Less than two years ago, David Freund was building websites for the real estate industry at a company he co-founded in 2015. Fast forward to today, and he is celebrating the successful one-year anniversary of LeaseLeads. The company builds and maintains templated websites with advanced APIs for multifamily rental properties. Their flagship product, Virtual Leasing Agent, increases tours and leads by over 300%.
When the bootstrapped CEO and Co-founder sat down with the GetLakta team, the competitive endurance mountain biker and self-proclaimed coffee snob shared the details of his journey from agency to SaaS founder. Freund shared what inspired his pivot from services to SaaS, how he built his freelancer network to support his full-time team of 6 employees, and why his model of service plus SaaS continues to work.
- Founded in 2022
- Team of 6 full-time employees plus network of 15 freelancers
- $1m ARR
- 70 customers
Agency scaled to $1.75m, discovered opportunity to solve major customer challenge
At his agency, Intergrowth, Freund and his co-founder began building websites for the real estate business in 2015. They hit $300,000 in the first year and scaled to $1.75m in 2020. Working on the API side, Freund immediately realized the challenges facing his customers. They used multiple business systems that didn’t integrate into their website. “Before our solutions, customers could only use out-of-the-box crappy dynamic sites or get a fully custom site with static information,” explained the CEO.
SaaS solves dynamic content and offers conversion tool delivering 300% lead increases
Recognizing the opportunity, Freund ultimately negotiated a separation from his agency co-founder to launch LeaseLeads. “We offer templatized website options for multifamily properties with APIs and integrations that regularly update their sites,” clarified the Co-Founder. “We also realized that the market needed a conversion tool, so we created Virtual Leasing Agent as our flagship offering,” he added, noting that it was already increasing tours and leads by over 300%.
Transitioning from agency to SaaS
While Freund saw the vision for LeaseLeads, his agency business partner was less interested in moving from agency services to a SaaS model. “The negotiation was super fun,” Freund noted sarcastically. “I learned a lot about business structure, selling assets, and defining value. It was hard in the moment but the best lessons I’ve ever learned.” Eventually, LeaseLeads became a business venture wholly owned by Freund and his new Co-founder within the new parent company Intergrowth. Freund still retains a portion of Intergrowth.
Bootstrapped co-founder owns majority of LeaseLeads equity
When determining how to split the new business venture with his one Co-founder, Freund shared that he retains majority ownership. “I brought the customers from the agency, the ideation, and cash from selling my portion of the agency,” explained the CEO.
Narrow focus and customer base allowed SaaS to bootstrap
According to the CEO, he could bootstrap because they had a clear goal and a solid team. “It takes time and a narrow scope of what you want to build for your MVP. We were able to focus on what we specifically wanted to solve for and pushed other features to the “nice to have” list,” revealed Freund. Once they had their MVP, the company was able to tap into existing customers from the agency.
Pricing model of $5-6K initial build plus recurring fee starting at $200 per month
Existing agency customers migrated to LeaseLeads. Each customer pays $5-6,000 for an initial website build, then adds a $200+ subscription for maintenance, API connectivity to keep data flowing, and conversion. “You never have to update your website unless you’re adding content,” Freund explained.
$25,000 MRR from 70 customers
Freund indicated that the one-year-old SaaS is currently bringing in $25,000 in MRR, serving 70 customers. He also shared that they continue to rework product packages. “Virtual Leasing Agent is the conversion tool available for $350 per month, but legacy customers have it built in,” clarified the CEO.
Services plus SaaS totals $80,000 MRR
Unlike many SaaS businesses, Freund embraces the services plus SaaS model. “Our model is very sticky because of the data connection. It’s early, but our churn is way under 1%,” shared Freund. Latka added that his success is the perfect counterpoint to the VC argument that SaaS companies shouldn’t sell services. “If you touch a SaaS sale with an upfront fee, they’re not going to churn,” noted Latka.
$1m trailing 12-month revenue, “productizing all we can”
Freund admitted, “We are still very new, but we’re productizing all we can.” He added that services are still necessary, as you can’t just “drop enterprise customers into a template.” He shared that some customers manage multiple CRM solutions and data feeds from property management sources.
Team of 6 with 15 highly vetted freelancers
The CEO indicated that he migrated his freelancer mindset to his SaaS venture: “On the agency side, we built a strong stable of about 9 full-time employees and about 50 freelancers.” Freund used his freelance expertise to build a network of 15 reliable freelancers to support his team of 6 at LeaseLeads. When Latka queried how he found his freelance talent, Freund shared, “We vet very intensely. Of course, it works best in the spaces you know. We try out different relationships after doing initial testing questions on Typeform that help identify capabilities and personality fits.” He added that they use similar processes for everything from Content to Coding.
Favorite Book: Co-founder and CEO David Freund shared that The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday is his favorite book.
CEO he’s following: David named HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah as the C-level executive he follows most closely.
Favorite online tool: “I love Figma,” proclaimed David.
Balance: The thirty-three-year-old enjoys 8 hours of sleep nightly. “I’m big on sleep,” he noted. David is married with no children yet.
What does he wish he had known at 20? “Things take time. Patience and persistence are the virtues over everything else.”