December 3rd, 2019
Typically I do monthly Starter Story reports, but I'd like to start doing this for Pigeon. Since they are two very different businesses, I'd like to do them separately.


Overall, I'm feeling really good about Pigeon - better than I've ever felt about it, I think.

This road of building a SaaS has been really hard - a lot harder than I expected. I've gone through some pretty depressing times - wondering if this is even worth it. But, I keep coming back to it, chipping away, and really proud to not have given up and gotten as far as I have.

If you go back and read some of my daily entries here, you'll probably find some stuff about this.

Signups for Pigeon have been really strong and MRR is at its highest right now.

This next month I will go through the Google audit and I'm really excited for 2020. It's going to be a big year.


Right at the end of October, I was rejected from YC. That really sucked, but a month later, I've mostly forgotten about it.

After the rejection, I put my head down and focused on building a better product. I improved a ton of UI/UX, onboarding, signup, and added a bunch of features.

I spent a lot of time on marketing this year and validating the product. Now, I'm confident it's validated. It's time to get serious.

YC Rejection Letter


MRR is at $783, which means 27 paying customers. This is up from about $667 last month, about 12.5% increase.

I also track active users, because I think it's more important than revenue.

Here's what a weekly graph looks like since we started in May:
Weekly active users since we opened beta in May.

Churn has been rough, although I think it's too early to look at the numbers too seriously.

Weekly newsletter updates

A big win this month has been the weekly newsletter I've been sending. I have about 300 people on my email list, who are both existing/past customers or people who are interested in Pigeon but have not become a customer.

Every Tuesday, I send out a newsletter about exciting new Pigeon updates, usually new features.

This has done a couple things:

  1. It's brought in new customers
  2. It's kept me accountable to ship new stuff in a consistent manner
  3. It's helped me ship faster and become more productive
  4. It's showing customers that we are dedicated to Pigeon

The Chrome Web Store

I remember talking to Ajay Goel from Gmass and he told me a lot of his growth came through the Chrome web store. I am starting to feel this now. Pigeon now gets 3-4 signups per day (which puts people on the waitlist). People are starting to find us through there.

One of the reasons I decided to start Pigeon was because it was a Gmail plugin. Being in the Gmail/Google ecosystem gives you access to a massive userbase (1.5B active users) and a free acquisition channel.

It's also easier to convince people to use your product because they are already using Gmail!

Features added/enhancements

We shipped a ton of stuff in November. Here's the main stuff:

  • Re-engineered the entire email templating engine
  • Made signing up much easier (oAuth flows, etc)
  • Quoted text in email replies
  • Email batching
  • Test sequences
  • Smart fields
  • Lead status updater in sequences
  • Gmail reply box reminders/sequence setters
  • General onboarding / documentation / product education improvements

Next month

Felt great about November, and I have some big plans for December. I will be mostly focusing on product and getting the security audit completed.

High level I'm focused on getting everything sorted for the new year, so we can hit 2020 and grow fast!