saas.unbound is a podcast for and about founders who are working on scaling inspiring products that people love, brought to you by . I’m your host Anna Nadeina, Head of Growth for

In episode #37, we talk with Julia, Co-Founder and CEO of CPV One, a cloud-hosted ad tracking platform, and CPV Lab, a self-hosted ad tracking platform, helping affiliates, media buyers, and marketing agencies track, manage, and optimize their marketing campaigns in one place. Completely bootstrapped, remote-first, and growing with a small, dedicated team mostly based in Romania.

The Inception of CPV Lab: Born from a Need in Affiliate Marketing

Julia’s journey into the world of SaaS entrepreneurship began with a background in IT and economics. After starting her career as a developer and then transitioning into project management and business analysis, she found herself drawn to the affiliate marketing industry. It was her partner’s experience in this space that sparked the idea for CPV Lab, a self-hosted ad-tracking platform designed to help affiliates, media buyers, and marketing agencies manage and optimize their campaigns.

Initially, the platform was a side project, but as Julia returned from her maternity leave, she saw an opportunity to turn it into a full-time venture. The focus on family time and a self-service product quickly evolved into a deep passion for the business itself, as Julia immersed herself in learning about affiliate marketing and the various aspects of running a SaaS company.


Navigating the Transition from One-Time Payments to Sustainable Subscriptions

The early days of CPV Lab were marked by a one-time payment model, which provided the initial revenue to develop the product further. However, Julia and her team soon realized the need to transition to a subscription-based approach for long-term sustainability. This decision was not without its challenges, as they carefully considered how to honor the trust of their early adopters while moving towards a more scalable business model.

Julia emphasizes the importance of grandfathering existing customers, ensuring that they can continue using the product without being forced to switch to the new subscription plan. This delicate balance between honoring commitments and adapting to the changing needs of the business is a testament to Julia’s leadership and the team’s commitment to their customers.


Embracing the Challenges and Rewards of Working with Affiliates

As an ad-tracking platform serving the affiliate marketing industry, CPV Lab has had to navigate the unique dynamics of working with affiliates. Julia highlights the importance of providing comprehensive support and resources to help affiliates succeed in promoting the product. This includes offering materials, discounts, and even conducting demos to ensure affiliates have everything they need to effectively market the platform.

Julia also emphasizes the value of leveraging affiliate networks as a way to connect with a wider pool of potential partners. By joining these networks, CPV Lab was able to tap into a marketplace of affiliates already familiar with the industry and eager to promote relevant products.


Balancing Parenthood and Entrepreneurship: The Challenges and Rewards

As a mother and a founder, Julia has had to navigate the delicate balance between family life and building a successful SaaS business. She openly acknowledges the challenges, describing the exhaustion that comes with juggling the demands of both roles. However, Julia also finds immense fulfillment in being able to spend more time with her children and shape her own schedule.

Julia’s perspective on time management and decision-making is particularly insightful. She has learned to make quicker decisions, prioritize tasks, and find creative ways to integrate her work and family life. This adaptability and resilience have been key to her success as a bootstrapped founder.


Leveraging Partnerships and Diversifying Acquisition Channels

CPV Lab’s growth strategy has evolved over time, with a focus on leveraging partnerships and diversifying acquisition channels. In addition to active participation in affiliate marketing communities, the company has found success in forging strategic partnerships with complementary platforms and traffic sources.

These partnerships have enabled cross-promotion, where both parties share each other’s offerings with their respective audiences. Julia emphasizes the importance of ensuring these partnerships are mutually beneficial, with both parties actively contributing to the relationship.

Beyond partnerships, CPV Lab has also explored other channels, such as affiliate programs, where users can earn commissions for referring new customers. This multi-faceted approach to customer acquisition has allowed the company to grow in a sustainable and cost-effective manner.


Head of Growth,