My Bootstrapped Micro-Startup got acquired for $22k

Building my 9th bootstrapped micro-startup product in 2019.

The journey took me 9 months while I was nomading in India, Singapore & Indonesia.

Working remotely from my laptop and traveling was the best thing I enjoyed doing for work & lifestyle balance.

It was really exciting to start building things when you spark an idea!

photo credits by Fajar Siddiq, Location: Hangout Cafe, Batam, Indonesia PC by Fajar Siddiq, Location: Hangout Cafe, Batam, Indonesia

I joined the indie-makers communities 9 months ago on product hunt, maker’s kitchen slack community, makerlog community & also Ramadan Makers community.

There were many other communities like WIP, IndieHackers & DEV.to for those who want their side projects to turn to a profitable startup business.

Not long ago in 2017, I graduated with a master's degree where I studied computer science at Aligarh Muslim University in India.

Right after I graduated, I was very blessed to land myself as a CTO(Chief Technology Officer) at one of the startup tech companies in the co-working space industry.

My dream was to build my own company before I graduated, but I know I did not have any experience to start one, so I started working for another company first.

In my first job role as a CTO, I was maintaining the company website servers and building internal tools to do automation. It was a very repetitive task almost every day for me. I’ve always love challenges and also new disruptive ideas that could benefit from solving technical problems.

I left the job, after working for 10 months. Till then I started to bootstrapped my products.

So, here I’ll talk about Public APIs project how it started, How it ranked #2 on google for top keywords and Story behind the Acquisition.

Why I build it?

I quit my job to build a resume builder projects and for that, I was looking at some Public APIs on google. I found a GitHub repo(https://github.com/public-apis/public-apis) and this was a good collective of 800+ APIs and I found the API for that I was looking for. After that, I found that this repo doesn’t have a simple interface where users can easily filter, sort & advanced search to find APIs. So, I decided to build a simple interface with basic features like sort by recently added, category navigation, advanced search feature.

When I build it?

In Jan’2019 I pause working on resume builder because the Public APIs Interface project seems an interesting project to build. I scrap all the APIs from that GitHub repository and parse data into JSON according to UI requirements. I quickly build a simple MVP with a login system. So, users can also save the API into their profile.

Where I launch this?

I finish the MVP in 4 days with $0 but I was not aware of the places where to share this and at that time I was active on Twitter. So, from the twitter feed, I got to know about ProductHunt and it’s free. I signup there and just click on the “Post a Product” button without knowing the best time of posting there and I watched the page after 1 hour and only 4 upvotes. I was shocked that who are these people but these were genuine upvotes. and I sleep after that. The next day I checked after 00:01 San Francisco time and What I see that it’s #1 on PH. I wrote a complete blog post on my PH launch experience If you are interested to read then here.

What were the challenges?

Hmm. Yes, after 4 months keep working on this project like Advanced Search, Comment System, Dashboard to add new APIs, etc. I was surviving on my saving and the money was going to use in my accommodations, food, co-working, and transportation. Now, I realize that I’m good to make MVP but I don’t know how to monetize these projects. So, for a time being, I get one freelancer project to survive for the next 1 month.

What made me kept going?

There are some factors was keep me motivated to work on this project.

  • Website traffic
  • Users love through email and DM
  • Loving to explore tools related to APIs and companies are working on APIs products

I was getting 30k+ page views per month and 20% traffic from Google only for the homepage because the website was SPA(single page application). So, someone suggests me to convert SPA to static pages.

Finally, the time comes to learn Gatsby and it’s easy because this is React based technology to build static pages and best to optimize for SEO.

I build Public APIs 2.0 with Gatsby in June 2019 and this time I launch on multiple platforms like ProductHunt, twitter, dev.to, Reddit, etc. Yes! in the next 1 month I double my traffic from 30k pageview to 60k+.

Now I got some sales.

In version 2.0 I add some sponsor ads that are $200/month and I add an option to add API on my platform for $29/per API. So, I got 3 sponsor sales after launch that are $600 and 4 people paid to add API on the platform.

So, I make $716 in one month and I was so motivated to work. I also got an email that month. Here is the screenshot.

Public APIs Acquire Email

After reading this email I got more confidence that this project has a lot of potentials.

He offers me $8k for this and I replied “No” because I earned that month $716 and I do the calculation that I can earn that money or more in less than 10 months. Here is what I reply and trying to sell some sponsor slots for their APIs products. 😂😂😂

When I tired, what I did?

Next month I send 50+ emails to the companies running API products to sponsor the website in exchange to market their products. But I made $0 sale after lots of follow up.

At that time I was reading the buyer email and regretting to accept the offer. So, I was also thinking to apply for a job because it’s so hard to survive without money.

My mind always finds a product idea in every case. Someone tweet job vacancies 10 minutes ago on twitter and where I trigger the idea to build tweetjobs.dev(Search engine to find job from twitter) and I build this simple MVP in 11 hours and launch the next day. And I got 60k+ through twitter, HN and PH launch.

But again everyone is appreciating the idea and got lots of emails, DM but I’m so bad to Monetize products.

After 7 days of tweetjobs.dev launch I got a message on LinkedIn from the same buyer and he offered me $15k this time.

Yess! I decided this time is to sale this project and invest the money into my new IDEA that is NoCodeAPI. But I gave him my price that is $22k and after 1 hour he replied and deal done.

Yess! the deal is done. Money in the account and I handover codebase and domain to them.

What is Next?

Now I’m working on the problem to solve the Front-end developer's problems by making NoCodeAPI tool for them. So, it can help them to build API without Code. Stay tuned for updates at https://twitter.com/nocodeapi

How I get help from the maker's community? I was so introvert in 2018 because I was not active on social network platforms too much and never talk to online friends. But in Jan’2019 I get to know a community called Makers Kitchen and I joined there with 1000+ maker. In those makers, one of my best online friend Fajar Siddiq I meet there and until now we are best buddies. And I joined some other supportive communities called Makerlog, ProductHunt & dev.to

“Keep doing what you love and you will definitely meet with success.” - my random thoughts.

If you have any questions, comment or wanna hang out with me on the video call. Just ping me on Twitter.(https://twitter.com/mddanishyusuf)