How to Scale Globally as a Niche Startup

DNA of Wachanga’s Success

A product ecosystem

In 2013 Wachanga released its first app, “Early Childhood Development.” 3 years later a satellite app was created to generate leads to the first app. This satellite was Babycare, a newborn care app. Interestingly, the satellite ended up taking off and becoming a key product in Wachanga’s lineup.

Focusing on actual needs, not invented ones

One particularity of the company is that the folks there create products that are not hypothetical, but spring from actual user needs. First these needs are studied, and then a product or specific feature is created.

Growth model: covering as many markets as possible

We’ve already said that to succeed in a narrow niche it is critical to expand your audience. Aside from including related themes and creating product lines, breaking into foreign markets is a major means of increasing audience size. There are many markets around the world with a serious lack of good products: you just have to watch your chance and fill the need.

Feedback and user retention

In December 2018, Wachanga’s apps had around 5,000 installs per day and 280 thousand monthly active users (MAU). In April 2020 it had over 20 thousand installs per day and 1.4 million MAUs. In other words, Wachanga can boast not only of a steady stream of new customers, but also of the fact that those customers stay and use the apps in the long term. Incidentally, all this is organic traffic, which we will touch on separately.

Constant experimentation

Each important metric of a product must be constantly tracked and improved. At Wachanga, a series of hypotheses are selected for each metric, an experiment is performed, results and insight are obtained, conclusions are drawn, and they move on to the next hypothesis. Usually the team checks 2–3 hypotheses per week, with periodic breaks so as not to burn out.

Clover, a period tracker by Wachanga

Organic traffic vs. paid traffic

This is not the first year that people have been saying that organic traffic is not reliable, and that it is a “poor channel for expansion.” A couple of years ago Wachanga attempted to attract users via paid channels, and although the unit economics worked out, it turned out that paid traffic also does not easily lend itself to scaling up. To see significant growth Wachanga would have had to invest tens of thousands of dollars in paid traffic. And so Maxim decided to do away with paid channels altogether.

Chart of installs in German-speaking countries at the time of the first test of paid traffic. Early April 2020.

About the author

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