How I Built An $8.3 Million/Month Business With A Single App

Henry Shi, Stephen Curry, and Hussein Fazal

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Founder Hussein Fazal shares the story:

My co-founder, Henry, and I started SnapTravel in 2016, and instead of updating our LinkedIn and telling our network we started a new company, we just started doing stuff.

There is this book called Running Lean by Ash Maurya, which tells you how to test business ideas. The very basic concept is if you have a B2C idea, you build a website, you drive traffic to it, and you see what people do. If you have a B2B idea, you start talking to customers, see what their problems are, and how you can help solve them.

We approached it by actually iterating on business ideas every 2-3 weeks and just trying different things with the market to see if they worked.

With SnapTravel, we hypothesized that people wanted a travel agent over text. So we built a simple website, drove ads to it, and people would call and say, ‘I want to book a hotel.’ 

SnapTravel text

Henry and I would pick up our cell phones, manually respond to people, and say, ‘Yeah, I got a great hotel deal for you.’ 

We would then go look it up on the web and book the hotel for them.

That’s how we got our first 100 customers without even really telling anyone what we were doing. When we saw that there was traction, that's when we started to rebrand, change the name to, and develop our app, which allows people to save not only on hotels but also on travel, gas, insurance, and pharmaceuticals.

Q: Why did you decide to raise capital for the business?

Compared to my last company, which we bootstrapped to $100 Million in revenue, this time around, we've actually raised over $150 Million from VCs. The additional capital allows us to invest faster and more aggressively in where we know there's going to be success.

There are certain areas that take a very long time and a lot of money to build, and we are confident that it's going to be a big revenue driver for the business.

But without the VC dollars, you just can't do that.

So, as an example, one of the things we built into is the Pay Card.

The Pay Card is effectively a card that allows a customer who typically couldn't get access to a credit card, a Mastercard. That enables them to start using the money they already have to build their credit score and earn rewards from their everyday spending.

Now, building that out took a lot of time. Almost a year to get the product the right way we wanted it to work. But imagine you were completely bootstrapped. It'd be a lot harder to go and do that, but with the fundraising, we're able to execute quickly. And with supportive investors, it can really help accelerate your product development to the point where we are now already doing $100 Million in yearly revenue.

You can listen to my full interview with Hussein Fazal on Apple Podcasts or Spotify below.

Have a productive week!


Founder & Host of MBIT