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One Person Business #9: BuiltWith
Find out what websites are built with
BuiltWith is a free tool that allows users to type in a website address and then discover the technology that is powering that website, created by Gary Brewer in 2015. Brewer wanted to get into the ‘startup thing’ himself and discovered at the time that nobody had created a platform that made it easy for others to discover what an online business was ‘built with’, and so that became the starting point for his company.
At the time, Brewer was not trying to solve a problem. He just found that type of information interesting, and it turns out that many other people did as well. A few years down the track, users of the site started to approach Brewer asking him if BuiltWith could provide them with data they were after.
At this point, he understood the commercial potential of what he had created, so he jumped on it. It’s important to notice that this website was created at a time when Google Analytics was in its childhood, along with all the other analytics tools that we take for granted today. So it’s fair to say that Brewer created the right product at the right time.
The product has 3 paid plans:
Basic at $299 per month for customers that want lists of sites mainly for the purpose of lead generation;
Pro at $495 per month, suited more for users that work in an industry using a lot of A/B testing and comparison-type data;
Enterprise at $995 per month, which covers all bases and allows sales teams with multiple people to all use the platform at once.
Add this to the fact that the website gets about 1.5M views every month, and you get a money-making machine, basically. From what I could find, BuiltWith was making $14M in revenue per year, at some point.
Nowadays, the company is run by two people (from what you can see on their website). But still, I think this story fits the theme of one person business pretty well given how it got started.
Sometimes the best ideas that end up turning into profitable businesses are born from pure curiosity or personal necessity. Who’s best to build a product that affects you, than you, right?
I’m currently reading Pieter Levels’ book MAKE, and he throws an idea at the end of the first chapter that I’ve put into practice: every day write down 3 problems that you encountered in your day - as ridiculous as they may sound. Do this for 7 days. In the end, you’ll have 21 possible business ideas.
Read them, break them down, and see if any of those ideas have any potential. And BOOM, you might find something that actually makes sense. If so, go and build it! 🚀
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