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I Built and Sold an AI SaaS: My Journey from Idea to Acquisition

I Sold My AI SaaS: From Idea to Acquisition in Less Than a Year

In 2023, I embarked on a journey to build an AI SaaS product that would revolutionize the way people create landing pages.

Within just a few months of launching, I managed to generate $15,000 in revenue, but despite my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to scale the business further.

Ultimately, I made the decision to sell the product for $35,000 in March 2023.

In this article, I’ll break down how I came up with the idea, built the first version of the product, acquired my first customers, and eventually sold the business.

We strongly recommend that you check out our guide on how to take advantage of AI in today’s passive income economy.

The Rise of AI and the Inspiration Behind My AI SaaS

In 2023, AI was the talk of the town, with everyone discussing the potential of AI tools like ChatGPT and various other AI services.

As a solo developer who had built around 20 websites in the previous two years, I saw an opportunity to create my own AI SaaS product.

I envisioned a tool that would allow users to input text and generate entire landing pages for various purposes, such as portfolios, yoga studios, or software products.

The idea was to streamline the process of creating professional-looking websites without the need for extensive design or coding skills.

Building the First Version of the AI SaaS

I began building the product, keeping it as simple as possible in the initial stages.

Customers would fill out a form specifying the desired tone of voice, color scheme, product description, and target audience.

They could then choose from three pricing packages, starting at $19 for a single landing page with variations, illustrations, and images.

The AI SaaS worked by making requests to the GPT-4 API to generate content based on the customer’s input.

It would populate the pre-built components I had created with relevant text, titles, and descriptions.

Additionally, the AI SaaS attempted to generate images that matched the content, although the results were not always perfect.

Customers had the option to update certain elements, such as the theme and colors, before downloading the HTML code or sharing it with their team.

Launching on Product Hunt and Gaining Traction

Once the first version of the AI SaaS was ready, I decided to launch it on Product Hunt.

To my delight, the product ranked third on the day of its launch, which I attribute partly to my active presence on Twitter, where I had been building in public and had amassed around 15,000 followers.

I also launched on Hacker News, which didn’t drive significant traffic but provided some additional exposure and positive feedback.

Within two months, the AI SaaS had generated approximately $7,000 (roughly $8,000), which I considered a success.

Rebranding and Enhancing the AI SaaS

However, I soon realized that my startup’s name was identical to that of a larger software company, necessitating a complete rebranding of the website.

I changed the name from “LendingAI” to “MechLending” and removed the AI-specific terminology to make the product more accessible to users who might not be familiar with artificial intelligence.

The rebranded AI SaaS featured a simpler interface, allowing users to input their desired text without the need for a form.

I also added a demo on the landing page to showcase the product’s ability to generate websites from text input.

Additionally, I included examples of potential landing pages created using the AI SaaS and increased the price from $19 to $29 per landing page.

Improving the User Experience and Functionality

The most significant changes were made to the user dashboard, granting users more control over their generated landing pages.

Unlike the previous version, where users had limited options after the page was generated, the updated AI SaaS allowed users to log in and make extensive edits to their landing pages.

This included modifying headlines, images (using a stock photo library, uploading custom images, or generating AI-generated photos), adding or removing buttons and sections, and customizing the site’s colors, themes, and fonts.

Users could preview their changes and, once satisfied, receive a shareable link to drive traffic to their landing page and convert visitors into customers.

I also incorporated analytics for each landing page, providing users with valuable insights into their site’s performance.

Relaunching and Gaining Momentum

With the more polished version of the AI SaaS ready, I relaunched the product, leveraging my Twitter presence once again by sharing a video demonstrating its functionality.

Although I didn’t receive the same level of attention as the initial launch on Product Hunt, the product still garnered a decent amount of traffic.

The AI SaaS began to gain traction through shares on AI newsletters, attracting 10,000 to 15,000 visitors per month.

Within three months, the product had generated nearly $9,000, which more than covered my living expenses in Bali.

However, I noticed a lower conversion rate from visitors to paid customers compared to the first version.

I attributed this to the fact that I was now competing with established landing page builders like Wix, WordPress, and Webflow.

As a solo entrepreneur with limited resources, it was challenging to convince users to choose my AI SaaS over these well-known competitors.

The Decision to Sell and the Acquisition Process

Recognizing the difficulties in scaling the AI SaaS further, I made the decision to sell the startup in October 2023.

While I continued to provide customer support, I stopped adding new features and halted any marketing efforts.

I listed the startup on, a marketplace for small startup acquisitions, and received numerous offers within a single day.

Engaging with Potential Buyers and Finalizing the Sale

I began engaging with promising buyers, and the acquisition process followed a similar pattern for micro-startups like mine.

It involved signing an agreement outlining the assets to be transferred, such as the domain name, codebase, customer base, and database.

After a few days of communication with one particular buyer, they agreed to purchase the AI SaaS for $35,000 without even having a phone call.

The funds were transferred to my bank account, and after fees, I received $33,600.

This marked my third startup acquisition that year, with two other micro-startups sold prior.

The Impact of the Acquisition and Lessons Learned

While $35,000 (plus the $15,000 in revenue) may not be a life-changing sum, the total of $50,000 provided me with two years of financial freedom in Bali.

This newfound stability allowed me to either enjoy a peaceful retirement or continue grinding on new projects.

I chose the latter, and as of January 2024, my small internet businesses collectively generate $50,000 in monthly revenue with zero employees and a 90% profit margin.

I attribute much of this success to the clarity and peace of mind that the AI SaaS acquisition provided me the previous year.

Conclusion and Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

My experience with building and selling an AI SaaS taught me valuable lessons that I believe can benefit other aspiring entrepreneurs.

I strongly encourage you to identify a problem you face and want to solve, develop a minimal version of the product, and launch it to gauge its potential.

You may be surprised by the sales generated and even have the opportunity to sell the business, buying yourself a few years of financial freedom to pursue your passions or continue building.

The key is to take action, be consistent, and learn from your experiences along the way.

By sharing my story, I hope to inspire others to embark on their own entrepreneurial journeys and discover the rewards that come with building and selling a successful AI SaaS or any other startup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is AI in SaaS?

AI in SaaS refers to the integration of artificial intelligence technologies into software as a service (SaaS) products. This combination allows SaaS providers to offer more intelligent, automated, and personalized solutions to their customers. AI can be used in various aspects of SaaS, such as data analysis, predictive analytics, natural language processing, and machine learning, to improve the functionality, efficiency, and user experience of the software.

How to build AI-powered SaaS?

Building an AI-powered SaaS involves several key steps:

  1. Identify a problem or opportunity that can be addressed by incorporating AI into a SaaS solution.
  2. Define the specific AI capabilities needed to solve the problem or enhance the user experience.
  3. Choose the appropriate AI technologies and frameworks, such as machine learning libraries, natural language processing APIs, or computer vision tools.
  4. Develop the SaaS platform, integrating the selected AI components into the software architecture.
  5. Train and fine-tune the AI models using relevant data to ensure accurate and reliable performance.
  6. Implement a user-friendly interface that allows customers to interact with the AI-powered features seamlessly.
  7. Continuously monitor, update, and improve the AI models based on user feedback and new data insights.

Building an AI-powered SaaS requires a combination of domain expertise, software development skills, and knowledge of AI technologies. Many SaaS providers choose to collaborate with AI experts or use pre-built AI APIs to accelerate the development process.

How big is the AI SaaS market?

The AI SaaS market has been growing rapidly in recent years, driven by the increasing adoption of cloud computing and the recognition of AI’s potential to transform various industries. According to a report by Grand View Research, the global AI in SaaS market size was valued at USD 1.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40.1% from 2021 to 2028. This growth is attributed to the rising demand for intelligent automation, personalized user experiences, and data-driven decision-making across sectors such as healthcare, finance, e-commerce, and marketing.

How does generative AI affect SaaS?

Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence that creates new content, designs, or solutions based on learned patterns, has the potential to revolutionize the SaaS landscape. Here are some ways generative AI can impact SaaS:

  1. Content creation: Generative AI can help SaaS providers automatically create personalized content, such as reports, emails, or product descriptions, based on user preferences and behavior.
  2. UI/UX design: AI-powered design tools can generate user interface elements, layouts, and animations, enabling SaaS providers to create more engaging and intuitive user experiences.
  3. Code generation: Generative AI models can assist in writing code snippets or even entire software modules, accelerating the development process and reducing the need for manual coding.
  4. Predictive maintenance: By analyzing patterns in user behavior and system performance, generative AI can anticipate potential issues and suggest preventive measures, enhancing the reliability and uptime of SaaS applications.
  5. Chatbots and virtual assistants: Generative AI can power more human-like and context-aware conversational interfaces, improving customer support and user engagement within SaaS platforms.

As generative AI continues to advance, it is expected to unlock new possibilities for SaaS providers, enabling them to create more intelligent, adaptable, and user-centric solutions.

We strongly recommend that you check out our guide on how to take advantage of AI in today’s passive income economy.