Listen and Subscribe

Listen and Subscribe

John Ladaga: The young founder at the frontlines of entrepreneurship!


This podcast will unlock the secrets of successful SaaS businesses. INSIDEA’s Founder and CEO – Pratik Thakker, will talk to John Ladaga– Co-Founder at Sturppy.

We’ll hover through the strategies and tactics that made their success possible. So join us as we explore the world of SaaS and learn how to unlock the potential of your own business.

You can watch the full episode on INSIDEA’s YouTube Channel and on Spotify. But if you are more into reading than watching, HERE YOU GO!

Play Video


Welcome to SAAS unlocked, where you hear from outstanding entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. Today with me, I have John, a co-founder at Sturppy. Welcome, John, to SAAS unlocked, I would love to hear from you about your journey or your story first, and then we will discuss more startups. Over to you, man. 


Yeah, thanks so much. Happy New Year, and I’m excited to be on the show. It’s an excellent way to start the new year, kick things off, chat with you and talk about the entrepreneurial Journey. So, yeah. Oh man, it’s been crazy; I don’t think anybody has had a not crazy entrepreneurial Journey, lots of ups and downs. I’ll talk about my background and how I got here today.

I went to school down at Albert University, where I studied business and technology, so they had a pretty cool program. I was part of the flagship program there called BET business and engineering technology. And what was remarkable about that was they took students from the business school and engineering school, and they put us together on teams to simulate the real world, kind of like, you know, you go into the real world.

You’re not just working with business, folks; you have to deal with engineers and business and also through that program. That was kind of my first taste of entrepreneurship. We were kind of tasked with creating new products and creating new business plans. And so, that was pretty fun out of school; I then worked for Accenture. So I worked as a digital strategy consultant for about five years, and you know, Accenture for the That isn’t familiar with it massive consulting company.

Massive consulting company. I think there’s some, we’re at like 700,000 employees now, which is just an insane amount of employees. I enjoyed my time there, but it’s massive, right? So and also as a consultant, I kind of felt slightly unfulfilled with my work as a consultant, your bit of a paid gun, right? So you’re constantly solving other people’s problems and then You kind of step away and you don’t get to reap some of those benefits and rewards.

So in 2020, I decided. Okay, I’m still young, you know, if I’m going to try my take at entrepreneurship, now is a great time to do it. So I took the head-first plunge into the world of startups and started my first company in 2020. And we went through an accelerator program in Atlanta, and that was, like, right at the precipice of covid.

So going through an accelerator program during covid with kind of interesting as well, everybody was kind of scrambling. How do we do this? It was supposed to be in person and then having to deal with it remotely. But now, that’s kind of how I got my start, and I couldn’t be happier with kind of the world that I live in now with being an entrepreneur.

Wow. So, this is quite an exciting journey. And like, you know, when you say Say

you were inspired by your passion for entrepreneurship regarding products or startup ideas. How did you get inspiration to create such a product? Maybe you want to shed some light here?

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ve got to Give a lot of credit to my co-founder Filippo so; he has the main tech-idea, he’s the technical brains and genius behind Struppy, and He comes from an entrepreneurial background as well.

And, he had built a couple of different businesses and was building Financial models. And was like there, just needs to be a better set of tools in Excel to do this. So he actually had the initial idea of creating sturdy, which in its kind of early Inception. It was just how do we build a better tool for young Founders, young entrepreneurs from all different. And walks of life to build Financial models and help them, kind of get into the world of Finance as they run their businesses. So, he started that idea, and I think it was kind of early 2021 and I actually found fully both through a site called Indie hackers. So if any listeners are familiar with Indie hackers, it’s a great forum for kind of young entrepreneurs that are early in their Journey

And so I actually met my co-founder for the first 12 months of working with him. But we found each other on an indie hacker. He had a super strong technical skill set. I come more from a background in business and sales, and so we kind of joined up forces there and started working on stir together. It is quite an interesting Journey of getting 4,000 plus startups and assemblies from 96 countries working with you.


Seems like a pretty successful Journey. So far what you are doing is like, you know, giving a fresh new way to build investor-ready financial models. So, maybe you want to explain a bit about the product itself on how somebody can start using it? What is something that they can gain from it? So, when you say investor ready, what are the key elements that investors look at and how Sturppy can we? Enable you to make that Financial models not on Excel but on, like, a really beautiful-looking tool.

Yeah. So, yeah, I think some of it comes from a kind of my corporate background, right? When you’re working for a big company or you have access to, like, you have Erp systems and you have dedicated Financial Planning and Analysis teams, then you have a CFO and all the automation tools in the world. But when you’re the founder of a tech startup, or you’ve decided Added to kind of follow your dreams and open up that new hair salon. You don’t have access to any of those things. What you have access to is Excel and in my opinion,

Excel kind of stinks. You’ve got kind of dozens of tabs, formulas are breaking, and it’s harder to collaborate and share with investors and even if you’re good at Excel finances, just kind of a hard topic for a lot of folks to master, not many Founders. I know we went to school to study it with Be, our kind of Flagship product. As you mentioned is all around building investor, ready Financial models without Excel or having experience or expertise in finance. So what that looks like is basically regardless of your background. 

So let’s say You’re Building a mobile app or you’re building an e-commerce store, or you’re opening a hair salon, you can use our platform, and we guide you through that process of building out a custom investor-ready financial model. So the model itself is kind of it’s all you know on our web application, and you can use it to then share with investors. So you can create this beautiful model, all the graphs can be customised and branded to your liking, and then you can actually share a live link of that model with potential investors. They can leave feedback, give you feedback about that model, and then you get Some kind of visitor analytics around.

You know who’s viewed it and who might be the most interested in your business based on some of those details. So yeah if you’re a founder and you know you don’t know where to start when it comes to financing you’re going to need a financial model at some point. Whether it’s to go after investors or apply for a business loan or apply to an accelerator, you’re going to have to need financial modeling. At some point, we make that process pretty darn easy to build that model and get on your way with the world of finance. 

This is excellent. So maybe I will just clarify for the audience. So when you say there are models available, so it’s kind of plug-and-play, you have templates available that you can customise easily precisely. That’s exactly right. So, we support just about every industry, regardless of your business type.


There are Excel templates out there that you can download. But the problem with some of those Excel templates is that they’re really rigid. So let’s say you download kind of like a mobile app, and a financial model template in Excel but your business has an e-commerce component to it. Now that template and Excel probably don’t have the flexibility to account for those kinds of things with stubby. You can kind of Mix and match the different ways, your monetising your business, you can model out, you know, how you’re acquiring, customers. All those details, are very flexible using our tool.


So yeah, excellent. So your journey to 4,000, plus startups and assemblies, working with you, I’m sure you would have faced a lot of challenges. Initially, you want to help your fellow entrepreneurs who are listening and share some of the challenges you faced and how you overcome that.


Yeah, so get started. It’s always tough, right? Like, you can build the best product in the world, but if you can’t take it to market, you can’t get it in front of your Right audience. No One’s Gonna know about it. No one’s going to use it, right? So, getting those early users is difficult. So what we did initially was we did a lot on the app sumo, and so we launched their app sumo for those that aren’t familiar with it. It’s a one-time deal software platform. ERM.

So usually, you know, folks, folks are on that side, you get a tremendous amount of reach to early adopters, and they pay a little bit for your product, the money isn’t huge, you’re not going to make, you know, Millions launching on app sumo. But what’s more important is that you get those early users. So we’ve launched there initially, and that just really ramped up our feedback cycle, so it allowed us to have kind of those early conversations with our users to understand. What features need to come next?

What problems? They’re actually using our tools to solve. And then that was what kind of allowed us to kick things off and refine all of our messaging and all of the ads, I would say, kind of our other most significant kind of growth channel, has just been really investing in SEO from day one. So we have a financial modelling dictionary that ranks for keys. Termsthat folks might be searching for on Google. We put out some blog posts, and then it’s one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do more kind of video content. So we have a YouTube channel, and all of those things just help, the search algorithms lead customers to our products. So investing in SEO is also been big for us. It takes time. So it’s not like your post, one blog post today and you’re going to get a hundred users tomorrow being consistent with that has been a huge, huge Part of our growth story,


Do you know how your product has helped change how businesses do business? Or I can reframe that, did you hear any stories from Founders after using your product? They were able to go to investors with the numbers, and they actually got funding. So that’s the whole point, right? You are getting a good financial model in place so that you can raise funds for. Your business, maybe you want to share a story or two?

Yeah, it’s, you know, I have Founders all the time, and it’s like what fuels me when I found her will come to me and say, you know, John, I knew I needed Financial modelling. I knew I needed to learn how to talk about the metrics with investors, and how to feel comfortable with those things. And they say, you know, they either found some YouTube content and found our site that way.

Educating folks about Finance is it has been so rewarding to hear folks come and say, you know, I knew nothing about Finance before and now, through your platform, I’m able to talk confidently about my business, the numbers behind my business, and, and look really smart in front of investors. So, that’s been huge. We have many Founders that have used our platform to raise funds. So, I think last year of Ofwhat we know from Founders actually telling us.

They were raised somewhere between, I think it was around. Twenty-seven million dollars in early-stage funding for all customers of ours that have used our financial models to go out and pitch investors. So it’s been very kind of rewarding to hear those stories. Also, I just got an email the other day, and it was like from a lawyer, and I was like, what is what does this guy want? He was doing diligence. A Founder was actually selling his business and built all of his financials and projections on Sturppy, and he was asking, you know, how do I get access to some specific things within the tool so I could do my due diligence, and I followed up with that founder, and he actually sold his business. So that’s pretty cool to see not only businesses starting out and raising funds with our tool but also using kind of the financials in the projections that are too. Creates to sell a business as well eventually.

So it’s been a tremendously rewarding experience to kind of hear those stores.

Pratik: This is quite excellent because, at the end of the day, any business is run like, you know, data. And when you go to investors, and when you say investor ready, by the financial models, investors look for numbers. And if you show them like, you know what, they actually like to see automatically they are sold. So this is what you need. And I think it’s; it’s, I didn’t see any product like this. It’s quite simple yet very powerful. So, I highly recommend that our viewers and listeners go out and check out sturppy. Now, there’s a fun part of this conversation. It’s a rapid fire. I’ll ask you five questions, and this is more about you as an entrepreneur and what you think?

Let’s save the Rapid Fire and the stunning wrap-up exclusively for the Podcast. You can watch the full episode on INSIDEA’s YouTube Channel as well as on Spotify.

Find all podcasts of INSIDEA here.