How an Opera Singer and a Software Engineer Built a $55k/mo SaaS Ed Tech Business from the Ground Up

How an Opera Singer and a Software Engineer Built a $55k/mo SaaS Ed Tech Business from the Ground Up

Back in 2017 Danielle Simpson had an unlikely bio for a SaaS founder. She was an opera singer auditioning for roles and side hustling as an online ESL teacher. That side hustle quickly turned into the startup FeedbackPanda, when she realized how inefficient and time consuming it was to track course work and feedback for dozens of students. In about a week, her boyfriend (and software engineer) Arvid Kahl built a prototype to help her create feedback templates she could reuse, and reports to track courses and students. They opened up the platform to other teachers, and let them share their templates with the whole community. In just a couple of years, they had a bootstrapped, $55k/month SaaS business. Earlier this year they made the decision to sell, and in July it became official: FeedbackPanda is the newest member of the SureSwift portfolio. 

Recently we sat down with Danielle and Arvid to chat about what it was like to build their business from the ground up, how they knew it was time to sell it, and what they’re planning next.

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How a Passion for Craft Spirits Turned into a Six-Figures-a-Month Subscription Box Startup

How a Passion for Craft Spirits Turned into a Six-Figures-a-Month Subscription Box Startup

When you talk to Mack McConnell, it’s clear that he’s a guy who was never going to have a “traditional” career trajectory. He’s traveled the world (ask him what his weekend plans are and he’ll probably say, “Actually, I’m just about to get on a flight to Morocco!”), he’s pretty much always starting a new side project or business, and he drops phrases like, “… so then I just moved to Paris.”

But if you hear those things and think he’s full of bluster or ego, you’d be 100% wrong. He’s all hustle, humility, and curiosity — qualities that helped him build his craft spirits subscription club business, Taster’s Club from an idea into six figures of MRR over the course of several years. We caught him recently between trips to exotic locales to chat a bit about how he started and grew Taster’s Club, why he ultimately decided to sell it, and what he’s up to now. 

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These App Developers Were Running Two Successful SaaS Startups When They Decided to Sell One

These App Developers Were Running Two Successful SaaS Startups When They Decided to Sell One

When Tristan Gamilis and Nicholas Firth-McCoy launched their SaaS startup, Paydirt, an online time-tracking and invoicing tool for freelancers, they were also running a website and app development company. Later, they added another SaaS usability startup to their already busy lives. Eventually they faced the question many entrepreneurs will: Which business ventures to dedicate their attention to? And what to do with the rest?

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She Was Working a Full-time, Six-figure Job When She Bought Out Her Co-Founders and Grew Her Startup to Scale

She Was Working a Full-time, Six-figure Job When She Bought Out Her Co-Founders and Grew Her Startup to Scale

SureSwift Capital acquired HelpTeaching, an Education Technology platform for teachers, tutors, and homeschooling parents with more than 1 million global members in 2015. Lilia Tovbin, who co-founded the business shared her story with us recently including what it was like to scale a business while working a busy, full-time job, why she decided to sell a company she considered her family business, plus her latest business venture.

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The Journey from Founder to Entrepreneur

The Journey from Founder to Entrepreneur

“Co-Founder and CEO.” That’s what it says on my business card, on the signature line of my emails, on my LinkedIn profile, and my Twitter bio. The “Co-Founder” part tells you that I started SureSwift Capital with a partner. The “CEO” part means that I’m ultimately accountable to my team for creating an environment they can thrive in, and for the overall success or failure of the business. So it’s correct and complete… but it isn’t the title I’m proudest of today. That title is Entrepreneur.

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