We are thankful and proud that we belong to the lucky group of startups that not only survived their first year but also have a small but great team, a working product, and some promising traction. In retrospective we managed to achieve quite a lot in 2017, especially considering our limited resources. But let’s start at the beginning!
Matthias Funk and I were getting comfortable in our new office at INiTS Gründerservice, one of the most respectable incubators in Vienna – right next to some other great startups like Stromkind, ondewo and Tubolito.
Our business was officially incorporated. We got some very good feedback on our solution from potential customers who were willing to challenge their status-quo on how they manage their YouTube videos.
By that time our vision was still demonstrated with a simple but nice looking click-dummy. These early customer discovery interviews taught us a lot about how big companies like Erste Group, Microsoft or Henkel were dealing with YouTube and shaped the vision of our product.
Following the positive feedback we decided to make tubics real and were looking for a technical co-founder.
With the help of some contacts and Facebook we met Matthias Posch, who got to be our co-founder and CTO. Not only did he save us from early wrong decisions on the technical side (now we work with AngularJS / NodeJS) but he soon became absolutely irreplaceable because he complements us in so many ways.
He did what we dreamed about: he made our product a real thing.
The main challenge was that Matthias still had to finish another project in Hamburg. So we still depended on external developers to a large extent.
The pitch was successful meaning that we got in contact with one of our angels there and started negotiating our first financing round.
We were informed that the tubics project was accepted for a FFG grant. With this positive outlook we started to look for an intern. We also talked to several potential business angels and learned a lot about pitch decks, term sheets and investor expectations.
Florian Kampichler joined our team as a team assistant and immediately started to pay off.
With Florian’s help we started to screen YouTube channels of Austrian companies and initiated an email campaign which turned out to deliver some impressive results: Within 2 months we contacted 160 companies, got 79 answers, 36 demos (some in person, some on the web) and 10 companies who participated in our pilot program including big names like Hilti, L’Oreal or Lidl.
Also in June we were able to close our angel round.
We started product tests with the videos of our first pilot customers and learned a lot about what we needed to adapt.
The list of things we needed to fix and develop before launch grew instead of shrinking. We realized we had to postpone our launch which was due at the end of August for a month or two.
Anyway, we were very satisfied with the positive feedback to our pilot program and learned heaps on YouTube optimization.
Big focus on product development. We saw that many things already worked.
Several still didn’t but now the progress was ever more visible. We knew we’d soon be there. In order to launch a product not only for ourselves, we contacted even more potential customers.
And we did first case studies with the optimization results of our pilot customers
Matthias Posch finally started to work full time on tubics and at the end of September we had our first product version that we dared to show to other people.
To celebrate the launch we invited the greater team and friends to a garden party in the hills surrounding Vienna.
Claudia was invited to pitch at the PIRATE Summit in Cologne which gave us the opportunity to connect to several German and international investors and other great startups.
With our product finally launched we had many sales meetings and product demos.
We were equally busy with collecting the feedback of these meetings, adapting the product, writing offers and keep our sales pipeline growing.
Faced with the challenge that so far we didn’t consider our product and sales process as scalable we came up with some strategies to work in that direction.
Our sales efforts started to show results and we could sign contracts with great companies like Rosenbauer Group and Österreich Werbung.
Also several of our pilot customers decided to go on using tubics in order to upload and optimize their YouTube videos.
Further orders came in and by the end of December we had more than 20 channels managing more than 30.000 videos. Time to relax and spend some time with our families.
Overall, last year has been challenging but also very rewarding. We are grateful to all our supporters and that many things turned out to work well (like team and product choices). But of course, we just started and have huge plans for 2018!
If you want to support us to develop an even greater product, want to know more about how you reach more views on YouTube, need any help on YouTube in general or have other questions, just reach out!
Special 2017 thanks also go to: Matt Cloy for constant support and guidance | Niko Alm for connecting us with our angel Dieter | Stefan, Mandana, Monu and Vitaly for coding | Chrillo for backing up | Alex for being our first trustful SaaS customer | Flo Steinhart for legal support | Filip Zganjer, Flo Bauer and Rudi Lindenhofer for challenging | Frank Westermann, Michael Kamleitner, Flo Dorfbauer for inspiration — Thanks a lot to all of you!