At Tint, we value transparency. Transparency is one of our five company values and we’ve blogged about it several times. Everything at Tint is discussed openly as a team and nothing is hidden, including the salaries of other team members and how much money is in our bank account. We’re also transparent with our customers – about pricing, our product roadmap, and mistakes we make along the way. So when Josh Pigford from Baremetrics (a platform that helps companies calculate their revenue data) reached out to us to see if we wanted to make our financial data public, it wasn’t a difficult decision. We said yes.
Today, we’re excited to take our transparency to this new level by releasing our real-time revenue dashboard.
We’re Showing You Everything
Whatever we see on our Baremetrics dashboard, you can now see, in real time. Anyone will be able to see our monthly recurring revenue, user churn, a live stream of transactions with customers, and more. In the interests of privacy, the real names of our customers will be replaced with fake names, but the dollar amounts are real. Here are some of the big numbers we’re exposing:
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is one of our key metrics to evaluate how fast we are growing. This number represents the portion of our revenue that is very likely to continue in the future. With a subscription service like ours, most of our revenue falls into this category. We calculate this by subtracting one-time payments, like insTint update days, from our gross revenue. Multiply this number by 12 and you have your expected annual revenue.
Our Baremetrics dashboard reveals both Revenue Churn and User Churn. These numbers represent the rate at which customers downgrade or cancel their plans, so a low churn is good. When a customer buys two months of Tint and then cancels, that increases our churn. Our user churn looks relatively high, because many of our customers subscribe for just one event/temporary campaign and then cancel until their next event/campaign. Showing clients the advantages of using Tint beyond their events is one strategy we’ve employed to decrease our churn.
Annual Run Rate
Pretty simple: MRR x 12. An estimation of our annual revenue, if conditions from this month continue. We’re growing, so we hope this number keeps growing too. You can see we’ve 10x our annual revenue in 1 year and we are very proud of that.
Including upgrades, downgrades, and cancellations, our Baremetrics dashboard exposes a lot of information about the flow of clients at Tint. “Active Customers” displays all customers who have paid us within the given time period. This past month, we had 863 active customers, and 98 new customers. Wahoo!
Risks and Rewards of Exposing Financial Data
Not many companies are this transparent about their revenue, financial data, and more. Buffer, another social media startup practicing transparency, and Baremetrics themselves have made their dashboards public, but it’s still an unorthodox move. Then again, who ever said startups should make orthodox moves? We believe this level of transparency is a good idea for a couple of reasons: accountability will push us to grow faster, transparency will encourage customers and investors to trust us, and sharing our financial data may help other entrepreneurs.
Accountability Spurs Growth
Nothing is hidden from the public eye. This means that we’re more accountable for our successes and our failures. Knowing that all of these numbers are out there will push us to increase revenue, decrease user churn, and continue to grow the business at the fast pace we’ve set for ourselves. On the flip side, if we do poorly one month, there’s no hiding it. Our hope is that this level of transparency will inspire trust. Here are our numbers. Make of them what you will.
Our Numbers Might Help Other Entrepreneurs
We love helping other entrepreneurs. It wasn’t long ago that Tint was tiny and pivoting to stay alive too. If seeing our financial data is useful to them (and we think it will be) then we’re happy to share it. Come. Study our financials. See what’s working. See what’s not. And let us know what you find most helpful!
The Risk: Data Doesn’t Tell the Whole Picture
Our CEO, Tim Sae Koo, has led this push for transparency. But even he has misgivings about putting it all out there. As Tim explained, “Data doesn’t paint the whole picture.” It is easy to look at these numbers and assume you know how a company is doing. But the numbers are only part of the story. It’s likely there will be months when outsiders look at our dashboard and wonder “Why isn’t this growing as fast as last month?” or “Why did this number dip?” They might assume they know how Tint is doing based on those numbers alone, but they wouldn’t have the whole picture.
The Next Step in Transparency
We’re not going to stop with making our real-time revenue dashboard public. In the coming weeks, we plan to begin sharing a monthly update with a slew of numbers that help to paint a fuller image of what is going on at Tint. These numbers will include sales metrics, like number of demo requests per month, support metrics, like response time on support tickets, and development metrics, like number of bugs fixed, and much, much more. We’re excited about this next step in transparency, and we hope you’ll join us on this journey. What other metrics would you like to see from us? Have you seen other startup companies do this well? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. -Muriel, Content Hero
—- **Update: Our two month experiment in exposing our dashboard in real-time has come to a close. We’ve made our revenue dashboard private again, for the time being, but we plan to continue finding other ways to practice transparency. The decision to remove our dashboard from public view was not made lightly. Due to concerns from our customers and giving competitive insight as an enterprise B2B company, we are reconsidering what we should make public while maintaining a transparent culture. We will continue to openly share our numbers as we grow, and to keep you updated with our metrics – feel free to suggest the kinds of numbers or data you’d like to see from us in the comments below!