An alternative to ReferralCandy, Yotpo, or Rewardful that makes $30K in MRR

These are growth insights from The Bootstrapped Way database, where I deconstruct how startups grow - like acquisition tactics and channels - and share them in a structured way.

Daniel Pirciu


Maker of TheBootstrappedWay

Growth Story #1: GrowSurf - alternative to ReferralCandy or Yotpo

MRR: $30,000 | Business type: SaaS


A referral software for tech startups. GrowSurf automates customer acquisition at the lowest possible cost for B2C, FinTech, and SaaS companies.

Growth channels and tactics:

1) SEO

2) Content Marketing

3) Product Hunt

4) Hacker News

They've tried it all - launching on Product Hunt, and Betalist, but their main growth channels remain organic search. They got some early users but didn't manage to keep them, as their product was too generic.

My insights:

Their biggest challenge at the beginning was to get some social proof (testimonials, logos).

One thing they did from the beginning and was their primary focus - taking calls. In this way they could understand the main pain points and take notes on the keywords and language their core target was using, thus improving their copy and feeding their content strategy.

Their main growth lever is SEO through relevant content, having their ideal customer in mind. They also hired a professional B2B SaaS copywriter to optimize their landing pages, which helped them greatly along the way.

They are currently at around $25k MRR, with an average 6% monthly growth rate, and the churn is currently 8%.

On the SEO side of things, they're also investing more in tools, processes, and resources that can help them push out better content consistently.

💡 Here is the most well-structured and hands-on course on SEO, by Ahrefs. And here is a great article on SEO for SaaS.

Growth Story #2:

MRR: $15,000 | Business type: SaaS


They connect startups and tech companies with the best software developer students at colleges across North America like Waterloo, Harvard, Berkeley, and more. They work with startups to hire really strong and motivated technical interns, many of who have experience at top companies like Google or Facebook.

Growth channels and tactics:

1) Product Hunt

2) PR

This is another success story having as the main growth play to reach out and discuss early on with potential users and then launch on Product Hunt.

My insights:

After planning and hustling on the day of our launch, they achieved #1 Product of the Day and #2 Product of the Week.

The launch was a huge success and led to 30% more companies signing up. It also led to them connecting with Mozilla.

Here are some of the things you can do to help you push your Product Hunt post on the big day:

- Set up groups of friends where you can drop links to your and other social media posts for them to promote throughout the day.

- Check for followers of Product Hunt on different social networks to see who likely already has an account, as their upvotes will carry more weight. Ask your friends to do the same and keep a list of people to reach out to during the day.

- Write different copy texts and create images for your own social media posts and examples for friends to post to help promote.

Their main lesson has been to pay close attention to the entire sales process to figure out what profile of the customer is best and hone in on our target market. They initially talked to a lot of smaller startups that didn’t have the funding or weren’t set up well enough to expand their hiring. They took up a lot of time but would still drop off after interviewing a few students.

💡 Looking to launch on Product Hunt? Here is a great resource to help you get started.

Growth Story #2: Reflect

MRR: $3,500 | Business type: SaaS


Reflect is an automated web testing tool for developers to test their web app without writing a line of code. Using Reflect, you can create automated web tests that replicate how a user actually uses your web application, all without writing a line of code.

Growth channels and tactics:

1) Email outreach

2) Linkedin

3) Online Communities

My insights:

LinkedIn and direct email outreach have been our best-performing channels for attracting customers so far.

Being a really technical and niched tool, their main growth machine was focused on small communities, cold outreach, and their network.

The key element in their business is having the biggest impact though, their focus on retention with a product-led growth mindset and great customer service.

Their customers access Reflect through a monthly, pay-as-you-go subscription that includes creating, executing, and managing their suite of web tests. Reflect has been publicly available since November 2019 and generates around $3K in monthly recurring revenue.

After they put up a landing page, they began emailing technology companies in the Philadelphia area. Shortly after, they had a surprisingly great response rate from local CTOs and engineers who were supportive and happy to check out the product and provide feedback.

In the meantime, they've raised a Seed round of $1,700,000.

💡 A well-known company in the outreach world is Lemlist. They also have a course on doing cold email outreach - Multichannel Cold Outreach Masterclass.