Michael McDerment

Founder CEO, Freshbooks

In 2003, Mike was self employed and accidentally saved over an invoice. This made him cross. Fast forward 14 years… Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, accounting software for self-employed professionals.

Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars. A lover of the outdoors, Mike has been bitten so many times it’s rumoured he’s the first human to have developed immunity to mosquitoes.

How Freshbook’s Fear of Competition Saved the Company

One of the most common questions successful software businesses face is how to evolve? From traditional enterprise to SaaS to new generation SaaS – some SaaS businesses are almost twenty years old now. Here’s a novel approach to the problem…

In 2012, the year after Mike spoke at BoS about the Litany of Product mistakes that had created Freshbooks, the company was growing faster than ever but those mistakes were coming back to haunt him.

He knew he needed to rebuild the platform. Two years and $$$$$ later, still nothing had changed. Mike was seriously concerned a competitor would come onto the market that would be 10x nimbler and easier to use. In 2015, that startup Mike feared, launched – BillSpring – in fact, it saved the long-term future of Freshbooks. How?
BillSpring was created by Freshbooks to compete against itself. Mike will discuss how he tried and failed to use conventional thinking to force the change before taking a very radical approach to re-engineering, re-imagining and reinvigorating his company.