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The Nomad Ballet of Alex David

Alex David's journey from a globetrotting childhood to the forefront of SaaS as the co-founder of Corrily, showcases his adaptability, passion, and the pursuit of optimizing software pricing strategies.

Alex David's journey from the vibrant streets of Marseilles to the cutting-edge realm of SaaS is a testament to the power of diverse experiences. As the co-founder and COO of Corrily, he channels lessons from a globe-trotting childhood and the inspiring work ethic of his ballerina mother into redefining pricing strategies for software services. His story highlights the interplay between adaptability, passion, and innovation in the entrepreneurial world.

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A Nomadic Entrepreneur

Well before co-founding Corrily, Alex's formative years were marked by frequent relocations across Western Europe and Asia. This nomadic lifestyle fostered a unique adaptability and comfort in uncomfortable situations—qualities that would later become invaluable in the unpredictable journey of entrepreneurship. From navigating different school systems to adapting to new cultures, Alex learned early on how to thrive amid change.

Alex David Mother Ballerina

Exposure to Relentless Drive

Observing his mother's dedication to her art as a professional ballerina, Alex absorbed the importance of passion and perseverance. Her ability to pursue ballet well into her 50s demonstrated that true dedication knows no bounds. This exposure to relentless drive and commitment shaped Alex's belief in the value of chasing one's passions, even when it leads off the beaten path.

Y Combinator

Finding the Corrily Niche

The inception of Corrily stemmed from a collaboration with Alex's co-founder, Andrej, during the pandemic. Identifying a widespread issue with SaaS pricing among Y Combinator startups, they found their niche. Corrily was born out of the need to simplify and optimize pricing strategies—a venture that combined Alex's knack for adaptation and problem-solving with Andrej's technical expertise.

Alex David Mother and Alex David

Value-Driven SaaS

Alex's reflections on the investment craze of 2021 and the subsequent move to a more conservative, value-driven approach in SaaS underscore the importance of adaptability not just in personal growth, but in business strategies as well. His entrepreneurial journey is more than a series of successful ventures; it's a narrative of how embracing one's past and passions can pave the way for innovation and impact in the business world. His story serves as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs, proving that the path to success is not linear, but a rich tapestry of experiences and lessons learned.

00:00:00:00 - 00:00:26:23

Alex David

You know, I was in a very stable, successful career. I didn't need to do something new, but it felt like this itch that I had to scratch of, it felt like there's something out there that I wanted to really pursue fully. My name is Alex David. I'm the co-founder and COO of Corrily and I was born in Marseilles, the south of France.

00:00:27:00 - 00:00:51:18

Alex David

My mother was quite a famous ballerina. She danced for a number of ballet companies, went on tour, so we probably moved every few months to a few years across most of Western Europe and Asia. As I was growing up and I think that for me, meeting lots of different people, seeing lots of different ways of life was very impactful.

00:00:51:18 - 00:01:14:03

Alex David

And just how I live my own life and how I kind of see the world around me today. It made it very comfortable for me to drop into uncomfortable situations, which I think being a founder is one of the least comfortable situations you can be in career wise and just being able to adapt to the day to day that comes to that.

00:01:14:04 - 00:01:33:12

Alex David

I think it prepared me quite well for that. The moving around, I think is one part of it, but especially when you're doing it through formative years, you go to school, right? And every country has its own school system and you're kind of hopping around trying to switch languages and figure out how to go about your day to day from the outside.

00:01:33:12 - 00:01:52:15

Alex David

A lot of places may look at the same, people look the same, the country looks similar day to day. It can be very, very different. And I think understanding how you recognize that quickly enough to adapt to it was probably quite formative. It's always made me ask, you know, a couple more layers of why or so what or why are you thinking about this?

00:01:52:15 - 00:02:13:17

Alex David

What's kind of driving this behavior? I think the other thing is, you know, growing up with a single mom, there's a lot of drive that I got to observe. You know, my mom retired from dancing when she was 52, which is quite late in that career. And I think someone showing that if you're passionate about something and there's something you actually give a damn about, it's worth doing.

00:02:13:21 - 00:02:33:04

Alex David

And so I think that for me was also part of what inspired me to start going on the journey. You know, I was in a very stable, successful career. I didn't need to do something new, but it felt like this itch that I had to scratch of, it felt like there's something out there that I wanted to really pursue fully.

00:02:33:06 - 00:02:54:07

Alex David

My co-founder, Andrej, was a quant at BlackRock, and so he, during the COVID times, had a lot of different ideas that he kind of took and wound up taking to YC, Y Combinator I wound up being an advisor to him. The company went through a lot of different pivots in that process, trying to figure out what the right thing was.

00:02:54:09 - 00:03:12:09

Alex David

The concept of trying to help other YC companies figure out how to do their pricing kept coming up just because everyone was complaining about it being annoying problem to solve. So I tried a few things, helped a couple companies double their revenue and I was like, Maybe there's something here that was just something that really inspired both of us.

00:03:12:09 - 00:03:35:21

Alex David

And so that kind of set us off on the journey. There were some personal things going on with another co-founder that had to step away, or this is where he asked me and one of the other advisors, Praveen, to kind of step up as co-founders of the company. And I think that that path was kind of interesting because he's a quite brilliant technical but also financial founder, but very new to the space and problem set.

00:03:35:21 - 00:03:54:18

Alex David

And so I think as we embarked on it, it became a quite complementary partnership just in terms of the areas that we bring to the table. How we think about the problem. Praveen is an ex Microsoft and Amazon guys. So big, big tech, I mean, kind of knows how to run a product team very functionally and very efficiently.

00:03:54:22 - 00:04:13:04

Alex David

We all have great ways to spar with each other and come up with great ideas, and that's been really fundamental to kind of how we've landed where we are. We were in YC, it's kind of the traditional you go through demo day, you raise some initial funding. I mean, I think it's worth noting the time when this was happening, right?

00:04:13:05 - 00:04:34:19

Alex David

Like this was the end of 2021, the height of the craze of investing into startups, right? I mean, I think a lot of the cohorts that were in YC at the time were raising 30, 40, 50 million valuations off of little more than an idea, right? And so I think we were much more conservative in our expectation for where the market was going.

00:04:34:21 - 00:04:50:23

Alex David

But still it felt like that was very cheap money to take on. When you have a large technical upfront cost, the VC route can make a lot of sense in that regard because it lets you get started very quickly, get the right type of team in place and be able to hit the ground running.

00:04:51:00 - 00:04:57:13

Alexander Theuma

The winner of Best SaaS Startup SaaStock USA 2023 is.

00:04:57:15 - 00:05:26:17

Alex David

Corrily. And being at SaaStock and talking to a lot of the other founders in the venture world is, you know, let's carve out generative AI for a second. But for everything else, they're starting to be a bit more conservative in how they look at it, how they invest in it. And I think that, you know, two years ago, if you had said like, you should try and get your SaaS product and company to be profitable within the first few years, you would have gotten laughed out of the room.

00:05:26:17 - 00:05:45:12

Alex David

Right now, I think a lot of people are like, yeah, that's probably not a bad idea. And so I do think that that is fundamentally changing the equation of how a SaaS company works because traditionally it's acquire, that's all that matters. You acquire customers and you'll figure everything else out once you have your thousands, tens of thousands of customers.

00:05:45:14 - 00:06:12:19

Alex David

And I think now having tens of thousands of customers is very expensive. You have support teams, you have technical foundational stuff you have to build for that. It's just expensive to maintain. And I think if you're not monetizing, if you're not focusing on retaining those customers that you're bringing in, I don't think that that's sustainable anymore. Is your Mum proud of you?

00:06:12:21 - 00:06:24:07

Alex David

I like to think so. She actually has decided to go on her own entrepreneurship journey now, which is funny. So I guess it runs in the family.