BC Startup Goes from Nothing to $500k in 1 Year with No Funding

Last March Victoria’s MetaLab launched their second product Flow, a new simple tool for managing and delegating tasks.

One year later Founder and CEO Andrew Wilkinson is telling the world that the Metalab spinoff is “bringing in over $500,000 in recurring revenue and growing like crazy.”

Similar to the birth of HootSuite from Vancouver’s Invoke Media, Flow was a result of Metalab scratching their own itch. “We were frustrated with having to use three different apps to manage our daily workflow, so we decided to build a solution ourselves,” says Wilkinson.

While the slick and easy-to-use app is something to be proud of in its own right, Wilkinson is even more proud their ability to bootstrap the project while not clocking long startup hours.

At MetaLab, everyone is responsible for their own schedule. No bunk beds in the office or ramen-fueled overnight programming melees. We usually clock between four and six hours a day, and most of us don’t even get to the office before noon. We believe in working smart, not hard, and having lives outside the office. It might sound wimpy, but it’s working.

So, how did they get to $500K in recurring revenue without sacrificing sleep and equity? They self-funded and grew organically.

Instead of distracting ourselves building pitch decks and flying all over the country, we allocated about 25% of the team’s time to client work and used that money to cover our development costs. By the time we launched, the pricetag on Flow came in around $300,000. Not only is that way less than your average VC-fueled startup, but by doing it ourselves, we retained 100% of the equity.

Smart move by Wilkinson. Predictable growth and recurring revenue will fetch a much higher valuation if they even do decide to go after VC money.

MetaLab is an Interface Design Agency that was started in 2006 – you’ve likely seen their ubiquitous Tumblr theme Fluid or maybe Wilkinson’s advice for Zappos’ Tony Hsieh.