Start Lab’s Maria Rodriguez on combining SaaS with coaching for the Hispanic Market

Maria Rodriguez, CEO and co-founder, shares her strategy to differentiate herself in a saturated market.
Maria Rodriguez, CEO de Start Lab

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Start Lab, a startup founded by three Venezuelans in Chile, is preparing to launch an innovative SaaS tool in August. The company, which offers coaching and consulting for educational and online businesses, has worked with more than 500 companies since its founding.

María Rodríguez, CEO and co-founder of Start Lab, shares the company’s vision: “We are not only going to offer a SaaS. We’re going to provide support with coaching and mentoring to make sure the implementation is done correctly to capture customers that are profitable.”

The Start Lab story began in 2007 in Caracas, Venezuela, where Rodriguez met Raquel Roman. In 2019, together with José Manuel Rodríguez, they founded Start Lab in Chile. The company focuses on helping scale businesses in the educational and consultative online sphere.

The new SaaS will integrate sales funnels, landing pages, email and WhatsApp campaigns, and calendars. Román indicates that this tool will enable companies to save costs and simplify commercial management. José Manuel Rodríguez adds, “Companies will have access to weekly mentoring with a Start Lab expert to review their entire sales system and provide feedback to improve results.”

Start Lab plans to expand internationally. Rodriguez elaborates, “Our plan is still Chile, but we want to expand beyond all of Mexico and into the U.S. Hispanic world.” The company has already held events in Mexico City and Miami, with plans for Monterrey, Guadalajara, Houston and Austin.

In terms of success metrics, Start Lab focuses on user acquisition cost and customer retention. Rodriguez explains, “The first KPI we want to have is how much it costs us to acquire a SaaS user.” The goal is to achieve an ROI of between 3 to 5 points in the Lifetime Value of a customer in 6 months to 1 year.

Start Lab has worked with companies in Chile, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru. They focus mainly on businesses that generate between US$100 thousand and US$500 thousand per year, offering programs such as “Master in six figures” and “Master in 7 figures”.

The company reports monthly sales of around US$ 268 thousand and expects to bill close to US$ 3 million by the end of this year. Despite this growth, Rodriguez says, “We have no need to raise capital at the moment.”

Start Lab will initially launch its SaaS organically. “We’re going to first offer it to our current database,” Rodriguez explains. They plan to open between 20 and 50 slots for early adopters, offering a 30-day free trial.

Start Lab’s long-term vision is ambitious. Rodriguez states, “We want to be a benchmark in scaling online coaching, consulting and training businesses, like McKinsey, which is in the corporate world.”

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