. The Growth List is Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement.
Targeting 600 to 700 new customers this year, adding $1.1m ARR, focusing on simplicity
Paré explained that DashThis continues to be singularly focused on making great dashboards and templates that are simple to use. They resist overcomplication and fight to keep the product’s simplicity. DashThis currently offers 36 integrations, and Paré reiterated that they focus on making them easy to use. He noted that they continue to add features that make integrations even simpler. Significant integrations include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn tools, and keyword tools like SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs, Mailchimp, CallRail, and many more.
Examining a pricing model that currently averages $135
Paré indicated that DashThis continues to explore options for the pricing model and improved product features. Latka inquired about the success of the $995 full-branded design dashboards, and Paré explained that the custom design option would likely be phased out when DashThis introduces more DIY design options. Paré believes this better aligns with the company’s vision of continuing to simplify the process for new and existing customers.
The staff of 32 is planning to grow to 48 this year
After growing from 24 to 32 last year, DashThis plans to expand the staff by another 50% this year while remaining bootstrapped. Currently, the team of 32 includes 12 engineers and 2 salespeople. Paré indicated that because of the competitive landscape, they’re working on tweaking their current model, in which 50% of their sales are self-served and 50% sales-assisted. The website currently encourages customers to self-select into one of six categories: marketing team, marketing agency, franchise, small business, executive, or freelance, before presenting their value proposition.
Can an increase in the $40,000 monthly PPC spend deliver incremental target customers?
Paré indicated that DashThis is currently spending $40,000 per month on PPC, and they’re still working to discover whether or not an increase can deliver customers incrementally. He noted that three of their most vital keywords are “SEO reporting,” “Facebook reporting,” and “social media monitoring.” Paré and his team are currently working on TOFU (top-of-the-funnel) content to drive incremental awareness for SEO. He noted that DashThis is currently satisfied with the value they’re getting from the MOFU (middle-of-the-funnel) content.
How would Paré respond to a $50m offer?
Paré explained that he and Guérin are planning to continue to bootstrap the company. Lakta then asked how they would respond to a hypothetical $50m offer. Paré paused before saying, “We built something that I am so emotional about. Before we would even consider an offer, we would have to see what the investor had in mind. We would need to see it grow to its full potential.”
5 Facts about Antoine Paré
Antoine Paré is 35 years old. He manages to get 8 hours of sleep per night, even with two kids. He’s unmarried but has been with his girlfriend for 12 years. His favorite book is Start with Why by Simon Sinek. His go-to online tool is Asana. If he could, he would tell his 20-year-old self that being present is the most important thing in life.