Buffer September Update: $2,088,000 run rate, 1,046,000 users

Below is the monthly update email I have just sent this morning to all our investors. I hope you enjoy taking a read about the full details of our work on Buffer in the last month. I’m excited to hear from you in the comments if you have any questions about what we’re up to!

Traction update:

  • New users: 66,000 (Total: 1,046,000, from 980,000: +7%)
  • Daily active users: 30,000 (from 29,000: +3%)
  • Revenue: $174,000 (Annual: $2,088,000 up from $1,968,000: +6%)
  • Business revenue: $12,340 (up from $10,060; +23%)

September has historically been the only month of the year we have experienced negative % growth (this happened in September the last 2 years), so we pushed hard this month and a 6% positive MoM growth rate in revenue is a huge win for us.

Screenshot 2013-10-04 11.21.51

New features: LinkedIn Company Pages & Twitter Autocomplete:

We aimed to have a higher quantity of launches than usual in September to push for positive % growth, so we launched support for LinkedIn Company Pages and Twitter Autocomplete. LinkedIn gave us a huge boost in people upgrading to the $10/mo Awesome Plan, due to the fact they would hit the limit if they had already connected their LinkedIn Profile. Autocomplete has been very highly requested and people are loving it.

1,000,000 users!

Amongst the feature launches, our other big announcement this month was the massive milestone of reaching 1m users. We also saw this as an opportunity to live to our “default to transparency” company value and shared many numbers and details from the journey. We got great coverage on Mashable and shared an infographic on our blog.

Buffer for Business

  • 137% MoM MRR growth of Buffer for Business (to $10,300)
  • 23% MoM total revenue growth (to $12,340)
  • Buffer for Business was 7.1% of total revenue in September
  • 164 total paying customers compared to 54 in August (303% increase)

Hiring

The team is currently 13 people, and we’re working hard on hiring right now. We are looking for 8 people: 2 customer support, 2 support engineer, 1 front-end engineer, 1 back-end engineer and 1 devops and 1 community manager. We know that this will be a long-term endeavor as we want to be super focused on culture-fit. I’ll keep you updated on team growth :-)

Let me know any questions you have on our progress, I’d love to answer them.

  • Evan M

    Great work, Buffer team!

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      Thanks Evan!

  • Raf Weverbergh

    Congrats on the business results, on your content marketing efforts (world class) and your transparency.

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      That’s awesome to hear Raf, thanks for the kind words! Belle has been crushing it over on the main blog, and we’re excited to share more on this blog too.

  • Janine Renee

    Wonderful progress. You guys have been rocking it lately! Kudos to a job well done.

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      Thanks Janine! :)

  • http://www.mills-scofield.com/ Deb Mills-Scofield

    Wonderful results – and your willingness to be transparent and share lessons learned is priceless for entrepreneurs of all ages and for businesses in general. The consistent dip in September is interesting – wonder what’s going on

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      Hi Deb! Great question, indeed I probably could have explained that further now that I look back at it :-)

      So, the interesting thing is that way back in 2011 in our first year we jumped from around $2k revenue in July to $12k in August. So a crazy 500% increase month over month. The reason we got that jump was it was when we first introduced the annual pricing option for the paid plans (at that time $10/mo and $99/mo). We also were a little short on cash (it was the month just before we got into AngelPad and Leo and I had just moved to San Francisco – and it’s expensive here! So we chose to default the pricing to the annual option, just for the month of August. That’s what gave us the crazy 500% growth. Since then, it has always kind of affected us, the year after we also had a slight dip. This year I think we’ve managed to get past that situation :-)

      Let me know if you have any more questions – this stuff is interesting!

      • http://www.mills-scofield.com/ Deb Mills-Scofield

        Thanks for the very speedy reply (in keeping with how you run the biz). I just always like looking for patterns – obvious and not so obvious to see what the causes are – changes in customer buying patterns, seasonal, economic etc. – kind of training ourselves to look for more leading than lagging indicators – and given Sept is ‘back to school, back to work’ time was just curious – looking for the story in the data (a real story, not make-believe!) — thanks for your incredible service – I just love buffer!

      • Art Faucett

        You could always move to Oakland, but then you might not make it to work in one piece (<;

        Move to Kansas City. Cheap cost of living. Google Fiber. Tech startups (One Louder Inc, etc) Good sports teams (for a change), the list goes on.

  • Paul Gene Palmer

    What’s the difference between “revenue” and “business revenue”?

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      That’s a great question Paul, of course that isn’t clear now I look back at it! So yeah, Business revenue is the total revenue from our new Buffer for Business – http://bufferapp.com/business – plans with are for medium to large businesses and enterprises. Our other revenue comes from the $10/mo paid plan we have had for much longer.

  • http://www.guddina.com/ Tim Stiffler-Dean

    What aren’t you guys telling us? lol

    Seriously, though. Great insight into the business, and gives me some thoughts on my own business. I wonder if my industry (specialty coffee) would do well with us being so transparent, especially when most of our revenue is based on partnerships we build, rather than direct sales of our own products.

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      That’s a great question Tim! We’re certainly trying to share every little detail :-) I think the one challenge we foresee with pushing our transparency value further is that we might end up not sharing some of the challenges along the way. The graph potentially makes the journey look a little more rosy that it actually is. We’re super happy with our progress but there are of course still many ups and downs along the way.

      I love that you’re considering approaching your industry with similar transparency. I honestly think that could be super powerful.

  • Kevin Morgan

    There are without a doubt countless internal benefits to Buffers’s culture of radical transparency, but one of the best external benefits is this great resource of help and info based on your experience for the rest of the world to see. Keep it up guys, your work and culture are inspiring.

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      That’s amazing to hear Kevin, thanks for taking the time to say this. It’s one of the key reasons we wanted to push our value of transparency further, so for you to say it like this is great confirmation for us to keep going. Let me know if there’s anything else we could do or share to help even more :)

  • Mallory Johns

    Joel,

    A+ for your transparency! One of the things that I love about Buffer the company and the product, is your willingness to be open and honest with your users at all times. And for that, I thank you! PS: I hope you take a look at my resume for the Community Manager position ;)

    Cheers,
    Mallory

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      Wow, thanks Mallory. That’s amazing to hear :-) So happy you emailed us about the CM position! I think we’ll be in touch soon ;)

      • Mallory Johns

        I hope we’ll be in touch soon too!

        Looking forward to chatting in the (very near) future :)

  • Mary Jantsch

    Congratulations on the continued growth! This transparency empowers users to share feedback as its clear the conversation is quite open. Thanks for being such an awesome resource.

  • http://www.inspiredinsider.com/ Jeremy Weisz

    Hey Joel,

    Great post! I hope it is ok if I update the post on INspiredINsider.com that features you with your updates numbers and link back to this post?

    have a great day

    • http://joel.is/ Joel Gascoigne

      That sounds great Jeremy, would be awesome for you to do that :-)

      Cheers!

  • http://www.skybluweb.co.uk/ Mat Durham

    Congrats on building a great tool, making it work, and being transparent with the results. Really glad it’s going well!

  • http://talkkindnesstome.com/ Jane

    I was quickly impressed with Buffer. Really appreciated the personal interactions – quick responses always. Then it seemed like there were so many limitations … so I didn’t think about using Buffer. A couple months ago with the enhancements ‘LinkedIn – Twitter’ my interest and enthusiasm perked up again.

    Side note – I had a near fatal accident right after the enhancements so I haven’t been able to use them yet – but I’m still enthused and eager to make Buffer a high priority tool as soon as I’m able.

  • Kate@Diethood

    This is awesome!! Buffer is an incredibly helpful tool so I am not surprised at the wonderful success. Great job!!!

  • http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com/ Mike Allton

    Congratulations! I’m very pleased to see your continued growth and success.

  • mssmith1

    Great work – as a (relatively) long standing paying customer, it’s great to see the market recognise the value you create.

  • gyubok

    These are awesome! With the amazing customer support i get everytime I email, i can’t believe buffer is ran by only 13 people!

    Also, i feel like I know Joel personally since his mass emails are written in such friendly tone :)

    Good job guys, I love buffer!!

  • Quantified API

    Great Transparency as ever guys/gals and nice numbers to boot! – Scott @ Quantified API

  • James Olden

    Really impressive way to run a business; you guys deserve all the rewards. And with this level transparency and openness, they will come – I should think a number of parties are taking a closer look…

  • Tracy McMillan

    Just discovered Buffer, through a link to the blog post (sorry, day of exhaustion, can’t recall where at the moment). As an entrepreneur of a company (www.localeikki.com) who just entered our public beta (or first date) phase, I truly appreciate the candidness in this post & going back through the Building Buffer history. We’re excited to try Buffer out (hours away from the release of our first Buffered status update!) and would love to connect with Joel & Leo if they have time to share some early launch lessons.

  • Tiffany Albright

    It’s incredible to see how well Buffer is doing – it really says a lot about your awesome company! Congrats on the great numbers and continued success.

    Where might I find information about the Community Manager position? I did submit an email this morning for the Happiness Hero opening. Very exciting times at Buffer!! I’m looking forward to hearing back from you guys. :)

  • http://www.ankitdas.com/ Ankit Das

    Joel,
    You mentioned that you are also looking for a community manager. I would be interested if that is possible on a distributed model. I have worked on multiple ventures myself in the past, and a writer by choice and profession.

    In case I can be of any help, do let me know at: different dot ankit at gmail.

    Ankit Das
    Mumbai, India

  • Erik Howard

    Great to see such great success Joel. I remembered chatting with you when you first started Buffer. Love how you’ve always stayed true to your character. Well done.