Creating the world’s first SaaS admin panel.
Recently, ForestAdmin announced a $7M Series A round. Notion led the round with participation from Runa Capital and previous investors including Connect Ventures, eFounders and Kima Ventures. We are incredibly excited to be supporting Sandro Munda and Arnaud Besnier in this journey to create the first out-of-the-box SaaS platform for the administration of web applications. Admin panels are widely used by online businesses to manage key processes in their operations including customer onboarding, KYC or support, inventory management, etc. They are integrated with third-party services such as Stripe, Intercom, Zendesk, Google Analytics and Mailchimp allowing users to visualise and manipulate application data.
I first met Sandro through Pietro Bezza from Connect Ventures in June 2019 at SaaStr Europa in Paris. I am a big fan of product-led founders and Sandro is definitely one of them. He is obsessed with building the best product, both from a technical perspective as well as a UX perspective. As a developer, Sandro has himself experienced the pain of building and keeping administration panels up to date. He understands the pain and he’s gone through it, so he is determined to build a product that is flexible, scalable and easy to use.
This is not an easy task. Admin panels are needed by all software-led companies. There are infinite use cases and thus the market is massive; but Forest Admin is aiming to disrupt the status quo by creating a new category. Today, most companies build their own administration interfaces in-house and spend a significant amount of time keeping these dashboards updated. By providing the first out-of-the-box administration panel, Forest Admin is aiming to replace the current in-house built administration panels. The company is using a developer-first approach to enter the market. Developers can use the building blocks of Forest Admin to build the back-end of their administration panels. Once the integrations are built, business and operations managers can pay for premium features of the product such as access control, mobile use of the platform and collaboration capabilities around data.
Today, over 65% of the current customer base of Forest Admin is from outside France so, while the technical team will stay in Paris, the company is building a global business from the very start. The next step is to set up a San Francisco office, build a commercial team and execute on their vision to become the leading admin panel solution for the global developer community.
Why Notion? A note from the founders
With Forest Admin, we are lucky to have started the adventure from a blank page. Everything has had to be done from scratch, whether it was on the product or on the go to market strategy, there were no ready made playbooks! Creating a new product category is exciting, but it takes a lot of energy to address all the challenges it brings.
I met Itxaso at SaaStr Europa Paris in June 2019, for a 30-minute chat. A first conversation with a VC is often short. As a founder, during these early meetings, my goal is to be sure that the person I'm talking to understands what we do at Forest Admin, as quickly as possible.
Thanks to her engineering background and her experience (especially at Microsoft Ventures), it took Itxaso 5 minutes to understand Forest Admin's mission, the "what for". After our meeting, I was impressed by the fact that we had managed to discuss so many exciting topics about the business strategy, the product, the hiring pipe, the pricing model, etc.
The next day, I was invited to lunch with Jos White, a partner from Notion. And once again, I had exactly the same feeling of being able to quickly talk about exciting topics, as if we were naturally on the same wavelength. Coming out of these meetings, I felt that the relationship between Forest Admin and Notion could be extremely beneficial for the company.
Notion has been developing B2B SaaS expertise for 10 years. For Forest Admin, after working hand in hand with eFounders (a startup studio in Paris), which also focuses on B2B SaaS, Notion is a logical new financial partner to accompany us on the next phase of our growth.