I was thrilled to see recently Alex Isora make $800k by selling Unicorn Platform, a website builder, as I previously interviewed him about learning to code without a CS degree. Alex has stayed on at Mars, the company which has acquired him and unlike a lot of founders, will stay working on his product post-acquisition. I am excited to share an interview with Alex about making a life-changing amount of money from this sale.
Can you tell us what you’ve achieved with Unicorn Platform?
Absolutely! With Unicorn Platform (affiliate), I have achieved significant success and growth. Here are some of the key achievements:
• Revenue: Unicorn Platform has grown to generate an impressive $16,000 in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
• Paying Customers: We have acquired over 1,000 paying customers who trust and use Unicorn Platform for their website building needs.
• Total Users: To date, Unicorn Platform has amassed a user base of 41,000 users and counting.
• Product Hunt Success: I have launched Unicorn Platform on Product Hunt, where it gained immense popularity and became the number one product of the day. This launch brought in a significant boost in users and conversions.
• SEO Traffic: Through effective SEO optimization efforts, Unicorn Platform has achieved good positions for relevant keywords, resulting in approximately 400 clicks per day from organic search traffic.
• Supportive Community: The support and loyalty of the Unicorn Platform community, including Indie Hackers and existing users, have played a vital role in the growth of the platform. Their word-of-mouth referrals and support have been invaluable.
Why did you create Unicorn Platform?
I've always had this itch in my head, this nagging feeling that the world needed a simple landing page builder. And I don't mean the vague "simple" that you see in all those ads floating around the web. No, I mean truly simple.
I was armed only with my passion for web development and a burning desire to make a difference. I wanted to provide fellow founders with a tool that they could easily use to create stunning landing pages without all the unnecessary complexity.
Any tips for selling a website like Unicorn Platform?
There is one significant thing: find a buyer that you truly like. If you both think the same, there will be no problems. You can watch the video I made about selling my SaaS here
What have you learned from other founders? (you mentioned a 'mistake' that Josh Pigford made recently on Twitter)
Josh Pigford made a terrible mistake. He sold his SaaS in a rush. The new owner doubled the MRR overnight by silently doubling the prices. Being in a rush leads to an inappropriate buyer choice. You are still responsible for what the new owner will do to your clients because they gave you their trust. Never be in a rush. Think what you can do today to avoid being in a rush in the future.
How did you create Unicorn Builder?
Creating Unicorn Platform (affiliate) was quite the adventure. First, let's talk about the technology stack. I wanted to build a robust and scalable platform, so I went with ReactJS for the frontend, Python with Django for the backend, and Postgres as the database. This combination allowed me to create a powerful and efficient system that could handle the demands of our users.
One of the biggest challenges was building the initial version, which I like to call the MVP (minimum viable product). I had to strike a balance between providing enough features to attract early adopters and not getting lost in the complexity of a full-fledged website builder.
To overcome this challenge, as I said before, I decided to focus on creating a static landing page generator. Users could easily compose web pages using pre-designed components and then export the code as an HTML file. This allowed them to customize their pages without the need for complex editing or hosting capabilities.
Overall, building Unicorn Platform (affiliate) was a thrilling and challenging experience. It required a lot of hard work, dedication, and continuous learning. But seeing the platform grow and having the opportunity to make a positive impact on our users' lives made it all worth it.
What do you plan to do with the $800k?
I made myself a gift by buying the most exceptional vehicle on Earth - the 5th generation Honda Civic.
I intend to financially support gifted founders of independent startups.
Why did you decide to stay working on the site after you sold it?
Well, it's quite simple, really. I genuinely love Unicorn Platform. It's like a child to me. And as any parent would tell you, you don't just abandon your child after selling them to someone else (metaphorically speaking, of course).
But in all seriousness, working on Unicorn Platform brings me joy. I am passionate about the product and the people who use it. Plus, I still have a great amount of influence and control over its direction, even as part of the MarsX family.
Sure, I could have moved on and started something new, but why fix what ain't broken? Unicorn Platform is thriving, and I believe in its potential to continue growing and making a positive impact. So, I decided to stick around and keep contributing to its success.
I couldn't be happier with my decision. I get to work on something I love, alongside a team of amazing individuals, and continue to see the product evolve and flourish. It's the best of both worlds, really.
So, yes, I am happy working on Unicorn Platform even after the sale. It's like having the best of both worlds – the excitement of being an indie hacker and the stability and support of being part of a larger organization. And that is a win-win situation if you ask me.
Where can people find out more about you?
Here are the places where you can connect with me:
• Twitter: I am very active on Twitter and love interacting with the indie hacker and startup community.
• YouTube: If you're interested in building startups and want to learn some tips and tricks, you can check out my YouTube channel. I share educative and fun videos about building startups and cover various topics related to entrepreneurship.
• Newsletter: I run a weekly newsletter called "10K.isora.me" where I cover interesting and trending news topics from the perspective of an indie maker. You can subscribe to the newsletter to receive my analysis and insights delivered straight to your inbox.
Feel free to explore these platforms and connect with me. I'm always open to meeting new people and discussing ideas!