#07 - Elif Schmidt: Navigating the SaaS Storm - Customer Insights, Focus on Features & Human Element


In this episode, we're joined by Elif Schmidt, CEO of Oxide, a FinTech SaaS company. Elif successfully navigated her company through substantial challenges to achieve a significant turnaround.

Hosted by Andreas Kongstad, the discussion centers on the resilience and strategic decisions necessary for overcoming setbacks and achieving growth.

In this episode

Elif shares her journey at Oxide, a FinTech SaaS solution catering primarily to financial professionals, where she spearheaded initiatives that turned potential setbacks into growth.

This episode highlights the importance of customer insights in product development, the strategic decision-making that navigates companies through tough times, and the role of leadership in steering towards success.

Elif emphasizes the significance of understanding and addressing customer needs directly, stating, “It’s about really connecting with what the CFOs need to function optimally, not just selling them software.

Key Takeaways

  1. Navigating a rocky start: Identifying early challenges and implementing corrective measures.
  2. Strategic decision-making in challenging times: Adapting strategies to ensure business continuity and growth.
  3. Importance of customer insights in product development: Utilizing deep customer understanding to enhance product offerings.
  4. Leveraging partnerships for market penetration: How strategic alliances can amplify market reach and product adoption.
  5. Innovations in product features and user experience: Developing features that directly address customer needs to enhance user satisfaction.
  6. Leadership strategies for driving turnaround success: Effective leadership practices that foster team alignment and drive business recovery.


Navigating a Rocky Start

Elif discusses the initial indicators of a challenging year and the strategic pivots made to counteract these early setbacks. Key strategies included:

  • Rapid response to market signals: Quick identification and reaction to declining metrics across leads, conversions, and customer engagement.
  • Enhanced customer interaction: Increased direct interactions with customers to better understand their needs and hesitations.

Strategic Decision-Making in Challenging Times

Facing a downturn, Elif's leadership involved making tough choices about resource allocation and strategic focus. Insights include:

  • Prioritization and focus: Concentrating on high-impact activities that directly contribute to revenue recovery.
  • Investment in product and UX improvements: Despite short-term costs, long-term investments in product development were prioritized to enhance user satisfaction and retention.

Importance of Customer Insights in Product Development

Elif underscores the role of customer feedback in shaping product development, leading to the introduction of features that directly address user needs. Strategies covered:

  • Engaging customer feedback: Utilizing surveys and direct interviews to gather actionable insights.
  • Adapting offerings to customer needs: Development of features that specifically solve the most pressing problems of their target audience.

Leveraging Partnerships for Market Penetration

Elif explains how Oxide's strategic partnerships with accounting agencies and banks have been instrumental in expanding their market reach and enhancing product relevance. Key points include:

  • Strategic alliances: Building relationships with key industry players to extend market reach.
  • Enhanced product relevance: Tailoring offerings to meet the specific needs of partners and their clients.

Innovations in Product Features and User Experience

Focus on how Oxide introduced innovative features and improvements in user experience that directly contributed to customer satisfaction and retention. Highlights include:

  • Feature development: Introduction of new features based on direct customer feedback.
  • User experience enhancements: Upgrades to the user interface and user experience to ensure ease of use and increased engagement.

Leadership Strategies for Driving Turnaround Success

Discussion on how Elif's leadership approach, focusing on clear communication and strategic clarity, played a crucial role in navigating the company through its challenges. Leadership insights include:

  • Clear communication: Maintaining open lines of communication with all team members.
  • Strategic clarity: Ensuring all team members understand the strategic direction and their roles in achieving it.


  • (0:00) Introduction to Elif Schmidt and the early challenges faced by Oxide.
  • (1:00) Overview of strategic decisions that led to the turnaround.
  • (6:00) In-depth discussion on leveraging customer insights for product development.
  • (10:00) Exploration of partnerships and their impact on market reach.
  • (15:00) Insights into new product features and user experience enhancements.
  • (20:00) Discussion on leadership strategies during challenging times.


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