A Model for Reinvention
Trustmary began in 2016 as a company focused on producing high-quality video testimonials for businesses. Product Manager Arttu Haho explained in a recent Software Spotlight podcast interview that the initial idea was to provide a service where companies could quickly get video testimonials, articles, photos, and other marketing materials from one provider.
However, they quickly ran into a challenge. Haho stated, “Our business clients wanted to collect stories from satisfied customers, but they didn’t know who those customers were. Who would be willing to participate in a testimonial video?” This made it difficult for Trustmary to produce the materials they had sold.
The Pivot to SaaS
To solve this problem, Trustmary decided to transform into a SaaS company. Haho noted, “We aim to grow into a global company that offers a self-service software product that enables companies to collect customer testimonials themselves instead of a testimonial production service.”
This shift to a software platform aimed to empower businesses to gather authentic testimonials rather than relying on a production service. The company changed its name from Kokemuksia.fi to Trustmary to reflect its new SaaS focus.
According to Haho, Trustmary launched its first SaaS product in 2019-2020 after investing in two previous software attempts. The COVID-19 crisis accelerated Trustmary's transition, as in-person video production halted. Haho stated, “We transitioned from a project business to a SaaS company in a month.”
While risky, this rapid pivot proved successful. Existing customers began using the new Trustmary software, and interest from new companies followed. Trustmary's testimonial widgets started appearing on business websites, catching the attention of investors.
Developing the SaaS Product
With the pivot to SaaS, Trustmary invested heavily in developing its software product despite having no external funding initially. Haho explained, “We were lucky to have our CTO, Teppo Kallio, join us right at the start of this process. We’re even luckier to have him working full-time, developing the product, and leading the software development team. He’s a real genius.”
Keeping product development in-house and building from scratch enabled Trustmary to craft a solution tailored to their target customers' needs. CEO Haho noted, “Trustmary gets hundreds of interested users worldwide every month. Many start using the software independently and manage to publish reviews online.”
The platform solved three core problems: finding willing customers to give testimonials, collecting feedback remotely without travel, and leveraging testimonials online to benefit businesses. Automating these processes was crucial for Trustmary's SaaS value proposition.
Funding and Growth
After bootstrapping initial development, Trustmary raised external funding in 2021 to accelerate growth. A $2.2 million round came from venture capital firm Vendep Capital and a government loan.
This investment has allowed Trustmary to expand its team and enter new geographical markets. According to Haho, “Trustmary has the potential to become a leading solution for traditional businesses that want to establish trust on their website. The product already has all the required functionalities.”
While the company's mission remains constant – helping businesses build online trust – its strategies have evolved. Haho reflected, “When one shifts from a project-based video production business to a SaaS business, everything changes. It has called for lots of patience and tolerance for change and uncertainty.”
This agility and willingness to take risks on new product directions have been vital to Trustmary's transformation into a high-growth SaaS provider. It exemplifies how software companies can successfully pivot from services to scalable products. As Trustmary continues expanding globally, its evolution from video production to automated testimonials platform is a model for software business reinvention.
Trustmary's journey from video production to SaaS exemplifies the agility and boldness required for software companies to reinvent themselves successfully. Their willingness to pivot rapidly, invest in developing an in-house product despite financial uncertainty, and expand globally sets a standard for tech business transformation.
As consumer needs and market forces shift, even successful companies must evolve to stay competitive. Trustmary provides a blueprint for making significant strategic changes while retaining core strengths. Their story shows how reimagining business models and offerings can unlock new potential, even for established brands.
While pivoting from services to products was risky, Trustmary's all-in commitment gave them the first-mover advantage in automated testimonials. The company's focus on solving customers' problems through user-centric design paid dividends. Their SaaS platform empowered a new self-service approach that met demand.
The lessons from Trustmary's evolution are far-reaching. Their experience highlights that change brings both challenges and opportunities. Visionary leadership, dedication to customers, and developing the right software capabilities can make seismic business shifts succeed. Trustmary's agile team turned uncertainty into growth. Their willingness to reinvent themselves inspires all organizations seeking to thrive in dynamic times through strategic transformation.
View Featured Trustmary Podcast: Trustmary Product Manager Arttu Haho joins host Michael Bernzweig to discuss their customer review platform. Haho provides background on Trustmary and demonstrates key capabilities like collecting Google reviews, importing existing reviews, creating review widgets, and A/B testing review placement to boost conversions. He positions Trustmary as an easy, consolidated solution to systematically collect and leverage customer reviews for trust-building across industries.