A Slice on Michael Ly, Co-Founder and CEO of Saasable
Michael Ly is no stranger to entrepreneurship, and started trailblazing this path early in his career. Starting his career in finance, Ly is a serial entrepreneur, making a name for himself in Vermont, and now on the west coast, Arizona to be specific. Ly is co-founder and CEO of Saasable, a financial bookkeeping dashboard for recurring revenue companies.
Ly’s entrepreneurial journey started with an online bookkeeping firm that serves entrepreneurs and small businesses, called Reconciled. Fully immersed in this business, Ly noticed a disconnect between business owners not having access to valuable data or not being able to fully understand it. Small business owners had an especially hard time with getting real value out of accounting and the numbers provided to them from the services they paid for. This ultimately led to them having a hard time deciding what to do next, what decisions to make, etc. “The people who it matters most to, don’t have access to it. So not only do startup founders have a hard time understanding it but then investors, bankers, other outside parties that help startups don’t have direct access to that accounting data. They’re having to get it from the founder, who doesn’t understand how to use it.” Ly is on a mission to make accounting data make sense for recurring revenue companies.
Noticing some differences between the two startup ecosystems in Vermont and Arizona, Ly notes Vermont is noticeably smaller than Arizona, which comes with a smaller startup territory, such as limited capital. Ly describes Vermont as concentrated and focused on what he calls “handcrafted products” so there isn’t a big presence from software companies or those within the industry. With Arizona’s ecosystem growing so fast, there is much more capital and more resources available to those in the SaaS industry. “Arizona has people that want to hear about big ideas, they want very big bets and to see that you’re going to be all in. I’ve been able to talk to investors in not just Arizona, but in all of the surrounding states.”
Going from a service-oriented business to a product-oriented business was one of Ly’s biggest obstacles. Having to shift mindsets to accurately cater to his customers is something he’s had to adapt to. “It’s about trying to find the right product-market fit and focusing heavily on that. I’m in that stage of being able to paint the narrative of the story of the problem we’re trying to solve and why we’re the best solution out there, even when the solution is not built yet.” Ly’s committed to creating a great experience for his customers, which requires that complete shift of mindset.
For Ly, an important piece of advice is that you have to enjoy people in order to grow a company. “At some point, your primary focus is going to be the people that you work with or that work for you, and finding and attracting people.”
Ly truly believes that part of being successful is having the right team by your side. The people you bring on are a reflection of the hard work you do, so it’s important to have a strong team with you.
Ly’s goals for the future include being a venture scale company, reach a billion dollar valuation, and more importantly, happily lead Saasable. Ly will continue to provide increased value to his customers and team while he does everything in his power to create a great place to work.