Our startup journey: Mistakes,
successes, and lessons
Presented for Founder Institute Sydney
on 29 July 2014
Matthew Ho
● Digital Producer background
● Worked online for 7 years
● Next Digital, Deloitte, Airbnb
● Love TV series, mo...
Tapmint
● Provide consulting services on
innovation & rapid experimentation for
web/mobile
● Native Tongue - First winning...
_v
What did you do when launching a
start-up in your first year?
● We won Startup Weekend Melbourne in
May 2011
● 5 months later - launched Mandarin
Madness, our first mobile app on
Andro...
● Decided to do more apps
● If we had 5 apps x $1k per week
x 52 weeks = $260k p.a.
● Our second app came out a
month late...
● 400,000 downloads, played 2 million
times.
● Used in a number of schools around
the world
● It was a really rocky ride i...
● We could build innovative apps fast
and iterate
● Started a new business Tapmint to
provide consulting services on
innov...
● Get product to market sooner.
● Stay focused on a single product with a
narrow set of features
● Should have focused on ...
How did you promote your product
once launched?
● App Store Optimisation
● Experimented with mobile ads
● Experimented with paid downloads.
Pay per install
● We had PR - ...
● Partnerships with other apps and blogs
● Best way - marketing via the product
● Experimented with different pricing
mode...
Any good stories about previous
successes/mistakes?
Lesson #1: Start a business with a great founding team
● Biggest reasons for startup failure is the
founding team
● Not th...
Lesson #2: Focus on your strengths
● With a complementary team, we
leveraged our strengths
● In our complementary team, no...
Lesson #3: Don’t spam journalist with your launch
● After finally launching a side project to
rate Angel investors, I deci...
● Build a relationship with journalists
● Sometimes they come to us as a
source of information or for some
insights
● Refe...
● If you have any startup questions, looking to
design/develop an MVP, please contact me
● Matthew Ho, Tapmint
● Email: he...
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Our startup journey - mistakes, successes and lessons learnt.

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We were asked to present at Founder Institute from a startup perspective on marketing panel and to tell our journey. Here we detail how we launched our startup and how we promoted our products for Native Tongue. We also told some stories on mistakes and successes we learnt along the way.

This was presented to the 2014 intake of startup founders in Founder Institute Sydney. If you would like to design/develop an innovative technology product, we'd love to get in touch with you. Email us at hello at tapmint.com

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Our startup journey - mistakes, successes and lessons learnt.

  1. 1. Our startup journey: Mistakes, successes, and lessons Presented for Founder Institute Sydney on 29 July 2014
  2. 2. Matthew Ho ● Digital Producer background ● Worked online for 7 years ● Next Digital, Deloitte, Airbnb ● Love TV series, movies & sports ● Twitter: @inspiredworlds Head of Product Development at Tapmint
  3. 3. Tapmint ● Provide consulting services on innovation & rapid experimentation for web/mobile ● Native Tongue - First winning team in Startup Weekend in Australia ● 4 language game apps ● 400,000 downloads ● Twitter: @tapmint
  4. 4. _v What did you do when launching a start-up in your first year?
  5. 5. ● We won Startup Weekend Melbourne in May 2011 ● 5 months later - launched Mandarin Madness, our first mobile app on Android, then iOS ● $1k in our first week on iOS ● #2 top paid education iOS app ● We were starting to get press
  6. 6. ● Decided to do more apps ● If we had 5 apps x $1k per week x 52 weeks = $260k p.a. ● Our second app came out a month later ● We botched the second launch ● Spread too thin with 3 apps - Chinese, Spanish, English ● On 3 different platforms - iOS, Android, Amazon
  7. 7. ● 400,000 downloads, played 2 million times. ● Used in a number of schools around the world ● It was a really rocky ride in 1.5 years. ● We then launched LP Strategy, a word game cheat app in 2 weeks ● Applied our learnings in App Store Optimisation, how to get a product to market quickly and iterate ● One of the top cheat apps for this game
  8. 8. ● We could build innovative apps fast and iterate ● Started a new business Tapmint to provide consulting services on innovative apps/websites ● Leveraging our startup experience & skills building products and our prior work experience ● Built 8 products in 12 months ● Employ 9 people
  9. 9. ● Get product to market sooner. ● Stay focused on a single product with a narrow set of features ● Should have focused on Mandarin or the Spanish app. ● Faster iterations with smaller updates. ● Android has advantages for launching first as there is no approval process ● Wouldn’t have spent money going to the overseas conference and exhibiting Lessons Learnt
  10. 10. How did you promote your product once launched?
  11. 11. ● App Store Optimisation ● Experimented with mobile ads ● Experimented with paid downloads. Pay per install ● We had PR - 60 articles ● Best publications was in education article in #1 English newspaper in Hong Kong ● Paid for articles - mobile blogs will review if you pay ● Adwords
  12. 12. ● Partnerships with other apps and blogs ● Best way - marketing via the product ● Experimented with different pricing models and business models ● Understood the freemium model ● What we wanted to do was send language challenges ● Majority of our downloads to date are due to our app store position for searches such as “Learn Mandarin”, “Learn Spanish”, etc...
  13. 13. Any good stories about previous successes/mistakes?
  14. 14. Lesson #1: Start a business with a great founding team ● Biggest reasons for startup failure is the founding team ● Not that you ran out of money, or didn’t get product/market fit ● Need to have the same vision, commitment, and complementary skills ● I’ve been working with the same co- founder for the past 3 years across 2 businesses
  15. 15. Lesson #2: Focus on your strengths ● With a complementary team, we leveraged our strengths ● In our complementary team, non-tech founder shouldn’t be learning how to code ● But at least understand the technology and get involved in the product ● One founder needs to have more focus on the customer and customer acquisition (sales/marketing)
  16. 16. Lesson #3: Don’t spam journalist with your launch ● After finally launching a side project to rate Angel investors, I decided to email 20+ journalists ● We had a PR strategy in place ● I ignored it and got caught up in the excitement of launching a product ● What I should have done was reference their previous work, also created content based on our analysis
  17. 17. ● Build a relationship with journalists ● Sometimes they come to us as a source of information or for some insights ● Refer them to other people ● Offer to write guest articles, comment on their articles ● Show them articles you’ve written previously How to do it
  18. 18. ● If you have any startup questions, looking to design/develop an MVP, please contact me ● Matthew Ho, Tapmint ● Email: hello@tapmint.com ● Website: http://tapmint.com ● Twitter.com: @inspiredworlds ● Personal blog: http://inspiredworlds.com/ Contact Me

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