TECLA Update: How We Grew Revenue From $80K To $125K/Month

Published: April 19th, 2021
Gino Ferrand
Founder, TECLA
from Seattle, Washington, USA
started March 2013
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
150 days
average product price
growth channels
Word of mouth
business model
best tools
Hubspot, Canva, Slack
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
36 Pros & Cons
10 Tips
Discover what tools Gino recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

I’m Gino Ferrand and I’m the Founder @ TECLA. We are a hiring service that combines AI and recruiting expertise to help top startups hire vetted tech talent in Latin America. Most of our clients are funded or revenue-generating tech companies, dev agencies, and founders looking to expand their talent pool and be able to hire top engineers, designers, data scientists, and QA engineers in countries with similar time zones to the U.S.

Since we were last featured in StarterStory, we’ve had ~55% growth and have gone from about $80K to $125K in monthly revenues. This year, our goal is to reach $2 million in annual revenue.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Since we last posted we’ve grown about 55% in terms of revenue. It has been a huge feat taking into consideration the hardships that the pandemic brought to the hiring space, and employment in general. What has worked best for us in terms of increasing sales has been to pay closer attention to our current clients. Last year, we launched several initiatives to be able to give more of our time to our clients and make sure that our teams are hyper-focused on understanding the hiring needs that our clients have. By doing that, we’ve successfully motivated existing clients to refer other companies to us.

Currently, we’re still at 12 employees. We are currently looking for a talent acquisition analyst to join our team (mostly doing candidate sourcing) and also a senior recruiter who would be working directly with new clients.

I am personally very involved with our sales and marketing side, and this year we are looking to 5X our advertising and marketing budget. We are using traditional digital marketing channels, but one thing that we are hoping to do is focus a larger amount of money on fewer channels.

One thing I’ve learned is that it’s very time-consuming to manage advertising and marketing channels. For a tiny company like ours, it makes more sense to concentrate our budget into fewer channels which we can optimize better. We’ve spread ourselves a bit too thin in the past in regards to marketing and advertising channels.

Another thing that we are changing is our cold emailing strategies for lead generation. Whereas we used to spend quite a bit of money and time trying to optimize our cold emailing, we are now moving more toward content creation, SEO, and PPC advertising. We are doing this because we think our target prospect is getting tired of so many cold emails from so many different B2B companies, and also because it is very, very time-consuming to manage a team that does cold outreach. It becomes a full-time job. With a much lower overhead requirement, I think PPC performs better for us.

With the pandemic hitting hiring so hard last year, we’ve done several things to keep our existing customer base happy and coming back to us. That resulted in those clients using TECLA for a higher number of open roles once hiring picked up again.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

As is the case for so many small businesses out there, the pandemic brought forth a tough time. We’ve been very fortunate, overall, to have come out of it with growth, but it still brought forth many unique challenges.

On one hand, we’ve been fortunate that remote work has become the norm. This allowed TECLA to get more organic traffic as hiring managers decided that if they were working remotely, they might also take a look at expanding their hiring not just across the U.S. but also internationally. On the flip side, the amount of unemployed professionals makes it easier for companies to hire and there is less of a need for a specialized hiring service like the one we offer.

Fortunately, it seems like the tech space has remained hired for the most part but all of this still required us to adjust and tweak our marketing messages to be effective in acquiring new clients.

The best decisions I’ve made are always related to the people that we hire. Beginning of this year, we were extremely fortunate in getting the chance to bring on a new Head of Operations who has really been the main reason for why we are growing and setting new and more ambitious goals.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

This year (2021), we plan to grow to about 16-18 employees and focus on hiring for other key roles in the marketing department. I’m very excited to see how remote work continues to develop once the pandemic is a bit behind us. Working from home can bring forth a lot of challenges in the long term, and at TECLA we are always asking ourselves where work trends will be headed in this regard. If most companies will be coming back “to the office” as they were doing before, or if many will adopt a more flexible structure. How these changes affect remote hiring will be something critical for our growth.

I guess even for businesses altogether unaffected by Covid, the message is the same: persistence will pay off.

I would be lying if I said we had a solid and visionary 5-year plan. Since we are a 100% bootstrapped company, we haven’t had to think about exits from the start. The vision, overall, is for TECLA to be growing in the double digits every year, hiring great people, helping tech companies find great talent, and helping more professionals find places where they love to work!

Have you read any good books in the last year?

A couple of months ago, I finally got around to reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It had been on my shortlist for years. I am glad I finally picked it up. When it comes to startups, I think entrepreneurs need to embrace sales, and this book is a real gem when it comes to learning how to “influence” instead of doing the hard sell.

Although I have always been very into reading motivational leadership and business books, I’ve turned down the intensity of that. I think it has been beneficial. Whereas years before I would try to read as many inspirational business books as possible, I now think it’s better to use reading as an outlet for other interests. It’s a chance to escape work a bit. It’s helped me learn about a lot of things outside tech. History textbooks I couldn’t stand in high school and college are now some of my favorite things to read. Getting into those really allows me to take a break from work. When I come back to work stuff, I feel recharged.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

It’s a terribly tough time for many businesses. Not every business has been fortunate enough to weather the storm of the pandemic. A good number of our clients have gone out of business or had to completely restructure and pivot their startups to survive.

I can only share words of encouragement for entrepreneurs who are running businesses that have been heavily affected by the pandemic.

I guess even for businesses altogether unaffected by Covid, the message is the same: persistence will pay off.

I’m not sure when entrepreneurs should persist or pivot, but all I know is that it took TECLA six years to start growing at interesting YoY rates in a very competitive industry. Since I’m happy with our current state, I have to say that persistence has paid off.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are hiring for talent acquisition roles. If you’re in tech recruiting, reach out to me! I’d love to chat.

On a separate note, I’m also really looking forward to hearing from other entrepreneurs who have founded B2B services businesses that could help us reach our sales and marketing goals this year! I’m always looking out for agencies and other service providers who could do things better than we could on the marketing or sales front.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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