We Built, Launched & Monetized A Slack Bot In 3 Weeks

gaurav arora
Founder, reviewflowz
$247
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
reviewflowz
from Paris, France
started June 2021
$247
revenue/mo
2
Founders
2
Employees
997K
alexa rank
22
followers
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We Built, Launched & Monetized A Slack Bot In 3 Weeks

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Gaurav and I created reviewflowz, with my co-founder, Axel. Reviewflowz is a Slack bot that allows any SaaS business to get notified each time it receives a new online review

We’ve also built Snapshots, a tool that gives you an instant grade report on any SaaS company's review strategy & visibility across marketplaces.

Today, reviewflowz is only 3 months old, bringing in about $200USD per month in revenues. We are starting to see some real traction in terms of getting feedback from the users, activity on our platform but we are still in a very nascent stage when it comes to achieving product-market fit.

we-built-launched-monetized-a-slack-bot-in-3-weeks
The team, Axel (on the left) and Gaurav (on the right)

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

Before starting reviewflowz, both Axel and I used to work in a hyper growth scaleup in Paris, in the email marketing & marketing automation space. Axel was leading the growth team while I was working in Paid Acquisition & Business Operations.

The initial idea is the brainchild of Axel, who as a part of the operations for the Growth team, had devised the entire strategy for Review Management from scratch. Once it was up and running, we could all notice a clear improvement in our conversion rates, an increase in our word of mouth compounding factor, and therefore an acceleration in our growth rates.

The strategy, theoretically, is quite straightforward: Monitor all your new reviews, make it everyone’s business, have top reviews everywhere, deal with the bad reviews properly and leverage your reviews where possible. The execution is where you break a sweat and this is what allows great companies to differentiate their reviews game.

So, throughout Axel was quite adamant on the fact that democratizing the review management playbook would make up a sweet product one day, and that someday arrived three years later when Axel decided to call it quits to work on something new. Besides other things, he wanted to work in the review space and he formally pitched the idea to me over drinks, and the very next evening I received a message on WhatsApp saying:

“D'you want/think you can set up a GitHub & everything for reviews to slack? Could be a fun project to bootstrap no matter what IMO, and good learnings? WDYT? And I think it's best for the overall framework to use a clean "convention over configuration" setup?”

I too had been planning my exit for quite some time, from my current job and soon decided to quit my job too as we started building reviewflowz from the ground up. This was the beginning of reviewflowz;

we-built-launched-monetized-a-slack-bot-in-3-weeks
How it all started

Take us through the process of building the MVP

From the get-go, we were very clear on two things. One, we wanted revieflowz to be a fun project that we would bootstrap and two, we would code it ourselves.

We got started with creating the wireframes and aligning on the user journey/story. And then, we decided to split the tasks among the two of us. Our choice of infrastructure was quite straightforward and based mostly on our strengths. I had done a coding Bootcamp where I had learned Ruby on Rails, so I was already familiar with it and in love with the low time to ship out products.

we-built-launched-monetized-a-slack-bot-in-3-weeks
First wireframes for reviewflowz.com

Axel was already familiar with Google Cloud functions and Scraping libraries, and we decided to go ahead with this stack for our backend and Monitoring reviews respectively. It took us some time to iron out a few issues with the database schema, payments (Stripe), and the Slack API, but once we overcame this, we were able to live with our MVP in about three weeks.

Finally, costs were not a worry for us at any stage. There are so many companies offering start-up programs that you can essentially scale to hundreds of paying clients with costs under USD 1000. Setting up a legal entity was quite simple & straightforward and mostly digital.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Ours was a very low-profile launch. The moment we saw the first real aha moment in our application live, we were quite stoked about it. Without any strategy or even a home page / corporate site for that matter, we decided to create a beta plan where we could give a generous offer to anyone willing to test. Anyone could get started with reviewflowz and track 10 business listings across the internet for only 10 USD per month with our beta offering.

Our assumption, clearly was, there would be a few people, who would be just waiting to test our product and we were very clearly quite off on this. We did outreaches to all their ideal customer profiles were connected to, but it never really went anywhere and our connections did not have time to test something we were so passionate about.

We posted on a bunch of subreddits, Facebook groups, got listed on beta directories, continued with the outreach to our ICPs, but it never really paid any dividends and soon, we knew we needed to go out of the beta phase and become a proper review monitoring tool.

Advice for anyone willing to go ahead with a beta phase strategy would be that this requires some serious preparation and planning well in advance. Hoping to make it on the fly is not going to be easy and would rarely work. We even had to miss out on getting listed on some very cool beta directories, only because the time to get approval could run in months for some of them.

So, we officially went off the beta phase when we launched our corporate website where we could explain what we are doing, our vision, pricing, and a loom video to explain how it all works. We were able to set this all up in a day on Webflow.

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

We are a slack bot - so our #1 driver most qualified traffic is users looking out for a solution like ours on the slack marketplace.

Getting listed there was a bit of a pain for us and we had to go over a log of back and forth with the slack support. In the hindsight, we could have paid more attention to the checklist for getting listed but if you are a slack application, you should certainly make this your number one priority and make sure you submit your application to get listed as soon as possible

We have also done one big content piece, which gives very comprehensive and actionable advice for anyone willing to set up a best-in-class review management strategy for their SaaS business. We prepared a big launch plan for this and pushed it across social media and SaaS/Founders slack communities. While this is not a source of traffic for us currently, it is a cornerstone piece of our software. And to this date, all prospective users on our website are spending a lot of time on this article. Content is not going to become an acquisition channel for us tomorrow but we hope to continue investing in it since we can address the pressing problems of our potential customers, and it gives us a medium to explain and act on our vision.

With that said, one of our biggest successes has been the launch of our tool, Snapshots by reviewflowz on Product Hunt. It gets you an instant grade report on any SaaS company's review strategy & visibility across marketplaces and lets you optimize your profiles following simple recommendations. Thanks to this launch, we have been able to get tons of feedback on our product, some users but most importantly lots of validation and some serious leads. As for tips for a successful PH launch, we kept things simple and followed all the best practices. We got upvotes and traction early from our close network, launched at 12 am PST, and kept on hustling to get more upvotes till the time organic upvotes started to kick in. We valued and appreciated every single upvote that came along our way.

we-built-launched-monetized-a-slack-bot-in-3-weeks
Getting some love from the PH community

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

Today, we realize that we are still some way off from having a product-market fit. We still envision us as the go-to all-in-one review management tool for any SaaS business in the long term.

There will be days when you are too harsh on yourself, so it is important to be rational and have a balanced perspective on it. Life is a party, enjoy it.

Before getting there, we would like to make sure, we get validations along the way and we still believe that the key to a truly world-class review management strategy starts with Review Monitoring, and creating a culture in a company that puts what customers are talking about, right at the forefront of any strategy. We would like to achieve this goal first. We are also preparing for another Product Hunt (PH) launch in the coming weeks where we will go live with posting reviewflowz on PH.

We are yet to find scalable acquisition channels and our strategy is still greatly inclined towards outbound. We hope to be able to work on our conversion rates and hopefully find a sustainable and scalable acquisition channel in the coming weeks!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Google Cloud for serverless functions, Notion for product roadmaps, marketing collaboration and note-taking, Gsuite, Slack for all communications.

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

One of the books that I would like to give a special mention to is The hard things about hard things by Ben Horowitz. It just gives you a very fresh take on what leadership is and I truly enjoyed reading it.

Another one that I can recommend is Zero to One by Peter Thiel as some of the notes from Peter about the inner mechanics of startups are truly inspiring.

I am not too much into podcasts but all of Naval Ravikant’s podcasts have also been a great inspiration for me.

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

Well, I can certainly try to share one of my biggest learnings so far. What I have realized is that your assumptions will go wrong. It is important to embrace it humbly and just move on. There will be days when you are too harsh on yourself, so it is important to be rational and have a balanced perspective on it. Life is a party, enjoy it

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We hope to be hiring a full-stack developer in the coming months and a marketing intern to support our marketing operations. You can reach out to us at [email protected] in case you are interested.

Where can we go to learn more?

Also in case you are more of a product hunt person, you can get in touch with us here:

we-built-launched-monetized-a-slack-bot-in-3-weeks

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

-  
gaurav arora   Founder of reviewflowz
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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