VC-backed CEO of SaaS Startup Cuts Costs and Diagnoses Problems with Varos

about

Motion was started by Harry Qi, Ethan Yu, and Omid Rooholfada, and was part of the Y Combinator W20 batch. All three founders come from quantitative or engineering backgrounds where they felt they wasted too much time on task prioritization, downtime between meetings, and worrying about deadlines. 

Motion is a productivity tool that helps busy people optimize their time and reclaim precious, previously-lost hours each day. It uses artificial intelligence to combine tasks and meetings into an optimized schedule, so users can spend more time executing and less time between tasks. 

Operating in a classic SaaS model, their goal is to reach both B2B and B2C customers via Google Ads, Youtube, and other marketing channels, and then grow via referrals and land-and-expand.

Industry
B2C/B2B SaaS
employees
15+
location
Mountain View, CA

Challenge

Harry Qi is the CEO of Motion and didn’t have experience with paid ads before this role. “I try to focus most of my time on delighting users, so to me, the time spent on ads is a necessary evil,” Harry told us. 

“Over the past couple years, our Facebook Ads KPIs have been fluctuating on a weekly basis and I’m never sure if it’s due to something within our control,” Harry went on, discussing CPM and Cost Per Signup, Motion’s core Facebook KPIs. 

“When we saw an increase in costs, we worked with our media buyer to change up our creative or try different targeting. That process takes time, and it takes even more time, about one to two weeks, for Facebook to adapt to our new configuration so we can see where our new costs land,” Harry went on. “During that week-long period, money is also being wasted while the algorithms adjust.”

“I’m just afraid that I’m spending all that time and money on Facebook when maybe I didn’t have a problem in the first place. I’ve tried to ask other SaaS friends if they’ve seen a spike in their metrics too, but they’re always in a different industry, not spending at the moment, or just don’t know,” Harry said. 

Solution

Harry checks his Facebook Ads manager every two or three days, and “whenever I see a cost increase, the first thing I do is I cross-reference the numbers with Varos,” Harry told us. 

Motion is using Varos’ Subscription SaaS Dashboard, specifically built to anonymously aggregate and display KPIs from other subscription SaaS companies like Motion. 

In the Subscription SaaS Dashboard, Harry can see how his Cost Per Signup, ROAS, CPM, CTR, and his other metrics stack up to other subscription SaaS companies in real time and on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. 

He can filter by the exact date range where he noticed the KPI spike, and can immediately diagnose if it happened to other subscription SaaS companies, or just to Motion. 

Results

“Varos helps me to live the Motion ethos of time efficiency,” Harry said. “Now, I’m able to spend more of my time working to delight our customers, and only involve myself in ads when there’s something I can do to make a positive change.”

“I’m also able to save us money by sticking with ads that work instead of spending time ramping on experimental configurations & creatives,” Harry went on.

“Having real-time benchmarks for metrics like Cost Per Signup to similar companies consistently saves our company time and money.”

“Having real-time benchmarks for metrics like Cost Per Signup to similar companies consistently saves our company time and money”

Harry Qi
Co-founder and CEO of Motion

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