Adii Pienaar: “How To Build Any Startup With Zero Budget” – MicroConf Europe 2013

The MicroConf Europe 2013 Hub Page with all the information can be found here

Speaker: Adii Pienaar (@adii)


WooThemes Today

  • 500,000+ Users
  • 110,000 Paying Customers
  • Starting something new, I became more risk averse

What I was looking for:

  • Something that had as little risk as possible
  • Something that I could fund myself

Public Beta

  • Want to help Entrepreneurs
  • Started with only a landing page
  • Acquired 2000+ emails in 8 weeks
  • Content marketing on
    • 10 posts written
    • 8,344 unique visitors
    • 15,977 page views
  • First 4 weeks:
    • 2313 Unique visitors (28% conversion from
    • 8080 email signups (35% conversion)

Product Validation

  • Problems to convert emails to customers with Lunchbox
  • Money in the bank is ultimate validation
  • Credit Card numbers are 2nd best validation (almost equal to money)
  • Plan A: Risk Mitigation (Validating Public Beta has cost $1,000 to date)
  • Sell something you can get, but don’t yet have
  • Keep it simple stupid (How little could we build?)
  • Capture Credit Card details at “sign up”
  • Decide on your threshold ahead of time (For Public Beta it was 30 paying customers / +- $1000 monthly recurring revenue)
  • Do customer interviews and find out why they paid you

Launching the Product

  • all this leads to incredible validation:
    • 47 minutes to process transactions
    • 68 customers
    • $4,000 revenue
    • $2,000 MRR
  • Changed the roadmap


  • Being paid is the ultimate validation (in absence of money, credit card details are great!)
  • Doing Customer Development with someone that paid you, 10X’s the validity of the feedback (people who don’t pay you tell you a LOT of stuff)
  • Deception sucks. Always.
  • Your heart should be in the right place
  • Startups are about speed and access

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


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