Hey fellow marketers and entrepreneurs! Startup Radius interviewed Standuply – a company that created a simple, but highly effective Slack bot that allows teams to run standups, meetings and polls with no need to gather all the team members together. The best thing about Standuply is that it replaces a Scrum Master with its well-designed questionnaires.
Learn why focusing on a problem is the best way to come up with a startup idea, how Standuply got 300 targeted users on day one, why customer interviews is a must-have approach for startups, how Product Hunt helps getting targeted traffic, and more. Enjoy and read below!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Standuply?
Standuply is a Slack bot that runs asynchronous standup meetings and Slack polls. It builds Agile charts from JIRA and integrates with 3rd party tools to enrich standups with more data.
Standuply can automate not only standup meetings, but also it runs planning poker, backlog grooming, etc. In our vision, Standuply becomes a full-fledged Digital Project Manager (hopefully humanity will survive by that time:)
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?
In his career, Artem Borodin witnessed problems in Agile teams. They strive to check-in consistently; adjust processes; improve performance. So we picked the idea, as we saw the solution.
We envisioned a Digital Scrum Master right from the start. As a platform, we chose Slack. It took us a couple of months to build the first MVP which we launched on BetaList. In a few days, we got 300 teams signed up, having a landing page only.
Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?
In May 2018 we reported that Standuply reached $25,000 in revenues. It was the time we became profitable! Standuply served 650 customers from Slack, Evernote, Adobe, IBM, SAP, GE, and other great companies.
Soon we’ll come up with the updated numbers, but today I can say that we doubled that in a year.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
Search ‘standup’ in Slack App Directory: you’ll find Standuply at #1 with 30 more bots. So it’s pretty competitive space. Our biggest competitors are StandupJack and Howdy.
Unlike others, Standuply covers most of the Agile processes. As a result, your Agile or Kanban processes run on autopilot, you save time and avoid costly mistakes.
Who uses Standuply? What is your perfect buyer persona?
Startups and product companies on Slack use Standuply. Remote ones show the most interest. It’s usually Project/Product manager with a development team of 5-10 people. They use it for daily standups.
For many teams, Slack is their virtual office. They want more data in Slack. Such teams use Standuply also for additional integrations to Slack. Like JIRA to see Agile charts or Google Analytics to track website visitors.
Were there any early ‘growth hacks’ or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
Not really, just building the product and doing your best to spread the word about it. Rand Fishkin shared his experience that no single ‘growth hack’ made a huge difference to Moz’s growth – it’s a compound effect of all the things product and marketing team shipped. I 100% agree with his opinion.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building Standuply early on and how did you solve them?
We did tons of interviews. We spoke about customer pain points, workflows and listened to their feature requests. Interviews helped us to see a bigger picture. However, we were surprised that they didn’t help us with new features.
To move forward, we needed the data on how our SaaS MVP was used and by whom. We didn’t have internal statistics at first. It was like flying without radar. I can’t imagine how we could work without it. Instead of shipping additional features, we should have built it from the start.
We found that having only one tech person on a project may lead to coder’s block. One person can get stuck, while several people have a better chance of finding a solution. Therefore, having one developer on the team may come at a higher cost than two.
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your experience?
Some people advocate starting to charge from day one. We didn’t follow that practice. During beta, our product was free to use. That decision had its advantages and disadvantages. We attracted more signups that way, but we also had users that weren’t ready to pay at all. Sometimes their feedback was distracting and demotivating.
Next time I would start charging earlier in order to get feedback from relevant users and to prove that someone is ready to pay for what you’re building.
Which marketing channels you prefer and why?
We get traffic from Slack App Directory. In addition to that, we leveraged other channels to attract more teams. I put out several long reads. It helped us to improve our SEO and led decent traffic to our blog on Medium.
We shipped (using Product Hunt Ship) Standuply and related Slack bot products 8 times in the latest 18 months. We love Product Hunt and what about you?
We spread the news about Standuply, Slack bots and our blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Hacker News, Reddit and on smaller sites.
Is Standuply monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?
Yes, as I mentioned above – we’re a profitable business. Standuply makes money with a SaaS subscription and charges per user. The price range is from $2 to $4 per user.
We experimented with prices several times, but in the end, it became obvious to monetize it the way we do it now.
What are the top products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?
- Slack, of course we use it for all the team communications.
- The rest are Intercom for communications with customers. It is easy and smooth.
- Kayako for customer support — everything Zendesk offers at a cheaper price.
- Google Apps for Google Docs and emails — works perfectly.
- Mailchimp to send emails — works out of the box.
- Cloudflare — to manage DNS records.