Outsourcing won’t teach you how to build a startup

Digital Map

Lots of Eastern European startups have their roots in outsourcing companies, and an increasing number of entrepreneurs in services starts making the shift to product. This trend is encouraging and points to the fact that the region is heading towards being innovation-driven and product-oriented. However, there are a couple of challenges that come along with this, mainly because outsourcing won’t teach you how to build a successful product. This guest blog post written by Alexandra Anghel, Co-Founder & CTO, Appticles presents the reasons why this is so.

I went to a workshop a few weeks ago, called “Code Quality – Unit Tests”. What I have seen there confirmed what I already believed – that working in outsourcing won’t teach you how to build your own product.

Before diving into the arguments, I should clarify a few things. First of all, I’m referring to the technical aspects of a project, I’m not talking about the business challenges that every startup will encounter in its path to product market fit. Second, these thoughts come from my experience working in my own agency for almost 9 years and developing web projects for small and medium clients. Third, even though I’m generalizing, it’s true that some products are not so technically challenging and can be developed easier. But, our SaaS platform, is not one of those. (see more)

MVP Academy Class of 2015: myDog

myDog Demo Day

Dan is the proud owner of a 4-years old Amstaff called Sawyer. Over the past 4 years, he understood that he has to invest time and effort to cater to his dog’s needs, one of them being to play with other compatible dogs to drain his energy out. This is how he came up with the idea of myDog, a platform that helps dog owners easily interconnect to make their dogs happier and healthier by giving them more opportunities to play with other compatible dogs.

“Last year I tried to find a compatible playmate for Sawyer and this is when I discovered that there are few options available, and none of them well established. After a couple of months of market research, I’ve decided to start building myDog”, explains Dan.

(see more)

MVP Academy Class of 2015: InnerTrends

InnerTrends_Demo Day 1

It’s not easy for businesses to answer important questions like why do paying customers stop using a particular product. Most of the time, decision-makers end up having to analyze complex reports and data sets that are not only far from being intuitive, but also hard to grasp a meaning from. In this context, it is essential for businesses to understand their user behavior, be able to ask questions and receive immediate, precise and to-the point answers. And this is exactly what InnerTrends is doing: building a common language between business people and data.

They entered the MVP Academy pre-acceleration program with a technology and a good sense that the web and mobile apps out there have a hard time taking decisions based on data. They came up with the idea for the product after conducting intensive customer interviews and identifying their pain points. And they went further! (see more)

Lessons learnt while failing 2 startups and building 2 successful ones

Science and study

Learning from the experience of others can help you find solutions faster for the challenges you’re facing, as well as avoid some inevitable mistakes that you are prone to make. This is why we’re happy that Andrei Barabas, now Head of Growth, Trilulilu, accepted our invitation to write this guest post and share the lessons he learnt while failing 2 startups & exiting 2 successful ones. We hope you’ll enjoy it!

What I’ve always lacked is a mentor, a more experienced person that would allow me to pick his brains and consult with on strategic matters, as well as on the operational challenges I faced. If you’re a startup and you face a similar problem, here are some lessons and examples of errors I’ve made that may help you avoid learning them the hard way. Ready them, step ahead and make sure you make your own mistakes that you can later share with others. (see more)

MVP Academy Class of 2015: CloudHero

CloudHero_Demo Day 1

Technical teams face lots of difficulties in managing their infrastructure and deploying new services, while keeping costs under control. Andrei Manea decided to solve this problem by creating CloudHero: a PaaS that automates the management and scaling of an application across any public cloud.

He came up with the idea of the product once he acknowledged there is a need on this market. He owns a company that provides Linux Server management services and he’s been working with Linux containers for a long time. Once Docker was launched, he realized that a new market has emerged and decided to solve this problem. (see more)

Advice for an effective B2B sales strategy

Rehman Abdur copy

So you’re a B2B startup, you’ve built your product and got it out there. And then you just assume that companies will love it and buy it, but reality contradicts your initial assumptions and you get to realize that things don’t work like this. As a startup you don’t have the men power, the budget, or the processes required to compete with an already established organization. You are not identifiable in the crowd and that becomes your major problem. What you can do is develop an effective sales strategy to help you overcome these challenges and make your product count.

Of course doing so it’s not an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. To help you out in the process, we’ve discussed at length with Rehman Abdur, Strategic Alliances Manager Bitdefender, who has more than 8 years of experience in successful companies, occupying different roles. Rehman has a deep understanding of marketing & sales strategies, from research to communications, product development, competition analysis, marketing (both offline and online) and sales. His current role at Bitdefender is to identify, approach, meet and sign with potential clients. He has chosen to join Bitdefender because it’s a company with lots of IT knowledge and a great place to learn, a “practical life MBA” as he calls it, and he kindly accepted our invitation to join us as a mentor in MVP Academy. (see more)