Jon Yongfook is an author, entrepreneur and digital nomad. He has founded and sold multiple successful businness. His current focus is Bannerbear.
He shared more about about his journey becoming a digital nomad at How to Build a Business by the Beach
He was Head of Digital Product & Design at Aviva for 2.5 years. He wrote more about it in a Facebook post. He also created a Facebook post when he left the company.
Bannerbear helps you auto-generate social media visuals, ecommerce banners, dynamic email images and more with our API and integrations
Jon officially launched Mojosaas – the precursor to Bannerbear – in September 2019. The goal was to create an indie, open SaaS studio and launch 2 or 3 SaaS products under this brand. The first product, Vote Mojo, launched on October 9. Vote Mojo was voting board software that you could embed on your website. He was able to hit $1000 annual run rate within 2 weeks of the launch.
In early November he launched their second product, Preview Mojo. It was a SaaS service that auto-generated social media preview images. He quickly realized that his current price point of $9 a month was far too low and significantly raised his prices. You can read more about the decision at Don’t Charge $9 a month for Your SaaS (archived post.)
He provided another update in December called Real Talk Time. He had been experiencing a lot of positives with Mojosaas but was struggling to find product market fit. He wasn’t going to be able to hit his target of $1k monthly recurring revenue (MRR.)
In January, 2020, he announced that he was pivoting away from the “mojosaas” brand and launched a new brand, Banner Bear. He described it as the ‘spiritual successor to Preview Mojo’. He said:
“I was trying to do too many things with mojosaas. For Mojosaas, the original intention was to create a few distinct products, each with its own little marketing ecosystem, and to document the entire journey transparently on the mojosaas site along with hopefully noting down some helpful advice along the way. Now I realise what a crazy stupid amount of work that is and how by trying to do everything I was achieving nothing.”
He had another ‘soft’ pivot in March. He had experimented with offering an app via Shopify but found that it wasn’t sustainable. He also found that his original product was too technical. He simplified the app so it was now an image generation service. The community responded. By May, he had 25 paying subscribers. By early June, he reached $1000 MRR. A day after posting that milestone, he experienced his first churn and lost two customers.
Tip: He shared how others can achieve that milestone at How to Get Your First 25 SaaS Customers.
He reached $2000 MRR mid July. By mid August, hit $3000 MRR. At that point, his costs had gone up as he was purchasing more Saas services instead of spending his coding energy creating a separate solution. He was also trying to slow down his growth to create a more customer friendly experience.
In September, Jon experienced the best month so far for Bannerbear as a business. Bannerbear had hit $5000+ MRR, gained 38 new customers and 4 upgrades to a higher tier. He created a Twitter thread about the lessons learned.
He hit $6000 MRR in October – roughly a year after launching.
Other interesting Facts:
- The stats from his Product Hunt launch for Preview Mojo
- His original tech stack for the Mojosaas page.
12 Startups in 12 Months
In September, 2018, Jon announced that he was doing the 12 Startups in 12 Months challenge.
His first product was Zipsell – a free, open source and self-hosted platform for selling digital downloads, built with Ruby on Rails. The second was Promomatic. It was a helps you easily generate app store assets in various sizes. After just one month, it made $10’000 in sales in one day. It was later acquired.
He launched his third startup, Montage, in November. It is is rapid web-based wireframing tool with a user-generated component library. It was the #1 product of the day on Product Hunt. It was also acquired. The fourth project was Tech Jobs Asia. This was a curated job board featuring the best tech jobs from around Asia. He put the project up for sale in November, 2019. He later described the project as ‘the biggest flop of all the things he launched’
In January, 2019, he realized that the products he had created were more like side projects and not a legacy business. He decided to pivot and explore projects that had a stronger B2B focus. He expanded on this at Realigning my 12 Startups Challenge.
His first product for 2019, and his fifth project, was a SaaS for financial institutions called Hyperjump. His sixth project was Tropic. This product provided an overview of your remote team timezones.
The final project was a video discussion board for remote teams called Talkshow. At that point, he decided to focus all of his efforts on this project. He had some initially success but later suffered with product-market fit. He decided to pivot and turn Talkshow into a Slack App. He planned to give the project on month and re-evaluate. He shut down the project on September 13.
Twenty Four Twelve Systems
Twenty Four Twelve Systems was a software and consulting company. Jon developed, designed and marketed original SaaS software products targeted at SMEs.
He shared some tips about creating a business at 10 Reasons Why I Self-Funded My Startup and So Should You.
In 2014, he ran The Greatest Marketing Internship. The internship bought applicants to Thailand to work on Beatrix for 4 weeks before returning home. One of those applicants was Gwen Yi. She wrote about her experience at 5 Things I Didn’t Expect To Learn From Jon Yongfook’s #Beachternship. Jon struggled with the products focus during this time. He wrote about it further at Why I’m Killing My New Startup Before Even Launching It.
PitchPigeon was a press release distribution app. It sold in 2014 for “a very healthy multiple of [Pitchpigeon’s] annual revenue”. Check out the Product Hunt page.
Growth Hacking Handbook
In 2014, Jon released the Growth Hacking Handbook. It helped buyers kickstart their marketing with 100 tried and tested growth tactics.
He announced the launch on his blog in January, 2014. By February 10, it was 65% funded. He exceeded his goal by getting over $12k in preorders. He shared more about the lessons learned at How I got $12k in preorders in 1 month.
- “Startupsplainin:” The opinionated, unsolicited views from casual observers of the people actually fighting in the arena.
- How much money do you need to become an Indiehacker? Jon shares what his own finances looked like when he went all-in
- What Jon is doing to slowly grow into a sustainable, resilient business.
- Why Indie Hacking is hard.
He loves motorcycles. He shared a Youtube video of him riding the The Canggu Shortcut
He follows the keto diet.