Dries Augustyns, a 21 year-old developer who landed a job at Microsoft straight out of Uni, has developed a software platform to bring all aspects of email automation into one place. In this case, skipping class to pursue side projects, such as Plunk, has paid off.
Working in the Microsoft Technology Center, Dries works with enterprise customers and focuses in areas of digital transformation. His days are filled with guiding enterprise companies in topics such as Devops, Containerization, Fusion Development, etc. Drawing from this experience, Dries founded Plunk as a tool for good.
What is Plunk?
Plunk is redefining what it means to be an email tool. With Plunk, users are able to get the most of their emails through integrated processes. Users are able to automate and track transactional and broadcast emails and marketing automations in an affordable and developer-friendly way.
Plunk is a Saas, specifically for small businesses, that enables small teams to grow their audience and engage customer relationships through their suite of offerings.
Through customer interviews, Dries incorporated features to be developer friendly. For those of us who are not familiar with tech terminology, developer friendly takes on a few meanings.
“What makes [Plunk] developer friendly is that a set of libraries and packages are designed for the platform. A library is basically a tool that makes the job easier. Libraries act as an electric drill (instead of using a manual screwdriver) for developers. Plunk offers a few libraries to set up email automations and to send emails. This allows developers to create new projects on Plunk in less than 5 minutes.” - Dries Augustyns
Integrating automations into websites and landing pages takes time, especially if small business owners don’t have a technical background. With Plunk, users automate processes to engage with their customers quickly and increase conversion rates.
For example, when a customer signs up for a newsletter or purchases an offering from a website, Plunk integrations contact the customer within minutes in order to secure a connection.
Since its founding in June of 2022 there have been 576 projects hosted on Plunk.
This is in part due to the all-encompassing nature of Plunk - allowing users to track emails individually throughout the process.
“The fact that you can tie everything together is so powerful. For example, if you’re a solopreneur or have a small team, it’s hard to obtain an overview of all your emails. Many of our users appreciate this aspect, and Plunk is so easy to use. It’s fun to integrate, doesn’t create technical debt, and allows users to maintain an accurate understanding of what emails are generating traction.” - Dries Augustyns
Other reasons for Plunk’s success are attributed to cold outreach, crucial feedback from early adopters, and that Dries is building in public on Twitter and Reddit.
“I share a lot about the findings I make and tell others about it. The process of building in public builds awareness for what I’m building and gets users onto the platform. Being open is such an important thing, and it ties directly into the open source strategy of sharing everything you can and taking others along for the ride” stated Dries in an interview with StartupStage.
Plunk’s business model is also changing up the game. Currently, email tools focus on pricing based on the number of contacts a user has. Plunk is focusing instead on the number of emails a user sends. Each email sent through Plunk is $0.005, and users are only charged for what they use.
This business model keeps Plunk affordable and opens doors for potential revenue streams such as incorporation of a gift card aspect. By having a predetermined amount to spend, small businesses are easily able to budget for email marketing and not worry about hidden fees or upcharges.
Advice for Fellow Founders
"Take responsibility and be honest about the mistakes that you make. I've tried many things in the past with plunk and failed with them, but just being honest and transparent with yourself and your customers allows you to move on and learn from your mistakes." - Dries Augustyns, Founder of Plunk
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