The personal CRM space is a funny one. At least in the tech / silicon valley communities, everyone seems to agree that personal contact management is some sort of a problem and yet, no company has been able to solve the problem profitably.
There are a few reasons for this including:
- The market for people who are willing to pay +10$/mo for a better contact management app is extremely small
- Those people have a very broad range of needs when it comes to Personal CRMs. Everyone needs a slightly different personal relationship manager, which fragments the already small market even further.
In my opinion, this is why only bootstrapped founders have a chance to build a profitable solution in this market and why I'll present three of them today, including our own team of indie hackers. All of us have reached similar revenue levels for the time being: around 500$ in monthly recurring revenue.
Nat.app - Personal CRM with focus on Gmail integration
About our product
Nat is the personal CRM that we've been building for the past 3 years. We decided that the most important thing was to build a fully automated relationship management app: There should be no need for manual data logging and so on. We took it so far that there is currently no way to add contacts manually to our app (we're currently changing this!).
This is why we took it upon us to build an integration with Gmail. It was hard and took months but was definitely worth it. Our customers save hours of data entry simply because we can import their emails and automatically find out who they've emailed. For the time being, we're the only bootstrapped company with such an integration.
About our team
Our team size has been changing through the years, we started of being just two co-founders, later on, we added two team members to help us part-time in exchange for equity and as our growth has staled, we went back to being just two people working part time.
Mogul - The 10x spreadsheet for contact management
About the product
Mogul is the oldest bootstrapped personal CRM out there that is still in existence. The initial iPhone app was published by Chris around five years ago. He went through different phases and really started to push updates actively around one-two years ago and today his app has a large set of powerful features while staying extremely sleek and user-friendly.
In addition to his native IOS app, Chris has also added a web application that syncs fully. One special feature that he is the only to offer to his customers is end to end encryption, which, like WhatsApp, offers the highest levels of privacy and security.
Chris is building Mogul all by himself as a side project besides running a company that offers outsourcing solutions to SME. He's doing it by passion as his main company is already profitable and also sees it as a long term strategy. Like all of us, he hopes to be able to make a living from his personal CRM app in the coming years.
Queue - Mobile-first Personal CRM for your iPhone
About the product
Queue has been in existence for a few years as well and similar to Chris, Jeremy (who makes Queue) has really started to intensify his efforts on this mobile app about 1-2 years ago.
Queue allows you to import contacts from your phone book and to set different schedules for each one based on how often you want to interact with the people in your network. You can then see your Queue: a simple, prioritized list of people to reach out to.
Jeremy has also built a Google Calendar integration which automatically updates your queue when you had a calendar meeting with a contact in your list, thus saving you from manually entering that meeting.
Jeremy was a designer at Square for the past few years and the idea of a personal CRM never left his mind. He left his job around two years ago to focus all his attention on Queue, the relationship management app he has worked on part time for the past few years.
Jeremy’s goal is to grow Queue into a nice lifestyle business, and in the meantime he’s doing some consulting work as a product designer on the side. His favourite customers are independent service providers and they're enjoying his app a lot!
I've known both Chris and Jeremy for two years now and it's been incredibly helpful to discuss and share ideas and experiences between the three of us. I know that some people might be afraid of sharing ideas and learnings with competitors but that's not the way I see it. We're all trying to solve a problem from different angles and there is much more to gain from openness and communication than from trying to progress hidden in the shadows.
Let's see how this adventure will continue for all of us! We're all working hard on new features and product changes and hope to reach 1'000$ in monthly recurring early next year! Let's make it happen!