It was nearly a year ago that SohoOS announced a second round of financing to the tune of $8M. The company has since been quiet on the PR front, so I I decided to check in with Ron Daniel (CEO) to see why.
The one-word answer: Growth. Micro-businesses using the platform have exploded to 940,000, with 1500 being added every day.
Let me jot your memory: SohoOS offers a collection of business tools for micro-businesses, the most popular being Invoicing, Web Presence and Contact Management.
What are micro-businesses? Typically, these are businesses with 1-5 employees that make an annual revenue of ~$60,000. In SohoOS’s case, we’re talking businesses that are mostly in English-speaking countries.
There are a couple of reasons behind this year’s explosive growth: The first is the company hunkered down on marketing, using their funding for user-acquisition. The second, is product.
Realizing that it brings the most value around invoicing, the company released ‘Command Center,’ a cross-browser toolbar (see screenshot below) that notifies the user (business owner) whenever a product or service is requested, whenever an invoice or estimate is seen, and when a payment is made. By making itself persistent on the browser, SohoOS was able to increase value for users, and thereby, engagement.
Side Note: Nice to see a smart use of tool-bar productization that’s not aimed at changing search defaults.
Having known the company from it’s very early days, I’ve long held that it should be charging for the service. SohoOS, though, has chosen to sacrifice revenue for growth. While it clearly seems that their bet has paid off, I again pushed Daniel (CEO) on it.
He explained that they are testing various premium features in small-scale, but are much more focused on improving invoicing and payment. Why? Invoicing is topping $100M per month, and over $500K is being transferred via PayPal through the system every day. Daniel says these numbers are doubling every four months.
With SohoOS seemingly making all the right moves to dominate the micro-business vertical, in 2013 we’ll likely find out if the company has what it takes to cross its chasm.