Jonathan Azouri – Sports SaaS with over 150,000 monthly active users.
My next guest is a young entrepreneur who shares his journey of building a marketplace SaaS that allows users to rent sports surfaces and arenas such as hockey rinks and basketball courts. He breaks down his transition from school, how long it took to validate the idea, how he markets the business, and how he and his team have built an audience with over 150,000 monthly active users and over 3,000 sports surfaces in 11 major cities. Please welcome Jonathan Azouri.
Payback Time Podcast
A Podcast on Financial Independence. Hosted by Sean Tepper. If you want to learn how to escape the rat race, create passive income, or achieve financial freedom, you came to the right place.
- (00:49) – Show intro and background history
- (03:12) – Deeper into his blog
- (04:00) – How the blog is monetized
- (05:31) – Understanding his business model
- (10:32) – How about the prices of the user journey
- (12:39) – How his platform helps venues to get more exposure and revenue
- (14:43) – Deeper into his business model
- (16:46) – In which cities does the platform operate?
- (17:24) – A bit about his charging fees for the venues
- (20:00) – Deeper into the consumer side of the app
- (22:10) – How about the company funding
- (23:59) – A bit about his strategic partners
- (29:43) – Some company numbers
- (30:54) – How big is his team
- (33:22) – How many years of research did he have before launching the app?
- (34:40) – Listening to the customers as a strategic philosophy
- (36:43) – What is the worst advice he ever received
- (37:04) – What is the best advice he ever receives
- (38:04) – Guest contacts
[00:00:04.180] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on financial independence. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest is a young entrepreneur who shares his journey of building a marketplace SaaS that allows users to rent sports services and arenas such as hockey rings and basketball courts. He breaks down his transition from school, how long it took to validate the idea, how he markets the business, and how he and his team have built an audience with over 150,000 monthly active users and over 3,000 sports services in 11 major cities. Please welcome Jonathan Azouri. Jonathan, welcome to the show.
[00:00:51.070] – Jonathan
Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
[00:00:52.780] – Sean
Glad to have you here. So why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background?
[00:00:56.390] – Jonathan
Yeah. So I’m the CEO and co founder of a company called Catch Corner. Essentially my story goes back about actually 15 years ago when I got into the entrepreneurial game. I would say from the get go, really, I’ve always had a mind that has looked for creative opportunities, things that could be, let’s say, self sufficient, could lead to independence, etc. And at around the age of 14, I started a sports blog called Sports Inside Out. At the time, this is go back 15 years ago, there wasn’t a lot of social media presence with, let’s say, sports writers, etc. And I started a company where we had about 20 different contributors, and each one of them really spoke a lot about the team in a bit more of an informal way. Long story short, I was still very young at the time. I ended up focusing primarily on school, which then in college, I actually started a food social media account at the city that I was living at the time. It was called Taste Montreal, and it actually still exists today. It’s now grown to about 250,000 people who follow it. We run different food festivals, etc.
[00:02:13.580] – Jonathan
I’ve taken a bit more of a back seat on that. My brother has completely taken over, but it’s a self sustaining business. And that led me to really ask myself, do I want to stick with a 9 to 5 job, or do I want to continue down this path of starting something from scratch, building it up, and hopefully having it be a sustainable enterprise? So that led me to make the decision to go and start something. And I never really looked at… The issue didn’t come first. It was more of a decision to embark on a journey. And when I made that decision to embark on a journey, that’s when all of the idea generation and all of that jazz came into play. So I don’t look at it as the company led me in this direction. It’s that I made the decision and then the company followed.
[00:03:12.960] – Sean
Got it. I want to dive into catch corner here in a second, but just let’s take a step back. You mentioned the… Was this a blog, Taste Montreal?
[00:03:23.820] – Jonathan
Yes, it’s a food blog primarily on… I would say our largest platform that we have a presence on would be Instagram. I think we’re close to about 200,000 followers. Pretty much peaked because it is a local based blog. There’s only so much that you could do. But we’re the largest food blog within the Montreal area. We run a taco festival every single year, which has about 50,000 people who come to these festivals. So it’s become a community. It’s become the largest, I would say, platform within the Montreal area to showcase food and to find the best spots to eat.
[00:04:00.370] – Sean
Got it. Okay. And what I want to do is just talk about transition here, but just real high level. Is that blog monetized via ads or is it selling affiliate products?
[00:04:09.840] – Jonathan
Yeah. So it’s primarily ad based. We work with a lot of local, let’s say, restaurants, but we also do a lot of different campaigns with food delivery apps or cuisine, which is, let’s say, sold at, let’s say, retail stores, et cetera. So lots within there. And then as I mentioned, we also monetize based off of our audience and our presence, which also leads to different, let’s say, events which we run, which are really curated for the overall Montreal foodie community.
[00:04:40.170] – Sean
Got it. That gives me good context on the revenue model. Now, you said that leading up to creating Catch Corner, you didn’t want to work in nine to five. Does this mean you were actually, while building Taste Montreal, you were also working in nine to five?
[00:04:55.720] – Jonathan
So I was actually in school at the time, so I was not working in nine to five. I was a full-time student. There was a period where I was transitioning in between Catch Corner and in between graduating. I had about a year where I was working a nine to five, but at the same time, I would say I was still giving 15 to 20 hours a week to all of the food blog related items. So I was in between making my life choices, what path I wanted to take, and yeah.
[00:05:31.600] – Sean
All right, so that brings us to catch corner. How did you come up with this business idea? Right away, people are thinking about the listeners are, what are the problems out there and how do I solve the problem? So tell us about this business a little bit.
[00:05:45.630] – Jonathan
Yeah. Actually, at the time, I think what I did was I had it started really simple. Just, let’s say, pen and paper. I put about four or five different ideas out there. Some of them were larger scale ideas. Some of them were smaller. And what I really did at that point was, these were all ideas that I’ve experienced throughout my life of different things that I wanted, let’s say, to create or thought that there was a need for it. And at that point, once I had those three or four out there, I started to really dig and do my market research, see what’s out there, see what the current landscape within a specific industry is. I would spend about for each idea, about seven or eight hours of just pure Google and go to the last possible page that you even can on Google until they don’t even give you any more search results. But I really wanted to do my homework beforehand because for me, when I give it my all and I go down a path, I’m going to really dive deep and get into the actual concept of it and make things that are just ideas and really put it on paper.
[00:06:56.000] – Jonathan
But before I really wanted to do that, I wanted to understand the industry. I didn’t want to embark on work on something and then get completely blindsided with something.
[00:07:04.340] – Sean
Sure. Okay. So out of those ideas, sounds like this concept catch corner seemed to be a demand or something that the audience wants. Can you dive into that a little bit? Did you then start talking to people and formulate the business model?
[00:07:20.700] – Jonathan
Yeah. So specifically because I’m from Canada, obviously hockey over here is ginormous. An ice rink is literally like gold to people. And what I did originally was I looked specifically at the hockey base industry. And what I noticed was that some of the other industries that I was looking at, they may have been larger, but they had a lot more saturation, and there was a lot more competition within them. So I specifically looked and understood that there was no true leader or not even close to being, let’s say, a multi city product, which was a marketplace for booking hockey rings. And I then started to ask myself, what about indoor basketball courts, soccer fields, pickleball courts, and so on and so forth? And I really understood that in general, there wasn’t an aggregate body which was a true marketplace. And these are models which they’ve worked so well in so many different industries. If you take, for instance, open table, or you take, for instance, Xpedia for the hotel industry. These are all models where I’m not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but I found an industry where a model, a proven model, it works and we can apply it to something where there isn’t that, let’s say, presence currently.
[00:08:47.550] – Sean
Got it. Walk us through the business model a little bit. At a high level, I understand, but let’s drill in. It sounds like people can rent ice rinks. Is that correct?
[00:08:55.690] – Jonathan
Yeah. People can go on the app and they can essentially select any single sports surface category within their given area. So for instance, they could press on ice rinks, basketball courts, soccer fields, volleyball courts, pickleball courts, really any sport related surface. There’s a category for it and you can press on it and you’ll see all the availability within your given area. So for instance, Toronto with basketball courts, if we take that example, you can click on basketball within Toronto and you’ll see I think currently we have about 250 different courts, which someone can essentially book on demand. All the inventory is all in, let’s say, real time. So everything could be booked instantly. It’s completely automated, etc. But long story short, that’s how it works from the user perspective.
[00:09:48.960] – Sean
Got it. So the user would book and I assume they’re booking a certain amount of hours for a certain fee per hour. Is that how it works?
[00:09:55.830] – Jonathan
Yeah. So everything’s completely… It’s a two sided product. So with that, it’s that anything you see is all completely automated and curated from the facility itself directly from the facility. So all the prices, all the data, anything you see is all completely coming from the facility. So we don’t have actually any input on the pricing structure, et cetera. It’s all solely we’re just bringing all the beautiful facilities all in one place. And if you want to continue with the purchase, that’s completely based on, let’s say, the facility’s price, etc.
[00:10:32.080] – Sean
Okay, so the price just I’m trying to walk through the consumer experience. Do they actually pay on your app or are they directed to another platform to make a payment there?
[00:10:42.050] – Jonathan
No. So it works very similar to, let’s say, like expedia when you’re booking a flight or let’s say like a hotel or hotels. Com. Everything’s all within the app, but all the prices and anything like that, the same way how the hotel rate is dictated by the hotel, that’s the same way with the price per hour for, let’s say, a basketball court at a specific facility.
[00:11:04.930] – Sean
Got it. So they can book on your app. And then I assume because the listeners want to know how do you make money in this case, you would probably take a small fee. Is that how it works?
[00:11:16.660] – Jonathan
So it depends. Some facilities they typically really… And I’m not even going to get into any commission based routes. I think that the activity is so high that we actually go with fixed monthly pricing for facilities. So we started off originally where it was somewhat commission based, but then we understood quickly that on top of, let’s say, finding the availability, I think one thing that our platform also does is that it helps the facilities from an operational perspective as well. They don’t have to use, for instance, pen and paper or collect payment manually or get a rental contract signed manually and so on and so forth. There’s so many things that go into it. Even though it seems so seamless on the user side of things, we’re really helping a lot also on the operational side of the facility. So I think that some facilities, they also use this as an operational based tool where they, for instance, can send users to a specific link, which they can essentially book, let’s say, specifically at their facility. So part of it is serving your current clientele, but the main gist of it is also expanding your reach at the same time.
[00:12:28.720] – Jonathan
And because of that, we really put a cap so that, for instance, if there’s hundreds of bookings being made, you’re not necessarily, let’s say, penalized on something like that.
[00:12:39.320] – Sean
Got it. So what I’m seeing as a problem you solve for these venues is they have downtime or time when they’re closed and they’re not making money. And your app actually allows them to generate more exposure and more revenue more times throughout the year, correct?
[00:12:57.800] – Jonathan
Yes, 100 %. There’s some facilities which they just have opened and they come on the application and they don’t even have a website and they go on our platform. And at certain points, those sometimes make thousands of dollars a week just by being on the platform itself. So it’s really nice because it allows the existing facilities that people know of, maybe, or some people know of, to really get, let’s say, more than what they currently have and expand their reach. But at the same time, it also allows for, let’s say, a new business to come in and really gain that necessary exposure. And that’s not also limited directly to sports facilities that are run as a business or to community centers, which are run by the community for use. There’s also a lot of untapped spaces that we’ve realized where they are willing to rent their space, but they don’t do it currently because they don’t have a proper operational way in order to do it. So for instance, you could take a church as an example where renting their gym is not their primary focus. They care about, for instance, running certain services and stuff like that.
[00:14:07.140] – Jonathan
However, the same way how any organization works, if they could do something in a seamless way, allow for more use, allow for more, let’s say, even community use, then they’re going to want to do something like that. So we’ve also uncovered, and I think this goes back to your, let’s say, original point of when I was doing my research, I think I also really underestimated the amount of places that we could be working with. I’ve been pleasantly surprised along the way where originally maybe I thought that we could work with X number of places. And we’ve noticed within every given market, it’s really about a 3 X.
[00:14:43.400] – Sean
That’s awesome. I really like your business model here. And to summarize, I would classify this as more of a marketplace. The reason is you have two audiences on one platform. You’ve got your facility or businesses or organizations being one, and then you have your consumers being others. So I assume onboarding the, you could say churches or schools or parks or whatever, I assume that’s more of a B2B sales process where you got to be talking to people, say, hey, we have this platform, would you be interested in joining? Yeah. Okay.
[00:15:16.200] – Jonathan
I would say to that point, what we’ve noticed is that it works also within each geographic market and cycle. So what’s nice right now is that we’re launching about 11 different markets and each market is at a different stage. So for instance, Toronto, which we work, we have close to about 7 or 8 hundred different surfaces on the platform. Within New York, currently, we have about a hundred. So every single market is different. But what is nice to see is that there’s also different cycles based on how mature the product is. You get a lot more inbound naturally as you are aggressively growing with the market because a lot of it is also copycat approach. But also with that, once you’re really mature in certain places, you’ll see a ton of new businesses approach you right away because maybe they started a business on their own where they realized, we can maybe rent a warehouse and put a sports surface and have this as a self sustaining business by working with a platform like, for instance, catch corner. Think about how many people got into the quote unquote, somewhat real estate market with the rise of something like Airbnb.
[00:16:33.300] – Jonathan
So I think that it’s also a lot different on a per market basis. And the strategy which sales comes really depends on the market, but also depends on the, let’s much a maturity level of that market.
[00:16:46.980] – Sean
Sure. So that’s good to know. I was going to ask you, where are you located? Sounds like 11 markets, and that would be specifically 11 cities, Toronto being the first, New York. What other cities are you located in? You don’t have to give us the full list.
[00:17:02.250] – Jonathan
So primary ones, we launched about a year ago within Chicago. And then looking at the Canadian side of things, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, so there’s a full range there. And also within the US, Buffalo, which is what we did recently. But that’s only an hour and a half away. So that’s our neighbor.
[00:17:24.340] – Sean
Good for you. And then before we hit record, you mentioned you can’t really disclose revenues and even pricing per customer can be a little… There’s a gray area there because I know you got a deal here with ESPN. But can you give us an idea of what your flat fee you were charging some of these facilities, like a range, are you allowed to say that?
[00:17:47.100] – Jonathan
Yeah. So I would say really, like, the main thing here is that there’s like a fixed basis. It works very similar to a lot of different other SaaS based platforms with it. And for each… So once we have that fixed amount. We really base it on the size of the facility. So let’s say you’ll take $50 for every single additional space on top of that, let’s say, undisclosed fixed amount. But obviously, listen, with every single business, pricing really is, I would say, somewhat flexible. So even though we do have a set way of working, at the end of the day, we are human beings. And if we understand that a specific space, for instance, is closed for four months of the year or for five months of the year, then we offer facilities tiered approaches. So I think it’s good to have that basis. But at the same time, each case is different, each business is different, and we never sit there and not make it work for a facility, let’s say, within reason.
[00:18:50.080] – Sean
Got it. And I look at your sales model very similar to an enterprise price, even though your prices won’t be like enterprise size, but it’s that custom pricing per customer flexibility to solve your problem. So that’s really good for the listeners out there trying to create a business model like this is, is be open to how do we solve your problem? How do we arrive at a price that works for you and then go from there?
[00:19:15.100] – Jonathan
[00:19:16.690] – Sean
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[00:20:13.770] – Jonathan
So I would say that honestly, digital marketing, and I do have a background in it as well. So I think that that came that obviously all the experience with all, for instance, the food blog and let’s say items like that. And actually I did some even freelance, I would say, digital marketing before I even started this. So I had very good SEO based skills. I had a lot of backgrounds with Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and obviously recently stuff like TikTok. So I would say that digital marketing is our best, I would say, bang for buck. I think that with digital marketing in general, what’s really nice, it’s not that you need to get the formula correct on day one. There is this trial and error period where you can see what works, what doesn’t. You could run, for instance, you could even run two different ads within the same campaign, and you can understand, my customers are attracted more to this specific item or this type of creative. We did, for instance, when we started, we did an ad with a video and we did an ad with a picture, and we noticed that the video one did better.
[00:21:21.080] – Jonathan
So we really let the feedback give us what works and what doesn’t. We realized, for instance, that we do very well with specific ad words. So I think in general, digital marketing is the highest lead through rate. And I think what’s also nice with digital marketing is that especially if your business is digital based, it allows for call to actions to be a lot more prevalent. So if I’m walking on the street and I see, let’s say, a billboard and something’s, let’s say, digital based, I’d have to pull out my phone and I’d have to look it up. Obviously, there’s effectiveness, but I think with the digital ad, when you have a snazzy button that says book now or some lead to action, it also creates less friction within the marketing process.
[00:22:09.490] – Sean
Right, exactly. Now, that’s good to know you’ve got a strong background with digital marketing. I’m curious here, are you guys venture backed?
[00:22:16.370] – Jonathan
So in general, we’ve really worked with a lot of, I would say, strategic partners. So we’re not venture backed. We started out specifically with angel investors, and what we did throughout the industry was we have a lot of strategic. So for instance, just like the one that comes to everyone’s mind is our deal with Sports illustrated. And I think that what we have, let’s say over here, it’s that there are certain ones that they obviously want to remain confidential. But in general, we looked at it and they’re not necessarily also strategics that are industry based as well. So you could work with certain strategics because they could help you from a specific angle or something that you do. So I think from the get go, one thing that we also understood was that I think that there’s two ways of doing certain things. There’s, let’s say, the Instagram approach where they go and partner with a big fish. And it doesn’t have to be the largest fish ever, but it could be someone or something or some people that have something which gives you that extra boost. Or you could go that Snapchat route where it’s like, we’re going to do it all ourselves and we’re not going to use really anything.
[00:23:30.650] – Jonathan
Obviously, we’re talking about two massive success stories at the end of the day. But I think that for us, one thing that we also understood from the get go was obviously we’re going to have to be the core of this, but what are different areas which we can lean on in order to have it? I don’t think that you need to be on, let’s say, 100 % owner of something in order to achieve certain things. It’s better to own maybe a smaller percentage of something much larger than to own everything of something much smaller.
[00:24:00.030] – Sean
The old analogy for entrepreneurs is like, Would you rather have part ownership of something or 100 % ownership of nothing? Yeah. Sorry, I made a mistake there. I said ESPN, it’s Sport illustrated as a strategic partner. In that case, are they driving more users to your platform?
[00:24:21.140] – Jonathan
Yeah. So without getting too much in detail, I think the biggest part of the deal… But obviously, listen, Sports illustrated has been around for 70 years, I believe, since 1954, however long that is. And really, I think we’re working with the most iconic name in sports. We’re working with such a household name, something which also gives people not only, let’s say, present feelings, but also past feelings as well. So it’s been there for a while. And I think on top of, let’s say, credibility, which we’ve received, it’s that we work very closely and we have a very close relationship. We’re really one to one in, let’s say, in something like this. And I think that with Sports Illustrated, there’s a lot that we have to still tap into in terms of, let’s say, marketing. I think that the biggest thing here is we don’t want to also have empty leads. So for instance, Sports Illustrated could have promoted this, and we could have done it in all the different ways that we, let’s say, imagined. But at the end of the day, if we’re not launched within a specific area, then it’s empty leads. So you need to think about it also not in terms of a sprint, but it really is a marathon.
[00:25:32.470] – Jonathan
And the way that I look at it is that you pack a lot of things in your backpack, there’s a whole entire different journey, and you know that at a certain point you’re going to need a certain tool, and then that’s when you could use it. I think something like Sports illustrated, we’re still at the start of our journey, and there definitely are things that we have used, but we know that once we get to a certain point, then we have a lot more tools that are at our disposal.
[00:25:57.580] – Sean
Finding a strong partner like Sports illustrated, it can be like rocket fuel for a business in a large brand. How was that introduction made? Did you reach out to them? Did they approach you?
[00:26:10.310] – Jonathan
Yeah. So I think a lot of during the whole, let’s say, during all the pandemic era back in, let’s say, 2020, I think a lot of businesses were hurting. Listen, our business was completely shut and we were relatively new. We were only about 9 to 10 months off the ground. And who knows if we weren’t off the ground, who knows what would have ended up happening? But I think one item which did come across, it’s that companies which maybe didn’t necessarily have certain time for certain things, there was some opportunity to have discussions that maybe you wouldn’t have had if it was, let’s say, business as usual. So Sports illustrated being specifically at that point in time was specifically a sports media brand, which a lot of it came with media coverage. There was no sports to cover. So a lot of it really came as we had an initial meeting with them. It was through a mutual, like I would say, connection within that space. But what really happened, which is the main core vision of Catch Corner, is that we want to have as many people playing sports as possible. We want to have as many different surfaces as possible.
[00:27:22.000] – Jonathan
I think you live in such a digital based era where, yes, we are an online presence, but we are connected to something that has to do with physical activity and has to do with the real, with let’s say, exercise and community. So I think that really fit with what Sports illustrated is all about. And I think that as they went into it, it’s also not only the playing aspect of sports on a professional level, but I think the biggest alert is also on a community level and on really promoting sport across the country, across the city, etc.
[00:27:58.150] – Sean
Sure. No, it’s always nice to get an introduction like that. And then it sounds like you told the right story in that meeting to say, hey, this is what we’re looking to do. And that hit a chord. They’re looking to do the same thing. And next thing you know, you’ve got a strong strategic partner.
[00:28:14.460] – Jonathan
Yeah. I think also when you have a meeting like that, it’s not only about showing up, telling a story, but it’s like showing up, telling a story and make sure that at the next meeting you have a lot of exciting things to say that have happened, let’s say, along the way. Deals like this, they don’t just get done in an hour phone call. Even just to get before any, let’s say, legal work and stuff like that, it takes a ton of work. I think that you can speak as much as you want, but if you come with firm, let’s say, items and you tell a good story, I think that’s how you get things across the finish line.
[00:28:53.790] – Sean
That’s great expectations there for the listeners. We always set expectations on the enterprise side with investing. When deals are made, it’s not like, Hey, you meet with a customer and they buy with you that same day. It can take three months, sometimes six months, sometimes a year, and then things are finally moving forward. So in this case, it sounds like it was not overnight.
[00:29:15.260] – Jonathan
Yeah, I know. Not at all. And just one other item on that point. In my last year at school, I remember one of my professors said that, let’s say an idea is worth one, but execution is worth, let’s say, a thousand. So I think that you can have specific ideas. You could have specific training thoughts 100 %, and that’s a very good starting point. But the execution is always going to be the most important thing, no matter what.
[00:29:41.670] – Sean
Yeah, that’s awesome. Before we jump to the reps it for a round, I want to dive into some numbers here if you’re able to share. Can you share with us how many daily active users?
[00:29:51.280] – Jonathan
Yeah. So daily is a bit of a weird number for us, but I could tell you the monthly active users just because I think that we have… It just fluctuates so much on a daily basis. I could get into specific days of the week, et cetera. But on a 28 day span, we’re sitting at about 150,000 active users.
[00:30:11.520] – Sean
That’s awesome. And then how many different would you classify them as sporting arenas or organizations are on your platform?
[00:30:22.790] – Jonathan
I think the best is to go based on a per surface basis because one facility or one community center or anything like that, they could have one surface, but then you could get into megaplexes, which have 10 plus surfaces, or sometimes even up to 15. So I would say right now on the platform, we’re currently sitting at about 3,000 to 4,000 surfaces on the platform with about 2,000 to 3,000 ones that are currently within the onboarding stage of thing.
[00:30:53.210] – Sean
Nice. That’s awesome. And then let’s talk about your team a little bit. Do you have any co founders or partners?
[00:31:00.350] – Jonathan
Yeah. I have my sister, my sister Maya was actually started with her, which we could get 100 % more into that because maybe that sparks interest because you got that sibling dynamic and also my best friend, Ryan as well. Got you. We started as a team of three.
[00:31:17.730] – Sean
Got it. Okay. How big is your total team today?
[00:31:20.960] – Jonathan
Obviously, we’re about 20 plus right now, but that doesn’t include also freelance work that we do. There are certain things where it doesn’t justify in our mind to hire someone on a full-time basis, but they are aspects that are really important to our business. So we have some freelancers that are also paid on a monthly basis and they’re with us. But I think long story short, we also have a rep in every single city which goes to the facilities, takes pictures, etc. So it is probably a 10 X operation of what it was when we started.
[00:31:53.280] – Sean
Yeah, absolutely. It gives us really good perspective on the size of the company who’s involved. And then doing my math here, COVID at that point, you said you were in business by about 10 months or so. So you’ve been around for what, 3 to 4 years?
[00:32:07.750] – Jonathan
Yeah. So we launched in 2019, so four years. But before that, we were working on this for two plus years. So it was a long period. And I know you originally were also talking about, what did you do originally? And I think that what we really did was we also spoke to specific facilities within the industry as we were building the product. So it was a lot of iterations and a lot of back to the drawing board, a lot of throwing out, a lot of putting in. But I’ve always said this, it’s a massive achievement and a massive milestone when a company launches because the outside public sees that as their inception. But really, there’s a lot that goes into it before you even see the light of day. And I think that time period could be the most challenging time period of them all. So it’s very hard going to an office and not getting any external wins or external validation and just continuing and putting your head down and saying that it will all make sense at a certain point.
[00:33:12.440] – Sean
We’re staying the course. Welcome to the life as an entrepreneur. You go a lot of days with no touch downs, no home runs, keep driving forward. So for context there, just to rephrase back to you, you actually did two years of research before the four years of work actually have been progressed. So it’s essentially six years total.
[00:33:33.110] – Jonathan
Yeah, exactly. It’s essentially six years.
[00:33:35.250] – Sean
Okay. So for the audience out there, that gives you great perspective that you can’t just come up with an idea, launch your app, and you’re off to the races. There’s going to be a lot of validation as you phrased, a lot of bad ideas you’re throwing out the window, like this does not work.
[00:33:52.120] – Jonathan
Yeah. I think also in general, at that point, there’s a sense of… I don’t like to use the word naiveness, but maybe you’ll understand certain things when there are, let’s say, experiences that you also go through where you’ll have 100 different areas which you want the product to run in 100 different areas. And that’s all great. But you also need to come up with a specific concept. You need to launch it and then also let it organically evolve because you don’t have all the information all at once. You need to obviously get the product to a certain point where it’s good enough in order to launch in order to work. But trust me, we’re also a lot different than we were four years ago. And a lot of that has been dictated based on real life experiences.
[00:34:40.310] – Sean
And you’re probably getting a lot of feedback from your two audiences. In our case, our SaaS business, we have the one audience. So you get their feedback and then you make changes based on that. So sounds like you guys are really good at listening to your customer and evolving to their needs as you go.
[00:34:58.280] – Jonathan
Yeah, 100 % of the cent. And I think quality assurance is also super important. I think that another big milestone is going from being a one market product to being multiple because then at that point, you’re talking about scalability, you’re talking about how do you take that formula and how do you replicate it? And a lot of the times, the things that made you great, you need to hold on to as much of that as possible while keeping, let’s say, scalability. So you can’t also lose that quality and just chase, let’s say, volume. You need to do it in a strategic way as well.
[00:35:33.270] – Sean
Yes, absolutely, 100 %. All right, well, let’s jump into the rapid fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Jonathan really is. If you can try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You ready? Okay. All right. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:35:50.860] – Jonathan
It’s called the sick podcast. It’s about a sports team called the Montreal Canadiens, which is my favorite sports team. So I listen to it every day.
[00:36:00.270] – Sean
Nice. All right. What is the recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:36:05.150] – Jonathan
You’re putting me on the spot. I’ll be completely honest, I’ve not read a book in five plus years. There you got it. So there you go. I was trying to think of one at the top of my head, but it’s rapid fire. So I’ll be completely honest with the audience. I’m way more of a Twitter guy podcast guy.
[00:36:22.670] – Sean
Okay. We love honesty, transparency, so thanks for that. Let’s move on here to the movie question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:36:31.180] – Jonathan
For some reason, Shanghai Noon. It’s not a well known movie, but Owen Wilson is my favorite actor.
[00:36:39.130] – Sean
Okay, nice. That’s a classic that has not been said on this podcast yet. All right, we got a few business questions here before we wrap up. What is the worst advice you ever received?
[00:36:50.700] – Jonathan
That a good deal is a deal which two parties leave the table and are both upset because they’ve negotiated very hard. Yeah, I think that’s completely false.
[00:37:02.900] – Sean
I agree. And let’s flip the equation. What is the best advice you ever received?
[00:37:09.180] – Jonathan
To fail quickly. It’s inevitable. Everyone’s going to hit bumps. Everyone’s going to fail. But it’s about getting to the next failure as fast as you possibly can because that means you’re really triending in the right direction.
[00:37:24.120] – Sean
Fail forward, fail fast. Yeah, love it. All right, last question here is the time machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:37:36.110] – Jonathan
I would probably go back not too far ago. I would say even three years ago. And I would tell myself that delegation is extremely important because that’s the only way that you can really get to the next step. So if you want to do everything yourself, that’s fantastic. And you know that you could do it in the best way possible. But it’s not going to be sustainable or it’s not going to be scalable. And at a certain point, you’re going to have to really delegate.
[00:38:03.190] – Sean
Right on. All right. And where can the audience reach you?
[00:38:06.890] – Jonathan
They could shoot me an email. So my email is Jonathan@catchcorner. Com.
[00:38:12.330] – Sean
Nice. All right, Jonathan, thank you so much for your time. Loved hearing how you built this business. I think it’s a big inspiration for anybody out there looking to build a marketplace or a SaaS. Really love this one.
[00:38:23.690] – Jonathan
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:38:25.650] – Sean
All right, we’ll talk to you soon. See you.
[00:38:27.330] – Jonathan
[00:38:28.290] – Sean
Bye, Sean. Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. Talk to you later. See you.