How We Validated Our No Code Tool & Hit $650K ARR

Aditi Sinha
Founder, Locale
$41.7K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
30
Employees
Locale
from Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
started December 2019
$41,667
revenue/mo
2
Founders
30
Employees
874K
alexa rank
761
followers
market size
$581B
avg revenue (monthly)
$53.9K
starting costs
$11.7K
gross margin
90%
time to build
210 days
growth channels
Organic social media
best tools
YouTube, Canva, WordPress
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
tips
4 Tips
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My Name is Aditi Sinha and I’m the co-founder of Locale.ai. Locale is SaaS based modern control tower specifically developed for Ops and Data teams at physical businesses.

Our goal was to Simplify Modern Operations for everyone & essentially build a platform that Ops Teams in large companies could call their own, and start their days with.

We’ve come a long way in this journey, in the last 3 years and today we’re powering Control Towers at some of the best Operations teams around the world like:

  • Coca Cola Japan
  • Beam
  • Careem
  • Felyx
  • Poppy and more

We currently have customers across 33 countries and ingest about 1.5 Terrabytes worth of data daily.

We’re currently at an ARR of $650k.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

My co-founder Rishabh Jain and I were in consulting jobs before we started Locale, at a Data Analytics company. As analysts, our job was constantly to look for insights that drove specific business outcomes for our clients and it was during this time we discovered that:

  • Ops and Data teams are constantly firefighting everyday issues with adhoc responses to incidents.
  • They operated with substandard tools and processes that are either outdated or require constant maintenance often leading to operational inefficiencies, lost opportunities & revenue, and most importantly — unhappy customers.
  • An intuition and gut-feeling-driven approach to resolving everyday issues with little or no adherence to SOPs in most cases.

While encountering these situations daily, Rishabh and I kept wondering, why these companies had to hire external Analysts for things that were the core of their businesses.

We also observed that, unlike other functions in an organization like Sales, Marketing, Engineering, etc. Ops teams didn’t have specialized software at their disposal. They were perpetually dependent on Data and Engineering teams, that helped with Reporting, Root Cause Analysis, and Building Dashboards for them.

We knew this had to change and that’s where the idea of Locale started. We spoke to dozens of Ops leaders across industries to validate our hypothesis and they all kept saying 1 thing in common, irrespective of their industry ”Things keep breaking in Operations every single day”.

If you’re out there to build something crazy and disruptive, you have to make sure it's easy to try your product no matter how complex and powerful your product is.

We built a locale to change this and make Operations simpler for Ops teams.

Take us through the process of designing the first version of Locale.ai.

We have always operated with an agile mindset when it comes to building new things. In our initial days, I remember going to product pitches with just a Figma Prototype on our Laptop.

The early days of prototyping were quite fun. In our previous job, Rishabh and I noticed companies with large operations teams regularly consulting externally for insights, and the fact that Operations teams didn’t have a specialized tool that could help them run these analyses on their own, didn’t sit with us quite well. We wanted to do something about this problem.

We talked to ops managers and data scientists across industries around the world and one sentiment that stood out to us almost in every conversation was “ Something breaks in Operations everyday”

This is when decided to first build Locale.

Our initial versions revolved around building a No-code, Map based Visualisation tool that ingested geospatial data in real-time. The hypothesis was to enable Ops Managers and other ground teams with actionable insights from their existing geo-data.

locale

As mentioned earlier, we followed a lean approach in using our resources in building an MVP. The savings helped in putting a strong founding team and we had some of the best minds at work.

Ops managers are savvy generalists. Having a clearly defined end user persona helped us build a no-code visualization platform with a shorter learning curve and our regular conversations with ops leaders helped in customizing the user’s experience based on the industry they belonged to.

Early versions included features like real-time visualization of geospatial data, hex-heat maps that could analyze supply-demand trends, and also offer custom workflows where our users could define complex metrics with custom formulas.

We were slowly gaining traction among companies that were already using Tableu, and Kepler.gl, Looker, etc.

We were lucky to land a few tech-first companies as early adopters. Since we had picked a problem that was quite relevant in the industry, our sales pitches were relatable and there was a willingness to pay for a solution.

We did play pilots with prospects and the pilots allowed us to observe our customers and their problems much more closely. A leading scooter sharing company in India could reduce its churn by around 9% using locale. We've written more about this in this article on our blog if you would like to take a look.

And this approach has certainly helped in ensuring our product roadmap was always aligned to the needs of the market and the industry.

Locale’s evolution over the last 24 months

Our customers could map their entire demand and supply data on real maps, in real-time from all kinds of sources in a single, unified interface that let them

  • Independently run Root Cause Analysis in a matter of minutes, which earlier took days and support from multiple teams.
  • Measure the business impact of operational decisions in real-time and constantly optimize for operational efficiency.
  • Collaborate with other stakeholders over critical incidents without losing any context.

When we felt we validated the idea enough,

We packed our bags and moved to an unknown city with whatever savings we had from our previous jobs, kept our admin and infra costs at a minimum by working from a rented apartment, and even ate the same meal order twice a day, to keep our runway longer.

We were able to raise an Angel round at this point which kept the show running and we’ve never looked back since.

Describe the process of launching the business.

God, this is a tough one.

To be honest, it’s difficult for me to recall and paint one single story around our launch.

When you’re building something big with an intention of changing the status quo, especially when you’re trying to build an all-new category for yourself, it’s natural for your product and its specs to evolve exponentially with each new release.

And to me, I’ve felt the adrenaline rush of a new launch with every single release where we’ve added a major new feature to the product.

Building along with early customers has been a rewarding process and ensured we were making revenue early on in the journey.

ABM plays a key role in our growth strategy. Linkedin and our Blog have proven to be key channels in our strategy and we leverage them to this day.

Clearly defined ICPs and our understanding of the industry helps us in building relevant content on our blog and most of the discovery happens through this channel. When your product solves a genuine problem, the focus automatically shifts toward delivering value over marketing hype.

The secret is to build an audience that relates to your messaging and then nurture them with great content. When you’ve got that right, the channels will automatically find you.

We have also experimented with paid pilots in the early days to ensure our losses were in check.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Over time we’ve realized that Crisp and Clear Messaging does half of the job in Sales, and instead of focusing on “one size fits all” messaging that gets you instant gratification via 100s of likes and shares, it's important to live, breathe and talk messaging that resonates with your target audience and make them pause for a while and think “wait a min, I face this problem too!”

Most marketing advice that comes your way when you’re building a new business is Hindsight Bias in some or other form, it is important to pause for a while and think about the actual problems your customers face and solve them from them in the most intuitive manner.

We invested in building an identity for the brand Locale right from the beginning through meaningful content on our Blog and social media to educate our audience groups. These efforts have been paying off even today.

We also constantly strived to build delightful onboarding experiences for our new customers and ensure we don’t just support them by checking off resolved buttons on support tickets but join hands with them as partners who were invested in their journey. We've written about this in detail in this article on our blog.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We recently announced the all-new Locale 2.0, where we’re introducing real-time alerting and continuous network monitoring capabilities to our Control Tower, where our intelligent monitoring alerts the right people just in time so that they can be proactive in responding to disruptions on the ground — sometimes, even before they happen.

TLDR; We’re building the Pager Duty for Ops teams.

Locale 2.0 has been one of the most significant updates we’ve made to Locale in recent times and we’re hopeful that this opens up an all-new world of possibilities, even in the geographies that we didn’t serve earlier.

The teams are also working extensively toward making the process of Trying and Buying Locale, a whole lot simpler than it is today, in the new version.

We are on our way to hitting the $1M in ARR this year and also gearing up for our Series A.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

If you’re out there to build something crazy and disruptive, you have to make sure it's easy to try your product no matter how complex and powerful your product is.

Your pricing model also has to be equally simple. This means you need to arrive at the metrics on which you’ll bill your customers real soon and ensure it's simple enough for your customers to understand so that they can make the purchase decisions quicker.

Lastly, Invest in good content early on.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use Cloud Services from both Amazon and Google on multiple levels. Our homepage was built over Webflow and our blog’s run by Ghost.

Everyone here at Locale loves Notion and almost all of our internal documentation runs on Notion. Other tools in our stack include the likes of Hubspot, Mapbox, Fullstory, Intercom and more.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • Creativity Inc
  • Zero to One by Peter Theil

Podcasts

Killing It HBR Ideacast

The Seen and The Unseen by Amit Verma

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

  • Focus on building a brand early on. Try telling your story at least to the right people early on. That’s how you build traction.
  • Build meaningful & strategic partnerships wherever you can.
  • Your mental health and self-care are equally important and always come first.
  • Take time to celebrate your wins.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we have some open positions for Account Executives and SDRs. Other open positions across the board can be accessed via our careers page.

Where can we go to learn more?

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

-  
Aditi Sinha, Founder of Locale
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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