Episode from the podcastSaaS Interviews with CEOs, Startups, Founders

EP 457: 4000+ Units Sold Teaching Kids How To Code, $2m+ Raised with Piper

Released Monday, 24th October 2016
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Tommy Gibbons, a former employee of both Goldman Sachs and Fundera. Listen to learn how Tommy met his Princeton bosses, and how he used those connections to get into Piper.
Famous Five:
  • Favorite Book? – N/A
  • What CEO do you follow? – Mark Pavlyukovskyy – his boss
  • Favorite online tool? — Zapier


  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20-year-old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “I wish I knew how I could”


Time Stamped Show Notes:
  • 01:10 – Nathan introduces Tommy to the show
  • 01:41 – Piper is a guide for kids ages 8 – 12 to build their first computer
  • 02:02 – Apple’s co-founder review on Piper
  • 02:16 – Piper has more than 4,000 customers since launching last year
  • 02:28 – Looking into subscription plans in the future
  • 02:45 – Piper was launched in Kickstarter in June 2015
    • 03:10 – Sold their first product in December 2015
    • 03:20 – They had craigslist posters
      • 03:40 – Title of craigslist poster was “Workers needed for packing of children’s toys in Long Beach”
  • 04:23 – Total funding raised is $ 2.3 million
  • 04:47 – Tommy does customer service, retail partnership and ran all school app design
    • 05:10 – Tommy has an equity In Piper
  • 05:40 – Piper has 3 founders
  • 06:20 – Tommy’s approach to Mark regarding his interest in Piper
    • 06:55 – Tommy told Mark about how he can be an advantage to the company
  • 07:30 – Tommy was working for free for a couple of months
  • 09:00 – The Piper question
  • 09:30 – Cost of goods sold
  • 09:45 – Gross margin
  • 10:00 – Reselling
    • 10:23 – Reseller’s price and markup 
    • 10:36 – Facebook Ad
  • 11:00 – Reorder rate
  • 11:30 – They are now focusing on the development of Piper computers
  • 11:52 – Revenue goal for 2016
    • 12:00 – Big expectations for Christmas
    • 12:15 – Order baseline
    • 12:55 – Baseline now per month
  • 13:32 – They will be very happy with 8,000 units sold
  • 13:54 – Connect with Tommy through Playpiper.com
  • 14:55 – They do retargeting
  • 15:45 – The Famous Five


3 Key Points:
  • Don’t just tell your future boss how you can be an asset to the company – show them what you can really do.
  • Because businesses start small, there’s always room to grow.
  • Your degree doesn’t define your future.


Resources Mentioned:
  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Playpiper.com – Tommy’s company website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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Episode Details

Length
18m 3s
Explicit
Yes
Episode Type
Full

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