How Plausible built a $1M ARR open source SaaS

  1. 1

    Thanks for sharing your journey. Really impressive!

  2. 13

    I've been watching their progress for a while now here on IH and my single biggest takeaway that I always take away from their shares is this: It is possible to stay in your integrity, doing work that matters, and still be wildly successful. These guys saw an ethical issue with Google's platform, they went head to head with them, and they stood by their ethical code every step of the way. That's powerful.

    Case in point: 15 best startup marketing practices we say "no" to

    1. 2

      Those 15 practices remind me of what a local cafe does. Just make good coffee and smile and people coke back. No online social marketing, no gimmicks. That approach and some of the tiny coffee shops with 20 sq ft of total space (indie hacker of real life I guess) have big queues. I am inspired, I want m anything I work on to have a similar ethos.

      Another product I like is bearblog.dev. I think plausible and bearblog would make a good match, all though bearblog has it’s own analytic albeit very very basic one.

      1. 3

        Yeah, I feel the same way! And bearblog looks cool, never heard of it before.

        1. 2

          Definitely worth a try. It’s simplicity makes it focus you on writing.

    2. 2

      thanks James, appreciate that!

  3. 6

    Loooove that they gave 5% of their gross revenue to environmental causes and open source (and that they ended up donating $10,000 to support the Red Cross in Ukraine.)

    This is a really healthy money-mindset that I sincerely feel increases wealth in the long-run. It says a lot about the nervous systems of the founders that they were able to part with that amount of money in the way that they did, especially so early in their business. That kind of grounded, secure way of relating bodes well for the future of the company, imo. So much yes to this way of doing business! 💜

    1. 3

      Yes I agree. A positive energetics associated with money brings wealth for everyone touched by a business.

    2. 1

      thanks very much, we appreciate your words!

  4. 4

    @markosaric you think part of your success was being "in the right place at the right time"? GA seems to be facing a lot of scrutiny now, especially from the EU.

    1. 4

      for sure! this is what i wrote in the post: "We do our best, but sometimes you need to be lucky to be at the right place at the right time. That’s how I would summarize the first half of 2022."

  5. 3

    Love this journey! Thanks for sharing!

  6. 3

    Congrats on reaching the HN front page again! What are you'all using to generate your static content pages from the .md files?

    1. 1

      thanks! we're top of IH and HN on the same day! crazy!

      to answer your question, the other day i tweeted this https://twitter.com/MarkoSaric/status/1534441011715444737 and someone mentioned that we're using Jekyll: https://twitter.com/stefanvermaas/status/1534443960646647808. i only see Netlify CMS personally and i know it goes through GitHub too

      1. 2

        Nice!! Thank you for that answer! We're looking at upgrading our frontend to NextJS in the next version, and Netlify CMS looks like it could really help with our static content strategy.

  7. 2

    Apart from their inspiring journey, The blog is so well written and the other blog links are so well-placed literally opened all in a new tab.

    Congratulations guys ✨

  8. 2

    That's incredible! I've been following Plausible for a while now and I am very happy that you are succeeding. If you continue with your charitable giving, you may want to look into Giving What We Can's company pledge to donate a portion of all profits to charity. We did this with my company Easy EMDR and I have found it to be a great way to give ambitious amounts in an organized fashion, and to inspire other companies to do the same.

    Here's a link if you are interested: https://www.givingwhatwecan.org/pledge

  9. 2

    Love what they do - love this level of transparency as well!

    1. 2

      thanks Mehdi, appreciate that!

  10. 2

    Plausible is the best option to give up google analytics, servers based on EU, open-source code, and nice UX, I know a lot of founders who suit plausible without thinking twice

  11. 2

    nice to see a business like plausible succeed!

    1. 2

      Gives me hope. I think there is a big market for more ethical, counter-big-tech ideas

  12. 2

    @markosaric I wish I could upvote this ten times. Thank you so much for embodying integrity and humbly sharing your story.

    And thanks @ZergLurker for sharing it!

    1. 1

      thanks for the kind words Cindy!

  13. 2

    Amazing work @markosaric & @ukutaht! Brilliant example of build in public + product led growth.

    Reckon you'll hit $2m ARR by the end of the year?

    1. 1

      thanks Chris! i doubt it! we're about to hit 87k mrr tomorrow so it would need to be some big record breaking months for us to go that fast. remember that we don't force any growth with paid ads etc and things go way slower when you grow organically

  14. 2

    Really cool story! @markosaric, when you joined in 2020 were you working on Plausible full-time as your only project?

    1. 1

      Thanks! For the first three months, it was more like part time as we agreed to give it three months to see how we work together before deciding how to proceed long term. It turned out it all went very well so we split the ownership in the company and I've been working on Plausible as my only project since

  15. 2

    The growth rate after the first nine months is exponential! It took them over 10 months to get to $400 MRR and then just 9 months to jump from $400 MRR to $10,000 MRR?! Incredible story @ukutaht & @markosaric

    You mentioned you got launched your paid subscription and ended the month at $64 MRR, which means most of your 60 beta users chose not to subscribe. Did you choose to offer a free plan alternative to try to keep as many existing users as possible, or was every plan paid?

    1. 1

      Thank you! And that's correct. We didn't offer any free plans to those that didn't want to continue (we still don't have any free plans). In the beta announcements, it was made clear that it was free only temporarily during the beta period and the idea was always to charge for all tiers. Our idea is to be funded by our subscribers directly rather than investors or rather than trying to monetize data in other ways etc.

  16. 1

    Cool! Thanks for sharing!

  17. 1

    Plausible has been an integral part of our product's growth. We never implemented GA in favor of Plausible. Incredibly inspiring founders. They pulled off something many struggle to do.

  18. 1

    I've been a plausible customer for 2 years. Happy to support them. It's a great product.

  19. 1

    I would love to interview the team in my podcast

  20. 1

    I hated google analytics with a passion. Just found out about your service and added plausible as our analytics here at fabform.io

    Plausible has a beautiful UI and i'm getting some really good insights about how fabform gets traffic.

  21. 1

    Thanks for the post.. Here are the some interesting posts regarding your niche. Check now- https://axolotlsquishmallow.com/

  22. 1

    It is great to see growth linear and not lie some where you read it all came in three months :-) But the fact that you are taking on a challenge that a lot of people would see as not worth entering, proves that no matter what you can still build something that solves the same problem better and more ethically. Oh and it makes analytics simpler for layperson, GA is a minefield, no idea what it is telling me for my web traffic.

    1. 1

      thanks for the kind words!

  23. 1

    Always loved the landing page (homepage), great to see you guys reached these goals

  24. 1

    Love the Journey ,
    Thanks for sharing

  25. 1

    I just wanted to ask you if except for being privacy-focused is there any other difference between you and GA(though it's a big difference).

    1. 2

      we're lightweight so your website runs faster. we're simple to understand so you don't need to get lost in GA. you can get more details in this comparison: https://plausible.io/vs-google-analytics

      1. 1

        Thanks well I got one more reason which maybe is the best. You all at least respond yo users which Google won't(except on it ads and AdSense service)

  26. 1

    I have read on Twitter about Plausible and have gotten to know that it is an amazing SaaS! Going to try it out someday myself too!

    1. 1

      that's great to hear, hope you find Plausible useful!

  27. 1

    Happy customer here. I moved all my personal projects over to Plausible and was able to integrate the API into my dashboards. I love the work and transparency!

    The hard part for me is convincing my freelance clients to switch over as well. They are mostly smaller SMEs that just want to get some analytics but also integrate with Google Ads. For them, there is no clear win in using Plausible (except for being more GDPR compliant but currently no one is getting punished for using GA)

    1. 2

      thanks Robin! hopefully things change! we cannot do any retargeting due to privacy issues but otherwise, the more traditional ad campaigns are supported in Plausible too. we have full support for UTM tags so sites can follow journey from a paid ad click to a conversion.

  28. 1

    I've been looking at some alternatives to Google analytics myself. Eventually settled for a self-hosted version of umami. Mostly because I didn't want to spend any bucks on my free website :| . It's just blogging.
    I had a VPS already taking care of a few self-hosted things, like bookmarks ( linkding ) etc. Hosted this as well.
    Though I've loved your product and looked into the competition as well ( fathom ) . All the best, love privacy focused products 🙌

    1. 1

      thanks for the feedback!

  29. 1

    Thanks for sharing our post @ZergLurker, appreciate your support!

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