Itai Sadan on Finding a Great Product-Market Fit

by | Nov 24, 2021 | SaaS Founders

Humble Beginnings

Over a decade ago, Duda co-founders Itai Sadan and Amir Glatt were in a garage in Mountain View, California, when the idea to create a mobile website builder—called Duda Mobile, at the time—came to them.

Through the creation of Duda Mobile, Sadan and Glatt capitalized on the issue of desktop-first websites lacking an adequate mobile-friendly experience. At the time, “all the user had to do was insert the URL of the desktop site and click submit, and [Duda Mobile] would automatically reformat that [website] for a mobile device,” Sadan explains. 

As time went on, the proliferation of devices and screens meant that “it became pretty apparent that small businesses didn’t want to build a website for every single device. They just wanted to build it once and [have it] run everywhere,” Sadan describes.

So, Sadan and Glatt expanded their solution from being mobile-only to supporting all screens. Responsive web design was the new trend, “and we needed to jump on that bandwagon,” Sadan asserts.

From Duda Mobile to Duda

Around this time, they cut off the “mobile” in their name because they were no longer just a mobile website builder—despite that being their origin. “We were now a responsive website builder,” Sadan explains.

As they were launching this solution to build responsive websites across both desktop and mobile, Sadan shares that they evaluated their user base and discovered roughly 50% of their users were still small businesses. However, “the other 50% were these web professionals, digital marketing agencies, web designers, freelancers, marketers—people who were servicing small businesses,” he elaborates. It was this half of their user base that they noticed was growing exponentially.

“With the DNA and the culture of the company, I felt like we understood them better,” Sadan shares.  They felt that these users were underserved with many of the existing website-building solutions, and they decided they wanted to tap into this blue-ocean market.

In 2015 Duda made the strategic decision to primarily focus on this portion of their customer base and devote themselves to building an efficient solution for web professionals, agencies, and SaaS companies that serve small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). The company helps its core user base deliver striking white-label websites at scale with its easy-to-use low-to-no-code technology.

Now, roughly six years later, there are 17,000 agencies using Duda and almost one million active websites on the platform. The monumental pivot has also seen Duda breaking ground in the area of user-experience optimization, as it is currently the highest scoring website builder for Google’s Core Web Vitals, beating out other well-known solutions and making it easy for their agency and SaaS customers to perform and rank high on Google search results.

Why He’s Passionate About Duda

Although Duda capitalized on the glaring issue that was mobile website inefficiency, Sadan explains that there was more beyond creating a software solution that made him passionate about developing Duda.

With prior experiences working for large companies, Sadan found that working with small businesses and agencies was a new experience that he enjoyed. “It’s fun to work with smaller companies,” Sadan explains. “They know their business inside-out. Every decision is important for them, and it’s great to have that type of engagement and fast decision cycles.”

Sadan also loves when customers share their appreciation for Duda and how much it has improved their website experience. What’s more, employees who have joined Duda find fulfillment in working for a company whose customers genuinely love the product.

With a love for design and creativity, Sadan was naturally drawn to the website-building industry.  Additionally, the constant change in this space means it’s crucial to be at the cutting edge of what’s happening in this world, which is something that Sadan has always found a passion in.

How E-Commerce is Influencing Websites

Sadan asserts that websites are constantly changing, and this last year was no different. With COVID-19 pushing everybody into the online world more than ever before, Sadan says they witnessed a monumental rise in demand.

“Many small businesses didn’t have websites or didn’t rely on websites,” he explains, and Duda was ready to help them develop a seamless, responsive site in no time.

On the other end of the spectrum, businesses that already had websites had to acknowledge the necessity of maintaining their site. Even if their site begged to be redesigned and modernized, Sadan insists that focusing on how to make their site more transactional—such as enabling e-commerce and selling products on their website—took top priority.

“We saw about a 265% year-over-year increase in the amount of e-commerce stores created,” Sadan explains, so it’s evident that the demand for transactional websites has grown significantly and continues to expand.

In fact, Sadan shared that Duda recently made an acquisition in this space. Within the last few months, they acquired a Canadian e-commerce platform known as Snipcart. “They have a really strong team with a great product that they built, and we’re in the process of integrating that into our platform,” he says.

With the integration of Snipcart, users of Duda will be provided with a smooth experience for selling products online. 

Sadan says there has also been a transformation in the kind of online stores we see. Instead of just the typical one-time purchase of a physical product that is shipped directly to your doorstep, an increasing number of businesses have begun selling content, subscriptions and other digital products online.

“There’s a lot of evolution that is happening in that space, especially as physical stores have closed,” Sadan explains. Many of these business owners whose doors have closed are entrepreneurs trying to figure out what will be their next big thing.

“Everybody’s adapting to a world where you’d better be online first, and there’s a lot of opportunity there,” he states.

His Advice on Scaling Your Business

When it comes to scaling your SaaS business, Sadan says the first step is ensuring you have a great product-market fit. “I think that’s the basis of succeeding and growing with any type of business—you need to ensure that you’re really building a product that customers need, and hopefully there’s a big enough market out there that wants your product,” he says.

When competitors come into the picture and trends start to arise, your product-market fit can make or break your business. When mobile devices first started gaining popularity, “we were right there, and we had an excellent product-market fit,” Sadan states, which pushed them to stay on the cutting edge. 

Similarly, when they noticed the responsive web design trend—where companies wanted one website that was functional across all platforms—they shifted their product to fit what the market needed and what consumers were looking for.

Aside from your product-market fit, Sadan says it’s essential to deeply understand “who your customers are, what their pain points are and how you’re solving these pain points.” Additionally, identifying potential new customer segments to appeal to—like Duda did when they entered the SaaS space— ensures your product is constantly expanding in its relevance and utility.

Scaling your product can also mean ruling out some customers you maybe thought were valuable, “but over time you understand that their willingness to pay or their perceived value of your product has diminished,” Sadan shares.

In these cases, it’s vital to zero in on the other segments in your customer base that are growing much faster—just as Duda did when they shifted their focus to web professionals because that portion of their customer base was rapidly expanding.

So if you’re looking to grow your business, there is inspiration to be found in Duda’s story. If you have an excellent product-market fit, a product that solves your customers’ pain points and a willingness to pivot as trends and new customer bases arise, you are well on your way.

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