SARAL's 2022 Journey in less than 3 minutes

Discover our story and what awaits!

Yash Chavan

Yash Chavan

January 10, 2022

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In December 2021, I was in Goa, training with killers on these mats for a couple of weeks:

Fighting is meditative. It forces you to focus and gives you clarity. Which means it was the perfect setting to think about what I was gonna build in the coming year.

😓 The Pain

I had run influencer programs for clients before and was currently in the midst of scaling one.

It was a mess.

Notion tables, makeshift google sheet CRMs, 100s of emails, back-n-forth with influencers, and so on.

We spent more time managing the operations than on actually growing the program.

That was sad as our time was better used building relationships with influencers, not on updating spreadsheets and sending emails manually.

Laying on the beach one day, relaxing after an intense training session, I dreaded going back to my hotel room and opening up my laptop with 100s of influencer emails and spreadsheets.

Every other software tool cost too much and didn’t exactly solve the problem I wanted solved.

It was in this moment that I decided, I’m gonna do something to fix this problem.

🎬 The Beginning

Early in 2022, all I had was a shell of an idea, and a big problem to solve:

🚨 The problem was that influencer marketing was too complex and very expensive to do.

It was an “elite” marketing channel only reserved for big brands that can spend $100s of thousands of dollars on influencers.

I wanted to change that.

So I thought, “How do I take a complex and expensive problem and give it a simple and affordable solution?”

It wasn’t easy.

But after speaking with 40+ DTC founders, marketers, and influencer marketing operators, the solution became clear.

In January 2022, there was no tool in the whole world that:

  1. Was easy to learn and operate (i.e. didn’t look like it’s 2012).
  2. Did not cost $10K+ in upfront annual contracts.
  3. Was a one-stop-shop for the entire funnel of influencer marketing, from discovery to outreach, to management & tracking.

In December 2022, such a tool now exists. It’s called SARAL. It helps brands run any type of influencer marketing campaign, manage their relationships in one place, and doesn’t cost you an arm & a leg to use.

But this is just the before and after. The journey throughout was pretty intense.

⛈ The Tumultuous Middle

It started off good, as I was able to make 5 pre-sales. That is, I sold 5 people on the idea of SARAL, got them to pay me one month’s fee in exchange for early access when we launch the software in March.

Now here’s where the tumultuous part comes in.

We didn’t end up launching in March. It took us more than 2x as long.

Much to the disappointment of some people who paid me upfront to deliver by March.

What caused the delay?

There were bad technical hires, we got our email servers blocked by Amazon, I got banned off of Subreddits and FB groups, Google asked for ~$30,000 in cash to approve a feature…

Lots of downs, and some ups too!

What kept me and the whole team going was the regular feedback from our (future) customers.

I remember mocking up new features in Figma and showing a demo to interested prospects. Even without a product, we got feedback such as:

“I feel like things get lost or missed constantly with a spreadsheet, this is almost like a VA, it’s kinda what I need” - Kim
Been looking for a solution such as yours for our services portfolio.” - Diraj
“It’s making me think oh my gosh! I was just waiting for this for my current client” - Eddie

Our early backers shared a lot of key insights from the trenches that helped the team build exactly those features that make the lives of influencer marketing managers simple and stress-free WHILE ALSO making their brands more money through influencers.

Special thanks to the two greats in this space, Jason Falls and Neal Schaffer, who shared cutting-edge insights with me on what to build, and who to sell to.

We “soft-launched” the product in July and have made LOTS of improvements since then.

For context, here’s what it looked like on launch day:

and here’s what it looks like now:

How’s that for a before-after transformation, ha?

🌴 The Present

So far we’ve built a tool that allows you to do most of the “top of funnel” work with influencers.

  1. Finding best-fit influencers
  2. Automating outreach
  3. Managing conversations
  4. Tracking performance
  5. Building long-term relationships

There is literally no one like us. And that’s a good thing. There are many tools in the space that might be a better fit for larger enterprise-y brands or big companies.

SARAL stands for simplicity, automation, and affordability. We’re on a mission to make influencer marketing simple and accessible for small and emerging brands.

The current product lives up to this mission, the future product will too!

🔮 The Future

2023 is going to be about more “middle of funnel” and “bottom of funnel” operations.

So far, you’ve built an influencer program, are tracking the revenue that’s coming in, and have a simple way to manage your community of creators.

Next year, you will be able to make the most out of your campaign, make it ongoing, and automate the boring work as much as possible.

Here’s to building the simplest influencer marketing solution that exists on the planet ☕️

A big, warm, THANK YOU to all our early supporters and my early team who trusted me with their time, energy, and worked hard to bring the vision into reality 🙏

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