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Investor Report

Buffer in October: $391K MRR ($4.7M ARR), Fundraising, Buffer for iOS 8 & iPad, New Product Push

Investor UpdateIn October, Buffer announced a new funding round, launched the new Buffer for iOS 8 and iPad, and laid the groundwork to hire for many new positions!

Here are our latest numbers as of the end of October:

  • New users: 76,973 (Total: 1,861,443 from 1,784,516: +4.3%)
  • Daily active users: 43,231 (up from 41,647: +3.8%)
  • Monthly active users: 174,121 (up from 166,511: +4.6%)
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): $390,752 (ARR: $4,689,024: +6.9%)
  • Cash in bank: $1,004,862 (last month: $846,145)
  • Team size: 24 people across 5 continents

We’re very happy with the growth of MRR and cash in bank. We’re fully focused currently to do all we can to pull up our MRR growth rate to 10% MoM, which would be a great number for us.

Now, I’d love to share insights into key areas of focus in October:

Fundraising progress

You might have noticed that we announced a funding round recently. We were not completely sure what to expect, but we knew we wanted to be fully transparent about this fundraising. We also were keen to be open about all the details before it was completely finished and closed.

Luckily, we were able to achieve these things by sharing every detail around our decision to raise the $3.5M and what we’ll do with it. We even had two completely public AngelList syndicates, both of which were oversubscribed within 12 hours.

  • We have 100% of the $3.5M committed now.
  • We have a great set of new investors including Collaborative Fund, Red Swan Ventures, VegasTechFund, Scott & Cyan Banister, Eric Ries, Jason Lemkin, Gokul Rajaram and Adii Pienaar.
  • We’ve almost completed due diligence with our lead investor Collaborative Fund and hope to start collecting checks and wrapping up soon.

Building a data team and cohort visualizations for the health of Buffer

In the recent months, we’ve found that our data and growth needs have increased a lot, and we have really become great at being data-driven about product. We got to a point where our existing architecture wouldn’t allow us to get data fast enough to be able to move at the pace we wanted to.

Our Data team (Sunil, Michael, and Steven) have done a great job in building a great system with Hadoop, Mortar, Luigi and Looker to help us analyze hundreds of millions of records in seconds.

Using the new systems, we’ve been able to get some great insights into the health of Buffer. I’ve been very happy to see that if we do a cohort analysis where we split our userbase into cohorts based on their signup date, the cohorts stay active for several years and revenue from each cohort increases over time.

Cohort visualization of retention (each layer is a month of signups, layer represents active users):
cohort visualization
Cohort visualization of revenue (each layer is a month of signups, layer represents MRR):
cohort visualization of revenue

Buffer for iOS 8 and iPad

In October we were excited to launch a brand new version of Buffer for iOS which included awesome new sharing options thanks to the new iOS 8 extensions, as well as an iPad version included as a universal app.

iOS Simulator Screen Shot 8 Oct 2014 17.00.10

This has been in the works for several months and was great to get out in the wild.

Stepping on the gas with hiring

We’re now at a point where we’ve been at 24 people for a while, and it simply feels too small for the scale and opportunity we have.

As a result, we have recently made a big new push for hiring with Leo (customer development, growth analyst), Sunil (engineering) and Brian (designer) leading the charge.

In addition, we’re going to also be growing the Happiness team again soon, and Carolyn has been making some great improvements to our hiring process there from our learnings of hiring in previous cycles. We’d love to reach 30 people quite soon.

Here are all the roles we’re currently hiring for. We’d love any help in sending candidates to these pages:

New product push

One of the reasons we’re so excited to grow the team is that we now have a great flow and structure within the product teams, so we know exactly the roles and new teams we need to hire for.

We’ve managed to crank our product development productivity up to a new gear since we split product into small teams and established the decision maker process and five roles (Growth, Customer, Research, Product, Tech) of each team.

decision maker process

I’m excited to grow the team and the product in the months to come. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts about our progress in October. It’d be great to hear them! I’ll do my best to jump in and answer.

  • Brian Beard

    Hi Joel,

    The two cohort charts are very interesting together. I think it’s notable that revenue rises over time despite significant decrease in active users (though it looks like most increase in revenue happens in the first few months).

    It sounds like a chicken-and-egg problem: are paying customers the only ones exposed to Buffer’s true value, causing them to be the ones that stay (and upgrade further)? Or are they self-selecting and declaring themselves in the revenue-growing population from Day 1 by choosing a paid option? Any ideas which it is?

    Or maybe the charts only include paid users, it wasn’t entirely clear to me.


  • Kara Jo

    I’m really happy to hear about Buffer’s continued success! (And, of course, all the support that you’ve received for building such great products.) But I’m probably the most happy to hear about the new positions you’re opening up!

    Don’t mind me… I’ll just be sitting here anxiously waiting for that Happiness Hero link to turn blue!

  • James Henderson

    It’s always exciting to see a company such as Buffer grow in the fashion that you are. A steady growth and retention rate without incurring debt is impressive. You have a terrific product with the Buffer app but what makes you stand out from the rest is your team, which from my customer service background, is a model of excellence other companies should take note of. Congrats. Wishing you continued success.

  • “Cash in bank: $1,004,862 (last month: $846,145)” – Congrats guys that’s seriously awesome. Love the service, keep up the good work and don’t forget about Windows Phone.

  • Hey Joel and all the awesome people at Buffer! Congratulations for the successful fundraising! I am so happy for you! It is great to hear about your continued success and I am so looking forward for the new member of your team you will have soon.

  • Keep on keeping on!

  • Nice work on the raise dude!

    I’d love to hear a little more about the investors reaction to doing it in such a transparent way? Any push back?

    We’re part way through taking on some capital ourselves and I’d love to follow suit.

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