Brad Touesnard exemplifies a segment of the startup world that is too rarely celebrated — the folks who work on their own or in small groups and soldier on from one venture to another until something works out.
Three weeks ago, the Cape Breton native, who now lives in Halifax, launched WP Migrate DB Pro, one of several ventures he has started. And he was pleased to report that the new product is already producing revenue.
“It took four months to build it, to get it ready for the launch,” said Touesnard, who returned to Nova Scotia after a stint in Melbourne, Australia, three years ago.
“We launched it three weeks ago and we already had sales of $17,000, with 312 orders, so it’s doing quite well. There are lots of marketing channels we haven’t tried yet.”
WP Migrate DB Pro is a tool that helps web developers or anyone else transfer data from a site developed on WordPress (used to develop websites and blogging pages) to another website. Usually, this is a cumbersome process that consumes lots of time, but WP Migrate DB Pro can do it in a single mouse click.
Its development is the latest chapter in an entrepreneurial tale that began more than a decade ago, when Touesnard began a web hosting business that is still going strong. A few years ago, he became interested in product development and began to consider his options in working with WordPress.
He received investment from two people he had worked with over the years, Adii Pienaar and Carl Hancock, and developed the WP App Store, a site at which WordPress developers could purchase applications, themes, plug-ins and the like.
The response since the April 2012 launch has been disheartening, even though people were coming to the site to download free stuff.
“We’ve had a real challenge in getting people to convert from being free to paying customers,” admitted Touesnard.
So he and his developer, Chris Aprea, went back to the drawing board and used the tools at their disposal to investigate what product might work and how it should be priced. They began to survey their WP App Store clients, and 400 of them responded regarding what they would consider useful and what they would pay for it. Based on the feedback, Tousenard formed a new company with the wonderful name Delicious Brains, and he and Aprea designed a new product for it. The pair designed, beta-tested and launched WP Migrate DB Pro.
So far, the gambit has paid off because people are paying for the service, and Touesnard believes he can do more to win more business using more marketing channels. Although he is now on track to generate about $250,000 in sales in a year, Touesnard said he would be happy if sales in Year 1 reach $100,000. He said he always is thinking of new products, but Touesnard doubts he will launch anything soon. He sees more potential in developing new features for WP Migrate DB Pro and building out that product line in the near future.