As his B2B SaaS platform for internet and voice providers crossed $250,000 last month in MRR en route to a $3m run rate, bootstrapped co-founder and CEO Alex Vishnyakov of Splynx sat down with the GetLatka team to discuss his 6-year journey. Splynx is a single SaaS platform for small and mid-size internet and voice service providers. It allows them to compete with enterprise companies by keeping their operations on one platform, including billing, payment collections, ticketing, job scheduling, and network management.
Co-founder Vishnyakov revealed what happened in South Africa in 2014 that inspired him to start Splynx in the Czech Republic two years later. The bootstrapped CEO shared how he and his three co-founders decided to split equity, how much he spends monthly on paid ads in his small niche, and what factors would make him consider raising funds.
- $3m Run Rate
- 700 paying customers
- Team of 50, with 35 engineers, 2 marketing, 2 sales with quota
700 customers paying $350 in MRR in emerging markets
CEO Vishnyakov revealed that Splynx currently serves 700 customers in emerging markets. Each small or medium-sized internet provider pays roughly $350 per month to access the B2B all-in-one platform. The comprehensive platform allows smaller ISPs to compete with giant players like AT&T. “Our customers need our software to help them efficiently manage and grow, to compete with big operators,” explained the Co-founder.
$3m Run Rate from small and medium ISPs
Co-founder Vishnyakov shared that the company passed $250,000 in MRR last month, setting them up for a $3m Run Rate this year. Vishnyakov reiterated that small and medium-sized companies rely on Splynx to help sell, connect, bill, and support their internet operations. This tight integration results in a meager churn rate.
Typical monthly churn: +15 new, -2 lost
While Vishnyakov didn’t have exact numbers for churn, he indicated that their rate was extremely low. “Once they’re in, they’re linked to our software, and they don’t leave,” he explained. The Co-founder indicated that currently, they’re adding roughly 15 new customers per month and losing two. He noted that the two losses are typically new customers who didn’t take the time to onboard and instead decided not to continue.
Two years in South Africa ended sparked an idea
Vishnyakov worked as an architect, network engineer, and project manager in the Czech Republic for online companies before accepting a contract in 2014 to work in South Africa as a network architect to help a local company build its extensive network. He saw many ISPs coming into South Africa and other African markets. When his contract ended in 2016, he decided to write software to help these companies operate more efficiently so they could compete with the major players.
4 Co-founders with varying equity
Co-founder Vishnyakov revealed that he shares his role with three other co-founders, each retaining a varying amount of equity. One prominent co-founder owns 48% of the bootstrapped organization; a silent partner owns 8%, and Vishnyakov and his working partner each own 24%. Vishnyakov believes the arrangement is fair and equitable for the group of 4, who have been in business for six years.
$200,000 dividend split
Three years ago, the four co-founders took $200,000 out in dividends for personal use. The quartet also draws a salary from Splynx. However, according to Co-founder Vishnyakov, the four predominantly reinvest their earnings into the company to support its growth.
Team of 50 expected to double in a year
CEO Vishnyakov indicated that while the company currently employs 50 people, they are currently hiring and will soon reach 80 employees. “We will be at 100 people in a year,” he calculated. Latka queried Vishnyakov about his use of options for team members, and the CEO revealed that none of their employees received stock options.
From $80,000 to $3m ARR
Co-founder Vishnyakov proudly revealed that Splynx has roughly doubled its ARR every year since its launch in 2016. “We went from 80 (thousand) to 250, 500, 1m, 2m, and now $3m,” Vishnyakov proudly boasted.
Expansion from new customers, products, territories may drive funding round
How can Splynx sustain its YOY growth? Vishnyakov is counting on its growth coming from multiple new avenues, including continuing to add customers in their existing territories with support from quota-carrying sales members. He shared that Splynx is launching more products and sub-products to support ISPs in other countries. The CEO also shared that they’ve received several requests from US rural markets where quality broadband is still lacking. Splynx plans on launching into “tougher markets” with new products as a test. If the company sees the demand in these markets, Vishnyakov indicated that they might consider finally raising funding to support that expansion.
$4,000 per month in paid ads supports sales team
When Latka asked Vishnyakov how he continues to add new customers, the CEO simply responded, “Marketing.” He added that they’ve worked to build the brand since Day 1 and spent a lot of effort online to create a presence. “Not a lot of money, but a lot of effort,” noted Vishnyakov. Because of their small niche, Vishnyakov estimated they spent about $4,000 last month on paid ads but added that his two marketing people perform very well.
Sales team minimum quotas of $1,000 in new deals per month
When asked about his sales team’s quota, Vishnyakov indicated that their structure is a bit complex. Basically, the sales team gets a salary based on their country. Each salesperson must hit a minimum quota of at least $1,000 in new deals per month. At a certain point, they receive accelerants and also get a commission of 3-5% of the customer’s first-year annual revenue. Vishnyakov revealed that his salespeople make a minimum of $3-4,000 per month.
Splynx Co-founder and CEO Alex Vishnyakov chose Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace as his favorite book. He follows several CEOs of large Russian companies for inspiration. Alex named Jira as his favorite online tool for helping build Splynx. He targets 8 hours of sleep per night but admits that the time varies. Alex, 39, is married with 4 children. He wishes he could have told his 20-year-old self to get an advisor to help with the business journey.