If you’ve already read Daniel’s first blog – ‘Why was Quuu Built?’, then you’ll know the story as to how we came to be, and that we started with a well-timed Beta List launch to gather a few hundred, much appreciated, founding members, without whom Quuu would still be one of several thousand ideas floating around in the entrepreneurial laboratory that is Dan’s brain.
In this blog I’d like to share with you the actions that led us to being exactly where we needed to be – in full control.
1) Building a team
Once Dan had that traction, and Mubs (Mubashar Iqbal) had built a fully functioning, user-friendly web app, he came to me for support with the next steps. Dan and I have worked together for many years and we’re a great team with equal visions, tastes and drive. The important thing here is that with the idea in place, Dan knew that the next step was to build a team around him to fill the gaps and support him.
Dan, very generously offered Mubs and me an equal share of the company, and we gleefully accepted and were both thrilled to be a part of this venture. Dan had our full attention and commitment to bringing Quuu to the masses and solving the problem that he’d originally set out to remedy.
Having people around you that are on the same wavelength, are incentivized and that complete the skills jigsaw is absolutely imperative to building a start-up and ensuring the foundations are as strong as they possibly can be.
2) Getting endorsements
So, the idea, the users and now the team, were all in place. What we needed next was further validation of this idea from people in the know. Dan had reached out to people via a popular community channel on Slack called #startup. This gave us some invaluable feedback and validation, but it also put us on the radar of Sujan Patel.
If you’re not already familiar with Sujan, he is one of the most prolific and well-respected writers in the world of content marketing. Unlike many thought leaders and experts who seemingly distance themselves from the minions and interacting with the you and I’s of the world, Sujan mingles with the masses, stirring debate and engaging with people to really make sure his finger is on the pulse and to genuinely help people out!
He gave Quuu a glowing recommendation, which as you can imagine went straight onto our website.
Having such a big name, with this level of insight endorse Quuu, was very gratifying and crucially gave us a touch more gravitas. Sujan started to use the service himself as a Quuurator and continues to do so.
My point here is that it’s important to firm up your idea by not just attracting users but getting on the radar of people with influence, expertise and reach.
With, endorsements, user stats still ticking up-and-up, consistent website traffic and an enviable conversion rate of around 50%, we knew it was time to really go for it. We spoke to an investor based in London, he invited us to their offices in London for a further chat about Quuu.
We wanted to focus on building Quuu responsibly with a focus on the customer and providing a service that goes way beyond anyone else out there. In order to do this, and give it this much attention, we needed to know we had financial stability to pay ourselves a minimal amount, but also to build the necessary infrastructure to operate efficiently.
Controversially, we didn’t have a business plan, because we’d built the MVP as we went along based around a clear objective to solve an existing problem. But we felt it would be helpful to do a ‘stats and context’ handout. So we put a 3-page simple word doc together for each of the 3 investors at the table and we listed:
- What was the idea?
- What problem did it solve?
- Where’s the value for users?
- Who is who? (Where we talked about the main players in the equation to provide context to our pitch)
- Where do we currently stand? (Quickfire stats and timeline)
- What do we want to focus on moving forward?
- What’s our marketing plan?
- What will each of the founders focus on most?
All this was condensed into 3 pages that they could glance at while we were giving our somewhat informal presentation
To our delight, they loved it and immediately saw the value and agreed to invest the full amount that we’d asked for, at the rate of equity that we had agreed to give away in return for the initial investment.
The essential factor that made this easier for Dan and I was that we had taken the time to position ourselves well before we had this meeting and we kept it simple. We had:
- Designed an MVP
- Got a few users
- Validated the idea
- Built a team
- Got endorsements
- Kept our vision and operational plan simple
- Which in turn allowed us to keep it simple for the investors, the pitch took the following structure: This is what it is, this is what we’ve done, this is where we’re going.
That was the first major milestone. We reached empowerment.
So here we are now, we’re full time doing what we love, we’ve built our infrastructure, we’re developing new functionalities all the time, and we’re loving interacting with our growing user base on a daily basis.
Right now, we’re preparing Quuu for launch on Product Hunt soon. We’re using this time now to iron out any bugs, to gather feedback and act upon it, and ensure that our business baby continues to grow healthily and with the right habits.
Now we’re full time and have that critical investment, we’re fully empowered, and we’ve got all the tools at our disposal. We all feel very blessed to get to work on Quuu day-in-day-out, and we’re looking forward to moving it forward with leaps and bounds, but always in a careful and measured way.