Welcome to the sixteenth edition of “Startup of the Week” which features many great startups and interviews with successful business heads. This week, I interviewed Ignas Rubezius, the co-founder, designer and CEO of MailerLite.
I’ve asked Ignas a series of questions regarding MailerLite and also regarding tips for budding entrepreneurs. Have a read at what he had to say.
How did the idea of MailerLite come about?
When we started the company 10 years ago it was a web design agency. At that time we didn’t know anything about startups or SaaS products. After 3 years of building websites for other companies, we understood that the business is not going anywhere. It was time for a change.
We started experimenting with our own projects while still developing websites for clients. We’ve built an invoicing app, news aggregator, event invitation creator, auction website to name a few. However, none of them showed enough traction. That was disappointing, but we didn’t stop.
We started to notice that more and more of our web design clients are asking for newsletters. There were some solutions out there, but each of them was missing something and we couldn’t find what to offer our clients. We decided to build our own email marketing service as we were sure that we will have a few paying customers from the start. It turned out that this was the best choice that we’ve ever made. So, it didn’t take long to decide closing all the other projects and fully dedicating ourselves to MailerLite.
Simply, what does your business do?
MailerLite is an email marketing software. We believe that email marketing is a very powerful tool that every business should use. This is why we made MailerLite so easy and affordable even for small business or freelancers.
Did you have a business plan?
We never had a business plan. Simply there was no time to make one as MailerLite picked up so fast and the growth continues rapidly. We do have a plan for new features and updates. It’s mostly based on what our customers are requesting. We really try to listen and ask for their feedback. Then we prioritize by the order what can be done fastest. That’s how we manage our roadmap.
What were the boundaries you faced when creating MailerLite?
“But at the end of the day, solving those challenges and overcoming boundaries is what makes running a business exciting.” – Ignas Rubezius
We had to learn lots of new stuff about email deliverability, servers, email rendering. Moreover, the learning continues till now. Every day there are new challenges – how to support 100,000 users, how to deliver 1 billion emails per month, how to make our team happy. But at the end of the day, solving those challenges and overcoming boundaries is what makes running a business exciting.
What is the difference between you and your competitors?
We’re a small, self-funded company. It makes us extremely fast and flexible when it comes to making changes that our customers ask.
We have 24/7 customer support in 5 languages. There is a forever free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers and unlimited emails. It even includes autoresponders.
We’re based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Half of the team works remote from places anywhere in the world that they like. All of this allows us to have great professionals but save a lot on costs. Finally, that’s why MailerLite can be 5 times cheaper than some other providers.
What were you doing before MailerLite?
Before starting the company I worked in a bank. It was my first job straight after finishing studies. It took me only 1 year to figure out that corporate career is not for me.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
I would like to share an advice from Ryan Allis, who co-founded another email marketing company iContact and after years of building the company made an extremely successful exit: “Nearly anything is possible that you set your mind to and work hard at for 10 years.”
“There’s no magic. Just set the right goals, work hard and be patient. The results will come.” – Ignas Rubezius
There’s no magic. Just set the right goals, work hard and be patient. The results will come.
In one word, describe your job?
I’d like to say thank you to Ignas for this interview. Have a look below at MailerLite’s social links. Get in touch if you want your startup to be in the running for an interview.
Headquarters: Vilnius, Lithuania
People: Ignas Rubezius, Eimantas Norkunas, Gediminas Andrijaitis, Ilma Nausedaite
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