BlogVault, Malcare, and WP Remote Founder and CEO Akshat Choudhary recently chatted with the GetLatka team about how the B2B SaaS suite, BlogVault, gained 20,000 paying users of its suite of products that help users build and manage high-performance websites with ease.
Founder and CEO Akshat Choudhary launched BlogVault as a side project in 2010. He has now worked on the business full-time for a decade and added Malcare and WP Remote products to help people protect, backup, and manage their most important business asset in the internet era: their website. Choudhary revealed to Latka how the bootstrapped company incentivizes talent, the surprising source of most customer signups, and what he tells companies who inquire about acquisition.
- Team of 36, 18+ are engineers
- 20,000 paying customers
- 400,000+ installs
- 30% Growth rate
20,000 users in the open-source WP extension ecosystem
Founder Choudhary began his interview by clarifying the purpose and pricing of his suite of products. He explained that BlogVault regularly backs up websites for an annual starting fee of $90. The SaaS product Malcare helps companies protect their website, noting that losing a website means losing rankings and potentially customers. Customers pay $100 per year per website install. WP Remote is Choudhary’s agency offering, allowing companies to manage many websites concurrently.
Serving over 20,000 paying customers from over 400,000 installs
Choudhary doesn’t track the metrics on how many customers pay for each product. He focuses on how many customers pay for one or more of the products from the suite of choices. The company currently serves over 20,000 customers, and the software has been downloaded well over 400,000 times.
Bundled pricing starting at $149
CEO Choudhary offers BlogVault and Malcare together as a bundle, starting at $149. The company also offers freemium versions of the products, boasting a total of well over 400,000 installs. Choudhary leverages new and more robust features as upgrades to increase ACV.
Customer value ranges from $100 to $100,000
The least amount a customer pays for access is $100, while the highest paying customers deliver over $100,000 in ARR to Founder Choudhary’s companies. The number of sites managed is the biggest driver of the range, but Choudhary indicated that selected features also add to the total. When Latka queried Choudhary about the most popular upgrade, Choudhary referenced real-time backups, noting that add-ons positively and significantly increase the company’s overall revenue.
On track for $10m run rate in 2 years
While Founder Choudhary remained tight-lipped about actual revenue figures, he was confident in sharing that his products are growing at a healthy 30% growth rate, and he expects them to surpass $10m in a couple of years. Choudhary also shared that he believes the company surpassed $1m in 2017.
30% growth from unexpected source
Founder Choudhary believes the company will continue to grow because “every business has a website.” He added that “Website security is essential for every business.” Latka was surprised to learn that most signups do not come from the WordPress Marketplace but rather from organic traffic. The company currently doesn’t spend any money on paid traffic; Choudhary noted that they’ve only run a few small experiments.
Founder Choudhary revealed that his SaaS companies rely on organic traffic to continue to drive new customer sign-ups. Latka pressed Choudhary on his most successful keywords, which he wouldn’t reveal. However, the CEO did say that the company employs a full-time SEO expert who has helped build the organic traffic. Choudhary also revealed that he is most surprised by some of the random ranking keyword phrases that drive traffic. Latka asked where he found his SEO expert, to which Choudhary responded, “We posted the job on many local job forums and got lucky. To find good talent, sometimes you just have to be lucky,” he added.
18+ engineers from Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India
Most of Choudhary’s team hails from Bangalore, known as the Silicon Valley of India. “It’s got the best talent, but it’s also highly competitive,” explained Choudhary. Latka queried Choudhary about how he attracts and keeps engineering talent in such a competitive marketplace. The founder explained that his company is one of the top payers in the area, offering top engineers over $100,000. He also detailed the company’s generous profit-sharing plan.
Over 20% of profits return to employees
All of Choudhary’s 36 employees participate in the company’s profit-sharing plan, which totals six figures per year. According to Founder Choudhary, the formula blends skillset seniority, years with the company, and performance factors to assign each employee a grade. Choudhary notes that years with the company are heavily weighted in the formula. Each score is tallied to create a total company score. The profit pool is then divided by the total score for a value per point. The revenue is then distributed back to each employee based on their total points.
Offers to buy the bootstrapped company?
Latka queried Choudhary about any offers he’d received for his companies. The founder said he has no tangible offers because he always says no before they can make an offer. “When you let them know you’re not interested, they don’t make an offer,” Choudhary explained.
Founder conservatively values company at a 4-5X multiple
Latka pressed Choudhary on his perceived valuation, responding, “I’m pretty conservative, so I’d say a 4-5X multiple on revenue.” Latka’s quick math placed that value at $15-20m and asked, “So you wouldn’t take an offer of $20 or $30 million from WordPress?” Choudhary vehemently said no, reiterating that WordPress is open-source and that the paid WordPress is owned by Automattic. Choudhary noted that CEO Matt Mullenweg’s company is a competitor; Choudhary firmly believes he’s got a better product.
Akshat Choudhary, Founder and CEO of BlogVault, Malcare, and WP Remote, shared with Nathan that the last book he read was Atomic Habits by James Clear. The C-level executive he most closely follows is Jason Cohen, founder and CTO of WP Engine. Akshat’s favorite tool is Google Suite, adding that “we swear by it.” He sleeps a full 8 hours per night, much to the delight of Nathan. Akshat, 39, is married with one daughter. He wishes at 20 that he would have realized how fortunate he really is.