Table of contents
- Founder - Matt Valley
- Founded in Sydney, Australia
- Started in 2020
- 1 founder
Hi Matt. What's your backstory?
I was born in Tehran in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war; my parents are both working-class people; I grew up watching my dad hustling every day to bring food to the table for the family; I was lucky enough to go to a private school which gave me the exposure to programming. Dad always wanted me to be an architect, but I ended up following my dream of becoming a professional programmer.
I used to run my dev shop business in Tehran; it was a great experience. At some point, sanctions started causing trouble; I moved to Australia permanently in 2013 because of sanctions.
Moving to Australia gave me the opportunity to have a fresh start. I had a goal; to have my own business one day here in Australia.
Fast forward to 2020; I quit my job, and got a contract gig with the hope that I get more time to start my business on the side; Covid hit Australia; the first lockdown started; suddenly I got plenty of free time. That’s how my journey with Testfully started.
What does Testfully do?
In simple words, Testfully helps software teams find bugs in their software early and before they bite their customers. Using Testfully, our customers release their software products faster and with more confidence.
How did you come up with the idea?
I have a passion for building quality software products, and to build quality software products, one should master automated software testing. That said, software testing is difficult to master and requires a lot of time and money investment.
After practicing it for many years, I realized that almost any company I talked to loves the concept, but most of them don't have the knowledge, skill, talent, time and budget to do it. As a result, most companies don’t do software testing and rely on manual human-based software testing.
Then I thought, what if I transform my knowledge and experience into a tool that others can use? That’s how my journey with Testfully started.
How did you go about building and launching the business?
The idea of a service like Testfully was in my head for over four years, and during that time, I was exploring the market for other products and what they offer. Once I was clear that there is demand for a good API testing & monitoring service, I decided to act on it.
To build Testfully, I needed time and money, which my job at that time wasn’t giving me, so I quit my job and signed a contract with a major bank in Australia for a job that was too easy for me to do.
I had the time and money to start working on Testfully. Then COVID hit Australia, and I started to work from home, which gave me the luxury of spending more time on my project.
I set a milestone to release Testfully in 9 months (January 2021). I broke the work into nine pieces. I would break down the work each month into 4 weeks and then to 7 days a week. Every morning, I would wake up at 5 AM, run for 30 minutes and start working on Testfully. This helped me stay motivated throughout the nine months and ship my product.
How have you grown the business?
Since the release of Testfully in January 2021, I have spoken to some of the early users, received feedback and improved the overall experience of Testfully. I have invested a lot of my time in bringing organic traffic to the website by leveraging SEO, which has been great so far. It’s definitely working for me, as our target customers find us through our quality content and sign up for the service. Last month Testfully’s website received over 30K unique visitors via Google.
What's your biggest selling product?
API monitoring is definitely our best-selling product; that said, our API client is the one who we think has the most potential.
What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?
I could definitely receive feedback from potential customers way earlier, and that could help me to have a better product faster. Moreover, if I go back, I would definitely build a network of my potential customers earlier. I started thinking about SEO 6 months after the initial release. Next time, I will start writing content as soon as I’m ready to build the product. Networking with like-minded people during the development process would definitely help me to see my mistakes.
What digital tools do you use regularly?
- Gmail (via Google Workspaces) for email-based communication
- Xero for accounting
- Todoist for task management
- Notion for documentation
- Miro for diagrams
- Zoom for video calls
- AWS for hosting Testfully
What books have been a great inspiration to you as a founder?
Company of one by Paul Jarvis
This book definitely changed the way I think about business and why I started working on Testfully. Before this book, I had a really vague definition of success for myself. Company of one helped me to see success from different angles and motivated me to kick off the development of Testfully.
What I talk about when I talk about running
This book changed the way I think about failure in life. It’s a bitter truth, but the likelihood of a startup becoming a successful business is very low. Moreover, it’s very unlikely that you or I will become successful overnight. Most probably, we will have some sort of failures in our journey as the founder. Failure is part of the journey; the way we cope with failure is what matters most. This book proved to me failure is the mother of success.
Indiehackers.com is a good place if you’re considering building a SaaS product alone without external funds. It’s a community of true hustlers, the indie hackers. If you think the only way to have your tech startup is to chase VCs for funds, I highly recommend checking indiehackers.com.
Any quotes you live by?
“Failure is the mother of success."
What do you do to look after your mental health as a founder?
Spending quality time with my wife Nina, my son Oliver, and my dog Teddy helps me relax. Premium Calm subscription is the best gift I have ever given to myself.
In a few words, sum up what it means to be the founder of a business
"Rewarding and one of the best experiences of my life. Always think big, very big but remember to start small, very small."
What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?
Unless you’re extremely lucky, your journey from an idea to a profitable business is a marathon that takes a good couple of years. Make sure to dedicate yourself to what you’re really passionate about and can stick around for a couple of years. Moreover, communicate clearly with your beloved ones about your journey and what it takes to build a successful business.Set milestones, and when you hit them, celebrate! You deserve it.