SaaS Founder Interview with Emily G.-Cebrián, CEO & Co-Founder of Froged
FROGED is a Customer Lifecycle Platform that helps thousands of SaaS companies grow better through the next level Customer Experiences.
Tony Zayas 0:00
Welcome to the SaaS Founders show back for another episode, and on this show, we discuss the journey along the way of SaaS founders are doing some really exciting things. I’m joined as always by Andy Halko, Insivia’s founder. How you doing, Andy?
Andy Halko 0:18
Hey, I’m doing really well, Tony, I’m excited for today’s show. Because as you know, we did a whole show and series about churn rate and retention, because we work with so many software companies. And so what is today’s show about?
Tony Zayas 0:39
Yeah, so we have a pretty exciting guest. We’ve had a couple of international folks, but they have been in North America. So we have Emily González-Cebrián. And she is the CEO and co-founder of Froged. And that is a Customer Success and Support platform for SaaS platforms, and subscription businesses that helps them improve their conversion rates, reduce churn and take care of their customers whole life-cycle. So really good stuff. I think anybody tuning into this show is going to get some value out of this. So with that, Emily, how are you doing?
Emily González-Cebrián 1:12
Hello? Yeah, I’m doing fine. So thank you, and hello to everyone! With you Tony and Andy and of course, everyone who’s listening here.
Tony Zayas 1:22
It’s a pleasure for joining. We appreciate you spending the time here with us. So to get started, Emily, can you just tell us a little bit about Froged, like, you know what the platform does? And then we’ll kind of go from there.
Emily González-Cebrián 1:38
Sure, sure. So Froged as the as you just said, we defined ourselves as a Customer Success and Support platform. So we’re what we do is helping subscription businesses, other SaaS optimizing and managing their users and clients lifecycle. So just super summary. So what we really do is keep both visibility of what their users do. And together with that visibility, we give them your customer communication tools so that they can interact and and move these users along their lifecycle.
Tony Zayas 2:18
Yeah, that’s very cool. So where did the idea you know, where did it form? Where did you come up with this idea to build out a platform that does what it does? What’s the background story?
Emily González-Cebrián 2:31
Okay, so I always say that the idea or the seed of the idea came from Angel Romero Astorga who is one of my co founders, he’s our CTO. And whenever, in fact, the three of us Juan, Carmen, myself, we met at Demian, which is one of the main incubators from Spain. And then when we decided to start something on 15, came up with I always call it a map, because it was like, kind of draw when where he had a few ideas, and he always thought of creating a SaaS for other SaaS. And that was the very seed of what Froged it is today. Of course, it changed a lot along the way. But yeah, that was the very seed. So I feel would be the theory, you know, what we currently are.
Andy Halko 3:20
For that origin story, where, you know, how did you come to the point that you decided, Okay, we really want to go down this path with this type of software, you know, we’re ready to commit and start building it out.
Emily González-Cebrián 3:34
Okay, so look at these, Aic Keleen Faysch. He’s like this. He’s not only a full stack developer, but he’s this guy who has been beta tester for most of the, of the platforms out there. And he had identify very well or brain match the pain points most of these platforms had. So at the very beginning, we decided, or we thought that maybe created something which was more transferable. So we were touching, also marketing and sales. And it was on the way that we found out that we’re we – really added value was in Customer Success and Support. And that’s where we focus. And I love when you know, they’re saying that – we say that for these kinds of businesses. I mean, for all of us, in fact, customer success is we’re not up to 90% of the revenue is. So imagine, which is important? And so we found out that the way the market was given answers to the problems was in a way, that we thought it could be done differently. This is how we started Froged. So yeah, that’s a video story. I think,
Tony Zayas 4:50
What are some of those things that you saw out there that you thought like “we could do this differently and do it better?”
Emily González-Cebrián 4:56
Okay, So what we’ve what we sell is It is true that whenever you you’ve talked of customer success, you have like two big groups of players. So one of those groups would be customer scoring or customer metrics. And most of these companies are very much focused in big corporations or enterprises. And on the other hand, you will have like customer communication tools, which, and worries for plays is a cycling intersection of these super apps. So this is why I was talking of visibility. And together with that visibility, we give the the tools or the communication tools so that you can interact. And we also focus in the mid market. So this is like, also the difference. So we help we know that or we always say that there is a big correlation between the kind of sales you do on the type of customer success you should get. So for high touch sales, there is high touch, customer success. And the more automated you do your sales, the more automated you need to get you to to have the customer success. So that’s a bit the, the philosophy behind and that’s what we really help companies. So it’s killing their customer success processes. That’s great.
Andy Halko 6:23
What’s the journey looked like? You know, from start to where you are now. Did you raise money? have you built a big development team? But what’s it kind of looked like to build the product?
Emily González-Cebrián 6:40
I think meant that support. Nice question. And always looking back, and as you move forward, looking back is like it always gives you a reference. So we started in 2019. And for the very beginning, I mean, we’re we incorporated the company in June 2019. And we only raised like 30k euros at that moment, from friends and family and we ran with for men’s with just that money. So we we wanted to be very efficient at capital consumption, and to maximize all the effects of all the actions we were doing. So that was like a big exercise. So whenever people tell me; Emily, Was it easy? I can say it was easy, we would work a lot, we need so many things. And also, we launch commercially in January 2020. So whenever people ask me, how was it before the pandemic, and after the pandemic, I have no much historic before the pandemic. So it was like, compound of things. But I’m, well, in my case, and I believe it’s all the team, the team is is something that I really feel very proud of. The way we are moving forward, the way we proceed as a team. And, and also the level of excellence, we always say that there are two characteristics, or two qualities that we are very strong at. One is we’re very exigent, and at the same time, we’re very flexible. And that relates to everyone in the team. So that’s like a bit the culture or the mark the stamp that we’ll have. So that’s the way we proceed. And then so just to give you an idea, so finally, this last December, so December 2020, we raised we raised in Spain, it was a seed round, but it would be a pre seed round of 400k Euros. From there, we’re moving, the good thing is that year in 2020, we managed to move internationally. So we have users in more than 100 countries, and more than 2000 active work spaces and doing a lot. So we’re really looking forward to be that global platform that we are meant to be. And of course to have that strong presence in in the US and our English speaking countries. And as you have seen every statement Froged is very much in English because of that reason. And we are planning to raise the next round it would be by the third quarter or fourth quarter of this year. So that’s the data of the roadmap of where we are when we started and how we did it so far.
Tony Zayas 9:45
That’s great. Just to go a little bit deeper to talk about the team. We you know, always love to hear how founders, you know, you have your vision and in that culture that you Want like, what type of organization are you going to turn this into? So it sounds like you’re really proud of your team? What is the makeup of the team? And then like, how, what is the culture that you guys have have built?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 10:12
Okay, so I think that building the culture, well, the same is that it always starts with the founders. And of course, we are the ones that stamp or beat the, the lines or the horizontal works, where we are moving. And if you ask me, what what do you think that the funds, Froged – Froged team the most it would be, we are very fast learner team. And so it’s true that we have experienced people, but we have also very young people. And the way we proceed, and we move on, we test and we launched, and we did and we moved for the next step is quite it is quite fast. I remember one of the last team members when he got in, I remember he told me that he liked it, I asked him, like, for your experience and for what you’ve seen around what would be the model of company, I mean, of of culture that you would aim for in within, within a project or within a company. He told me that for him perhaps what was referenced. And so I really asked him to tell me in detail what was seat for. And so this is something and I told him that from that moment, it was within our within our within our objectives to become a reference also as a cul- as a company that has this special culture, and these open culture flexible. And I do believe that making the team feel in the right environment and in the right space for growth is essential. So I think this is what is moving, moving for it forward. So yes, having those examples out there is great. We are always looking to mirrors we’re reflecting ourselves. And yes, taking a little bit from here, a little bit of there, and then build it ourselves.
Tony Zayas 12:22
Yeah, that’s great. How many people what how many people do you have on the team? Now?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 12:27
We are 15 people.
Andy Halko 12:30
Hmm. Since you did start in such a, you know, strange time in the world with COVID, Have you had to deal with bringing new people on and dealing with building culture virtually?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 12:44
In fact, Andy, that was one of the challenges or the biggest challenges. I thought we would have. Because, of course, we wanted to be flexible, we wanted to have remote, but not that early. So it was like, Okay, this is like it is and we have to accept the flag of being remote and onboarding people remotely. And even though I was you know, I was like a beat, okay, let’s see how it goes and how it evolves and how people get involved into the team and, and, and drinks from the you know, the atmosphere, but it happened to be very good. So people have been or have adapted to the situation very well. And it is true that as in the moment that the situation was a bit easier. We have creative this flexible so we go three days a week to the to the office. So we see each other and the rest so three days a week we work from home so today for example, I’m on at home. And and that gives us that good balance of Yes, having the the sensation and the feeling of being a team and building things together. But also the flexibility, the point of being remote.
Andy Halko 14:10
Besides the team with with everything that happened, you know, for people that haven’t had the start of business through a pandemic, and dealing with you know, the changes in economy and how people are working and and how you reach them. Even though you don’t have the the before and after what do you think the impact of all this is on you? And then just kind of a follow up to that, you know, my thought is, it’s not just about the pandemic, but for any founder that some outside force that they can’t control comes in and changes their first year. So you know, how did that affect you and how did you adapt to it?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 14:54
Okay, so in our case, I always say that. Of course, we are not any help or and tech, but it seems that the wind is coming from, from the back. But I believe that everything which is happening is helping us somehow, so is really matching in our direction. So it is helping also the mindset of people is changing so much. Customer success has to be can over time. Very important word in, in every in everyone’s lives, I would say mostly if you’re talking of subscription businesses or of course, SaaS, and talking about subscription businesses, we’re all also driving super fast towards that subscription economy that was already from a years back. And, We mean that area or that or in that era. Of course, taking care of your of your customers become even more important, I would not save more important, but it becomes really important as CDs, re acquiring new clients. So is like given the weight it has or it should have. So I would say that we are moving in a wave which is growing. And so we really felt that is a good time in for us.
Andy Halko 16:20
Tony Zayas 16:22
To dive into some of the aspects of the product. It looks like you guys focus on a few different areas. So, like onboarding, customer support, and retention, which is all fantastic. I would like to talk about just you know how you guys have helped companies improve those areas. So if we want to start with that first bucket, the onboarding, and this is as any that was focused on, you know, retention, and all that, and the importance of onboarding. So what are some of the things that you you guys offer to help them avoid process?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 17:00
Sure. So well, first of all, I always like to say, and I believe I talk about these a bit at the very beginning. And as we see customer success as that proactive umbrella, where we also insert or include that reactive part, which would be the support, and the user or the client experience is one and the same. So is like a line from the very first contact that you have with your platform or with your service. And it goes all the way to the very end, if it comes to an end at any point. We also said say that there is a huge relationship between the kind of activation and onboarding process that exists. So the best your boarding is, the less incidences these user is gonna give you in support. And then the less probably he or she is gonna be your turn in the future. So everything is like very much related. So this is why we focus very much in that very beginning. So onboarding and activation is something where we focus very much and where we help companies or our clients to create awesome, awesome first approaches to their platforms. And how we do this, did we do it, work working both we call it pull and push strategies that help you both within a messaging and with behavioral emails. So you move them back and forward, so that you move them along your platform and get them activated that so and then there is something very interesting also, which is the old day dynamic segmentation and the depth you can get that segmentation to, that allows you to interact with a users and with clients in a very, very personalized way. And I would say that would be like the basis or the, the foundations of Froged and how we work and how our clients work with their platform. But yeah, and then going to the support part, which is also very interesting. So, for our guests today, one of their most or, yeah, it’s one of the best live chats in the world not because I say it but there somebody was lensing out there. So and what what happens with our live chat is that everything is very much correlated there. So going from the Self Service bar, but also but also you have like the 360 degrees of any user, any client you have, and that helps you to have that context of What these user this client has been doing and what is happening with them so very much again and trying to be very, very strict to your question, Tony. So yes, we do believe and we focus very much in that first approach in that onboarding and activation, we inspire clients to create that wow effect, even their users from the very beginning. They click they, the sooner you get the “wow” from your clients, the more engaged they will be with your with your platform.
Andy Halko 20:34
Tony Zayas 20:35
Yeah, that’s all I’ll reiterate that. So you guys, were recognized by Capterra in 2020, for best ease of use software. So that’s pretty awesome. I mean, that’s a big part of, you know, keeping customers on board and happy is that they, it’s simple to use. So that’s fantastic.
Andy Halko 20:54
How did you determine that roadmap, especially in the beginning? Because, um, you know, as we talked with all founders, there’s a lot of product ideas and feature ideas. Did you use any methodology? Or was there an approach that you took to figure out? Okay, this is the how we’re going to build it and in what stages.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 21:17
So the curve at the very beginning, I guess, we had, like, kind of a roadmap. And as long as we were launching any functionality before even coming out of the beta. We were testing in, in the vironment. We were, as I said, we were born in veniam. So we had all those others startups and projects going on. And we really managed to be tested very much. And the new functionality, whatever functionality we were launching, we were testing it very much. And one of the things we did, as it was very at the very beginning of 2020. Andy was also launching in Appsumo. And why, why we decided to launch it out. So more for us was like kind of product market fit test, we wanted to reach out to clients or to users that were far away from us. And to receive their feedback, you know, very much that this signaling community is like a super open community, they give you the feedback, whatever they think they tell you. So if they like you, they tell you, but if they don’t they tell you as well. And it was very good, because we also received the great amount of feedback that also help us to pilot a bit, you remember that we were more transpersonal. So it helps us to nail it down and to focus very much in Customer Success and Support area. And so coming back again to your questions. So yes, we have that roadmap, with functionalities, we always try to beta test them before launching it, then we launch in a bigger scale. And from there is when we speed it up. So there’s a bit the way and we also have a public roadmap for functionalities for integrations where not only our clients, but also external Kinbote. And of course, that is that boats are underrated, so unweighted, and that’s a way of making it open. And it’s a way of making the community part of the development of the product. And we see that people like it very much.
Tony Zayas 23:42
I guess, I would love to hear about the experience, selling the product through AppSumo, super familiar with the platform. I I’ve purchased many things from there. And I, you know, I always find it interesting when companies use a platform with a lifetime deal like that. Because obviously, you know, I think some companies look as a way to grow. But now you have these users years from now, if you’re still up and running, that aren’t paying anything. So it sounds like you, you were using that to get feedback, which I think is smart. So what was the approach? And you know, was that successful for you guys? Was that something that was, you know, very useful. I’d love to hear a little bit more.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 24:29
Yeah, it’s funny for us. It was always more, as I said, it was more a test of product market fit more than a way to commercialize it. In fact, as you said, it’s like we have users which are going to be a lifetime deal. So we are going to be forever and the cost is going to be high whereas the what we received from them, it’s not that much. So for us it was really that exposure that we were looking for and aiming for. So we created like before launching, we created like three possible or potential scenarios that we could face, and try to understand the meaning of each of the scenarios, depending on the results. And, you know, the, the how the deal was received among the community, and to understand what that it would mean. And so we could take actions afterwards. So we were in on air for five weeks. And it was, it was very successful. At the very beginning, we were shocked. Because, because we received so many, so many, so many things asking for, for white leveling, and we were like, how can you be, you know, you’re offering so much and whatever they listen for them. So but what we sell there, it is that they were expecting, also some flexibility from our sign that I think we had. I mean, we, we we didn’t think at the very beginning on having that wide level, for example. And, but at least someone that flexibility. And and I have to tell you something, which is that history that the best we got from Appsumo is some of the comments and some of the feedbacks. For example, I remember one guy, he was he’s from Greece. And he was saying, like, wow, this is like my investment for the future. You know, guys, I bought, like, I don’t know how many coats he bought, but he was like, super happy of what he bought, because he really got into the platform and see the the potential that was there. So for us is like, okay, and it is something recognized and so much the the work that is done behind them. So more than commercial lies, and is just looking for that, for that feedback. And from that it was great in that sense.
Andy Halko 26:53
That’s awesome. Were there other tools or approaches that you took to gather feedback early on, besides…
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 27:05
We also launch in in Producthunt. It was one we launched in December before Appsumo. And then we’ll launch again, another time, two times more in in Product Hunt. So again, we were also looking for that exposure. And since we are from out of the states and out of the English speaking countries, a protein through these platforms was a great, a great movement for us, or at least we were looking at many as so. And it has been so yeah, really happy. And then of course there is there are also some other communities where we are part setting the hackers. So yeah.
Tony Zayas 27:55
I would like to ask about it the affiliate program. So we have both clients and you know, soft SaaS founders, we’ve talked through that, you know, I’ve seen huge growth through affiliate programs, how has that gone for you guys?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 28:11
So, it is very much in in our, in our roadmap. And in fact, we do have an affiliate program. It’s true that we really want to push it on. As I always said, Get into markets, like the US market or kind of our own English speaking in general, we see that Pawnee and through our affiliate program as well. It could be a good approach because it helps you to you know, get longer that it or to a wider community than you could on your own. So yeah, definitely it is for sure essential, and it’s here. So, whoever may be interested, we’re super open to that.
Tony Zayas 28:55
That’s great. What other strategies and approaches have you taken to just bringing on your customers, I’m sure early on, it’s, you know, word of mouth and telling as many people in your network, what else have you guys tried?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 29:09
Okay, so one interesting thing is also being close or being in the in the top mind of those companies starting or so being close to big accelerators or big incubators, hassles have been as an important point for us. And, and, of course, again, and coming back to that partnerships, after those partnerships we were talking about. That is also interesting. There is also another thing which we’re starting developing, which is the community. And we’ve seen out there and, and we do believe as well, that creating that community where we also were, we receive feedback, but we also trade insights and gather people which are interested in from our sector is something that could really help a lot. And could help us grow the speed that we need. So that is part of course of that strategy, the amount of strategy in this case, yeah.
Andy Halko 30:24
Just shifting gears a bit, I’m kind of curious about, you know, we talked about team a little bit, but you have a co-founder, you know, how do you guys split roles? And how is the I guess, yin and yang of co-founding together?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 30:42
Okay. So it’s very funny, because whenever you whenever people meet, ask the three, the three founders, we are super different in terms of backgrounds and personalities. So, the combination of us three is like, what I think that really gives us the power as a project. And, and so yeah, I’m the business part, where is Juan and Kenny are the technical part. So CTO and CIO, and they, I’m more in front of the same, whereas they are more in the back back up to the scenes. But it is true when I and when I say that is not only backgrounds, but personalities is very true. And I think that and I love your expression and seeing because it is also like that. And in terms of balance, whenever we look for balance, you know, I think personalities is something that you really have to take an eye on, whenever you give them for new people for the team. So keeping that balance is essential. So in terms of the founders, I think we have found that that balance, which is really great, because it’s like, which report very much what the other desk, but we covered like very different aspects from the business, the three of us. So that’s really great.
Andy Halko 32:08
How is your role personally changed from like, pre launch? Through the initial stages of the business to now? Like? Has it shifted a lot? What type of things do you do you really focus on? and just kind of curious about your role.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 32:27
It’s funny, because I’ve always heard that whenever you start a project, and a start up, every six months is like a different company. So even that, of course, there is a line, which is similar, but you have to keep on evolving and changing. And I do remember at the very beginning, the three of us were sitting down, and we were we were also talking about, well, two big things. One, is that we didn’t want to fall in love with their product, to the point that we didn’t listen to the market. So listening to the market is something is like a maxima is like a mantra, we have beer. And the other thing is that we are going to be doing our maximum, but is like, the role is I mean, the the role is with us till the moment we are eligible for that role. You know, so it’s not falling in love with your role. None, either. Okay. So, um, it’s true that we’re evolving. And in our case, in my case, and for simple funk was, well, we were coming from big corporations. So we already have the view and the experience of managing big groups of people, and also bringing it from scratch to big projects. So that also gives you like, one side of the coin, the other side is okay, you’re starting as we’re starting, and then making it grow. So, um, so yes, it has changed a lot at the very beginning and the end, you know as you know it, we have to do many things. And then little by little, you start to have more people. So you start delegating things and parts of your work, then other people take over. And that allows you to grow and to move to the next step. So it’s a non stop process. So for six months and your company. So yeah, I would say that that’s the mantra that we keep in our minds.
Andy Halko 34:30
Yeah, one of the first books I read 20 years ago, starting the business was e-myth, which is all about the entrepreneurial myth. And you know, the baker that likes to bake items. If they’re going to start a business, they’re going to end up doing HR and marketing and finance and they’re not going to be baking anything. And it really helped me understand the idea of I think, as a founder, you’re going to do a lot of different things. You’re not always going to do what you love to do. And you You’re going to constantly shift and, and have to be agile in the business. So…
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 35:05
Andy Halko 35:06
It’s pretty interesting. How about your co-founders have they had kind of a transformation in their role as they’ve gone on as well?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 35:17
Okay, the biggest transformation, and I would say the biggest one is still to arrive, it’s still on the way, and it’s still gonna arrive, is, of course, changing from the part of doing the doing it and create and building it by themselves, to be managing a group of people doing it. So that’s the biggest change. And whenever you are technical, and I’m talking from my perspective, which is not technical at all, I believe that the step is, is bigger. Because whenever you’re very technical and you love coding, or you love doing things, and you move forward, the next step, which is managing a group of people, it takes, I would say, it takes a big leap, and a big effort. So yes, I’ve seen that. And I’ve seen how they have been involved evolving in that area. But I do believe that the biggest jump is still ahead.
Andy Halko 36:21
Yeah, that’s a big shift to go from being the founder that’s hacking away to someone managing other people that are doing it big shift.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 36:33
That is true. The Good, the good thing is that, I would say the three of us, are these guys who love to see the big picture. And that’s important, even though then you do love or maybe you – Yes, they love to go into the details. But having in mind that big picture is extremely important from a founder perspective. So, I do believe the three of us have that. And in in the case of them, yeah, they both have it
Tony Zayas 37:02
Kind to go along those lines, since it sounds like you guys are focused, you know, strategic, you know, viewpoint, right. So, every six months for businesses, basically a new business. You said that they, you know, you all three, you have that perspective, from that strategic level? How does the three of you approach strategic planning for the business? Is that something that you guys get together? Do you have you know, every quarter or once a month, you sit down and go through, like, what does that process look like?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 37:34
Okay, so we do weekly meetings, where we book just one hour to talk about a strategy. Okay, so we have like the roadmap, the general roadmap, but we also divided like, in the short, we always talk of the three horizons. And we always try to move the company, keeping in mind those three horizons. So the short term, the medium term, and the long term. And this is an exercise we have to do, because whenever you rush into the day to day things you have to do, is – I think it’s important to keep an eye on booking that time, that at least we what we do is one hour, it’s not that much, but one hour a week, I think it’s important because we are sure we make sure that we are aligned, and that we give the necessary steps to attain or to get towards we are going, you know is like in a Spanish, I don’t know if an English I believe that exists is same. But it’s like the trees that don’t allow you to see the forest. You know, so it’s very important to just step back so that you can see the forest. And this is the exercise we do every Friday.
Tony Zayas 38:49
Yeah, important perspective, certainly. All this stuff back. So that’s great.
Andy Halko 38:56
We, we use the analogy, you can’t see the forest for the trees all the time. So we know it well.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 39:04
Andy Halko 39:07
So you know, what’s the what’s the future starting to look like? What do you see changing in the product in the next 12 months? What do you see changing with the team? What’s kind of the future look like?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 39:23
Um, the future looks very exciting. And yeah, of course the product is in process of transformation. I always say that it looks like a butterfly. So when people ask me Yeah, which is the competitor you look like the most? And I say yes, so far this moment is this one, but you know, towards we’re going it’s like nothing, nothing looking like that. And so yes, the product is is having big changes and big improvement, but also the team. There is something really interesting or at least I see this very interesting. It’s that the team has been very international from the very beginning from those 15 people, we have like eight nationalities. And it’s a bit of the stamp of the culture of the company as well. So that internationally focus internationally mindset. International mindset is like in the, in the very much foundations. So I believe that the team even though it’s gonna be growing a lot, it’s gonna keep those those lines. So yeah, so product and teaming but mostly in terms of number. No, I believe that. Yeah. This is the moment like the rocket is about to launch. So yeah, the growth is ahead.
Tony Zayas 40:49
What are some of the like specific goals and things that you guys hope to accomplish over let’s say, the next year?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 40:57
Okay, next year, I thought you were, you weren’t gonna ask me how we wanted to end these year. And then next year. So for us, it’s chilling and consolidate and very much that our presence in international markets is important. So we believe this is going to be happening mostly. Yeah, by the end of this year, and from next year onwards. And we always say that, we see Froged as the Customer Success and Support reference for that mid market. And I believe, yeah, we’re gonna be attaining from next year onwards is gonna already much headed it has to be there. So yeah.
Andy Halko 41:40
Have you guys think about expanding internationally, because, you know, we’ve a lot of our own clients and other folks that we talked to, that are either looking to get into the US or looking to take a product that’s maybe focused in their country and expand it further. So, you know, what, either what was the catalyst for starting to go international? And or what’s the strategy for you to expand that?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 42:07
Okay. So the product is international, from the very beginning, seed has been designed and launched. But it’s true that when people ask me and mainly investors, it’s like, Guys, you plan to open maybe a branch in the US, I never say no, and it will probably happen. And but when I think it’s the market, who we test to tell it about, I think we’ve been – we’re living, very changing times, and very ternion moment where everything that you thought before, has has changed a bit. For example, it’s rare that as you asked me at the very beginning, how are you dealing with remotes, and maybe in not that long ago, I mean, investors were expecting you to be physically with them. And now it’s, I mean, this remote way of interacting with people has become normal. So I’m really very much looking at where the situation is driving us to, and saying that what I try, what I see is that it’s true that the world is becoming very much globalized. Even salaries are becoming like more global. So for tech companies, for example, is like they’re like, kind of knee relating, or the level is been equalized, I would say, in the, in the globe. And, and at the same time. Yeah, things are, it’s like markets are becoming an again, mainly for tech companies, as we are, is like, is becoming very global. So yes, for us, as I said, England is taking countries and markets are really important. So if that means that we have to move part of the team to any of those countries, we are willing to, so it may happen soon. Yeah.
Andy Halko 44:14
So I’m kind of curious what overall of this so we talked about so many topics of building teams culture, role, product, what what over your period of time has been the biggest challenge or the biggest, you know, issue that you’ve had to face and overcome? Because I think for most of our viewers, we learn from mistakes, we learn from challenges. So you know, what have you seen that you’ve really had to face in this journey so far?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 44:48
So one thing questions that maybe many people have asked me privately, some other founders. And so one is like, for example, how did you make it? How did we make it in this case, to just rise very little at the very beginning, and, and move far and move from there. And if I think that is if it’s better to maybe rise a bit more at the very beginning, so just dealing with money consumption and money raising, or fundraising. I always answered, and, of course, you can read it from both sides. So from my point of view, it is true that we have done a big exercise. So it is like we’ve been training in a in a high mountain. So whenever we came to the sea level, it was easier. So yes, I say that it is good. But it’s true, that is a huge effort. So I would say that balancing that money raising, raising is important. So measuring very well, when is the right moment to raise, and not maybe not driving the team to or Yeah, the founder, the founding team, to an extent where it becomes difficult. But you know, this is very easy to say, and then the difficulties, you know, the exact question, so that that’s one of the things. And then there is another quote that says, fail fast, you know, it’s like, not, don’t do the effort, I mean, don’t even think of not failing, but fail fast. So for example, one of the things that we also did is that we started, I’m not sorry, but it’s true that, we’ve been investing in marketing very, I mean, we have had a very low investment in marketing. We were like nailing down very much the buyer persona, and which is the ideal customer for us. So whenever we started, started burning money for marketing, it was in the right direction. But it is true, that you need to test and test and means that many, most of the times you’re gonna fail. So no, I mean, trying not to fail is not is not the point. It’s trying to fail fast. And you know, corrected and change fast. So that would be my my advice every time. So both of them. So measuring very much, when is the right timing to raise funds, and, you know, to measure very much the moment of the team and the evaluation, the evolution of the of the project. And together with that, not to be afraid of failing, but fail fast and correct it fast. We’re very agile at that at that point. So in our case, maybe I would suggest to maybe have a started burning, or testing a bit earlier in terms of marketing expenditure, for example.
Andy Halko 47:59
Have you utilized mentors or like accelerators or anything like that very much?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 48:06
Indeed, yep. Well, yes, because, as I said, we were born in Demian. So we already had that incubator atmosphere, around us, with mentors and so on. But then Apart from that, after Demian, we also moved to telephonic help and future accelerator where we currently are. And then we have also look for night, I mean, good mentors out there, so that they can help us in the areas where we thought that you know, their insight or their experience could be of help. As you said, you both say, we all love to learn from other people’s mistakes. So I think that then the most insightful or the most interesting insight than advices that a mentor can give you is those that help you jump or to you know, to cut down the time you need to get to some point so yeah, for example, in that case, for example, we have someone from well Curry Monaco from LinkedIn. We also have a mentor who is from the finance area in terms of advisor and by the way, we’re also now in this so someone for all the probe area because we would love to have also we had in fact we did have always held but we want someone to be more permanent with us in terms of of that evolution.
Andy Halko 49:49
How hard is it been to raise money and pitch investors?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 49:55
How How has that been? Sorry? I…
Andy Halko 49:57
Yeah. How has that been? Is that you know, I mean? When we talk to founders, a lot of times they say that it’s a full time job. And you know, that you have to go through 50 rejections to get one accept acceptance, what what’s the experience been like for you?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 50:13
Okay, so it is sort of what you just said. And I would add that resilience is one of the key qualities the founder has to have. So you have to receive many noes till you get the Yes. And, and yes, as you said, You’re we’re always hunting, I heard ones that a CEO is a hunter is a hunter of money, because he’s money raising, he’s a hunter for talent, and he’s a hunter for clients. So that’s the very truth though of, of our full time. And for us, we also started raising during the pandemic. So I remember going through some webinars at the very beginning, and they were explaining to us that what we had to do is okay, to open up the top of the funnel of those investors, we stick for it. And also to anticipate a bit more because it may take maybe a few months longer. For us, it was great, because we raised more than we expected. It is true that raising money allows you also to expose, and we tried, and we managed to expose not only in an European level, but also to some us funds, which is great for the next. But indeed that is true is is a full, full time job. And it’s true that maybe you have a pause between one round and the next. But you know, raising funds is like something which is there, you know, so for example, my work is now a few months, we started with the next. So yeah, it says help us there. So we are just still for a while to start to start soon.
Tony Zayas 51:59
So with everything that you have on your plate as a co founder and CEO, especially in a world that’s now virtual, and you know, people are connected at all times. how do you maintain some sanity and sense of work life balance or work life harmony? What are some of the things that you do to?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 52:22
Okay, so, love, love the question, Tony, because this is, this is something that I not only for myself, and I don’t only do the exercise for myself, but I also try to pass it to the rest of the team. So keeping that balance is so essential, because, you know, this is not a sprint, this is a marathon. And I always say that, keeping the balance in all all your areas will allow you to, you know, to drive in the long term and to get longer, you know, get farther. And in my case for sample, I rent ones, they it was an article talking of, you know, technological curfew on how important it was for your brain and for your mind, for your study, as you he said, so I try to apply it as much as possible during the weekends for exampleand, and also as a certain at a certain time of the day. So I’m trying to really can’t and only very urgent stuff is what I attend. And at the same time. In my case, for example, I do practice meditation, and I’m a meditator. I think I started meditating when I was really small. So this is something that has gone along in my life, and it has really helped me a lot. And, of course, having that balanced life. So I’m a sporty person. So I try to during the weekends, for example, I go hiking or if it’s allowed to go to the beach, but I tried to do some sports in the in the sea. And you know, this balance helped me move forward, move on and have that energy that the project needs. That’s Well, I was curious to ask you the same question. But this is from this way.
Andy Halko 54:23
Yeah, I Well, I mean, I’ll answer I’ve had my business for 20 years, and I think it’s hard it is finding that harmony. I like someone in one of our previous shows you use work life harmony, because, you know, balance is a weird term. And so I you know, for me, I think it’s interesting to this whole pandemic and working from home has been a amazing experience for me. I used to go in the office, but now I’m here and I have two young kids and I get to spend time with them. And you know, I don’t know, I think It’s just finding what’s right for you. And, and for me, my family so important. So I never want to put my business in front of my, you know, kids and my, my wife, so…
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 55:13
Love that word, harmony, and I take it also. I love it. It is true.
Tony Zayas 55:21
Setting some boundaries, like something that I’ve found that works well, it’s just like I don’t sleep with my phone next to me, I have it, it’s on a different floor than than where I, I sleep, you know, and just cutting out social media quite a bit has been something right because you have limited time. And so like Annie said, you know, there’s that time you want to focus on family at 11 year old daughter and wife and you got to have some boundaries, because it’s too easy to get sucked in. So that’s a challenge, I think for everybody these days, especially with, you know, remote work that it’s easy to never disconnect. But like you said, it’s super important to maintain that help there.
Andy Halko 56:04
So, final question, you know, and I asked this, of every founder we talked to, you know, you kind of talked about it a little bit with challenges, but I always ask if you had the chance to go back in time and have coffee with yourself, you know, a couple months before you launch? Is there one single piece of advice that you would give you before you started on this journey?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 56:31
Hmm, I also, I also ask that question to many people so that I can also get their experiences. And there is one thing that many people tell me, and that I believe is very true, I already have felt the pain of not doing it correctly, and is having a very deep look, and in a big attention to the people that you get in. So the code is like, be slow at hiring and quick at firing. So whenever someone is not correct for the team, don’t take it. You know, that it shouldn’t take long for you to take that decision. And I know it’s hard, sometimes it’s really hard and we’re all humans but as a summon is your responsibility as founder, and and to you know, to drive the team to the right direction. And, and the team is so essential for the, for the objective and for the purpose, wherever you’re driving the company to that you have been you have to be very, very strict in that sense. You know, this is something that the very beginning I didn’t want to hear it, you know, it’s like, okay, yes, you know, okay, yes, but, but it’s true, it’s, a yes, you know. it’s very true. Because, if, whenever the right person comes in, is like magic happens. But whenever that wrong person is in, you know what, it’s like a bowl of apples and some apple when Apple is not good and need, it’s affecting the rest. And this is a responsibility, that is a huge responsibility. So this would be also my, my, my piece of advice. So we very much have a deep eye on on the team. And you’re the responsible for the health of the team. So that would be the final one. Many things, many other things, but at least one impacted me and I seen it. Yeah, that would be a good one.
Andy Halko 58:53
A really good one.
Tony Zayas 58:56
Emily, before we go, tell our audience where they can learn more about Froged maybe connect with you. On their SaaS founders out there that probably needed help with onboarding and customer success and retention. Where can they find you?
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 59:12
Okay, so for sure, on social media on our website, but I also leave my personal email. In fact, it’s super easy. It’s [email protected]. So, whoever wants to reach me for any reason, I’m super happy on this kind of person who always tries to answer and anything. And yeah, happy to connect. And, of course, as I said, through all the all the other channels, we are also open. So yeah, so my personal email is there. And of course, the other channels for whoever wants to go that way.
Tony Zayas 59:50
Awesome. Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for spending this time with us here today. We really appreciate it and we will see everybody Next week, same time, and again, thanks again. I’m away.
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 1:00:03
So thank you very much. And yeah, see you.
Tony Zayas 1:00:07
Andy Halko 1:00:08
Bye. Thank you so much
Emily Gonzales Cibrian 1:00:09
Take care, Bye bye.
Andy Halko 1:00:11
See you everybody.
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