Pie’s Pieter Walraven: bringing business messaging apps to actual people

Now that we identified ~70 businesses on the Maps of SaaS startups in the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, it’s time to get to know them, one by one.

This guy is passionate about messaging apps, really

Of course the first question to Pieter goes along the line of “Why are you crazy enough to go in such a crowded space, with Slack growing like crazy and full of cash (Slack recently raised $120m at a billion+ valuation) ?”

 48 messaging apps, sorted by color

48 messaging apps, sorted by color

Then he shows me his phone, with home screens full of messaging apps (48 app to be precise, 48!) meticulously sorted by colors while arguing that Slack is a product for geeks. Yes, this guy lives and breathes messaging and has some ideas to make his own a success by focusing on the human aspects of communications, contrary to Slack and HipChat which he describes as geeky: He think the real opportunity lies in tailoring to a more mainstream audience, because “you are not your user” (If his users behave like he does and download 48 messaging apps, he for sure will have failed!)

Piracy as a freemium strategy

As a coffee cup lands on the table, we change topic, now talking about distribution, pricing model, piracy, Microsoft and Adobe. How do we links those you wonder? Well, the thought goes like this: freemium is about putting a product in the hands of prospects so they buy it at some point, when they are ready (which can be much more than a few days of trial period). Which matches pretty much what piracy does: people can use a software for as long as they wish, at scales that are not so significant for businesses providing the technology. If the provider is then able to detect the people using the software at scale (say an agency using several copies of Photoshop for example), converting them to paid customers if an easy sale (an agency can not afford not to use Photoshop to continue the example).

SaaS’ questions

What is SaaS for you?

SaaS are cloud hosted applications which require no need to download. They are for business purposes.

What is your favorite SaaS keyword?

Because once people see value, they keep using your product and they can convert to paid customers.

Any tools you recommend other SaaS entrepreneurs to use?

Buildwith tells which tools are websites built with. For example, if you’re interested to know who’s using Magento for their ecommerce website, builtwith will give you a list of such sites.