Hello, world! I helped turn a two-person side hustle into a successful business of 10 people (and growing!). We found a problem that exists with many SaaS offerings and we created a service to fix it. Ask me anything!

James Ciesielski
Jun 19, 2018

My name is James I am a co-founder of Rewind, our mission is to backup all of the data you rely on to run your business.

We first launched Rewind for Shopify in the fall of 2015; in the Spring of 2016, BigCommerce approached us to bring the promise of Rewind's data assurance to their merchants. We followed up our success in the Shopify and BigCommerce app store by launching Rewind for QuickBooks Online in 2017.

Every day, we help entrepreneurs, big and small, recover their data in the face of disaster. As of writing this, we serve thousands of small to medium-sized business owners and have grown from a 2 person team to 10 - and we're still hiring! You can read more about our start-up story here.

I'd love to help others trying to break into the SaaS-apps marketplace based on my experience building Rewind and turning it into a profitable business. I'm happy to discuss the differences and challenges that we face working with platform APIs, how we acquired customers early on and validated our idea, our process of prioritizing features and business priorities, our strategy on pricing, or really anything else that may be on your mind about Rewind or building an awesome service.

Go ahead - ask me anything!

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What is the difference between Rewind and the online storage companies, notably Amazon’s S3?
Jun 20, 11:44PM EDT0

Hi SARAHDELAVEGA29 - thanks for this question.

I think the key difference between Rewind and something like Amazon S3 is that S3 is a storage system for files but it requires manual effort to move files to and from this storage.

Rewind doesn’t deal with files. Rewind works directly with the raw data that is stored within each SaaS platform. Rewind was also designed to be simple and automatic. We have have no configuration options or settings. Our intent is that you install Rewind and get back to focusing on running your business knowing that we will be there to help when disaster strikes.

Jun 21, 10:35AM EDT0
What is the business backup problem or opportunity that Rewind is currently addressing?
Jun 20, 12:36PM EDT0

Hi MONJY - thanks for your question!

Businesses are moving more and more from traditional, desktop applications to tools that live and work in the cloud.

Your desktop applications store their data on your local harddrive. This makes it easier for you to back it up by using a USB drive or a filesystem backup tool.

SaaS tools, on the other hand, store their data in the cloud within their proprietary network. You don't have access to this data. Most people assume when they sign in to their favorite online tool that there is a backup and disaster recovery solution in place - and you'd be right; however, these solutions are in place for the recovery of the SaaS tool itself, not for your data.

For example, if you delete your product catalog from your e-commerce platform, it is gone forever. There is no getting it back.

This is where we come in; we provide a safe and secure backup for these services to ensure that if you accidentally delete something, change something, or something else, like a buggy integration messes something up, that you can get up and running again quickly.

Jun 20, 2:27PM EDT0
What challenges have you encountered in trying to market your product and grow your company?
Jun 20, 5:54AM EDT0

Hi ABDIRIZAK-JAMAC - appreciate the question!

I think the biggest challenge around marketing our app is getting in front of people before disaster strikes; customers that come to us after they've lost data tend to be customers for life.

Most people assume that a SaaS platform has the ability to recover their data if something were to happen and that's simply not the case.

Jun 20, 10:01AM EDT0
Is Rewind available in all countries? Do you have any restrictions?
Jun 19, 10:25PM EDT0

Hi CECILYN REYES - thanks for the question!

Rewind is available whereever our customers need it; we don't have any restrictions ourselves but that's not to say that the platforms we backup do not.

We recently did a lot of work around the new EU GDPR legislation; in addition to making Rewind compliant with the new laws, we also went the extra step of moving all EU customer data to the EU - keeping data closer to our customers over there.

Jun 20, 8:35AM EDT0
Is there a maximum capacity of data you can store from a client? How do you manage demanding needs for increasing storage space?
Jun 19, 1:53PM EDT0

Hi KAREN KAE - great question!

We actually don't have a maximum! Crazy, right?

We decided early on that making people think about how much data they had, especially in technical terms, was too complicated for someone that really wanted to focus on how to make their next sale.

Regardless of whether you have 10 megabytes or 4 terrabytes, we agreed that we would backup everything we could because that was the best way to ensure we would be able to restore data if/when crisis struck.

To accommodate this variance, we designed Rewind to be very elastic at all layers within the architecture.

Jun 19, 2:03PM EDT0

What is the interface like? And can you share what you have backedup with others, say team members or family?

Jun 19, 12:26PM EDT0

Hi FRITZJESS - thanks for your question!

The interface is pretty simple; at the core we present our customers with their Rewind Vault. This is view of all the items we have backed up. We provide a way to search and find exactly what they want. 

While we think our current interface is great, we know it can be better. We have received awesome feedback from our customers and we are incorporating that feedback to make rewinding data even easier.

We don't provide a way to share backups with anyone. We restrict access to the owner of the data. If they wish to share their Rewind credentials, then that is something they can do, but we don't provide a means to do this within Rewind itself.

Jun 19, 1:22PM EDT0
Do you have specifications for the type of data that can be stored in Rewind? Can you back up everything?
Jun 19, 8:53AM EDT0

Hi AND_IV - thanks for the question.

We have designed Rewind to be able to backup just about anything you can think of; I'm hard pressed to think of something we haven't been able to backup 🤔 - I'm sure there's something we haven't tried yet...

Jun 19, 10:57AM EDT0
What can one backup with Rewind? Can you store mails for example?
Jun 19, 6:08AM EDT0

Hi DCHUA2478 - thanks for the great question!

Rewind will backup anything that is available through public APIs; this doesn't always include all data that a customer might deem as vital; however, we have been doing this long enough that we have discovered creative ways, via public interfaces, to backup more than what is easily available via the public APIs. This is certainly something that makes us unique and more valuable.

We have not built a way for Rewind to backup arbitrary data outside of what is accessible via public APIs but that's something we are thinking about.

Jun 19, 10:55AM EDT0
What kind of customer support do you offer and how does it work?
Jun 19, 4:54AM EDT0

Hi PAINTMEBLUE86 - great question!

We have a number of support channels: we offer in app chatting (pretty common these days), email support (old school), and we also have a 1-800 number (not too common in the app space) that customers can call to talk to a member of our support team.

We have also baked in a number of monitoring systems into Rewind that will alert the development team in the event that something has gone wrong. We use this to proactively reach out to customers from time to time when we know an issue has occurred.

Jun 19, 10:52AM EDT0
What is the process of restoring data and how technical does one have to be to use it?
Jun 19, 4:49AM EDT0

Hi PAINTMEBLUE86 - thanks for question!

Our goal is to make Rewind as simple as possible to use.

When a customer is going through a data disaster, they don't want to be overwhelmed with technical complexities. They just want their data back to a usable state as soon as possible.

Restoring an item with Rewind is a simple point and click procedure; simply locate the item from the Rewind Vault using a known identifier, decide which version you want to restore (by date or content) and click rewind.

If there is ever an issue with restoring, our support team is availble to assist in any way we can. It's not uncommon for our team to go above and beyond the capabilities of Rewind to help a customer get their data back to the way it once was - that's just how we are 🙂

Last edited @ Jun 19, 10:58AM EDT.
Jun 19, 10:48AM EDT0
Do you go to tech conferences and other events? What are some good ones for SaaS startups? Are they effective to promote your product or more for networking to learn from colleagues?
Jun 18, 10:45PM EDT0

Hi NILOY10 - thanks for the great questions!

We do attend tech conferences and other events - I’d say that we make it out to 5-10 conferences per year. More if you include local meet-ups for various tech related subjects!

I think as a start-up, it is really helpful to find a local meet-up that is, in some way, related to what you are doing. If you are a Node shop, find the Node or JavaScript meet-up. If you are using Google Cloud, find the meet-up for cloud computing or even AWS. If the meet up doesn’t exist in your area then there’s no better person to organize it than you!

These meet-ups are fantastic places to get your story out, meet like minded people, learn, share ideas, and find potential resources with which to collaborate and help move your ideas forward. 

The other great benefit of meet-ups is that they don’t break the bank - local meet ups mean no plane tickets, hotel rooms, or restaurant bills 🙂

Last edited @ Jun 19, 10:58AM EDT.
Jun 19, 10:39AM EDT0
Why have Shopify not developed a solution of their own? How comes they don’t see you as competitor?
Jun 18, 8:26PM EDT0

Hi LUISAB0 - thanks for your question, this is one that we get a lot.

We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with Shopify. They truly are an amazing story and we love working with them to help their customers be successful.

While there is nothing stopping Shopify from building their own backup solution, we don’t think they’re going to - at least not any time soon.

Shopify is laser focused on building a premiere platform that will foster new entrepreneurship and, while we believe backups play a crucial role in this, there are a lot of other areas that they are and will be investing in to make commerce better for everyone.

Jun 19, 10:38AM EDT0

Is it better to build a web app with a Shopify integration that serves users across many platforms, OR go all-in and build a solution for Shopify only? Which is better? Why? What are some things to consider before making this decision? 

Jun 18, 12:01PM EDT0

Hi JONATHAN KENNEDY - those are some great questions.

We have asked ourselves the same questions and, to be honest, we’re not entirely sure we know the right answers. There are both risks and rewards to going all in on one specific platform.

We know a lot of Shopify partners that focus exclusively on the Shopify platform and are quite successful at doing so.

We also know a lot of Shopify partners that develop for multiple e-commerce platforms; they too are quite successful.

It took us a little while but we eventually made the decision that we wanted to be in the backup business and not be in the Shopify app business. Once we settled on that, it became obvious that we were going to be developing across many platforms.

A couple of things you probably want to consider before becoming multi-platform is the amount of time and resources that are needed to understand and work with the different constraints that come with every new platform; otherwise, you can quickly find yourself spread pretty thin.

Jun 19, 10:36AM EDT0

How did you determine the price model for the service?  What were the deciding factors?

Jun 18, 10:31AM EDT0

Hi TATIANA BONNEAU - thanks for the question.

Pricing is an area that we are always working on.

In the early days, we offered Rewind for Free and we used that time to talk to as many customers as we could to find out what our service was worth to them - every customer gave us a different answer.

I remember debating our first pricing matrix for almost a week until eventually we decided to pick 3 plans and just see what happens.

I think this was the right decision at the time - the longer we debated, the longer we went without revenue ;)

We have since iterated on our pricing a number of times - when we get it wrong, we are quick to change it.

Jun 19, 10:35AM EDT1
How do you ensure that the data stored in Rewind doesn’t get lost or erased? What precautions have you taken to avoid this?
Jun 18, 12:23AM EDT0

Hi RDCSALT - awesome question!

Obviously the backup company has a backup :)

In addition to proper backups, we also have a number of proprietary safe guards and security policies / procedures in place to keep the backups safe and secure.

Jun 19, 10:34AM EDT0
How much do you charge for your services? Are your prices competitive compared to other similar companies?
Jun 17, 2:43AM EDT0

Hi PRATEEKBENARA - thanks for the question!

Our prices range from FREE up to $299 / month; where a Rewind customer falls within that range depends on a number of different factors; you can get the breakdown on our website: https://rewind.io.

I think we are very much competitive with similar companies in our space.

Jun 19, 10:33AM EDT0
Do you have different storage capacities that you offer your clients? What is the process you go through with them to decide which is the right choice for them?
Jun 16, 1:47PM EDT0

Hi GENERICDAISY - great questions!

We don’t have different storage capacities in the same sense as old-school, desktop, backup companies; meaning, we don’t sell our service by the Gigabyte.

Our pricing varies by vertical; in general, we have identified one or two key metrics that we use to figure out which plan works best for each customer and we do our best to leverage those metrics to guide customers to the appropriate plan.

We sometimes get it wrong and in those cases, a quick conversation is enough to get things right.

Jun 19, 10:33AM EDT0
How much easier would it be for SaaS companies to develop their own backup solutions rather than use yours? What are the benefits?
Jun 16, 6:39AM EDT0

Hi JULIUS CRISALDO PIDO - very good question, we get this one a lot!

First, I want to be clear that we are not backing up the SaaS companies themselves; Rewind does not provide an appliance that sits on prem to backup and restore SaaS data centers - though it would be awesome if we could do that! :)

Rewind is a service that lives outside of the platform; we backup customer data that the platform exposes via public APIs.

There are many benefits of Rewind; the main one being that it helps with the 3-2-1 backup rule: meaning, we help you ensure you have at least 3 copies of your data, 2 of which are on different storage devices, and 1 that is offsite.

Jun 19, 10:32AM EDT0
What are the type of clients you usually go after, what is the rationale for your decision?
Jun 16, 3:53AM EDT0

Hi PROADLINE - thanks for the question.

We believe that a backup solution is something that should be at the forefront of everyone's mind when they are using online tools to run their business. In that regard, we want to go after all users of these platforms, if for nothing else, then to ensure they understand our value proposition so that they can decide for themselves whether they think a backup is something they can work without.

Jun 19, 10:30AM EDT0
What are the security measures you have in place to protect your clients' data?
Jun 15, 11:00PM EDT0

Hi PJAIN - great question, thanks!

Security is HUGELY important to us!

First, all of our backup data is encrypted at rest and in transit.

Second, we have strict policies around separation of duties and principle of least privilege w.r.t. our production environments.

Third, we undergo an annual security audit, conducted by a third party, that assesses our infrastructure for vulnerabilities.

Fourth, we have proprietary safe guards in place to keep the backups safe and secure.

Lastly, we aren't complacent; we are constantly evaluating our security practices and looking for better ways to keep data safe and secure.

Jun 19, 10:30AM EDT0
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