Kevin, our COO and co-founder, has been a real estate expansion manager in France for the past 6 years and developed two national retailers: Body Minute and Domino’s Pizza. Through his experience in the field he was constantly frustrated with trying to find good opportunities on the internet. He was wasting a lot of time having to run to every corner of the country to meet brokers, explain what he was looking for, and make sure they keep his request in mind when something popped up.
For weeks Kevin and I discussed the opportunity to create an online platform that would inform all brokers of his up-to-date needs, and save him a lot of time and hassle. Once we had confidence in the market opportunity we started looking for a full stack developer to join us in our adventure. After more than a year running tech workshops we met Philippe, co-founder and CTO, who has made this dream real.
In April 2018 we launched our Beta and fine tuned our product thanks to feedback from our active community of more than 2,000 brokers. In May 2019 the product was finished and we launched our monetization, which has been a great success. Yet, what we are the most proud of is that we have been bootstrapping since day one and we are 100% in control of our company. Now, we are preparing for the scaling phase of our business, and many other exciting things.
93% of all retail space opportunities sent through UnEmplacement.com gets a reply within 6 business days. This is 5 times faster than with traditional email, based on the feedback from our broker community. These amazing results have been made possible not only thanks to the quality of our leads and our technology, but most importantly thanks to our trusted email deliverability partner: Postmark.
What our team is fanatic about is the activity report where we can easily track processed, delivered, opened, and clicked email for every member of our community. This feature is our most reliable tool when we are sending a sign-up confirmation email to a new broker. We also export this data (with the API) to create in-house reports to help us monitor on a macro level which areas are the most reactive (% open rate), and which are not, to focus our CRM efforts.
These amazing results have been made possible not only thanks to the quality of our leads and our technology, but most importantly thanks to our trusted email deliverability partner: Postmark.
My main advice for fellow developers is to be flexible when designing your application to allow multiple email providers from the beginning. This is mostly coming from our struggle with email providers.
We started using Sendgrid as our transactional email provider, then we had to switch because of massive delivery issues. Yet, as an early stage startup building an MVP, I didn’t design our application to allow us to switch easily to another mail provider, as we had to move fast and had others priorities. Since we had an intense workload and this project was critical for our business to take off we struggled a lot to make it happen, and lost a lot of time which is really precious at the beginning to keep the momentum.
So, by being flexible with the way you design your application, you are not tied to anyone in particular and you can use multiple providers at the same time for different purpose.
When we opened our Beta last year we used Sendgrid as our email partner for the first three months. At the time we just thought — after doing some Googling — that it would be the best option. The pricing and features are interesting and we were drawn by the notoriety of the brand on developer forums, and bloggers’ feedback.
What a joke! Not only were we struggling with deliverability since day one, but we realized that they are working on a bottom up approach, like a low cost flying carrier. First they bait you with low pricing, but once inside everything is an option. For instance, their activity report gives you 3 days for free, then you need to pay an extra $5/month to get 30 days of history. This should be clear from the beginning! I don’t mind paying but not being tricked. On top of that, deliverability is not great, and the customer support (only by chat) kept insisting on selling us a Dedicated IP, while we are only sending less than 10,000 emails per month. This was insane, especially since at the time our business survival was at stake.
Thanks Postmark for being there for us! You are the true deliverability expert.
Frustrated by Sendgrid, and considering that we are not selling toys but confidential information of deals that are easily between 1 to 10 million euros (and thus deliverability is crucial), we started looking for pure transactional email platforms. After our first experience with providers we were more careful and hesitated between Postmark and Mailjet, the latter one being French. Yet, Philippe decided to go for Postmark mostly because you do not allow bulk email, and you only run on 100% transactional. Since then, we have been more than happy with Postmark.
When you moved to another system last November you had some delays, but I was amazed by the reactivity of the support team, and my exchange with the team on Skype was great. You explained — in simple terms without any BS — what was going on, and everything was fixed quickly. When you run a business you don’t want to hear what you want from your providers, you want to hear the truth — even if it’s painful — to move fast.
So, in a nutshell, Postmark is an expert in deliverability and we need experts for our business. Customer support is reactive, professional, and friendly, and are not hiding behind emails when things are critical, even for a small customer like us (just wait — we will scale!). Finally, the product is intuitive and fast and simple, so that we can concentrate on running our business rather than keep being frustrated with bad deliverability.