Saas startup on a (crypto) loan

Saas startup on a (crypto) loan

Starting SaaS business as a solo/bootstrap dev requires upfront investments in a bunch of tools and services, many of which have recurring costs (see list below).

You have to cover all these costs before your service earns you even a single dollar, maybe for many months. This might be a significant barrier depending on your income. What if instead you could receive all these services for free, but return all accrued costs as soon as your SaaS started to earn money? How many more people could start innovating with their ideas if this was possible?

I don't have more than a user experience in this area, but here is what I think are some ideas to consider:

  • A smart-contract is used to provide a loan. The biggest technical challenge here is how to connect your future earnings with the accrued debt, and automatically pay it. Seems quite unfeasible at the moment, unless stripe/paddle/etc. implement such option, or if all your payments come in crypto.
  • You receive a grant in a form of tokens that you can spend on necessary services. This requires initial investments from the token issuing entity/community, and again, the company account should receive all of its revenue in the above tokens such that debt can be paid out.

However, in both cases, someone still needs to bear the costs of SaaS failures, when a project used some services, but failed to generate revenue. This can be achieved by adding interest rate to the debt, such that successful services cover the costs of the failed ones. Assuming that ~90% of the SaaSes fail, that means that every successful company has to pay for 9 failed ones (and each failure takes around 1 year to recognize), around ~9*300 = 2700$ extra based on the modest cost estimations below.

Another possibility is for all underlying services to agree to provide their service on such free-until-profitable model, which does not sound realistic at the moment.


One-time costs:

  • SaaS service boilerplate code (saaspegasus, 300$)
  • UI Kit (tailwindui, 300$)
  • Starting a company (in Switzerland)
    • Signature notarization (~20$)
    • Commercial register (500-700$)
    • Capital contribution account (145-300$)
    • Capital for the company (20 000$ for LLC – will be on your account)

Recurring (/ month):

  • Cloud hosting + DB (10-20 $, even more if you want separate staging → prod pipelines)
  • Analytics (Google is free, but if you would like Plausible then at least 9$)
  • Policies generator (iubenda, termly, ~15$ for cookie, privacy, terms and conditions)
  • Coding assistance (Github Copilot, 10$)
  • CI/CD (0 - $$$)
  • Log aggregation (0 - $$$)
  • Error monitoring (0 - $$$)