How Kyle Clements is Growing His Rental Software Start-Up By +100%/Year
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Kyle Clements is no stranger to entrepreneurship. He started his first company in college and worked for multiple venture-backed start-ups before getting the idea for his current company.
When he tried to rent a skid steer loader, it was actually harder than he expected. But instead of getting frustrated about the experience, he did market research and identified an opportunity. And Quipli was born.
He originally launched the rental software company in May of 2021. By the end of that summer, he had 10 customers; over the last year, he has amassed more than 100.
Keep reading to find out about:
- How he created Quipli
- The gaps in the market he identified
- How his rental software works
- How much money the company is making
- Kyle's marketing strategies
- His approach to SEO
- How he's growing his email list
- His favorite resources
- The main tools he uses
- Kyle's greatest challenge
- His most important accomplishment
- The biggest mistake he's made
- His advice for other entrepreneurs
- Meet Kyle Clements
- His Entrepreneurial Background
- Why He Created Quipli
- How Quipli Works
- How Much Money Quipli is Making
- Kyle Clements’ Top Marketing Strategy
- The Importance of SEO
- Kyle Clements’ Email List
- Achieving Current Revenue Levels
- Kyle Clements’ Favorite Resources
- His Most Useful Tools
- His Greatest Challenge
- Kyle Clements’ Most Important Accomplishment
- What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
- His Main Mistake
- His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
Meet Kyle Clements
My name is Kyle Clements, and my wife, one-year-old daughter, and golden retriever live in Atlanta, GA. Fun fact: I’ve traveled to almost all 50 states, with plans to get there next year with a trip to Alaska and Washington!
His Entrepreneurial Background
Throughout my life, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur.
My very first taste of the entrepreneur lifestyle came in college. I started a business named Rebōt, which recycled used kayaks into dog collars, wallets, and other lifestyle items. I came up with the idea for Rebōt my first day working at a kayak company in Charleston, SC.
After seeing all of the extra kayak material being thrown into the trash, I asked the kayak store owner, “why can’t we make something out of this?”
Three months later, we had our initial 6 items launched on our website, and we had a team of 7 people working on the company.
Although we only operated the business for a year, we sold out all of our initial inventory and created something that would otherwise be landfill material!
Since my first business, I’ve loved building new products and exploring new areas of innovation. Before starting Quipli, I worked for 3 venture-backed startups in product and strategy roles for around 8 years. It was there that I learned about building companies from the ground floor.
My experiences shaped my desire to learn how to start a business and significantly contributed to my contributions to Quipli now.
Why He Created Quipli
Quipli began after I had personally tried to rent a skid steer loader from a large national player online for a “weekend warrior” project.
After multiple interactions with over 100 independent equipment rental companies as part of my market research, I recognized several areas for improvement. I wanted to build a product that could effectively cater to customers' needs without an overly complicated process.
There were a few specific areas to “build a better mousetrap” that I noticed:
- Online renting and e-commerce were effectively non-existent in the rental industry
- Many of the rental software offerings were on-premise, server-based systems that were expensive to set up and operate
- The software offerings were overly complex and complicated for the rental operators to use, with several months of training to get fully up to speed (a long time for how often new people are starting work at rental companies)
How Quipli Works
Quipli is a cloud-based, SaaS provider of modern rental software for independent rental companies to run their business on. It allows local rental companies to offer the technology of the industry’s largest players at a fraction of the cost.
Quipli is a fast-growing company powering the online storefronts of dozens of companies, from upstart rental companies to 8-figure rental businesses.
Quipli’s rental software is the “rental business in a box” mission-critical software that rental businesses operate on. We differentiate ourselves from our competition by offering modern, cloud-based software that streamlines the rental experience for both rental operators and end users. Being “customer-obsessed” is our number one company value. We back that up by offering the fastest customer service in the rental software industry.
How Much Money Quipli is Making
Quipli is backed by Boundless Venture Studio, which is focused on vertical SaaS solutions. The venture studio model provides capital and resources to the “Entrepreneurs in Residence” to explore various vertical software ideas.
Since Quipli is still a private company, our financials are confidential. However, the company has been steadily growing at a rate that has surpassed well over 100% year-over-year growth.
We first started exploring the idea of Quipli in August 2020 and launched our first company in May 2021. By summer’s end 2021, we had 10 customers and have grown to over 100 in the last year. Based on our recent growth, we’re excited to invest further resources into bringing our modern rental software to the rest of the industry.
Kyle Clements’ Top Marketing Strategy
Our primary marketing strategy includes a combination of inbound marketing with SEO and paid channels. We also do outbound marketing driven by personalized sales representatives. Quipli prioritizes driving qualified opportunities and utilizes a mix of marketing strategies to reach our prospective customers – typically one to three location equipment rental companies based in the United States.
Over the past year, we’ve expanded our reach by participating in rental equipment industry-specific conferences. This way, clients can experience our software in person, and we’re able to learn from competitors as well. We also participate in speaking events that are specifically targeted toward our audiences.
The Importance of SEO
SEO is certainly very important for us! We like to think about it from the perspective of SEO as recurring revenue, where once you get it right, it continues to grow and pay dividends over time.
We’ve invested a good amount of time looking at the SEO options available and utilizing the strategies which best cater to our target audience.
Link building is certainly a key component of SEO strategy. By getting our name out and participating in interesting interviews (like this!), our domain authority grows and helps our SEO value over time.
We begin with the end in mind. We often start by understanding our end game and which keywords we especially need to prioritize to get in front of customers. Our online presence is also developed based on our keyword research, as we hope to reach our customers through the most efficient channels.
Our marketing team has been working in tandem with an SEO consultancy group to develop and execute our SEO strategy. Semush, Ahrefs, and Google Analytics are the primary tools we use to ensure we’re exceeding the internal SEO goals we’ve set for ourselves.
Kyle Clements’ Email List
This quarter, we’re launching an email newsletter for our customers and prospects. We aim to grow it by adding value directly to our readers. That includes talking about things that matter to them.
A few ideas we’ve brainstormed so far include how to use online marketing tools to grow their business, how to price equipment, what new software features they should be aware of, etc.
Our social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram, also feature the blog posts on our website, which serve as a “value creation” mechanism for our customers beyond our services at Quipli. We invest in all three of these channels as our customers are very active on all these platforms, particularly in the LinkedIn and Facebook “rental groups”.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
As of now, we are in the “dog years” part of being a startup where things that typically happen in years happen in weeks or months here. Again, we launched our first customer in the summer of 2021 and quickly added over 100 customers in the past year!
In the future, our main goal is to keep serving our customers, especially because of the significant demand for new rental management functionality, and we aim to deliver on that. Our number one value is “customer-obsessed,” which resides at the heart of everything we do at Quipli!
Kyle Clements’ Favorite Resources
The first resource I’d recommend is the book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. It takes a deeper look at the hard aspects of being a Founder/CEO. I truly believe that everyone should read this before jumping into any new venture.
Another good one is Scaling Up, which covers important nuances about processes and people to scale the organization's past product market fit.
His Most Useful Tools
My first resource would be a great mentor. We’re getting that from Dan Saper, our chairman at Quipli. My dad (a current CEO) has also inspired me. There is no better tool than gray hairs who have been in my seat before!
At Quipli, we also use Google Sheets often. It’s a primitive tool, but everything we do at Quipli is measured in our “Data Dashboard,” where we measure key business metrics weekly.
Lastly, Zoom has also served our company for the better in numerous ways. It's amazing to get on a face-to-face call with anyone in the world in real time. We have employees and customers in 5 countries, and we’re constantly communicating.
His Greatest Challenge
Looking back, our greatest challenge was getting the first 10 customers. Getting our software off the ground and running was certainly not an easy feat. Signing our first 10 customers was tough as we had to learn how to build customer confidence and create an all-encompassing software.
The first step is always the hardest, and getting the first 10 customers is no different. Sharing our broader vision of where we were taking Quipli as a company was compelling to our initial customers, especially as they felt like they were part of building the product with us.
One of our five company values is “We Celebrate the Small Wins,” and I think it was really important to high-five each other for every small milestone we hit early on.
Kyle Clements’ Most Important Accomplishment
When our customers say, “Thank you so much for doing what you do. I could not imagine running my business with Quipli,” this is worth more than any external metric of success.
Simply hearing our customers’ initial reactions and genuine feedback has allowed us to grow organically. It has been the most important aspect of Quipli and my role as an entrepreneur.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
I wish I had known that success is not linear.
Giving yourself the space and time to be creative and figure it out is also important. It's hard, but there’s nothing more rewarding than the “ah-ha” moment when you’ve solved a real pain point for a customer.
His Main Mistake
I would have invested in great UI design earlier on in our journey. Getting the UI framework right early can save a lot of long-term headaches when building out the product.
I think it’s definitely worth investing in a UI framework and holistic design process. It’s like building a house: with a solid design foundation to build off of, it makes everything easier long-term.
His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
My biggest piece of advice would be to keep going! It’s certainly not supposed to be easy. In fact, if it is, you’re doing something wrong or fooling yourself.
Lastly, it’s so important to celebrate every small win! Building a company is hard and learning to celebrate the journey makes the experience more enjoyable. As Miley Cyrus said, “It's the climb!”
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