Malaysian infographic designing app Piktochart is growing globally, expanding its team in various countries to keep up with its international business.
While the Penang-based startup is tight-lipped about its growth numbers, its hiring appetite sheds a glimmer of light on how well the infographic generator business is doing.
Co-founder Goh Ai Ching tells DEALSTREETASIA that the company has “about seven to eight vacancies at any one time”.
“Our current remote people are based in Europe, Argentina, Peru and we have three people in the US. The team last year was about 25 and this year, we’re close to 40,” she shared, noting that the company may expand to more than 40 people by the end of this year.
“We are hiring from everywhere,” Goh said.
Angel.co data showed that Piktochart has over 1,200,000 users, with a good percentage of them being recurring subscribers.
The website also noted that Piktochart’s customers include marketing companies and data/market research agencies, and that the data visualization market is estimated at $10 billion.
Goh said the company’s customers are largely from North America.On Piktochart’s website, it has calling lines for the US, Australia and the UK, suggesting that these are the startup’s biggest markets.
Goh declined to reveal how many active paying users Piktochart currently has.
Interestingly, the company has not raised any funds since its inception in 2011.
While Piktochart had received some funds from Chinaacelerator in 2011, and got a Cradle Fund grant in 2012, Goh and her co-founder husband Andrea Zaggia have self-funded the business.
“We entered Chinaccelerator but to be honest, it wasn’t seed funding, more like pocket money,” Goh quipped.
Chinaaccelerator is a three-month accelerator based in Shanghai in which selected entrepreneurs receives $30,000, with an optional $25,000 from the programme partners, for the duration in Shanghai.
“The other is a Cradle Fund grant of about MYR270,000, but we’ve paid back half of it, so the net grant that we got was about $50,000,” she added.
The reason Piktochart repaid the grant, Goh explained was because the company had managed to hit a certain revenue target.
Cradle Fund’s grants are conditional in that when a startup recipient achieves a success trigger point, either in the case of an acquisition or hitting revenue targets, it would need to repay part or all of its grant. The repaid amount would be channeled back into the Cradle Investment Programme fund.
As Piktochart grew steadily over the past two years, its co-founders had thought of fundraising to scale faster.“We considered it but an advisor said if we could do it without external investment, we should try to burn through the cash before going for investment. We tried to do so and he was right – we can still do it without external investment,” she said.
Angel.co lists five advisors on Piktochart’s profile – Alan Clayton, Evan Loomis, Dave Blanchard, Josh Kwan and Cyril Ebersweiler.
The advice, proved to be worthy, as Piktochart went on to expand their services from their own cash flow and still couldn’t finish their funds, according to an interview with Edgy.
One of the factors Piktochart had sound cash flow is its profitability early on.“We have been profitable since the third month of launching our Pro business,” Goh shared, referring to its paid-for service.
Piktochart has a free standard infographic generator as well as a paid-for service that promises more designs and tools. It’s paid-for Pro infographic generator was launched in March 2012, and currently charges $29 per month or $290 for a year.
While the startup is not planning to raise any round soon, she added that the need for fundraising would come when the company sees the need for sales offices at international locations.
“It’s a lot of God’s timing and we are waiting for it to happen,” she anticipated.
In the meantime, Piktochart’s focus is on its product and service.
“We’re trying to make it even more intuitive and easier for users . It’s really hard to get there as everything’s a manual drag and drop. We’re looking at making certain things smarter and more automated,” she said.