Kalyan Varma is a co-founder and CEO at Almabase, a company that helps universities and high schools build lifelong relationships with their alumni and drive higher donations. Educational institutions do a poor job of maintaining a good relationship with their alumni after they graduate. Typically the only time alumni hear from their alma mater is when they are being asked to donate. This broken relationship leads to an extremely low alumni donation rate (~2%). Almabase's SaaS platform provides all the lego blocks to build a successful alumni program - one where all the stakeholders benefit.
Kalyan co-founded Almabase with Sri Maneru in 2014. They were classmates in college from 2004 to 2008 and were personally impacted by a lack of scholarships. While they were in college, they started a nonprofit that raised money from alumni and funded scholarships for students. Through the journey of that nonprofit, they realized how broken this system was at every educational institution and decided to start Almabase.
Some of the Topics Covered by Kalyan Varma in this Episode
- What Almabase does and how it got started
- How Kalyan got the early customers for Almabase
- The business model behind Almabase with an ACV of $8k - $10k
- The sales process for getting products to universities
- How Kalyan went about targeting universities outside of India and their unique GTM strategy in the United States
- Competition and how Kalyan differentiates Almabase
- Why Kalyan recently decided to have his platform take a fee from alumni donations
- Value-based pricing
- How Kalyan has funded Almabase
- The team behind Almabase, how Kalyan has grown this, and what's been most helpful for recruiting new team members
- Bootstrapping vs. raising venture funding
- How case studies fuel the growth of Almabase
- Hitting $100k in MRR and what the future looks like for Almabase
- How Kalyan recharges day-to-day
- How COVID-19 has impacted Almabase
Subscribe to the Just Go Grind Podcast
Want to Join a Supportive Community of Ambitious Founders?
Learn more about the Just Go Grind Founder Community, a group of more than 90 founders learning and building together each week 👇