Business Plan (First Year)
We are creating an open platform for a new generation of SaaS apps to enhance user experience and developer productivity.
Please read The Missing SaaS Platform for an overview of the project.
We need to raise funds and recruit talent to make this a reality.
Below is our business plan for the first year and beyond.
Ownership and Location
1Place was founded in France in April 2022 by Manuel Vila.
At present, Manuel Vila owns 100% of the company.
The amount of shares offered to the initial investors is yet to be determined.
30% of the remaining shares shall be distributed to the team according to a vesting schedule.
Go to Market
The potential is vast and includes both the B2B and B2C app markets. However, we shall focus on small businesses, and then expand to:
- Mid-size companies
- Large enterprises
Launching a new app platform is challenging because apps and users make it work.
To get started, we will create a cutting-edge productivity app to attract a sufficient number of users.
Afterward, we will put effort into "developer evangelism" by providing documentation, tutorials, blog posts, videos, and direct communication to persuade third-party developers to join the platform.
While some products attempt to solve similar problems, they offer ineffective solutions because they don't address the underlying cause — the lack of an open SaaS platform.
- Okta can centralize user management for multiple apps, but integration requires custom development for each app.
- Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 could be categorized as SaaS platforms, but they have limited support for third-party apps.
- Basecamp is a great solution for streamlining document management and communication, but it only accommodates a select number of document types.
A marketplace records the usage of the platform and applications for each customer and sends them a monthly invoice summarizing the fees in terms of operations and storage.
The goal of the project is not to build a monopolistic SaaS platform that dominates the market, but rather to establish an open standard that encourages the development of multiple interoperable platforms.
We will create the first open SaaS platform. Then, we will refine it by collaborating with third-party developers until a standard can be established.
An independent nonprofit organization will formalize the standard and manage user and organization identities.
About the Founder
Manuel Vila is a full-stack software engineer with a passion for UX/UI.
Following are what might define him:
- Thirty years of experience in designing and building apps.
- Strong focus on web technologies.
- Programming became a hobby at 12 years old.
- His passion for design was upon seeing the first Mac computer in 1984.
- Scholastic about entrepreneurship.
The First Year
1Place's platform and its related components have yet to be built. However, we don't start from zero.
Manuel Vila has spent three years creating the technical building blocks Layr, Boostr, and Deepr, upon which our product can be developed in the most efficient way.
Furthermore, Manuel Vila has spent considerable time developing the idea of an app platform for the Web. In fact, since Tim Berners-Lee discussed the Semantic Web, also known as Web 3.0 (unlike Web3), over two decades ago.
What Needs to Be Achieved
The following will getting a minimum lovable product:
- Identity registry (user and organization registration, authentication, and platform association)
- Platform (user, document, and common feature centralization)
- Marketplace (app curation, invoicing, payment collection, and income redistribution to platform and app vendors)
- Cutting-edge productivity app
- Layr v3 (technical building block)
We intend to build our initial product according to the roadmap below:
- Alpha version after six months (core foundation)
- Beta version after nine months (productivity apps)
- Version 1.0 after twelve months (minimum lovable product)
The initial team will be small but efficient.
From day one:
- Manuel Vila
After six months:
- Two additional senior full-stack software engineers
- A senior UX/UI designer
- A marketing expert
After nine months:
- A senior technical writer
- A customer support expert
Following is an expense estimate for the first year.
- Manuel Vila: $48,000 ($4,000 x 12 months)
- Senior full-stack software engineer #2: $48,000 ($8,000 x 6 months)
- Senior full-stack software engineer #3: $48,000 ($8,000 x 6 months)
- Senior UX/UI designer: $42,000 ($7,000 x 6 months)
- Marketing expert: $42,000 ($7,000 x 6 months)
- Senior technical writer: $18,000 ($6,000 x 3 months)
- Customer support expert: $18,000 ($6,000 x 3 months)
Overheads (e.g., brand design, legal, accounting, or administrative): $50,000
After nine months, we should obtain adopters with the release of the beta version, but we do not expect revenue until version 1.0, due after one year.
To cover the estimated expenses for the first year and allow six more months to secure the next funding round, we need to raise $590,000 as pre-seed money, which can be rounded up to $600,000.
It may seem lofty, but our project is not about creating a simple app. It's about building an open platform along with a cutting-edge productivity app.
As mentioned earlier, we have not yet determined the amount of shares offered to investors.
After One Year
We will release version 1.0 and strive to attract paying users.
In addition, we will have sufficient funds for six months to cover our team's salaries, provide support to our initial customers, and secure our next funding round.
What Will Remain to Achieve
Below is what we need to achieve to get a scalable business:
- Establish a sales team.
- Assist in setting up a nonprofit organization to formalize standards and manage the identity registry.
- Provide support to third-party developers in creating or porting apps.
- Create more productivity apps.
- Enhance 1Place's marketplace.
Also, we will extend 1Place's platform with the following features:
- Concept of "channel" so a user or organization can have sub-identities (e.g., "john.doe#dev", "john.doe#design", "acme-inc#sales", or "acme-inc#support").
- Ability for a user to send a message (possibly through a channel) so it replaces emails and removes the need for communication apps like Slack.
- Concepts of "status", "due date", and "assignee" to track a document's progress and who is in charge of it. Such concepts can eliminate the need for project management apps like Trello.
- Support for app integrations to exclude the need for solutions like Zapier.
All roles of the initial team will be augmented by hiring new talent.
Additional talent will fulfill the following roles:
- Human resource management
- Sales and customer service
- Product management
- Finance management
- Developer evangelism
- Community management
- Quality and security assurance
- Business development
We are building something unique that can transform the world of software.
There will be a "before" and "after" for all SaaS apps, and giants like Google, Apple, or Microsoft will be challenged.
Indeed, achieving such an ambitious project will not be simple, but our value proposition is so elevated for both users and developers that we are confident we will succeed.
Although open to competition (thanks to the open standard), 1Place will have a head start and should be able to maintain its leadership.