Luca Micheli moved from his native Rome, Italy, to Dublin to set up a business, Customerly. He has developed iOS apps ever since the App Store opened with his most successful app receiving 6.5 million downloads. This is his story.
What is Customerly?
Three years ago, some friends and I started building what Customerly is today. It is an all-in-one platform with a simple goal – to bridge the gap between you and your customers.
“In Italy, everything is more complex. Here in Ireland, everything is easier.”
What need are you meeting?
Previously, we had to use at least three different tools to run automated marketing campaigns, to help customers online and to run surveys. Those days are over. Customerly users are experiencing huge benefits with the help desk perfectly integrated with their own database and CRM.
With our product you can:
- Acquire more leads
- Support your users and visitors
- Nurture them with automation triggered by their data and behaviour
- Collect their feedback
- Run surveys
The good news is that you can achieve all of this without importing and exporting data through different services. There are two kinds of people: those who struggle by using three different tools to support, collect feedback and automate their businesses and those who want to keep things simple and in just one place. This is the value that makes Customerly so powerful and unique.
“The good news is that you can achieve all of this without importing and exporting data through different services.”
Was it difficult to set up a business in a new country?
No, not at all. In Italy, everything is more complex. Here in Ireland, everything is easier. I can still remember the first call with my Irish accountant, I was just so astonished by how easy things are here. This is one of the reasons why we chose Ireland to set up our business. Bank of Ireland helped us so much with the opening of the business account and with the amazing spaces they offer to startups. I never ever found anything like this before, and I think it’s a great idea to attract creative minds.
How did you fund and start the business?
We self-funded the business with our own money. We refused some proposals of investment. We believe that our customers are our first investors. We started building Customerly as a side job, but after 16 months we were out with a beta and we recently started charging our first customers.
We incorporated the company in November 2017 and since our first beta, we collected more than 2,500 users, mostly thanks to word of mouth.
“I can still remember the first call with my Irish accountant, I was just so astonished by how easy things are here.”
What are your growth plans?
We are constantly working on the platform and features, but of course our main focus today is growth. Everything we have achieved to this day is because we believe that we have created an incredible product and we have grown a lot organically.
We haven’t spent a single euro on advertising yet. But we are working on defining a sustainable paid acquisition strategy that can work with our product. This is why we are going to sponsor the SaaStock in Dublin and the WebSummit in Lisbon. We believe that networking at this stage of the business is the most important thing to do.
Of course, we are planning to invest in the next months in social advertising and some other channels where our target is (mostly SaaS owners).
“I never ever found anything like this before, and I think it’s a great idea to attract creative minds.”
What (or whom) has helped you most along the way?
The passion we put on this project. Without passion, you cannot achieve anything in life. The experience we had in the past helped us build Customerly in every aspect. Knowledge of the technologies, graphics, UX and leadership skills were key to our success.
My team is the core of this project: Gianni Genovesi, Paolo Musolino, Matteo Martinelli and Daniele Ratti are the diamonds behind Customerly.
“We refused some proposals of investment without any doubt. We believe that our customers are our first investors.”
If you were to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
We spent too much time developing new features instead of focusing on the release of the good ones we had. But I do believe that everything happens for a reason. So I’d do everything the same way.
What were the biggest challenges you have been faced with?
Launching a project like Customerly without investment is not that easy, we have to be smart about acquiring new users almost for free. This is why one of our biggest challenges is how to spread the word as much as possible with a contained amount of money for investments.