It’s been a while since we blogged and it’s about time that we gave you an update and we plan to blog more regularly in the future. It’s not that we don’t see the value in blogging, it’s just as a time poor start up it hasn’t been a top priority for us. As the TechCrunch article pointed out here by @msuster as well as conversations with other Start up founders and in particular thanks to Steve Orenstein @sorenstein from Connect2Field start ups need to blog and here’s our update.
We officially launched the BrixHQ product just over 4 months ago and like any start up we have been through the entrepreneurs roller coaster and when we step back and look at where we are and our goals for the year we are doing well. We are building a solid business, we value our customers and their feedback and we’re committed to BrixHQ for the long term.
Our Customers and the growth over the last 4 months
From our early Beta customers onboard who provided good solid feedback to us right the way through to our customers we are now working closely with to make the product better. When we launched we thought we knew who are customers were going to be. We had assumed that they would be companies undertaking software development projects adopting Agile methodologies and looking for online tools. By and large this has proven to be true except that it isnt just software development projects that customers are using the product for we’ve had customers from many different industries including; Building & Construction and Health & Fitness as well as many others,
To give a clear picture of where we are in terms of customer signs up, here’s how we are tracking from December when we went in Alpha release, into beta shortly thereafter and full release in mid-January through until the end of May
As you can see why we are pretty happy we’re on the right track we’re getting good sign ups and customer feedback and we’re just over 4 months in.
Our Customer acquisition strategy has been all about bootstrapping so we have used paid advertising on specific blogs where our potential customers might be reading, we’ve used twitter and facebook and had independent articles written about the product. We’ve intentionally avoided some of the more mainstream online advertising mediums as we’ve determined that they just aren’t going to give us bang for buck. Metrics have proven the key to advertising spend for us. It’s great to get a load of traffic from advertising but the conversion to customer is the key to it all.
The Angel Loft & Angel Investors
In March we were privileged to be accepted into Randal Leeb-du Toit’s Angel Loft and also selected to be part of the Angel Loft – Entrepreneur in Residence program. In summary, AngelLoft’s mission is to provide angel investors and entrepreneurs with the ideal environment within which to have a meeting of the minds. We are based in Sydney where we facilitate our sessions over dinner and other events. We are open, by invitation, to angel members and entrepreneur pitches from anywhere in the world. And we’re ecstatic to part of the Angel Loft and the Entrepreneur in Residence program.
We attended our first Angel Loft dinner in late March and introduced ourselves and BrixHQ to the group which included a seriously impressive range of Angels and other entrepreneurs. The evening was a fantastic opportunity to meet the Angels, understand their backgrounds and start to build a relationship with some of the Angels, even if only for feedback. The feedback and comments that we’ve received from a range of Angels & VC’s that we’ve spoken to since the first dinner include the following; Who are you competitors? How are you different to your competitors? What’s your business model (i.e. how do you make money)? How are you currently funded? and so on.
There are always two sides to the conversations, some of the key questions that we’ve sought to understand from the Angels are; What types of businesses do you typically invest in? What are the key things you look for when you are considering investing in a business? Do you have any feedback or comments for us?
The first question is crucial, it is important to firstly qualify what sort of businesses the Angels are interested in. Plus, if you are time poor and want to have a meaningful conversation and future relationship then it is best to get off on the right foot or you can be wasting everyone time. From our experience the key things Angels are looking to invest in are; 1. a solid business idea that is being executed on, 2. the business has to be scalable (i.e. how big can it become?), 3. revenue – the business has to be on the right trajectory with revenue and growth, it’s great to have a lot of customers but if you dont have revenue then you dont have a business. 4. management team – who are they, what experience do they have and have they done this before. 5. how long can you keep funding yourself through current funding sources. The great thing about Angels is that they will have feedback and comments for you, it might just be that it’s not for them and they’ll explain why or give specific comment or advice or direction that can help to move your business forward.
There’s nothing new or different from these 5 points above, but all serve as a fantastic litmus test for any business who is in start up mode or looking to raise funding in the future. Also know your business intimately, be able to speak at a high level about your vision and your market, but be prepared to deep dive into the detail as can and will happen.
Coverage of BrixHQ
Some of the write ups and coverage that we’ve received over the last 3 months:
- Killer Start ups – Product Review - http://www.killerstartups.com/Web-App-Tools/brixhq-com-managing-agile-projects
- Getapp.com Interview with Pete Sanders, CEO - http://www.getapp.com/evaluation-center/interview-with-pete-sanders-ceo-of-brix-software/ceo-interviews
- Makeuseof.com – Product Review http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/brixhq-multi-user-project-management/
Any and all feedback and comments are greatly appreciated, Pete@BrixHQ.com.