Question

What is the difference between your two companies, Profitwell and Price Intelligently?

Also, have you considered merging them under one brand?

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Patticus's avatar
a year ago

Good question. :)

So...we don't have two companies is really the true and short answer here, but we changed our name, still had/have two websites, and had no one dedicated to product marketing. Chaos ensued and is still ensuing from some of the confusion.

The longer answer is that we ended up starting Price Intelligently with a thesis that we were going to use our software to help subscription companies (mainly SaaS at first, but later expanded to any type of subscription) with their monetization. Monetization is more than just the number you're charging; it's the packaging, value metric, price, positioning, and really anything that influences ARPU/ACV. Since monetization is so central, we went out and tried to sell our software and got a lot of, "hey this data is great, but can you just come talk to us." We weren't (and still aren't) funded, but we thought, "oh services are bad - VCs don't like those" until these folks basically said they'd pay us a bunch of money to let them use the software/get the data output and have us come in and coach them through the changes.

We ended up building towards what's called a tech enabled service where you can't buy us without the software and you can't by our software without us (at least for the Price Intelligently software). The distinction is this isn't consulting (although we get compared to consulting constantly - more product marketing woes). It's not consulting because we don't just do anything that we're asked. Instead, we explain how our software works, how the team overlays with that software, and which of our own packages we'd provide our customer. They then choose if that's the fit for them and fortunately a lot of them have said it is a fit. Our gross margin is better than most software companies at 78% (on this product).

Where does ProfitWell come in?

Well, two events happened quite closely together:
1. Our PI software is survey based so we need to collect respondents from our customer's target customer to get accurate data. This is problematic for a few reaosns, but still better than what most folks use on the market. As such, we started seeking out how we could put together a much cleaner solution to the monetization problem. We centered on essentially what we're trying to do is create a unified theory of subscription growth, which models out as a function of a whole host of things, which may be better served in a different answer here. The TLDR was we needed to identify proper segments and then make adjustments on those segments to do what our PI software was doing automatically. To even get there, we needed to cleanly look at the data from the entire lifecycle of those segments - from pre-visit and visit to lead to opp to close to engaged to expanded to churned. The forcing function for us was then realizing that the most important data was going to be financial data bcause if we started anywhere else (usage, upfunnel, etc) we'd always be left with "so what....we need to know what worked or what didn't...what contributed to more revenue and what contributed to less"
2. One of our customers that was about to IPO who we were helping with pricing was calculating their MRR and churn completely incorrectly, so we thought - "holy shit....we can create a cool analytics app for financial metrics...we're geniuses...we're the only ones who ever would think of this amazing idea."

Of course, we weren't. Maybe our thesis around the unified theory of subscription growth was novel, but the analytics wasn't (Baremetrics, Chartmogul, etc.)

So where does this fit into ProfitWell?

Well, we needed a name that was less "price" oriented, because our mission expanded and we did the classic "what's cheap and sounds ok" (plus I like double entendres) and came up with ProfitWell. We didn't want to kill the momentum of PI (we're customer funded/bootstrapped), so we kept the PI website and added "by ProfitWell" and some cross linking to mildly help.

The core thesis for us then centers around revenue automation for subscription companies. We want to take on all the mechanical pieces of growth and do those automatically. We call this "anti-active usage". You plug it in and we make you money (and we charge you based on the money we make you). Anything that's analytics or insights we'll give you for free, which is why ProfitWell Metrics is completely free and used by 20% of the subscription market. It's also why we spend so much time and money on the free metrics product - because it gives us a network effect from the data that powers our algorithms for the pricing, retention, and soon to be acquisition products we've built.

Realize that was long. Happy to clarify and hopefully that gives a nice, rambly reason why we changed our name and why we're not two companies. If you want to help us with our product marketing, please contact me at pc@profitwell.com. :)

6 points
awwstn's avatar
@awwstn (replying to @Patticus )
a year ago

This is a fascinating story, thanks so much for sharing!!

Out of curiosity -- what are the main reasons that some people stay on the free ProfitWell Metrics product vs. PriceIntelligently, which is paid but only costs you money if it makes you money?

2 points
Patticus's avatar
@Patticus (replying to @awwstn )
a year ago

We utilize a forever free model, so all of our products are independent, meaning they can stay on PW, pay for PI, pay for Retain, pay for Recognized (we have four main products right now). They're all independent and provide different value for different personas. As such, using PW doesn't necessarily hold you back from using PW Retain or PI. The spirit of your question though is more around why would someone utilize another one of our products besides the free product - really this comes down to evangelism and chatting with the right persona. Our PI product isn't pure pay for performance, so sometimes when we're selling to a small company we're just too expansive for them. Even our pay for performance products require evangelism to the right buyer and frankly an understanding of the problem. We're currently not attacking a problem area that has good competitors, so we end up having to really teach them about the problems we solve.

1 point

This question is part of an AMA with Patrick Campbell.

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