Our first few customers joined without us spending any money. Social media is free. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok—if you just keep talking about your business every day and the problem it solves for your audience—people will come.-Uyi Abraham
As part of our Founder Focus series featuring conversations with up-and-coming SaaS companies, we had the pleasure of interviewing Uyi Abraham.
Uyi Abraham is the Founder and CEO of Vonza, an all-in-one software for creating online courses, digital & physical products, setting up a website, landing page or sales funnel. Uyi has a long and winding path to entrepreneurship, starting with his journey to America with only $100 in his pocket and a suitcase full of clothes. He intended on arrival to pursue becoming a medical doctor, but after being introduced to the world of entrepreneurship, he changed courses entirely.
In 2010, he started selling courses and digital products online. After a few years in, Uyi found himself overwhelmed and frustrated with no simple way to run his business online. He needed 10+ tools, multiple software, and endless passwords to tie them all together. Spending countless nights researching for the right tool, he realized there wasn’t one—so he decided to create one himself—Vonza.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to know more about your backstory. How did you get started on the path you are on today?
I came to America a couple of years ago with $100 and a suitcase of clothes. I wanted to be a medical doctor and pursue schooling here in America, but upon arrival and getting settled, I kind of lost my passion for medicine. Around that time, I wasn’t sure what my next step would be and I was introduced to the world of entrepreneurship.
I started creating online courses and coaching programs, as well as some other businesses during the same time. Sometime in 2019, after running all these businesses, I just got completely overwhelmed with using so many different tools throughout the day. I was completely frustrated and found it difficult to manage it all. Not only that, but I was spending so much money on all these platforms and softwares. It was time I would have rather spent building my business.
So that’s where the idea for Vonza came from. I was questioning why I was spending so much time, money and resources—which all led to tech frustrations—when I’d rather spend my time dealing with just one tool to run my business online. Since there was no innovative option, I decided to build one myself. I wanted it to be simple and powerful, but also completely comprehensive.
At Sonan Digital, we love chatting with founders from across the globe. Can you share where you and your team are currently located?
Our team is spread out across multiple continents, but we are headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Then we also have team members in Europe, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Australia, Belgium, Nigeria. We have staff all over the world, but our home base is America, in Atlanta.
Share a little bit about your previous experience. Have you been involved with any entrepreneurial ventures in the past?
I’ve basically been an entrepreneur since 2004, I’m always working on something. I first started building websites, selling courses and dabbling in design. From there, I also started working on a photography and video production company. I’ve done all kinds of different businesses until, you know, I started Vonza.
Prior to Vonza, I also owned and operated a platform, Bloomchase, the online marketplace where people come to find professionals they need to get work done. For example, if you needed a house painter, or teacher, or plumber— you could come to Bloomchase to find a professional for your work. So I own that marketplace tool and am currently in the process of selling it. After that I transitioned to Vonza, which really is my focus now and in the future.
Building on your past experience, do you have a technical background relating to your product?
So as you know, I started out in the medicine field, but I never ended up completing my degree. I actually switched to marketing to finish out my schooling. It was a good starting point for all that I ended up doing in life, but it was a big chance and adjustment. I had a lot of catching up to do. Just know, it’s never too late to change career paths.
What is the ultimate problem you are trying to solve with your product and what was the “aha moment” that led you there?
The ultimate problem we are trying to solve is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses simplify their business. The truth is that most entrepreneurs are wasting precious time, money, and resources to manage multiple tools—rather than having one simple and powerful tool to help them run their business online. Vonza helps them save time, money and also to detect frustrations, such as plugins not working. We help them do what they love by powering their business in a simple way.
Give us your best elevator pitch. In your own words, what does Vonza do?
Vonza makes running an online business incredibly simple. Without Vonza, entrepreneurs are wasting several hours and resources to run their business online. With Vonza, there’s no need for multiple platforms, multiple logins, multiple software, multiple passwords. All you need is Vonza to help you run your business online in one place.
Acquiring your first customer is something most never forget. Can you share how you acquired your first few customers?
We acquired our first few customers through organic reach, using tools such as social media. You know, I’ve been very active on Facebook for the last 10 years or so. Just by talking about Vonza almost everyday on my social media helped us grow fast. I personally reached out to family, friends, people I don’t know—just to get us off the ground. Our first few customers joined without us spending any money. Social media is free. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok—if you just keep talking about your business every day and the problem it solves for your audience—people will come.
It’s a competitive world out there. How are you positioning yourself against competitors?
So we have some competitors from Teachable, to Thinkific, to Clickfunnels. Some of them have been around for like a decade, far before we even started. I think when it comes to positioning, we’ve been kind of going back and forth. Right now, we really just positioning ourselves as a simple way to run your business online. We’ve often heard when customers switch from our competitors to us, that the previous tool was so complicated and they can’t believe how easy Vonza is. Vonza also gives you more tools compared to our competitors, and therefore saves even more time and money in the long-run. One other thing go note, you don’t have to be a geek to implement Vonza, or hire somebody. Most of our competitors, you have to hire somebody to set up the software, but not with us.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve faced so far? How did you overcome it?
I think the biggest hurdle is that we are entering a space that has some big name players. It’s been harder and harder to kind of penetrate that ecosystem. So really, just building our brand awareness. That’s one of our biggest challenges so far. The way we are solving it is really just empowering our customers to love our product, our software, and help spread the word. We’ve also begun to work with influencers and that has worked really well.
The sales team is often considered the backbone of most SaaS companies. How do you structure your sales process currently?
Currently it’s all hands on deck. Basically everyone helps out with incoming requests, except our technical team. We don’t have a formal sales team at this time, but it’s something we’re looking into. Several people on our team does some form of selling every day.
It can be helpful for new entrepreneurs to learn about the financial side of SaaS. Are you planning to do any capital fundraising now or in the future?
We haven’t currently done any fundraising, but I’m open to the idea of pursing that later this year. Right now, the focus is just to kind of, you know, grow as much as we can on our own and hopefully at some point, we we might consider raising some money.
What marketing strategies are you currently finding the most effective?
Honestly, organic traffic and marketing has really been effective for us. We are bootstrapped right now, so in the future when we have money, we can play around with new initiatives. Right now, influencer marketing has been working for us. It’s amazing to tap into influencers who already have the audience you’re trying to target. So working with them to create amazing collaborations has been effective. On our own side, we just get on social media every day and tell our story.
The future is looking bright! What are your plans for the growth of the company?
Right now, we really are trying to put a proper growth team together to help us go to market in a bigger way. Next steps are spending more money on marketing and advertising to help out our growth team. So far, we’ve just grown more from word of mouth and partnerships. We’re really excited to get our growth team up and running to help us expand this coming year. Big things are coming.
How can people find and connect with you?
Thank you everybody, so you can connect with me on vonza.com. I’m also on social media as well on Instagram and I love to chat anytime on LinkedIn.
Learn more about Vonza, an all-in-one business software for online courses, coaching and small businesses.
Read more Founder Focus articles here.