2023 Reflections On Progress of Refrens.com

Satpura Jungle, Madhya Pradesh, India. On an early morning drive to see some lions. 24th Dec 2023.


  1. We grew 3x in terms of Monthly Revenue. 10% MoM compounding. We need 3 times 3x and 2 times 2x to go 100X. But we need a 10X year before that. 
  2. We are an invoicing and accounting app. People love us (and pay) because we handle the complete journey from lead to quotation to invoice to accounting.
  3. We are not a market network, yet, what we originally set out to build. This keeps me mentally occupied. But right now the focus is to grow revenue for what we have.
  4. Consumer product – each customer is not worth enough to call. B2B – Each customer is worth going on a feedback call.
  5. We have paying users from 103 countries. I still don’t know if this is good or not for an early-stage product. We partially designed for this but never optimised for this. Happened to us organically, so yeah, it should be fine. But are we serving them well?
  6. Direction bothers me more than speed, on weekends.
  7. Speed bothers me more on weekdays. I don’t get a clear sight of direction in day-to-day work.
  8. Our target market is large, this helps us make decisions for the long term.
  9. Build essential features first. Add speed. Then fuss over a great design. People don’t notice good design much. Some people notice bad design.
  10. You can only know what is an essential feature if you talk to customers every day. Or live with them. Or you are them.
  11. When you don’t have PMF you tend to go breadth-first and end up having multiple projects that are loosely connected. When you have PMF, you can go depth-first and it is easier to sequence the priority for a PM.


  1. Some problems can be solved only by adding more people. I should have realized this much earlier. I wanted to solve the revenue problem with tech.
  2. Users pay a significantly higher premium if the product is complete for the JTBD.
  3. There is no bigger fear than that of money running out. Specially once you think you have something meaningful built. I have stopped thinking about negative scenarios for the past few months. We will sail through fine.
  4. Time or opportunity cost rarely bothers me. I am told it should bother me.
  5. Passive income to support a founder’s personal expenses takes active energy. If the family is helping you, it takes energy to manage them.
  6. I have stopped looking at marketing charts on Google Analytics and now look at daily revenue charts. Partly because GA4 broke some of my favourite reports. Partly because there is nothing interesting on Twitter.
  7. Having a pulse of cash flow helps keep my anxiety low. I want to get over with tracking cash flow for 6 months. Hopefully soon.


  1. Distributed team across Bangalore and Surat (and some WFH) helps keep the costs low. Branding of Bangalore with the cost of Surat. It was initially done because we (Mohit and me) were already in 2 cities when the product took shape. Sometimes it makes me feel that this is slowing us down.
  2. Having a few canons in the team can do wonders. Helps distribute founders’ workload. Don’t need too many canons though.
  3. Delegate things that don’t directly affect the product. Don’t delegate other stuff until there is a very strong reporting and feedback loop.
  4. Interns bring a different level of energy to the workspace. They are generally the happiest people on the floor. And that is contagious.
  5. People Managers are generally grumpy. We need fewer Managers.
  6. Any freedom that breaks a process for the rest of the team is not freedom. It is a discipline issue that must be addressed immediately. Demand for more Freedom is just less belief in the mission.
  7. Letting people go is fine. They already know that it is coming. Your team knows it earlier. We let go 3 people this year. All in less than 2 months from joining.
  8. One person one job is very difficult in the initial days. Creates too much cost load. In later stages, if one person has multiple meaningful tasks, it is a sign of low skills, either of the worker or the manager.
  9. The larger the vision, the better the people who want to align with you.
  10. Having a dedicated office space improves my communication. We took over the Surat co-working space in November. I can now shout across the corridor or sing to relieve my stress. I cannot think of going back to the older style.
  11. We are 54 people now, including interns. We need to 4X this in the next 12 months.


  1. Community events have been really helpful. People go to any extent to help you if they see that you are passionate.
  2. Stories are good. Numbers are better.
  3. Meeting in person and sharing your problems works best to build relations with investors. Current and new. We have 65 investors on capable and about 100 including the ones through syndicate.
  4. After taking investment you are competing with your investor’s other portfolio companies from very different sectors for their attention. If any of their portfolio companies grow faster than you, you will lose attention.
  5. No one likes slow movers. They stop cheering for you if you don’t keep fuelling their excitement.

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