When COVID-19 lockdowns closed many businesses’ doors in early 2020, Veeraj Mehta and Aakruti Desai — who were then 17 and 18 — sprung into entrepreneurial action. They recognized that cash-strapped small businesses were struggling to communicate with their customers.

That challenge inspired them to found Marketfly, a Los Angeles-based company that helped businesses provide customer service via social media. At first, Marketfly was a social media agency, Mehta wrote in an Indie Hackers post. In its first few months, Marketfly signed contracts with 12 companies, including pharmacies, real estate agents and more.

“At first we only created content for their social channels and charged a bit per post per customer,” Mehta wrote on Indie Hackers. “Over the course of a couple months, we saw they were having difficulties or paying more agencies to manage support and inbound sales. We knew at this point there was something bigger to be solved.”

Marketfly entered into the lucrative social commerce space

The duo began to interview their customers, learning that they needed help not only with social media management but also managing their support and sales channels. Within a few months, Marketfly began offering those services as well.

The company charged each client about $100 per month and soon hit $12,000 in annual recurring revenue, Mehta wrote on Indie Hackers. The co-founders quickly realized they were tapping into the lucrative social commerce industry — a market that has surged during the pandemic.

Social commerce — which is simply the process of selling products directly on social media — was projected to hit $36.6 billion in the U.S. by the end of 2021, according to market-research firm eMarketer.

That opportunity prompted the co-founders to transform Marketfly into a SaaS tool in June 2021. The tool became a social and content-driven customer relationship platform, helping businesses and individuals leverage social channels, increase sales, and provide support at a personal level.

Eventually, an undisclosed buyer took interest in Marketfly. The co-founders had considered selling the firm, but hadn’t thought about it seriously until they received a six-figure offer in January 2022, Mehta told They Got Acquired. He explained that the sales process was “simple and convenient as the buyer took on much of the work.”

Now Mehta and Desai are building Puzzl, a freelancer project management platform that raised $580,000 in seed funding in April 2022, Desai announced on Twitter.