How I Started a
Data Analytics Company
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
1. ueCalc– unit economics calculator, allows you to build and evaluate a model and P&L plan based on it;
2. MRRly – a financial analytics service which automatically makes cohorts and unit economics for you based on payments from your accounting system.
3.TeachMeGrow.com – start your start-up and grow from zero to IPO!
Prior to this, I was doing internet advertising and e-commerce personalization solutions. The companies were not very successful, and I sold them. Almost all my undertakings however were related to a data-driven philosophy.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
After the sale of the last company I joined the startup community, I was invited to talk to them, to share my experience, although I had nothing to tell.
When I talked to them, I found out that the teams lacked experience in decision making, and decisions were made by heart. Unit economy allows you to make decisions based on data, but it isn’t easy to understand, the teams didn’t understand where to get effective metrics, how and in what sequence to get to that.
I then wrote a straightforward service, a calculator, which could calculate unit economics and find the optimal values of metrics. I thought it would help businesses, but I was wrong. Most people didn’t understand the methodology and didn’t want to consider it.
When I talked to several hundred startups, I saw that they had a problem when they create P&L to show it to an investor. Teams can’t fill it out, they have complex tables, lots of formulas and unknown coefficients that you have to take from somewhere and prove your choice. All this should still lead to a positive result for the investor. As a result, most P&Ls do not go anywhere, and teams cannot explain them.
I then found out that there is a unit economy that can show teams what metrics it needs to reach to achieve the required level of contribution margin. Therefore, I was able to build P&L based on this data if I can turn the unit economy cohorts into a monthly P&L plan. That’s what ueCalc is doing now.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
I see two significant challenges now:
1. To tell start-ups about the methodology.
2. To ensure that start-ups start using the philosophy in their work.
Who is your target market?
Our key customer is a start-up that plans to receive its pre-Seed and Seed investments.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
I view our stage as a product-market fit. All the customers we are having come to us through our word of mouth, and from my public lectures about unit economics.
I own the largest Russian-language channel about unit economics on YouTube, and it also gives us some customers. Most importantly, I am an acknowledged guru in the field of unit economics in Russia.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
User retention is our biggest headache. The essence of the product is that having created the model and P&L plan, the client will not need it soon. Therefore, we see the following solutions: change the client segment to business consultants who help startups or add functionality that would keep the client, but so far we are more inclined to the first solution.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We have a small team of three people and one mentor. Everyone works from home and we’re just moving towards our goal – to create a big story.
We have all known each other for a long time and have been working on different projects. We have a mutual understanding on the whole.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
The main thing I have learned from my experience is that there are no rules that allow you to make a successful company. You need to experiment and take risks. After a lot of attempts and mistakes you can create your own success story.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Since I was born in Russia, entrepreneurship for me is freedom. The freedom to do what I love and want. To understand that you have to be born behind the Iron Curtain.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship allows me to control the process of innovation creation.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
I read a lot of books on business, entrepreneurship and motivation. I know that books themselves are useless, you certainly can not repeat someone else’s experience and knowledge without practical actions. However, I am ready to recommend several books to others:
1. Zero to One: Notes on Startups,Piter Thiel.
3. Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
Working towards building a big profitable company!