Blissfully Automates the Administrative Chore of Managing All of Your SaaS Tools
Ariel Diaz is a serial entrepreneur whose career was built on the idea of creating products and services that disrupt specific markets.
His first company, YouCastr, was founded in 2007. The company developed a live streaming video service for local sports teams that was way ahead of its time in terms of pairing mobile and video together. While it was a great idea, streaming video services didn’t really start to take off until apps like Meerkat and Periscope launched almost ten years later. Thus, the company didn’t gain the broad adoption that was needed to build a business.
“After YouCastr, I started doing consulting work in Boston,” Diaz said. “I started connecting with various other startups in the city, and I met Aaron White.”
White and Diaz started Boundless in 2010 with the goal of disrupting the textbook publishing industry with an alternative to those big, expensive textbooks that students have to buy. The venture-backed startup offered students free and low-cost digital textbooks which leveraged materials from free and open sources. Boundless made some major waves in the industry, as three major textbook publishers took action in the form of a lawsuit that was ultimately settled. In 2015, Boundless was acquired by Valore.
After spending more than 10 years in Boston, Diaz moved to New York City with his wife. It was around this time that Diaz began to take serious note of two tech trends—trends that would inspire his next great idea.
“All business software was moving towards the cloud or SaaS,” he said, setting the stage for what the industry looked like at the time. “SaaS keeps taking over more business functions, and I saw the new benefits and what new risks it brings.”
One risk came from his own experience at Boundless, where his team had plenty of SaaS tools at their disposal, but they had trouble keeping track of which ones they were using, how much they cost and how much value they were getting from them. The employees tasked with managing these tools had to manually input this data into a spreadsheet.
The other trend that Diaz noticed was how the IT industry was changing dramatically. Technology and hardware were getting better and with the move to the cloud, companies could do more themselves without have to build an internal IT team.
“These trends started to come together,” Diaz said. “I thought, ‘How can we help companies leverage SaaS more effectively?’ ”
Enter Blissfully, Diaz’s third startup and the second company that he’s co-founded White, a fellow serial entrepreneur.
“We spent a lot of time coming up with the name. We wanted to create a unique and friendly vibe, and a brand,” Diaz told us. “And Blissfully was about taking the burden off of people and creating a stress-free environment.”
Worry-Free SaaS Management
Blissfully’s platform gives customers an easy way to track spending across all the various SaaS products they are using, plus an automated security element in terms of granting employees access to these tools. The idea behind Blissfully is for companies to simplify vendor management and see if they’re getting their money’s worth by having all these SaaS products on hand. If one company has a broad set of particular tools, it can be hard on the surface to see which ones the company is using—and which ones are helping.
“From the consumer to the IT crowd, it wasn’t hard to sell them on our idea,” Diaz told us. “It was a pain point that people easily understood.”
Nearly 300 companies are using the platform, which is offered via a freemium sales model.
The company remained bootstrapped for a while at first, as they wanted to learn about the market and start to generate revenue out of the gate. Once they had dozens of companies using their platform, it made sense to raise funding to accelerate development of their product and growth.
"The [funding] process was efficient. We had a real product with dozens of companies using it," Diaz said. "There was a clear articulation on what the industry needs."
The capital has allowed the company to grow the team, which includes the recent addition of Matt Tharp, as the company’s Head of Growth. Tharp has been a founder of two startups and has several years of experience building outgrowth channels and retention strategies for customers.
Diaz and White have a proven track record at building companies and as the number of SaaS options grows by the day, the problem is only going to get worse for companies of all sizes. Automating and bringing your SaaS management to a single interface will definitely save companies a lot of time and money, which will certainly provide some added bliss to everyone’s day.
Images courtesy of Blissfully