Startup Stories – Today SignUpFirst
I (Rüdiger Gros) am watching the startup market since years. Not only because I build startups on my own and consult startups but also to share and get best practice knowledge as well as a market overview.
In case you have built an own startup already you passed several stages in your ‚career‘ as startup builder. You probably found out that there are sufficient challenges to build a team, find funding, develop a product and to prepare everything to finally earn some money with your idea.
Hopefully much earlier, but latest at this stage, most startup leaders realize that the market entry and the further rollout are one of the biggest challenges in the lifecycle of a startup.
And good performance at this stage can decide over success or failure. This is why I chose David Allison, the CEO of SignUpFirst, to answer some questions about his vision, his plans and his dedication to startups.
Interview with David Allison, CEO of SignUpFirst
Rüdiger: Hi David, I appreciate that you take your time for a short interview about your company SignUpFirst. Before we start with detailed questions, could you please introduce yourself in 3 sentences?
David: Well I’m from England and in my early twenties with a huge interest in everything internet. I’m ambitious; I dream a lot, dislike rules and tackle problems creatively. Although more honestly, my friends would introduce me as someone slightly crazy, who sees things differently.
Rüdiger: Thank you for that smart wrap-up. So, now tell me, what made you start your company?
David: Actually it came from a problem, which I think is great! It’s great to create a startup that genuinely wants to help people. SignUpFirst was built to solve something a lot of startups and developers have, and that is early user acquisition. Getting the first signups is currently expensive, hard and can even make people give up.
No one wants to sign up to a website or app with no users on it! If you create the next best auction website, how do you get the first auctions on there? How do apps get their first reviews? The problem of early user acquisition is a real problem. I saw this and had to create something to solve it.
Rüdiger: One of the major challenges is finding the right mates to turn an idea into a company. How did you start?
David: Actually I started alone, creating wireframes and a business plan; I had the idea and plans for around 6 months before I decided to then find a developer. We worked on the site slowly, mainly because I couldn’t afford to pay him for too many hours. Near to the end of development I was seen on twitter by a technology company Koncept. I met them for a coffee and they came aboard to help development.
Rüdiger: You run a startup yourselves and your idea is a push for other startups. How do you increase your own signups and popularity?
David: Well fortunately for us because our idea helps others, marketing ourselves has been quite easy. I think this really highlights the need for startups to solve real problems people have. The other side to the coin is that people like getting free things and being rewarded. The people signing up can get some really neat rewards, by signing up to the submitted sites and apps first.
The main strategy we use is making our site as sharable as possible, right from the domain name all the way to having social sharing; everything is catered towards enabling people to share our site. The great thing is, once someone posts their site or app on SignUpFirst the next thing they usually do is share it. For that reason a lot of our marketing is social media.
Rüdiger: Do you have marketing and rollout strategy for your service yet? What role does social media play in your strategy?
David: Social media is our biggest marketing strategies, not only because I am a huge believer of the power of social media marketing, but also again because people like to share their posted project.
From zero followers on twitter to soon growing hundreds of people on a mailing list, we grew our initial user base and had companies waiting to access our site from using social media alone. Some days I felt like a full time social media manager!
Rüdiger: Did you find potential sources for further funding and growth yet? Or did you even look for funds?
David: We have not looked for funding yet, however are open to talking with investors.
Rüdiger: What are the next 3 most important steps to be expected from your side within 6 month?
David: Firstly, I wish I could tell you more; however I can say we plan to develop some really great features into the site. We have a lot of exciting plans to develop past MVP stage. We also plan to keep things simple; I am a real believer of keeping things as simple as they can be. Lastly I hope that we get some bigger companies doing promotions on SignUpFirst, I think that we can also cater to bigger companies and even expand to other audiences such as game, and game developers.
Rüdiger: One last question to close the interview what are the 3 most important lessons learned so far?
David: Big question! I’ll keep this short and sweet. Solve a problem. Delegate marketing to your social following. Finally, I can’t count the number of interviews where someone says people should learn to code, and I hate code. But I’m going to say it’s never too late to learn code.
Thank you, David
Rüdiger: Thank you, David. It was a pleasure that you dedicated your time for an Interview. And thank you for the great insights into your company. I wish you the very best.
And I confirm that I already signed up our startup 1clicktrips.com at your service. Thanks for your great initiative!