I joined Baserow to build a company with a business model around the open source project that our CEO Bram Wiepjes had started a few years earlier. As an open source project, you initially test the product traction by making it accessible to as many people as possible, without any financial asks. The project received some sponsorship from users, but there was no commercial model when it first started.
Nevertheless, we had a clear business model in mind from the start: allow as many people as possible to use Baserow for free, and build specific paid features for the moment that Baserow would be used by larger teams and in companies. That way, we never charge for small users (solopreneurs, small teams, students, etc.) and users who want to test our product to assess the value it can bring to their team without time limitations you typically see with free trials, for instance.
A business model is fundamental for the success of your product as we need to invest in developers and other roles to keep releasing new features every month.
As we started to narrow down on our targeted users and ideal customer profile (ICP), we also thought about the features they would want to pay for. These features are mostly centered around user management, security, auditing, and support, as well as more rows and storage capacity for our cloud users. So we built these features and put those in the higher-tier pricing plans as these are typically companies using Baserow.
For users that just need some additional features like more views and row capacity, we introduced a cheap paid plan as a first entry point above free usage.
It has been a bit more than oneyear since we launched our paid plans and we see a monthly growth of about 10%, which is great. It shows that we can build a healthy business with a product that is used for free by a vast majority of our users. That will continue to be our philosophy as we believe in free software innovation.
As we build our application builder module in Baserow, our business model will stay the same: Free for 85% of our features approximately (MIT license) and paid features for larger teams and companies. That way, the teams that have budgets and have big benefits from using Baserow will pay for features that small users do not need. That way we fund our product evolution and make everybody happy, including our team and investors.