22x in 18 months
How Rebank defined
(and executed) their growth strategy
Create (and dominate) an entire category
Ooni Pizza Ovens brought the world’s first-ever portable wood-fired pizza oven to market in 2012. They’ve carved out (and dominated) this product category, having sold nearly 1 million ovens worldwide. They’ve won multiple awards and continue to grow their international team of 300+ employees. But it wasn’t always like this. When we first met Ooni, they were a crowd-funded startup of 55 or so pizza lovers.
When hard work doesn’t deliver results
The founders — Kristian Tapaninaho and Darina Garland — had a remarkable product and a passionate team but were struggling to grow beyond £13M in annual revenue. The founders knew they’d hit a plateau but they’d also exhausted all the growth strategies they were aware of. Plus, there wasn’t a huge demand for portable wood-fired pizza ovens because no one really knew they wanted one simply because the product category didn’t exist.
Company name: Rebank
Results since graduating: 22X in 18 months
The one mistake every CEO makes when faced with a growth problem
So this brought CEO and Co-Founder Juan Andrade to a critical question — to hire or not to hire? At this point, his team had been building for a while but wasn’t seeing tangible growth. So he did what most CEOs do when they’re faced with a growth problem — he hunted LinkedIn profiles and references for Head of Growth superstars that could bridge the gap between Rebank and their $1B unicorn ambitions.
But 60 failed interviews and several months later, Juan came to a harsh realization: “I realized there was no way I can confidently hire someone if I can’t figure it out on my own. How would I know if they’re doing the right thing? What would I use to measure their efficiency?”
And that’s when he set out to “figure it out on his own.” Well, somewhat. We met Juan and his team at the beginning of this journey toward becoming internal growth experts.
“Always wanted to do this, but didn’t know how”
When Rebank joined the 2020 cohort, they quickly realized that there was a lot of work to do. And their SCS coach did not shy away from making sure that work got done. As CFO Leona Mondsee remembers, “Our coach held us accountable every single step of the way. There was nowhere to hide, if we were B.S.ing he would call us out but redirect us in the right direction. It was the fire we needed to push through, and build discipline, and a huge reason why we got the results we did.”
“You can’t do product before growth. They have to be in tandem. They’re equal in terms of priority and importance.”
Our coaching programme is built on a framework rooted in practical, step-by-step methods. The team at Rebank was able to quickly map out their growth model and find the rate-limiting step that was constraining their growth. Their team was able to agree on clear priorities while still being empowered to take on autonomous projects that followed this framework. Identifying the rate-limiting step helped them hyper-focus on where they could have the most impact. In fact, when we caught up with Juan and Leona, they said they’re still using these systems and frameworks to this day.
Learning to see through their customer’s eyes
It’s over-used and cliche but the sentiment that the “customer’s always right” has its place, especially when building out a growth strategy. But this can be difficult when you’re immersed in the business and refining your product. Rebank’s team was challenged to step outside of themselves and learn to spot when they weren’t thinking like a customer. “SCS taught us how to ask the right questions, so we could understand their unconscious struggles and needs, and shift our thinking around. That was transformational for us because we started talking about problems in a more holistic way, not just “as a, I want, so that.”
A core element of SCS’s programme is rapid experimentation. Juan and the team had been aware of testing and were eager to implement it but didn’t know where to start. “SCS gave us the tools and step-by-step methods to execute rapid experiments with a growth mindset. They taught us how to interpret our findings, define the best metrics, and use our learnings to increase conversions, regardless if the experiment was successful or failed.”
22x in 18 months after graduating from SCS.
Best Startup of the Year 2022, @Saastock
Company name: Rebank
Results since graduating:
22X in 18 months
Great product, good people, bad marketing
One day Juan Andrade, MBA graduate from London Business School, realised he was making £60,000 ($72,000) per year to chase invoices and reconcile international payments across accounts. He thought, "A computer could do this." And then he thought "A computer should do this." So, he founded Rebank, and nine months later, the team joined Y Combinator.
Rebank is disrupting the way startups manage their finances. Their fintech product acts as a “Chief Financial Operating System,” streamlining the key financial functions every startup needs to keep their company going (and their employees happy). Since graduating from Startup Core Strengths (SCS), they’ve grown their payment volume by 22x in just 18 months.
“People won't magically find a product just because it's awesome.”
Customers loved their product, and they had great retention. Even still, it was hard to build traction. People won't magically find a product just because it's awesome. Plus, Rebank’s small (but mighty) team of 8 at the time was made up of mostly finance and technical folks, with zero marketing experience. Even being in Y Combinator wasn’t particularly helpful in this area. Hence, most of their marketing efforts were “shots in the dark” based on hunches and educated guesses.
“SCS really helped us change our attitude towards failure. We developed an iterative approach to failure and became much more open to trying new things. The methods and systems we learned helped us de-risk the process of testing new things, which led to a lot of the growth we’re seeing now.”
Leona Mondsee | Chief Financial Officer
The biggest benefit (wasn’t revenue)
Rebank is now growing at an exponential rate, but at the root of this growth is their resilience and ability to lean into failures instead of letting them become stumbling blocks.
Their team is still a strong group of fewer than 10 employees, but their ability to adopt a unified growth strategy isn’t something that naturally happens. Juan describes this “oneness” as a superpower where everyone is a contributor with the same end goal. As he puts it, “Growth is now part of everyone’s responsibility, from the CMO to the CFO. Thanks to SCS, we adopted an “all hands on deck” mentality that’s empowered our team and held us all accountable for our ongoing successes (and failures).”