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 this episode #12, we are talking with Stefan Smulders, the co-founder of Expandi (, the most powerful LinkedIn automation software for your outbound challenges on LinkedIn with Email. Stefan shares the story of the way experimenting with customer acquisition strategies brought them over 14k customers in just 18 months, and the way they decided to stay bootstrapped to reach $10M ARR before thinking about de-risking and approaching any kids of collaborations.

(0:00:07) – Building a Successful Business With

Today I’m joined by Stefan Smulders, co-founder of, a powerful omnichannel solution for all your outbound challenges on LinkedIn and email. We discuss his journey from a growth marketer to a business owner, and how he stumbled across the idea of expanding and automating the process of finding leads on LinkedIn. He shares what it took to create this tool, from his own personal frustrations to working with his CTO to create the ultimate solution. We also look at how he went from a thousand subscriptions to seven million dollars in revenue in just two years. It’s a fascinating story of determination and hard work, and I’m excited to share it with you.

(0:14:15) – Scaling a SaaS Company

Stefan shares how he and his co-founders started out with an outbound function and how they moved to hosting group sessions for onboarding new users. We explore how they experimented and built out an agency funnel for larger opportunities, and how they hosted live webinars with industry experts to gain leads. We also discuss how his team leveraged the tool to make money and how they grew to 6 million run rate in just 18 months. Lastly, Stefan shares his experience of being stuck and how he was able to unlock himself and move forward.

(0:21:58) – Successful Company Foundations

We explore the intricacies of constructing a prosperous business, from onboarding to recruiting to forming a robust corporate culture. Stefan recounts the obstacles and triumphs of Expandi, and how they employed dependable systems such as HubSpot and welcomed experienced international A players to the staff. We discuss the significance of preserving customers and offering assistance to customers to expand the lifetime value and reduce the turnover rate. Stefan also speaks about the recent company retreat and how it has had a beneficial effect on the team’s enthusiasm to progress.

(0:30:52) – Bootstrapping a Rapidly Growing Startup 

Today, we discuss the business journey of Stefan and his co-founders, their two revenue streams, and the features they have built to create an ecosystem around their LinkedIn product. We explore pricing strategy and the need to experiment to make the most efficient decisions. We also look at the challenge of bootstrapping a rapidly growing startup and the decision to remain bootstrapped rather than take on venture capital funding. Lastly, we examine the process of building relationships and gaining knowledge of the VC world and the opportunities that opened up as a result of their success.

(0:40:49) – Building a LinkedIn Toolset Ecosystem

We discuss the two revenue streams they have developed, their focus on education to help people use the LinkedIn platform effectively, and how they are leveraging the LinkedIn Creator Economy to create better content. We also examine Stefan’s vision for the niche and his expectations for the near future. Finally, we hear from Stefan about his biggest wins and failures so far in his journey.

Head of Growth,