#313 - Theo Saville, CEO CloudNC - on creating leverage in SaaS Sales & Marketing 

A story about a startup that built its own factory to solve a trillion-dollar manufacturing problem.

This podcast interview focuses on the entrepreneurial journey to tackle a very challenging industry problem and scale impact. My guest is Theo Saville, Co-founder and CEO of CloudNC

Theo Saville - CloudNCTheo is a Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineer (M.Eng, University of Warwick), with a background in defense, laser-based metals 3D printing research at Warwick Manufacturing Group, and sales. 

He entered metals 3D printing expecting to be able to harness a technology ready to disrupt manufacturing but gradually became disillusioned with the state and future applicability of the technology.

When he was exposed to CNC machining, he quickly realized its disruptive potential if it could be automated to the same degree as plastic 3D printing. 

And that led him to co-found CloudNC in 2015.

Their mission: to make single-click manufacture a reality.

And this inspired me, and hence I invited Theo to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in today’s manufacturing world and how that’s growing to a $400 billion industry. Theo shares his journey of solving a complex problem in a very unusual – but effective way. He elaborates how they’re looking for leverage in everything – and how that’s led to using video marketing to get over 10M+ impressions a month – showcasing software to automate machines. Last but not least, he stresses the importance of setting clear objectives – especially as your startup scales. 


Here’s one of his quotes

The idea was to first build software that makes it automatic to program these machines. And we raised our seed rounds on the basis of that. We realized after, I think, two or three years that it would take 10 years to actually build software that was capable enough to be saleable to any factory with these machines, there’s just too much variation from factory to factory. So we went, I know, let’s reduce the complexity of the problem. Let’s build our own factory, make it really simple and standardized, and then copy and paste factories, and in that way, disrupt the industry. 

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. How they pivoted from selling a new platform to individual manufacturers to a model where they simply plug in what they already use.  
  2. What made them decide to move from a product-led sales approach to an eco-system-led sales approach?
  3. How they created defensible differentiation and a unique value proposition in the very crowded market for manufacturing software.
  4. What unusual opportunities niching down has provided them.


For more information about the guest from this week:


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.