- on how we started Deemly and how you can do the same
By Sara Green Brodersen, Founder & CEO of Deemly
I’m often asked by other entrepreneurs how we got started with Deemly and it’s safe to say that it was never a linear path. Still though, I think we’ve learned some important things in the last year. Now that we’re only a few weeks from launching our beta version, it’s time to reflect on some of the things that worked and to share them with you, step by step.
1. Come up with a brilliant idea
Easy enough. Kinda. The idea behind Deemly had been simmering in my head for a while, but only because I had been deep diving into the industry (the sharing economy) and had found a clear problem we could solve (creating trust between users). So if you have an idea and you’re not already an expert in that field, you better become one. Or find someone who is. Fast. Because no one will buy a product or service unless you understand the problem you’re solving - and that, my friend, requires industry knowledge (and network).
2. Get feedback before you do anything else
One of the first things we did was to create a slide deck explaining the problem, the idea (gathering user ratings and reviews from across marketplaces) and the market potential. We sent it to a couple of business angels, we happened to know (you can also send it to anyone with experience from the industry or startups). We were not looking for investment, we were looking for feedback. We got mostly positive feedback, adjusted accordingly and worked from there. We also had coffee with potential customers (the sharing economy marketplaces) who are now actual customers and are even more excited about our product because they’ve basically helped us shape it. An important side note here - I meet quite a few entrepreneurs who refuse to tell me about their idea out of fear of someone stealing it. Let me say this, unless you have a pending patent (which you most likely don’t) then tell me and tell the world, because you need the feedback. The risk of someone stealing your idea and getting it to market faster than you is highly unlikely!
3. Create early traction (exposure might help)
Very early on we also set up a landing page to start collecting pre-launch sign ups for our newsletter, which means that we will now reach 500 people, which we can invite to test our beta site without spending a dime on paid marketing. We also applied for Venture Cup and got into the finals. We didn’t win anything, but journalists still found our company interesting and so we were featured in TrendsOnline and Finans.dk and several other news sources since then. Some people might argue that PR is all for show, but it was with this exposure we were contacted by potential customers and investors. In March we also got accepted into the Thinkubator accelerator program, which has also helped with exposure and network.
4. Take money -or not
We raised our first round of investment in March, which helped us cut down time-to-market as we could hire more developers. In our case money = speed, but this might not be the right thing for you. Raising money - whether it’s angel, VC or public funds takes time and maybe your time is better spent developing the company or getting to revenue on your own. If you didn’t attend Women in Tech DK’s last event on funding, you should read the blogpost.
5. Build, sell, build
Whether you have money or not, focus on building and then selling and then building again. It’s important that you get feedback during your development process. And it is actually possible to drum up customers even before you’ve launched. Also, don’t wait for your product to be perfect before you launch (this goes especially for tech companies). Our site will be nowhere close to finished or pretty, but it works and then we go from there.
6. Have a party!
Now we’re launching our beta version and it's important to celebrate your victories, so we are. And you're all invited! Please help us drink all the beer we've ordered and if not for us, then come meet the other cool people there! It'll be #epic! Let us know you’re coming by signing up here: Deemly Beta Launch Party
Deemly is a reputation site which shows the trustworthiness of users by combining ratings and reviews from multiple sharing platforms. By leveraging your trustworthiness from one site to include more reviews and ratings, you can feel more trustworthy and safer and so will all the other users you interact with in the sharing economy, online and offline.