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639: Fastest Growing Canadian Software Company: $200k to $20M in Revenue from 2010 to 2015 with CEO Tobyn Sowden

Tobyn Sowden. He’s the CEO of Redbrick, the second fastest growing software company in Canada and the birthplace of a product called Shift.

Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • What CEO do you follow? –  N/A
  • Favorite online tool? — InVision
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— 6
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I would tell myself technical, all the way”


Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:39 – Nathan introduces Tobyn to the show
  • 02:00 – Profit Guide named Redbrick as the second fastest software company in Canada, by measuring revenue growth
    • 02:25 – Profit Guide measured a whole 5 year period
    • 02:30 – Redbrick had $200K revenue in 2010 and $10-20M in 2015
  • 03:00 – Redbrick was launched in 2010
  • 03:15 – Redbrick started from an app distribution perspective
    • 03:38 – Redbrick has developed their own tools to track
    • 04:20 – Redbrick’s main software is Deskmetrics, which is integrated into Shift
    • 04:31 – Deskmetrics currently has 500K active users
  • 05:00 – Not all who downloads are active users
    • 05:08 – The number of downloads are tracked
    • 05:34 – SDK is a software development kit
  • 05:59 – Deskmetrics provides consulting services
  • 06:06 – Facebook is one of Deskmetrics’ sources for customer acquisition
    • 06:40 – Redbrick is currently spending around $30K for Facebook paid acquisition
    • 06:54 – Redbrick is working with a team on Facebook and is committed to growing their spending into millions of dollars for growth
  • 07:33 – Tobyn shares the idea of Shift
    • 08:07 – Shift had a preview in September and people liked it
    • 08:12 – Shift allows you to switch around your Gmail and google accounts
  • 08:51 – Tobyn increased their team size and hired more developers
  • 09:08 – Shift is a SaaS business with $20/year subscription fee
  • 09:31 – Shift primarily uses Facebook for advertising
  • 09:49 – Shift has around 30K installs and 10K active users
  • 10:00 – Shift’s free-to-paid conversion rate is around 4-5%
  • 10:23 – Shift is 3-months old
  • 10:48 – Tobyn needed to decide if they will launch Shift on December 20th or wait until 2nd week of January
  • 11:16 – Shift is doing great at the moment and there’s definitely a market for it
  • 11:40 – Tobyn shares why they decided that Shift be a desktop download
    • 12:53 – Tobyn wants to avoid integrations that will make Shift look like a browser
  • 13:15 – Redbrick has 3 parts: the app distribution side, Deskmetrics and Shift
    • 13:35 – The app distribution side is the major revenue stream
    • 13:45 – Tobyn believes that their path is the app distribution side
  • 14:16 – Team size is 37 and they’re based in Victoria BC in Vancouver, Canada
    • 14:31 – There are small teams in Poland and Brazil
  • 15:12 – Deskmetrics is primarily a desktop software analytics platform
  • 16:15 – An average customer pays $500 monthly
  • 16:36 – Tobyn was charging per number of users, but they changed it
  • 17:14 – Deskmetrics was launched in 2016
  • 17:45 – Redbrick has a lot of predictive models that they used in terms of CAC
  • 19:20 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  • Facebook is one of the best places, at the moment, for paid advertising.
  • You can always go and develop more products, but recognize when it’s wise to stick to the path you’re already on.
  • Charging per head can at times restrict your customers from using your product to its fullest potential.


Resources Mentioned:

  • The Top Inbox  – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Organifi – The juice was Nathan’s life saver during his trip in Southeast Asia
  • Klipfolio – Track your business performance across all departments for FREE
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

This post first appeared on Why You Should Turn Down A $14m Acquisition Offer With Derek Blueford, please read the originial post: here

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639: Fastest Growing Canadian Software Company: $200k to $20M in Revenue from 2010 to 2015 with CEO Tobyn Sowden


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