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Escape Velocity - with Dan Martell

May 21, 2020

Pop quiz:

Does a Freemium business model really convert to a growing SaaS?

Sure, you get widespread access to potential customers… 

But are they just there because it’s free? Or do they end up paying?

In the latest episode of the Escape Velocity Podcast, I sat down with Matthew Bellows, the founder of Yesware and BodesWell to talk about this.

Yesware is a sales and CRM tool that works inside of your email account.

It began as a free Google Chrome extension.

They were there at the start of the Chrome app explosion which skyrocketed their growth up to 10,000 free users per month

…entirely from word-of-mouth.

It sounds like a dream come true until Matthew had to turn it into a viable, ROI positive business.

100% free wasn’t going to cut it.

That meant transitioning from free… to freemium.

Some users got angry. Others understood.

But with over 100,000 free users who weren’t converting to paid, Matthew quickly realized they were a distraction from the needs of the paying customers.

What would you do?

What did he do?

This a million-dollar decision, where a SaaS founder has to make a choice that could make or break a business. This is what I live for! 

Tune in to the latest episode to hear us explore this business dilemma.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

- Why you need your users to get “that glint in their eye”
- How letting people down might be the right choice
- Lessons from turning free into paid
- How Yesware received $50 million in funding
- The growth tipping point to pursue investors
- Meditation
- The importance of visualization

Chatting with Matthew was like hanging out with an old friend and sharing war stories.

As SaaS founders, I think it’s super important to spend time with other founders in a similar position to you, people outside of your team who have a fresh take on your challenges.

That’s why I enjoyed this interview so much.

If you’ve ever been considering a freemium model, definitely check out this episode first.

If you find these conversations valuable, remember that’s a huge component of SaaS Academy. You’ll meet and work with other like-minded SaaS founders.

Jump on a call with my scale specialists and we’ll figure out if SaaS Academy is a fit for you.


Dan Martell has advised more startups than his hometown has people and teaches startup founders like you how to scale. He previously created, raised venture funding for and successfully exited two tech startups: Flowtown and You should follow him on twitter @danmartell for tweets that are actually awesome.

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