Harvestr was designed to be a subscription business right at inception, with monthly and annual recurring payments as well as a free trial for prospects to test drive the product. And like most businesses starting out, Harvestr evaluated Stripe as a natural choice to handle their recurring payments. Soon, they realized that Stripe alone was not equipped to handle the subscription and tax complexities at scale at that time. Stripe as a standalone solution natively did not handle actions such as being able to
Let customers enter their VAT number based on the location
Bill a customer inclusive or exclusive of tax based on the rules
And both of these requirements were critical for Harvestr to scale their business seamlessly. They had to use Stripe in conjunction with solutions that they’d either have to build by themselves, or along with OctoBat, so they did not have to go through the stress of handling EU VAT.
After being awarded ‘Product of the Day’ on Product Hunt, the team at Harvestr realized they needed a solid payment and subscription management infrastructure to seamlessly manage their customers.
The lookout for a solution like Chargebee started when Harvestr wanted to
Automate subscription management and recurring billing
Send contextual lifecycle emails based on subscription and trial states
Email tax-compliant invoices with accurate VAT rates
After evaluating solutions like Stripe with Octobat, Zuora, and Recurly, Harvestr zeroed in on Chargebee, after observing that Zuora isn’t designed for startups whereas Chargebee’s support was consultative and responsive compared to other solutions.
Once Harvestr finalized the business model and all the basics such as plans and lifecycle emails were set up in Chargebee, all they had to do was import their current users into Chargebee and then focus on launching the product successfully.
Automated Subscription Management: For Harvestr, the complete automation of their subscription management process all the way from when their user selects a plan, to sign up, invoice generation, and subsequent recurring payments every month has been a boon. That they have to spend minimal time worrying about any aspect of their subscription management has helped them focus on what’s central to growing their business. Being able to extend trials and reactivate subscriptions whose trials expired helps them engage and nudge trial users in activation.
Lifecycle emails for Trial to Activation via Intercom: Harvestr harvests the power of Intercom with Chargebee to nudge their trial users into activating their trial account by configuring a series of rule-based onboarding emails.
Multiple Payment Methods and Multi-currency Options: For a global SaaS like Harvestr that’s based out of Europe, accepting payments in Euros and Dollars is critical. As they move upmarket, accepting offline and direct debit payments along with card payments becomes important. With Chargebee’s ability to accept multiple payment methods, Harvestr is able to scale across different segments and geographies seamlessly.
Automated tax compliance with EU VAT: Being based out of France and selling within and outside Europe, EU-VAT compliance is a must and Harvestr was certain that this component should be automated. Chargebee also eased data extraction from Chargebee in HGST format for Declaration of Services in Europe that would justify the VAT charged per country and per customer.
One of the important criteria for us was to have a solution that would scale with us in terms of pricing and the fact that Chargebee offered a generous free tier for startups was an important factor for us as well.
Valentin Huang, Co-Founder, Harvestr
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