Pierre de Wulf is an indie hacker and bootstrapper. He has founded multiple SaaS businesses and is publicly documenting the journey. His main focus is the web-scraping API ScrapingBee.
ScrapingBee is a Web Scraping API that handles proxies and Headless browser.
The early days
They came up with the idea in April, 2019. They started building the MVP in June and launched in July to their mailing list of 200 people. By the end of the month, they had their first paying customer. At that point, it was called Scraping Ninja.
By August they had reached $1000 MRR. They launched on Product Hunt 11 days later and ended up getting the #2 spot. 2 days later, they got 3 customers in the one day. In early September, the project hit 13k unique visitors for the previous 30 days. This was largely due to Product Hunt and 2 successful posts about web scraping.
Growing The Business
In January, 2020, ScrapingBee crossed the $15k mark in total revenue. In March 2020, they hit $4k MRR. They also decided to focus on different metrics. They got rid of the $9 plan and stopped trying to create content to appeal to everyone. By June, they had reached ramen profitability at $5k MRR.
Reaching $100k ARR
By July, 2020, the project had 100 recurring customers. By August, they had reached $100,000k ARR. It was also the first time they averaged 1 new customer per day during the whole month. They crossed $10k monthly revenue for the first time. Less than 2 weeks later, they reached profitability
In November, they reached $200k ARR. This was important as it meant they were creating as much “value” as when we were employed.
In April, Pierre was able to pay himself more than what he would have earned if he had kept his old software engineering job.
Scraping Bee hit $500k ARR in May.
In August, 2021, it hit $500k net revenue
- In February, they hired an editor to review and clean some of their most important blog posts. It had significant impact within a week. That month, the Scraping Bee blog also hit the front page of Hacker News for the first time. He shared the stats in a follow up tweet.
- The amount of people who had signed up for free trials in March 2020 vs March 2021.
- How MRR can swing 2.5k over a couple of days (graph)
- Thee first subscription notification ScrapingBee got, days after ending the beta.
- September 2019 $1500 MRR
- October 2019 $2350 MRR
- November 2019 $2674 MRR
- December 2019 $3400 MRR
- January 2020 $3636 MRR
- February 2020 $4000 MRR
- March 2020 (via Twitter) $4433 MRR
- April 2020: $4759 MRR. They also joined Tinyseed.
- May 2020 $4937 MRR
- June 2020 $6358 MRR
- July 2020 $7875 MRR
- August 2020 $8890 MRR
- September 2020 $9,854 MRR
- October 2020 $11,581 MRR
- November 2020 $17,549 MRR
- December 2020 $20,004 MRR
- March 2021 They decided not to share their MRR from this month forward
ShopToList is a universal wishlist that allows people to monitor prices of products they like.
He shared more about creating the project at How we went from three failed projects to 1200 users in just one week. He sold the website on IndieMaker in June, 2019.
Pricing Bot is a SaaS app for e-commerce to monitor their competitor prices.
Pierre and Kevin founded PricingBot after noticing that e-commerce owner were using ShopToList to monitor competitors prices instead of his own. He shared more about creating, and selling, the product at Selling our first SAAS in Serbia.
He shared more about the lessons learned at 6 things I wish I knew before I bootstrapped my first SaaS startup.
Best-Books.Dev curates the best programming books. It compiles thousands of lists and recommendations on the one site.
Pierre launched Best-Books.dev in February, 2020. The website curated the best programming books on the website. The information was compiled from thousands of lists and recommendations.
He compiled more than 1200 recommendations from 68 lists to came up with thie top 25 most recommended programming books of all-time. He shared more about the methodology in this Twitter thread.
For the startup book list, he compiled more than 4000 recommendations from 208 lists.
The Ultimate Bootstrapping Calculator
This tool helps aspiring bootstrappers figure out how much money they need to leave a job to build something.
Pierre unveiled this project during April, 2020.
- Reflecting on 2 years Bootstrapping: what Pierre wished he knew when he began
- Ten practical tips that will help you save time and money on your #IndieHackers journey.
- In 2020, ScrapingBee had its first copycat. Pierre created a thread about how they found the person behind it.
- Mistakes made with his first product, PricingBot
- ScrapingBee: From 2 failed startups to $3,000/month in 4 months at Failory
- How We Turned Two Failures into a $2,500 MRR Success on Indie Hackers
- The story of ScrapingBee with Pierre De Wulf at Indie Worldwide