If I White-label my SaaS, will it hurt me on branding my own company?

Just do it. If it’s easy to do.

Lots of folks agonize over white-labelling. The brand benefits will go to my partner, not me. I’ll be valued less. Etc. etc.

But bear in mind a few things:

  • All money in green, all recurring money is ARR. If the revenue recurs, it counts.
  • Customers often will figure it out. Unless you are truly a back-end provider like a Yext, the customers will figure it out. Your brand will shine through. Take, e.g. Twilio. Everyone knows what products run on Twilio, at least with a quick bit of Google diligence.
  • It’s a great opportunity to accelerate learnings. You’ll get pulled into new markets and new opportunities earlier than otherwise. This can be a gift.

But .. the real “hitch” is too much customizing. The last thing you want is to end up with two different platforms in the end.

We did whitelabelling in the first startup I worked at for a $1m TCV deal … and it ended up forking the platform. That was a disaster in the end, but probably worth it for $1m back then.

We did it again at EchoSign, but it was all on the exact same platform. Every feature was pushed to every customer and worked the same. Little distraction, there.

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Published on April 14, 2017

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