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How Minimum Viable Products are a life or death matter when your startup is a live marketplace

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We share the story on how we’ve built our product Solved.io on consecutive iterations in order to prevent our startup's failure. You can read the full story on our blog: http://blog.solved.io/mvp-slides/

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How Minimum Viable Products are a life or death matter when your startup is a live marketplace

  1. Minimum Viable Products Why they are a life or death matter when you are building a live marketplace We share the story on how we’ve built our product Solved.io on consecutive iterations in order to prevent failure.
  2. Hello // my name is Tom I learned how important Minimum Viable Products are the hard way: failing my first company. My new company, Solved, has an extra difficulty: it’s a live marketplace - we connect people facing a software issue with software experts live. In this scenario, building a product on consecutive iterations is a life or death matter. Here’s why - and how to make it right.
  3. Supply Building a live marketplace // The number one challenge we need to make sure the supply side and the demand side are validated simultaneously and follow the same path of growth. 1 2 3 Supply Supply Demand DemandDemand software experts software experts software experts collaborators who need help collaborators who need help collaborators who need help
  4. First MVP // validate the technology •Our pain point: on-site training is not efficient for big companies, and that small companies only have forums when it comes to software issues •Basic product need: connecting employees with software experts live •First Step: make sure we could establish a proper connection between a client and an expert within a browser using the new WebRTC technology
  5. This is Solved’s very first MVP
  6. How to assess the “V” in Minimum Viable Product at this point? It’s a 1 or 0 situation: if your product works, then you should go on.
  7. 2nd MVP // fuel the supply side •Solved is supposed to be used with any software but we reduced the scope to Ms Excel: it has a lot of heavy users and is complex enough. •Basic product need: finding experts. We could have hired some, but it wouldn’t have proven that there is a scalable supply (freelancers working remotely). •Next Step: crowding experts who are interested in taking calls and helping people remotely within an on-demand platform
  8. 1.Build a landing page
  9. 2.Drive traffic towards it - Direct marketing: #FAIL Reach was great but not the directories (software certifications) so it led to few contacts we couldn’t even convert into experts. - Infiltrate communities: #FAIL Contacting directly people in Facebook groups, Linkedin groups led to being banned by algorithms for phishing. - Social media marketing #SUCCESS Advertising on Linkedin, targeting skills and on Facebook targeting interests.That led to amazing conversions and costs of acquisition of $10.
  10. How to assess the “V” in Minimum Viable Product at this point? When testing acquisition methods, your key indicator is ROI. That said, even though there was room for improvement to reduce our CACs, there was no time for it so we never improved anything with this process.
  11. 3rd MVP // qualify and quantify your supply •We tried emailing experts a list of questions: we only got a 10% open rate. Then we built an in-app questionnaire which worked well. •We made sure experts were not “paid to wait” by having them invest some time and energy on signing up and we nurtured them with newsletters. •Next Step: test the experts’ skills to get a minimum volume and engage them on our platform
  12. How to assess the “V” in Minimum Viable Product at this point? The key is to avoid vanity metrics. We could have bragged about having 1000s of experts. 100 can seem a few but it was enough to prove our point: the experts we need exist, and they are willing to work with us for $20/hour because we offer great flexibility conditions.
  13. 4th MVP // fuel your demand accordingly •We needed to know how we could catch clients right when they face a software issue to connect them with an expert.
  14. 1.Build a landing page we actually built several: focused on Excel, Photoshop, etc.
  15. 2.Drive traffic towards it Using Adwords: we bid on keywords like “problem VLOOKUP excel” and got a $10 of CAC with a good potential reach, which was perfect.
  16. How to assess the “V” in Minimum Viable Product at this point? Just like the supply side: ROI is your friend.
  17. 5th MVP // qualify and quantify your demand •We could not “stock” any of our alpha users: once they signed up, we were supposed to be able to connect them with an expert. •Our technology wasn’t ready so we had to use tricks to connect experts and clients (using live-chat plugins, Skype etc.) •We needed to check that our experts could solve our client’s issues
  18. Live-chat with a client on the landing page Checking out which experts were available on Skype Four (painful) days later… Our first call! while
  19. How to assess the “V” in Minimum Viable Product at this point? We realized that our clients had real issues that our experts could fix live within 20 minutes. There are many reasons why this could have been a failure: if the client had been more expert than our expert, if the client was really incapable of anything, if the calls had lasted only 2 minutes or 2 hours. Big victory for us.
  20. It showed us we needed to build a kick-ass product to automate the connexion between clients and experts :)
  21. To sum up // building a live marketplace means… Handle instant liquidity on both supply & demand. Test acquisition on each side - at a reasonable ROI and using scalable methods Test your first users retention Focus on the supply side before the demand side. Possibly build your own technology. Uber couldn’t use phone lines: they needed their magic app! Build your app while testing your supply and demand In the meantime, use your imagination!
  22. Thank you, we are Read more on our blog. Try solved for free now.

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