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 #32, we talk with Sumit, Founder of Parqet, a portfolio tracking and visualization tool. 

Sumit walks us through his evolution from front-end developer to full-fledged founder, sharing the crucial moment he chose to shift gears from his day job to focus on his growing passion project. Sumit also talks about the power of ownership, detailing why he opted to keep his company bootstrapped amidst a sea of VC-funded competitors, favoring a lean, self-reliant business model.


A Bootstrapped Founder’s Journey to Success

Sumit Kumar’s journey with Parqet, a portfolio tracking and visualization tool, is a testament to the power of solving one’s own problems and the dedication required to build a successful bootstrapped business. As a front-end developer, Sumit found himself struggling to manage his personal finances and investments, a challenge many of us can relate to. Determined to take control of his wealth-building journey, Sumit decided to create his own tool to track his investments and progress.

What started as a simple side project quickly gained traction as Sumit opened it up to others facing similar challenges. Recognizing the potential, Sumit made the bold decision to leave his well-paying job at Stripe, a company he was proud to be a part of, to focus on Parqet full-time. This transition was not an easy one, as Sumit had to balance his growing responsibilities as a husband and soon-to-be father with the demands of building a successful business.


The Power of Ownership and Bootstrapping

Despite the temptation of venture capital funding, Sumit made the conscious decision to keep Parqet bootstrapped from day one. This strategic choice was driven by Sumit’s desire to maintain control over the company’s direction and his own destiny. He recognized that the founder’s return on a successful $10 million bootstrapped company could be the same as a $100 million VC-funded venture, but with a much higher likelihood of success.

Sumit’s aversion to the potential risks of VC funding, such as being pushed out by investors or losing control of the company, led him to prioritize a lean, self-reliant business model. As he explains, “I don’t like the risk of a company that you build and that might be successful fail because of founder disagreement.” This unwavering commitment to maintaining control over his company’s future has been a key factor in Parqet’s success.


Marketing Strategies and Business Growth

Sumit’s approach to marketing Parqet was both innovative and effective. Recognizing that traditional marketing methods might not be the best fit for his niche product, Sumit turned to the influencer ecosystem as a growth strategy. By building a tool that was tailored for investors to easily share their portfolios, Sumit tapped into the active conversations happening within the German finance community.

Influencers began using Parqet to showcase their investments, driving organic growth as their followers became curious about the tool and signed up. Sumit’s focus on creating a product that addressed the specific needs of his target audience, combined with his understanding of how to leverage the influencer community, proved to be a winning combination.

As Parqet’s growth continued, Sumit recognized the need to diversify his marketing approach. He began to invest in more traditional channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing, to build a sustainable, self-controlled customer acquisition strategy. While paid advertising has been a challenge due to the complexities of data tracking and compliance, Sumit’s focus on SEO and email has yielded positive results.


B2B Opportunities and Expanding the Product Portfolio

As Parqet’s success in the b2c market grew, Sumit began to explore opportunities in the b2b space. Recognizing that the company already had assets that were not being fully monetized, Sumit decided to package Parqet’s capabilities for business users. By offering dedicated support and business-focused features, Parqet is now catering to the needs of companies that are already using the tool for their personal portfolios.

This gradual expansion into the b2b market is a strategic move, allowing Parqet to tap into a larger addressable market without deviating too far from its core b2c focus. Sumit’s approach is to test and validate the b2b opportunity quickly, leveraging the existing product and team, before considering any significant investment or shift in the company’s direction.


Motivation and a Solo-Founder Journey

As a solo founder, Sumit has faced the unique challenges and rewards of building a company without a co-founder. He has found great value in connecting with other founders, both through online communities and in-person meetups, to share experiences, seek advice, and stay motivated.

Sumit emphasizes the importance of “surrounding yourself with people you look up to” and making a conscious effort to reach out to fellow founders regularly. These interactions not only provide valuable insights but also help Sumit maintain his passion and drive, even during the tough times.

While Sumit has considered the possibility of having a co-founder, he remains cautious about the risks of founder disagreements, which he believes can be a common cause of startup failures. Sumit’s preference for maintaining control and his belief in his ability to acquire the necessary skills to grow Parqet have led him to continue his solo-founder journey, at least for now.


Marketing and Hiring for Startups

Sumit has learned valuable lessons about marketing and hiring for startups, particularly in the context of a bootstrapped business. One key insight he shares is the importance of “only solving problems when they hurt.” Instead of proactively addressing every potential issue, Sumit advises founders to focus on the bare minimum required to validate the business and serve customers, deferring more complex solutions until they become necessary.

Additionally, Sumit emphasizes the power of “hyper-localizing” or “hyper-niching” a product, especially for bootstrapped founders. By focusing on a specific, well-defined target market, Parqet has been able to dominate a smaller, but still substantial, segment of the finance and investment landscape. This strategy has allowed Sumit to build a highly relevant and tailored solution without the resource-intensive task of catering to a broad, global audience from the outset.


Growth Hacks and Lessons Learned

Throughout his journey, Sumit has encountered both successes and challenges, and he is eager to share the lessons he has learned. One key “growth hack” he highlights is the importance of delivering on search intent, rather than solely focusing on conversion optimization. By ensuring that Parqet’s content and features directly address the needs of its target audience, Sumit has been able to build a strong organic presence and attract the right customers.

Another valuable lesson Sumit shares is the importance of hiring the right team members, even in the early stages of a bootstrapped startup. He emphasizes the need to trust your gut instinct and not ignore any red flags, as the impact of a poor hire can be magnified in a small team. Sumit’s commitment to building a cohesive, aligned team has been instrumental in Parqet’s success.


Head of Growth,