Welcome to the forty-second edition of “Startup of the Week” which features many great startups and interviews with successful business heads.
How did the idea of Samu come about?
We live in a century when the uninterrupted stream of information and communication, in combination with our always-on mentality, means that we could work every single minute of the day and night and still not keep up.
For that reason, choosing what we spend our time on is one of the most important decisions we have to take every day.
Simply, what does your business do?
Samu is a simple to-do app based on the Eisenhower Matrix, a proven time management technique used by executives and managers worldwide.
Samu helps people to allocate their time on tasks that are crucial for accomplishing their goals. Too often we spend our time on tasks that are not important, leading to stress and burnout.
Did you have a business plan?
No, we don’t have a traditional business plan. We did market research before and even validated that people are willing to pay for such a service before actually writing a single line of code.
We think step by step. We usually define smaller goals and try to reach them:
- MVP in 23 days (Feb 1st was the deadline)
- First paying customers within 30 days
- MRR of $100 in April
What were the challenges you faced when creating Samu?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge for any startup is to build a product that people actually love. Too often we think in terms of “cool features”, although we should think about problems that need to be solved.
We made sure that we actually build a product for the needs of our customers by inviting them very early in the development process. Verona, our first user and now with more than 300 completed tasks leading the all-time statistics, has used the Eisenhower Matrix for years. Her feedback has been very helpful, especially in the early days, to build an app that is easy to use, stable and offers exactly the right features. Since then we received hundreds of emails and held multiple Skype calls to make sure that we develop Samu in the right direction.
We’re lucky and thankful to have met so many amazing customers along our startup journey.
What is the difference between Samu and competition?
I’d like to quote Verena Knapp, one of our customers, to answer this question: “What makes Samu so powerful is that it combines the two essential dimensions of time management: time and priority (actually it adds a third dimension — I love the focus list). Prioritizing has always been the main challenge for me and from my experience it is for a lot of people.”
What were you doing before Samu?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked in many areas, including front-end, marketing and design. This helped me to build a broad skill set, which makes it easier to rapidly prototype ideas and market them.
Additionally, I had the chance to work for two early stage startups that became profitable. I’ve learned a lot during that time, especially on how to build products people love.
Lately, I was the Chief Product Officer at Grape.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs? What is the one thing you think an entrepreneur should focus on that they may not find important?
I think most startups fail because they don’t get the initial traction. It’s tempting to build the perfect product for months. In reality, it’s nearly impossible to do that, because you’re missing crucial feedback from your target audience. You should trim down your product to the absolute minimum (MVP) and ship it fast. Tweak the product until the point where you see product/market fit (first paying customers). Then focus only on getting traffic.
In one word, describe your job?
Headquarters: Vienna, Austria
People: 2, Moritz and Valentin
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