Practical Founders Podcast

#65: The Bootstrapped Rocket-Ride Success Story of HighLevel – Robin Alex

Robin Alex worked in a digital marketing agency in Dallas when he discovered their small business clients struggled to nurture and follow up with their website leads. In 2018, Robin and two developers prototyped a marketing automation and CRM software that could help other agencies solve this problem for their clients. They pitched the product and got a great response. They built their first product and HighLevel grew quickly. 

HighLevel grew fast as word of mouth and referrals spread in the agency community. HighLevel is an all-in-one sales and marketing platform for agencies that serve small businesses. With marketing automation, CRM, and payment tools, HighLevel has an innovative “white-label” platform that their agency customers rebrand to deliver custom solutions to their customers. 

HighLevel has over 60,000 agency customers, over 3 million small business users, and over 700 remote employees. HighLevel is adding 30-50 employees a month, yet they are still “moving fast and breaking things” to move fast and serve their agency customers. The founders took a practical growth equity round of funding in 2021 from PeakEquity.

Bootstrapped SaaS Topics Discussed on This Podcast 

  • How HighLevel got started and quickly grew to 1000 customers
  • Why they are focused on agencies and consultants who serve very small businesses
  • Why they haven’t changed most of their internal practices even with over 700 employees
  • How they grew fast with referrals and “product-led sales” and still don’t have marketing and sales teams
  • Why they haven’t changed their inexpensive pricing, affliate commissions, and white-label business model as they have grown very big
  • Why they didn’t take traditional VC funding who wanted to change their business and culture
  • Why 85% of HighLevel employees are in product, customers success and customer support functions

Quote from Robin Alex, Co-Founder of HighLevel

“People tell you to read the books and to just copy and paste what the books say and that’s what will get you to success. The adage of what you do today is not what’s going to get you there tomorrow. I call that baloney.

“Whatever we started with today will still get us going for tomorrow. So we just keep doing it. Just doing 10 times harder, 10 times better, 10 times more efficient. I honestly think there’s a high possibility that if you multiply what you do today, it will work tomorrow. to create the flywheel effect. And I think that’s what helped us grow so fast. 

“Don’t feel obligated to change for anyone. Just because a book says this or somebody else did that in their way, doesn’t mean that has to be right for you. If you’re finding success and you’re playing the game that you’re playing, you’ll be just fine. There are so many ways to do this.”



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Greg Head recorded this on episode on October 13, 2023 for the Practical Founders Podcast see all of the episodes.

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