How To Write A Business Plan Reflecting On The Past Weeks Interviews

Every Sunday we reflect on a couple of great companies that we spoke to over the past week. Here we restate some of the best responses to questions around starting a company applying to accelerator programs and fundraising.

Watch out for StartUp Video Diary’s coming soon! Where we will be following the highs and lows of 3 startups as they progress through the SpringBoard Mobile accelerator program.

Friday Interview with Ajay Meht, co-founder of FamilyLeaf. A graduate from the Y Combinator accelerator program

FamilyLeaf is a private network for spread-out families to keep all of their photos, conversations, and information in one secure place. We launched in early March this year and recently came out of private beta. Our dream is to help families all around the world, no matter how far-flung, check-in with each other every single day. The internet has done quite a bit to bring us closer to our friends, acquaintances, and professional contacts — but not much to bring us closer to our family.

What advice would you give to people looking to start a company?

Start working on small side projects while you’re at school, or at your job, or whatever you’re currently doing. Try to get little things out there and off the ground, and if you can, even start making a bit of money. It doesn’t have to be anything major — but if you just leap headfirst into starting a company without having even made a website or talking to a hundred users, you might make a ton of unnecessary mistakes.

What advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to get their company into an accelerator program?

There have been tons of blog posts and all that about getting into YC, so I won’t rehash any of those points. But if you want anyone to talk to about your idea or the interview, please reach out! I’m happy to help: ajay(at)familyleaf dot com

What were some of the challenges that you faced starting a company?

Both of us co-founders were in college when we decided to leave and pursue an internet startup, so we had the pressure of leaving school and convincing our parents and families that it was a worthwhile endeavor. However, our situation was definitely made easier because we had funding and a network in Silicon Valley. We’re still facing countless challenges, like how to plan growing FamilyLeaf to a million users, and what features to develop next. Be sure to check out this Site. You can also follow them on Twitter!

Thursday Interview with Katrina Brickner, Co-Founder Marquee. A graduate from the Techstars accelerator program

Marquee is a publishing tool that lets people easily create beautiful pages by dragging their digital media files from their desktop or cloud. We then make it really easy for them to share the pages directly to their social media accounts.

How’d you get pre-launch user insight?

We got some attention from early users after we launched a very early prototype at PyCodeConf, a Python conference we co-sponsored with GitHub, Heroku, and a few other great companies. The product was rough around the edges, but we got great feedback on the features people wanted to see. It was also validation for us that people were interested in what we were building.

What were some of the challenges that you faced starting a company?

In the beginning, it was difficult for us to transition from client work to build our own product. Initially, we were horrible at pitching our idea. Instead of focusing on the big vision, we’d talk about the product’s features, because that’s what we were used to doing. It was also a new experience for us to take the product to market; we were used to building something then handing it off to the client.

What advice would you like to give to an entrepreneur thinking about writing their first business plan?

It’s important to write a business plan early on, even if you don’t show it to anyone else at first. It helps to shape the overall vision for your product, and answer questions about market size. Just make sure you’re still working on the product while you write the plan, and accept that you will need to make changes to it as your business evolves.

What important mistakes have you made and learned from?

One of our biggest mistakes was not moving to New York sooner. While in Miami, we worked in our own office and rarely interacted with people within the same industry. We also have a habit of waiting until things are “perfect” before launching, which causes us to miss out on valuable early user feedback. That’s why immediately after TechStars we forced ourselves to launch an alpha of our product, bugs and all.

Evry is a web application that allows groups of people to plan and pay for social activities. Somewhat like a Kickstarter for events. When planning events or trips for your friends we found that there were two major barriers to plans not happening.

People really suck at RSVP’ing One person is often stuck with the burden of paying upfront for the activity and then having to chase all their friends down to pay them back.

We want to solve this problem. Evry is a fun user-friendly platform that allows its members to plan trips and events and split the payment seamlessly. By making the process easier we hope to facilitate more Good Times!!

Evry is still very young and in private testing, what have been and currently are some of the challenges that are facing starting a company?

Evry is hoping to launch Private Beta in Mid October but the development, design, and ideation process have all been challenging. Currently, everyone that has been working on the project also has a full-time job, which has made things extremely difficult. Coordination of schedules and deadlines has been one of our biggest challenges. Additionally scoping out milestones and a tight product roadmap to stick to was something