Recently, the HIVE team caught up with Ashot Tonoyan, founder of Inapptics, an analytics platform that helps developers visualize what users do in apps. Inapptics recently completed an acceleration program with Startup Wise Guys. Here are the key learnings the team gained:
Build your product for customers, not investors.
If your solution is a vitamin, people will use it if it’s free or almost free. If your solution is a painkiller, they will pay and pricing is secondary.
Feedback you get from customers who are paying is real, accurate and they will force you to shape your product so that it provides actual value
Selling, especially in B2B, is more important than building a product. Start selling even before building the product, because a customer that opens his wallet at this stage, is the best validation you can get for your product market fit.
Building a product is just part of building a business. Your product will fail, unless you are able to build a viable business around it. A viable business is when people find actual value and are willing to pay, when the market is big enough for you to be able to scale, and if you can eventually reach break even and become profitable.
A B2B startup needs to be making enough profits so an exit becomes a nice to have, not a necessity.
You don’t know what you don’t know, so having good mentors is key. Mentors help you short-cut mistakes that they’ve learned from.
After sales, building relationships is probably the second most important skill you should have as an entrepreneur.This includes all kinds of relationships: customers, media, advisors, mentors, investors, partners, other startups, talented people you may hire.
Giving away equity does not mean you own less. Usually you give up equity when you are about to get a significant value, which increases the value of your company, so you end up owning smaller share, but of a much bigger cake.
Launch as early as possible with as few features as possible and only solve one specific problem at a time. This will make your life much simpler, because it becomes easier to pitch your value proposition much more clearly, both to customers and investors.