Discover Boring Businesses that Quietly Rake in the Cash

Interview with the founder of StatusGator

Colin Bartlett
Founder, StatusGator

What is StatusGator

StatusGator is a service that helps organizations and individuals monitor the status of various online services, websites, and APIs.

StatusGator crossed $10,000/month back in 2021.

In this article, we have an interview with its co-founder, Colin Bartlett.

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

I've been a software developer for 20 years and back in 2015 I found myself working on a bug all day really struggling with why it wasn't working. It turned out that the problem was a known intermittent issue with the Facebook API which they had mentioned on their status page but I hadn't thought to look there. I had this idea to collect status page data and send me notifications when it changed so I could stay on top of issues affecting the services I depended on.

How did you build the product?

I slapped together a quick prototype that just scraped some pages in a cron job and sent me an email if anything changed. It worked and I started talking to more people about the idea and they liked it. So I wrapped a very simple Rails app around it and deployed it to Heroku. It was then (and is today still essentially) just a system of scrapers and API connections and it's almost all built in Ruby.

How big was your team when you started?

From 2015 to 2018 it was just me but in 2018 a long time friend and coworker of mine joined up with me to help grow it. So from 2018 it became 2 people and as of today we are about 9 people.

How did you launch the business?

From the very beginning I wanted to make a business out of it. I wasn't interested in offering a free service, I wanted to see if there was a business model here. So when I first launched the Rails app it had a rudimentary subscription system and a single $9.99/month pricing plan. My goal was to get to $1,000/month in revenue within 6 months.

It was profitable from very early on. I posted the site in a few places and forums and such and some of them got traction and one or two people signed up very early on. So that covered the hosting costs and that made me think I could just keep it going forever. I really like it for my own use so I thought I could just keep growing it slowly.

How have you grown the business since its launch?

It actually took THREE YEARS to get to $1,000/month, which we crossed some time in late 2018. If I knew it would take that long I would probably never have tried but I'm glad I did. I attribute most of the growth to listening to customers. The product has evolved a lot and it's all based on customer feedback. For example, it turns out that software developers are not the biggest market for this service --- it's IT departments who have to deal with support for hundreds of thousands of users. Knowing when services like Zoom or Gmail go down can make a huge difference in how IT teams can respond to support requests.

What is the business model (ads/subscription etc)?

Purely subscription. We have a limited free plan as well.

What do your financials look like?

We crossed $10,000/month back in 2021 and we are now many times larger than that and growing. We raised a very small investment round from TinySeed, which is a venture capital firm designed for bootstrappers like us.