GE 266: How Buildium Struggled to Get Their First 50 Customers and Now Has 14K Customers in 40+ Countries (podcast) With Michael Monteiro

Michael Monteiro Buildium

Hey everyone! In today’s interview, I share the mic with Michael Monteiro, CEO and Co-Founder of Buildium, a property management software. 

Tune in to hear Michael explain how Buildium serves as a solution for so many property management companies, how it took them 2 whole years to get their first 50 customers and how they now have 14,000 customers in over 40 countries!

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:42] Before we jump into today’s interview, please leave a review and rating and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:30] Michael majors in computer science, worked in tech, then got into real estate. His idea for Buildium came out of his experiences as a small-property landlord.
  • [01:58] Buildium is a cloud software company whose software is aimed at small to mid-sized property management companies.
  • [02:25] Buildium does everything from accounting to tracking tenants to generating lease agreements.
  • [02:55] This is an improvement upon the system of using spreadsheets and quickbooks.
  • [03:15] Larger management companies have had software like Buildium, but smaller companies didn’t have access or funds to use such software.
  • [03:32] Most of their business is in the US, but they have 14,000 customers in over 40 countries.
  • [04:07] Michael estimates they have close to 5% of the market.
  • [04:54] Buildium is structured similarly to a cell-phone plan, in that the cost is dependent upon how many units you are managing.
  • [05:03] They have a core plan and a pro plan.
  • [05:25] They have add-ons that are integrated into the program, like payment tracking.
  • [07:00] Michael and his co-founder started this business in 2004. At the time, online software was a newer concept.
  • [07:30] It took them 2 years to get their first 50 customers.
  • [08:08] Google AdWords helped them get the word out, besides using word-of-mouth.
  • [09:04] They got better at marketing and grew their base.
  • [09:30] As engineers, it was easier to create and work on Buildium, than deal with marketing.
  • [10:46] When they had 500 customers, they were making a few hundred thousand dollars in revenue, they hired their first employees.
  • [12:05] By 2012, they had competitors with similar software.
  • [12:38] They didn’t raise capital at first, but did once they ran into competition from better-funded companies.
  • [13:40] Michael concedes that if he could go back, he would invest more into marketing.
  • [14:04] As engineers, he and his partner undervalued the marketing aspect of business.
  • [14:55] Inbound marketing is a key factor in their success.
  • [15:45] Currently, they are developing a lot of blog content has nothing to do with the software itself, but that is of interest to their customers.
  • [17:07] Hiring is a big challenge.
  • [17:35] Finding highly skilled workers is a bigger challenge than anticipated.
  • [19:00] Nobody is looking at hiring like a customer acquisition problem, so there isn’t a lot of talk about how you hire and how your company puts its best face forward to potential employees.
  • [19:54] Michael spends a lot of time in meetings, so it’s important for him to block off time just to have moments to process and think.
  • [21:00] He has an assistant and doesn’t know how he functioned without one.
  • [21:27] Two tools that Michael thinks have added value to his life are 1) Inbox for Gmail and 2) Stryd.
  • [23:35] Michael recommends the books The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Radical Candor.

Resources From This Interview: 

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