In this episode #32, we are talking with Johnathan Bell, CEO and Co-Founder of LicenceOne ( ), the hub for SMEs to detect their software subscriptions, prevent wasted spend, and manage employee accesses. Johnathan shares his vision about building in public and launching as soon as you’ve got something. And why they went in a different direction with LicenceOne and tried to perfect the product before it hit the broader market. Johnathan talks about the risks of overcomplicating the product, the importance of educating people about all the features they ship, and why even his mom tried to use LicenceOne before they opted in for customer acquisition.


(0:00:05) – Managing Software Subscriptions for SMEs 

Anna Nadeina chatted with Johnathan Bell, the co-founder and CEO of License One, a hub for SMEs to detect their software subscriptions, prevent waste and spend and manage employee accesses. Johnathan ended up in France and founded License One in La Rochelle. His background in SaaS inspired him to create License One after discovering a subscription his old manager had forgotten to cancel. He was lucky enough to find two co-founders who were willing to take a chance on him. It was an inspiring story of determination and resilience.

(0:09:00) – Transitioning From Development to Problem Solving 

Having identified a problem facing digitalized industries, they set out to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to address the issue. Initially, they underestimated the complexity of the problem and failed to create a product that was usable and attractive to clients. It took two to three months of work to create a product that was presentable, yet it still wasn’t solving the problem that our users had. Eventually, they recognized that they were optimizing the process of detecting software rather than addressing the root of the problem. They needed to focus on the user’s perception of the problem and their solutions, in order to create a product that would save them money. After reorganizing our processes internally and focusing on the problem, they have now added a fourth step to our process – Purgatory. This allows them to re-evaluate our solutions over the coming months to ensure that the problem has been truly solved.

(0:14:29) – Operational Work to Ethical Strategy 

We explore the importance of problem solving when it comes to product development, looking into the data points which led us to the realization that just putting everything in production without problem-solving wasn’t the right approach. We discuss the importance of using analytics platforms like Amplitude to track in-app analytics, MRR reporting and Chart Mogul to understand customer behavior. We also discuss the ethical implications of SaaS pricing.

(0:19:51) – SaaS Growth and Pricing Strategies 

We discuss pricing strategy with Jonathan. We cover the Patrick Campbell and Van Westendorpe tests, and how the number of employees in a company is more correlated to how much they are willing to pay than the amount of subscriptions or spend. We also examine the advantages of localizing pricing and setting up coupon codes. Lastly, Jonathan shares his thoughts on why sending a questionnaire to customers might not be the best approach.

(0:33:23) – Customer Acquisition Strategy Shift

Jonathan explains how he reached out to the first testers of the product, and how they positioned their product features as beta products on LinkedIn and Facebook groups for startups. We discuss the double-edged sword of feature factories, and why they chose to not launch on Product Hunt yet due to the localized nature of their product. Finally, we explore what changed in their customer acquisition strategy.

(0:39:36) – Bootstrapping and Capital Efficiency in SaaS 

Jonathan Bell discusses how the business was funded. We explore how they started with love money from two ex-colleagues, took out a small loan, and received some public funding. We also look into bootstrapping and capital efficiency, and how the company positioned their product to the first testers. Finally, Jonathan tells what was the aha moment that opened his eyes and made him pivot.

(0:43:29) – SaaS Startup Success and Learning Curves

We talk about the importance of delegating tasks and trusting yourself. Jonathan shares his experience of realizing the value of his team’s ideas as well as the importance of listening to feedback from customers, investors, and even failed competitors. We also chat about the biggest wins and fails for the company and founder so far.


Head of Growth,