We Interviewed Matt About Tasmania's Journey To $3.6 Million ARR in 9 Months

Tasmania.com

Scaled from ZERO to $3.6 Million ARR in 9 Months

Industry: Tech/Online Travel Agency

Tasmania Growth Curve

Full Interview Transcription

John:
This Artifact was commissioned by weadvertiseyourbusiness.com to tell the story of their clients' journeys towards seven figures in revenue. Hi, I'm John from Artifact. In this episode, I spoke with Martin Zych of Jirav. He told me about how they help companies forecast and track their growth, what he finds fulfilling about the work, the influx of clients in the last year, and much more. Enjoy.

Martin Zych:
Hi, I'm Martin Zych, CEO, co-founder of Jirav. We're an all-in-one financial forecasting platform, helping small and mid-market companies forecast and track all of their growth.

John:
So tell me a little bit more about Jirav and your story of founding it. What was the problem you guys were looking to solve? What was your motivation in starting this company?

Martin Zych:
So before Jirav, I used to be an outsource CFO and controller. So I was running finance and accounting for different high-growth companies, helping entrepreneurs who are trying to grow their ideas and build a business on the finance side. So I did that for years and what I realized was there wasn't a good platform to do this via technology and web apps. You were stuck doing this in Excel and a big, crazy spreadsheet that was super hard to collaborate on and to iterate on. So we founded this company 2015, have been growing since and we're now making waves throughout the industry, helping hundreds of companies every single month achieve these forecasts in growth.

John:
What is it that you think makes you guys special in the marketplace? What helps set you guys apart?

Martin Zych:
I think the big thing that we do is we're a finance tool built for finance professionals by finance professionals. So we really understand what it is that the user's trying to accomplish when you're running a business and on the financial side, being able to also communicate that with the non-finance people and to do it really easily and elegantly. So, we've used the feedback from hundreds of companies to make this process really seamless, easy, fast, and that's probably the biggest difference versus what's out there traditionally from other, what you call, traditional budgeting competitors for businesses on that side.

John:
How is that for you now saying like you had done this before in other places and seen how messy it was, is that a really pretty gratifying feeling for you? Like once the company was up and running and seeing what your guys' software could do and how it could help companies, has that been really cool for you to see what you guys can offer other people?

Martin Zych:
Yeah, it's amazing. It's like what gets me up every single morning, because we're helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. And it's so cool when you meet a company and it's like four guys and a dog and they've got an idea and then you're able to help them build that plan and see what their goals are, and then start executing against that and help in that trajectory. And then, a year or two later, they get a funding, they get successful and you're like, "I help drive that strategic side of that business." And that's what, really, we value a lot. And I think all of the employees at Jirav get excited about every day too.

John:
Yeah. I imagine that whole thing of helping somebody see through their dream or their vision is really, really cool.

Martin Zych:
Definitely.

John:
Tell me what have been some big milestones for the company over the last few years. As you guys have built up this product and this user base, what have been some of the moments where this felt really special to you?

Martin Zych:
Yeah, so we've been doing this for a few years, but last year was a really big inflection point for us. We all know the world turned upside down in March of 2020. And on the finance side, it caused a lot of businesses to really focus on their finances and budgeting. And at first, people were like, "How are we going to navigate through this? What's going to go on? What are the scenarios we can do?" And what ended up occurring for us was we've been doing this for a long time, but then people actually really made it a priority. And we ended up getting such amazing customers who were really passionate about doing this and driving through the craziness of when the pandemic started. And then now as the economy's recovering, there's like doubling down even more because now people are like, "All right, things are growing, it's getting better. How do we accelerate through there?" versus in the beginning was, "How do we survive through the pandemic?"

Martin Zych:
So this part has been exciting for us because it's caused our growth as a business to grow exponentially. And with that, during the middle of that whole process, we ended up closing a very sizable series A venture funding round by notable investors who've had wins in this space and in traditional enterprise planning and they're betting on us to be the next wave of this. So that was probably one of the biggest milestones that we did. And we closed that in July last year.

Martin Zych:
Another big one that we had was in November, we launched a partnership with cpa.com and they're basically an arm of the AICPA, which helped bring best of breed technology solutions to the accounting industry. So this is helping us work with a lot of accounting firms and outsource CFOs who help small and mid-sized companies that they're growing. And we're the platform that helps them guide people through this conversation and build up their financial forecasts and plans as well.

John:
Nice. Tell me a little bit more about that early days of the pandemic, early 2020, mid 2020, like you said, it was a lot of people refocusing on things that were right in your guys' wheelhouse. What was that time like for you guys in your business? What do you remember of that?

Martin Zych:
So when that occurred, we were already growing fairly well, but then something like this hasn't ever occurred in our lifetime so people were freaking out. And what we learned was as people went through and they started going in and thinking critically about their businesses and we were able to help support them, there is a lot of people out there on that side that were having this problem. They were filling out, emailing us, like, "Help, my CEO says we need to build a budget. We need to build a forecast. Can you guys help us?" and now have to do it super fast? That's the other big part. Because this stuff normally takes weeks or months to implement a system and for us, you could do it in a couple of days and get back to work and get back to doing what you're doing on the day job. So that was pretty crazy to just see this huge wave come in March on that side and that interest grow from there.

John:
Yeah, I can imagine. Can you tell us how much you guys have grown in the last year? It seems like it's certainly been a big influx for you guys when you said you were already in a period of growth.

Martin Zych:
Yeah. I think we've more than tripled year over year in terms of our customer base, in terms of our employees as well, to support them. And that's continuing even now. So as that base gets bigger and bigger, it's hard to keep up that growth, but this is something that started last year. And then, now we've built up so many great references and so many people that love what we're doing, that the momentum just keeps on going at this time.

John:
Nice. Is that easy or hard to grow your company when part of your company's job is helping other companies grow and figure out how to manage that? Does that make you guys better equipped or is it just kind of the same?

Martin Zych:
Yeah, there's a term that a lot of software companies called, which is eat your own dog food. And we did that. So we really thought critically about our business, what are the key drivers of it and the different kind of levers and knobs you can pull in there. So we did that using the Jirav platform, built up our model, built up our scenarios, looked at our hypotheses and then we tuned it every month as we got new information and kept on growing and growing, and this is exactly what we do for our customers too. So we ended up having so many successful folks following our own pattern on that side. And part of what was mentioned earlier about why it's so exciting to work with entrepreneurs because we're helping them get through all that.

John:
Yeah, definitely. So tell me a little bit about the work that you guys have done with Paul in growing your company in the last year. So tell me about the work that Paul has done with you, guys.

Martin Zych:
Yeah. Paul is great with his company and his team. We had these initial wins and we're a startup company, we're growing quickly, but we needed a megaphone to be able to share and broadcast to the world, "Hey, look at all the people that we've helped and we can help you too." And we didn't have an in-house professional team to do all of this stuff. So we were able to team up with Paul's team and he set us up for our first paid digital campaign, the search engine marketing and all the best practices around that. And really, it put wind in our sails further growing upon that momentum that we already had.

John:
What sort of results or wins have you seen from working with him that is maybe something that you guys didn't have before or a new facet that that kind of work brought to you guys?

Martin Zych:
Yeah, I think working with Paul's team really had us hone our digital presence. Before, as a lot of small businesses, they don't have that expert in-house to do this online advertising and all of that. His team was able to bring in that best practice on there.

John:
One thing that I heard from Paul and I can also hear it from you is like big on goals and re-evaluating and setting new goals. So where are Jirav's goals coming up? What are you guys setting your sights on in the future?

Martin Zych:
Right now, I'm just focused on helping as many people as we can. And if we can make customers successful and we make our employees successful, everyone will achieve great things. So we're building an amazing place to work while continuing to grow the business. And we're working with Paul as well as he's been able to and his team scale with us as we scale. He was able to start small and then get bigger and bigger as our needs became bigger and he's able to support us along that path too.

John:
What excites you about the path that Jirav is on? What excites you looking into the future of the company?

Martin Zych:
2021, right now, we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on the pandemic and the economy is recovering and things are starting to normalize again. And with this, I think there's a huge opportunity to continue on growing and to continue helping. Big parts for us. As a company, for us, we're expanding nationally into different cities so we've got teams in Seattle, San Francisco and in Austin, Texas. And Paul's team is in Austin, Texas as well. We're helping companies not just in Austin but nationwide on that side.

John:
Nice. Okay. You mentioned that people came in needing this like, we got to make a budget now because of the pandemic and now people's goals are changing of like, how do we refine the forecasting that we're doing as things start to look up. Is that something you guys are looking forward to is helping some of these businesses in a different type of strategy or is it all the same for you guys?

Martin Zych:
No, we're absolutely helping people with that whole revision process. When you build a model for a company, your job isn't done once the model is built. That's really where the work begins, because now you're using that to help steer the ship and to guide decision-making. And the way we built up our platform is that it's really ridiculously simple to be able to roll that forward, say, every month or every quarter, and then have that strategic discussion with your team and then be able to reorient and then figure out how can we accelerate things, do we have to navigate, make some adjustments of what we thought? So that's a key thing that we do that we're there for, ideally, lifelong support for companies as they grow. And that's part of also that ongoing support and excitement around there.

John:
Yeah, for sure. That makes sense. Okay. What would you say to whoever's listening to this, both about how Paul could help a business owner that's listening to this and also what Jirav could bring to somebody? What would you tell somebody who happens to be listening to this about how you guys could help their company?

Martin Zych:
Yeah, I think that's a great question. And the most important thing is as an entrepreneur, I really understand and feel what every other business owner is trying to achieve too. And I want to just let everyone know who's listening that we're here to help you, and we're willing to listen to your biggest goals and your biggest concerns, and to see how can we help you financially navigate through that, build that plan and execute against it, even use this to be able to find investors for an idea and grow from that side. So that's, for Jirav, what we do and that's jirav.com. It's spelled J-I-R-A-V dot com.

Martin Zych:
And then on Paul's side, he's in a similar vein, an amazing partner for the small and high-growth businesses as well to do that for the advertising side. So I really think that that combo could be a really great way to fuel the growth that everyone listening in on this podcast right now wants to achieve, and we're there to help support you.