Startup life: what we learnt at the CeBIT

 

We have been working for more than 18 months on Schedullo, a task management and collaboration application aimed at businesses that need to charge their time and be more effective with their resources. Our target markets are SMB in professional services (IT, accountants, lawyers, architects, designers, etc.).

Last year, we released our beta version and this year, we were invited to participate to the CeBIT in Sydney and we used this event as the official launch. It was an opportunity to present Schedullo to a much wider public and also to get as much feedback as possible. Here are a few things that we have learnt during the 3 days of the exhibition.

Schedullo is ready and our target market is excited!

The CeBIT was a real opportunity to present Schedullo to a wider audience and to validate whether our software was getting the appropriate traction or not. The reaction of visitors has been much better than expected: the demand is there, the application is well defined and it covers an ideal functional range. More importantly, it answers the real problems of our target industry:

  • How can we ensure that our employees focus on the right tasks for the right clients?
  • Who is available to do the work?
  • How much should I charge my clients?
  • How can we keep track and collaborate on projects?

Lots of subscribers for free or fewer subscribers creating revenue?

Every startup is facing the same challenge: should we give away our products but get a lot of subscribers and try to monetise this later or should we try to get more revenue per subscriber now and potentially grow our subscriber base slower?

Our strategy so far has been to have a free version for one user (and no limit of features) and a pay per user model if you need to add team members. We were hoping that the Cebit would be an opportunity to validate our pricing strategy. However, when we discussed pricing with potential clients, the most common answer was “great”.

So what does it mean? Would it still be “great” if Schedullo was 50% more expensive? Would it still be “great” if the free version had 5 or 10 users but more limits on the number of customers or projects? We don’t know. We still need to continue to work with our customers to refine our pricing model and balance volume and profitability.

 

Tackling growth

Schedullo has already attracted 500 users over the beta period and we are attracting 2 to 5 new customers every day. This is a great start but it still takes us a lot of effort to on board each customer. The real question for our team is now to understand how we will attract 10 then 50 new subscribers every day and make their experience even better.

The CeBIT was an amazing event where we met a lot of other startup owners who are facing the same challenges: how to speed up and fund growth. We have learnt a lot about marketing, funding strategy and product road mapping.

We will certainly adjust some our thinking and prepare our strategy to switch to second gear. We have the right product and the market is huge. These are two great ingredients for a perfect recipe.

 

Build momentum

One of the challenge in a startup is to be energised every day to lead the team, find new opportunities and take everything positively. The lead up to the CeBIT was amazing: new branding, new website with a much clearer message, a new timesheet module in Schedullo, etc.

The CeBIT has given us the energy to continue and to put more energy every day in this venture. We are at start of our story and we are hungry to write it!