Jul 21, 2021
CEO and Co-founder of Tithe.ly talks about founding Tithe.ly, how they funded, built it, and evolved from zero to 30,000MRR and beyond. Listen and learn.
Dean Sweetman spent over 30 years in ministry before launching Tithe.ly. The platform is designed to give you the tools you require to engage, stay connected, and ease the lives of your congregation and staff. He tells Geordie about his journey.
In his childhood, Dean was a passionate surfer who did not grow up in church. He gives basic details about his life from birth, growing up, and how he ended up being a youth pastor. Dean describes his journey to tech as the "30 years of preparation".
At some point in his life, Dean had an encounter that he discusses in this podcast. Listen in for first-hand details. The advent of the iPhone in 2012 was pivotal in catalyzing Dean's idea of transforming giving in the church into a smooth process.
He sought to ensure that people could do it through a mobile gadget, anytime and anywhere. Dean describes a particular incident in Starbucks where he bought coffee and paid through his mobile phone. Listen to the podcast for this exciting story.
After the Starbucks incident, Dean tasked his oldest son, an engineer, with developing an App through which congregants could contribute directly to the church bank account.
Nine months later, the app was approved on the App Store, and Dean stood in front of his church with his MVP in hand. Dollars started trickling in through the App from the first month. How did Dean market the product?
Being well connected, he encouraged his congregants and friends to download the app and utilize it in their churches. Listen as Dean explains his son's role which he continues to play in developing and running the platform.
Dean and his team offered the App free of charge initially, but their business model changed as they evolved. Listen to the podcast for more details. Dean maintains that they strive to price their products fairly, and as the platform evolved, their vision moved from being an endpoint giving solution only, to an entire technical stack that churches require.
The team continues to develop more products, and Dean illustrates them in this podcast. He talks about the problems he and his team solved for the church, and you can learn about them in the podcast.
How do congregants benefit from Tithe.ly? Unlike in the past when credit cards were commonly used, many people are now transacting through mobile devices. Dean says nearly every industry has adopted mobile technology apart from the church, which limits their potential. He explains this concept further in the podcast.
In a world where competitors are increasing every day, entrepreneurs need to devise strategies to remain ahead. Dean explains how they have managed to beat the competition. If you are an upcoming entrepreneur, listen to this section and gain the lessons.
What pricing model does Dean use on big churches? He says they have a SaaS fee affiliated with larger churches and admits that 80% of their revenue comes through payments. Should you develop or buy software? Dean mentions that integrating different software into their platform was one of the biggest challenges they faced.
He recommends developing software from scratch and explains how fortunate they were to acquire great technology from a small company. Listen to the podcast for comprehensive details.
According to Dean, they experienced explosive growth during Covid. He explains how they execute their vetting process to ensure they are dealing with authentic churches. SEO plays a critical role in business growth, and Dean explains that most of the churches found them due to their powerful SEO.
Before COVID, Dean and his team had devised a robust SEO strategy that came in handy to help them attract the right audience. He concludes the podcast by explaining what they are doing to reduce churn rate.