With the software-as-a-service industry valued at more than $72 billion, TrackMySubs is hoping to take his slice of the pie, in a different way than you might expect.
Designed to help freelancers and small businesses get on top of their subscriptions, TrackMySubs was founded by Gabe Alves after an $850 headache while setting up his wife’s graphic design business.
“At that point, we kind of looked in earnest at everything else that was on the market and the only other products out there were ones that were primarily based in the US and you would attach them to your bank account and trawl through all your bank transactions and then tell you what you’d spent your money on,” he said.
“We were like, well, we actually know what we spend our money on, we just need a good tool that we can put [subscriptions] in and then set reminders.
“So we thought ‘let’s give this a crack and let’s build our own.’”
And so, with two software developer uni students, Gabe did just that.
Setting the right focus
Three years on, Gabe says that even though he came from an IT background, he made the right decision to stay away from development.
“I made the choice that I wasn’t going to learn how to code, and I’m so glad I didn’t because I spent all my time just trying to work out the business side,” he said.
“I think the biggest thing is really just getting in the heads of the customer, and the ‘easy bit’ is actually writing software.
“Customers don’t know what they want, and the job is to discover what their problem is and really solve that problem.Gabe Alves
“They know what their problem is but they don’t know the perfect way to solve it because if they did they would have solved it themselves.
“The hardest bit is actually [working out] how does my customer see this, what do they actually need, what is their point of value and it’s always different to what you think.”
Finding the right market
After starting out as a tool for everyone, Gabe said it quickly became apparent a narrower focus would serve the team best.
“The product’s evolved to not being a product for your average person who just wants to manage Netflix, because to be honest, they don’t really see it as a problem because they’re not going to unsubscribe,” he said.
“It’s more for businesses or solo-preneurs, freelancers who have a lot of subscriptions to online tools and there’s too much to keep in their head.”
At the moment, TrackMySubs’ free tier allows up to 10 subscriptions to be monitored, before offering users $5, $10 and $15 monthly plans.
“You can’t keep track of it, and that’s kind of our sweet spot, but we’ve got people who have got over 400, 500 subscriptions,” he said.
Finding a home for big data
Now with more than 5,000 users managing $44 million worth of subscriptions, Gabe is hoping to put that data to use.
TrackMySubs Explore currently shows data for the top 20 most subscribed websites, with hopes to expand to include all 10,000 websites users are signed up to.
“Every company that’s got their own sort of customer base they’ve got this big data, all this information about their own customers,” he said.
“The one thing that came to me early on was, I’m collecting all this data about everybody’s subscriptions, and wouldn’t it be cool [to] provide the data back to the customer so that when someone is thinking about signing up to something, they had a place they could actually research information about that subscription that was clean data.Gabe Alves
“It is real information that isn’t available because companies aren’t going to give that information away.”
Slow and steady wins the race
With consistent growth of 10 per cent each month, Gabe said the plan for his bootstrapped enterprise for the next few months is to focus on tweaking the product to perfect prouct-market fit.
“We’ve done a lot of work in the last 12, 18 months on really optimising our product-market fit and really understanding our customers,” he said.
“We did a heap of interviews with our customers last year and fine-tuned the on-boarding to find out what were the real points of value that the customers were getting out of it, and we tweaked all of our on-board around those kind of ‘aha’ moments.”
“We’re in a really good place right now so we’re just going to see how it goes in the next few months, and then potentially look at some scaling.”
Click here to learn more about TrackMySubs.
Header image: Gabe Alves (centre) with the TrackMySubs team (supplied).