Building a $100K MRR Startup (Part 1)

I hope this story can inspire you and other founders you are close to.

Good morning MRR lovers,

Today, I want to share the captivating story of the two individuals behind Tally.

I hope this story can inspire you and other founders you are close to.

The Genesis of Tally

In 2019, founders Marie and Filip set out to build Hotspot, a marketplace for hotels and travel influencers. However, this project eventually faced a sudden downturn due to COVID-19. (They eventually sold the startup on Microacquire)

While building Hotspot, Marie, and Filip created forms to collect customer data and suddenly became frustrated with their tools. Existing form-building platforms were either unpleasant to use or had ridiculous pricing plans.

Determined to offer a solution that was simple to use and affordable, they created Tally.

⚡️ The pivot to Tally was a strategic move to fill a gap they experienced - the lack of a simple yet powerful form builder that didn't break the bank.

Early Steps and First Users

The MVP of Tally was launched in September 2020, quickly gaining traction among makers, indie hackers, and startups.

The founders built their initial community through strategic engagement on platforms like Twitter and Slack, where the founders actively sought feedback and iterated on the product.

By focusing on delivering an exceptional user experience and rolling out new features based on direct feedback, Tally began to carve out a niche for itself.

Achieving $5K MRR

Tally began as, and still is, a freemium product.

99% of all features are free and you can create an unlimited number of forms and collect unlimited responses for free.

The founders quickly acknowledged that they were entering a competitive market and that offering free forms without limits would be one of their main differentiators.

However, to monetize their platform, they deliberately launched only one pricing tier at $29/month, offering advanced features primarily aimed at teams and startups.

A pivotal moment in Tally's early days was its launch on Product Hunt in March 2021. This event doubled its user base and was instrumental in reaching the $5K MRR milestone.

The founders created a checklist of everything they did to prepare for their Product Hunt launch — you can access it here.

Sustaining Growth and Navigating Challenges

As Tally continued to evolve, the team expanded the platform's capabilities by integrating more features and improving the form-building experience.

The "Made with Tally" badge became a powerful tool for organic growth, transforming users into ambassadors. This simple marketing "hack" helped tally reach $10K and $20K in MRR.

During this process, the team narrowed down their success to a few principles:

  1. Generosity: Offering the majority of Tally's features for free significantly lowered the barrier to entry, fostering a robust and organic user base.

  2. Simplicity: Despite regularly introducing new features, Tally has remained accessible and easy to use, prioritizing user experience above all. This process meant saying "no" on a lot of occasions. When launching something new, the outcome needs to outweigh the effort.(% of users that will use the feature + additional growth driven by the feature versus the time it will take to deliver said feature)

  3. Direct Engagement: The founders' hands-on approach to customer support and feedback has been critical in building trust and loyalty among users. In a world where users expect automated answers, founder-led support is a game changer.

The Road to $100K MRR

Tally's story is one of innovation and resilience. It started as an idea born out of necessity; now it's a thriving platform. 

Stay tuned for the next chapter as we explore the continued path toward achieving $100K MRR and the valuable lessons learned along the way!

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