Index founders, Xavier Pladevall and Eduardo Portet, have been friends since they were small children in the Dominican Republic. Both came to college in the U.S., and last year the two decided to launch a startup to help non-technical users build business intelligence dashboards without coding.
Today they get to keep building on that dream with the help of a $ 2.6 million seed investment from David Sacks, Slack, Gradient Ventures, Y Combinator and other individual investors.
What has attracted this investment is a couple of young founders who are passionate about making it simple to build a data dashboard without help from experts like engineers or data analysts.
“Essentially what we do is we help companies build their business metrics dashboards with as little code or technical knowledge as possible. The byproduct of that is that anyone in the company can build their own metrics for their teams,” co-founder Xavier Pladevall told TechCrunch.
End users can connect to a growing list of data sources and Index deals with building the queries and displaying the data for the users without data scientists or data analysts to help. For now, that includes Salesforce and Hubspot for CRM data, Stripe payments data and certain databases from Postgres and MongoDB.
As the founders build out the product, they want to stay lean with just the two founders and perhaps two additional engineers. “We’re actually looking to hire two people full time, and that’s going to take us to the Series A, and we’ve been very clear with investors about that,” he said.
As Latino immigrant founders, they want to build a company that’s diverse and inclusive. He says that’s it’s not hard for him and his co-founder to find people of color because they have formed friendships with a diverse network of people they can tap into.
“Our job is to keep doing what we’re doing, which is to be friends with a bunch of different people because that is genuine and people can definitely tell you’re trying to meet some diversity quota versus when you’re generally a diversity-oriented type of company because it comes back to the founders themselves,” he said.
The two founders and their families have been friends since they were children. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, they didn’t have access to computer science classes, but they did have access to the internet and they got the startup bug from reading U.S. tech publications like this one, and learned to code from YouTube videos and StackOverflow. They both came to college in the U.S. and both interned at large companies — Pladevall at Facebook and Portet worked at Metadata in New York.
The idea came together because Pladevalll was part of a team at Facebook building a similar tool for internal use. He decided that it would be a viable commercial idea for companies without the resources of Facebook. He came together with his childhood friend and began building the company in January as the pandemic hit.
He acknowledges the hardship of this year, but says it really helped them focus because there wasn’t anything else to do. While they are amazed at having $ 2.6 million in the bank, he says they still have the hunger that he believes is part of the immigrant founder ethos.
“It’s just hunger to just prove yourself and if coding is what it takes, learn how to code. If it’s going through an early visa process, which is by the way, way harder than raising millions of dollars and going through YC, in my opinion, [you do that]” he said. He said it’s about doing whatever it takes.
As the two friends take their first steps as a company, they have some early customers and continue to refine the product. With today’s funding they have some lofty goals for the next year, which include building out that product, reaching $ 1 million in ARR and building distribution for the dashboard.
If they can meet those goals, Pladevall says, they should be able to get their Series A. I wouldn’t bet against them.
Minecraft's design really fascinates me. The game looks so simple on the surface, but it's architected in such a brilliant way. It's no luck that it's the most popular game of all time, even through they barely spent anything on marketing.
To understand the psychology behind the game, I have used the Hook Model developed by Nir Eyal as a framework. It's a model in 4 steps that helps you understand why some products hook people in and create habits that integrate the product in their lifestyles.
Every habit starts with a trigger that initiates the action.
There are 2 types of triggers: external and internal.
These triggers come from your environment. For Minecraft, the strongest external trigger is YouTube. Since the beginning, the creators of Minecraft encouraged fans to put videos on YouTube and that helped growth a lot. It's partly why it's the most popular game on the platform until this day.
Vu Bui, their chief operating officer, told the Guardian: "We've essentially outsourced YouTube videos to a community of millions of people, and what they come up with is more creative than anything we could make ourselves."
These triggers come from the users themselves. It's when they are making mental associations with the product, they tie it to an emotion. Here, negative emotions are strong triggers, because we want to get rid of them, so they will push us to act. Minecraft like many other forms of entertainment relies on the trigger of boredom. The game is interesting, it's intrinsically fun to play and there is always something new to interact with or create. It's a bit similar to Instagram and YouTube that have endless feeds of new content to make sure you are never bored.
Loneliness is another internal trigger for Minecraft. The game is social, it's built around their community. People love sharing and connecting with other players. Friends can invite you to play, you can chat with them, see what they are building and collaborate together.
2. SIMPLE ACTION
When you design an experience, you want users to make a certain action, but the key here is to make that first action as simple and easy as possible. According to Nir Eyal, “the simpler you can make the action, the more likely it is to occur.”
For Minecraft, it's simply starting the game. If you are invited by a friend, you can join their world in a click, and if you want to create your own, it's matter of seconds. You pick the mode you want to play and from there you do whatever you want. There is no real goal in Minecraft, so you are the one setting your goals. It means you can play only 10min if you wanted to or spend hours on it.
3. VARIABLE REWARD
Activity level is a function of how soon the participant expects a reward to occur. So if you know something interesting is about to happen soon, you will play harder. On the opposite, if you leveled up recently and have to collect thousands of points before you can do it again, you will be a bit less active because your motivation will be lower.
Randomness maintains the player's interest longer and makes them more consistent. They don't know exactly when the reward will come, but they know it roughly based on their previous experience. If the reward is interesting, there is always a reason to continue playing. That's why Minecraft has this element of variability. In every game, you land in a new random map and each map has unique resources, some of which are rare and difficult to find, so playing becomes like an exciting exploration.
Now that you have triggered your users to take actions and you made them happy with rewards, what is the 'bit of work' they can do to increase the likelihood of coming back?
In Minecraft, after you played the game, you have more reasons to come back because you now have the world you created waiting for you. Maybe you build a structure that is unfinished, or you customized your character with skin packs and you want to show it to your friends.
The point is that you left something in Minecraft, you have invested part of yourself into it and personalized the game experience to make it yours.
Next time the player sees a trigger for Minecraft, they will be even more willing to play the game.
The cycle continues.
Hope you enjoyed my analysis! Let me know if you have any questions!
I am going deeper in this video I made. Feel free to check it out if you want to learn more
I'm a current Berkeley junior studying CS, and I'm considering taking time off from school to create a startup. My idea has been in the works for several years, and because of the online classes/pandemic, I'm considering taking a gap semester to built a prototype. I also have a friend studying CS who is interested in doing this with me. I first thought about this idea two years ago, submitted it to an ideas competition, received positive/negative insightful feedback, and reworked it now.
We are both committed to working hard, learning necessary technologies, and building a finished product. I've been reading a lot of this subreddit, and other stories from founders to see what others have done. I'm looking for advice on this. Within my social circle at Berkeley, I don't particularly know anyone else who has done this or considered this. Mostly, just internship hunting at prestigious companies.
One of my professors indicated to me that pursuing a startup idea is basically all or nothing; it's not worth trying to manage the rigorous courses at Cal with a start-up part time. That's why I'm considering a gap semester as well. My co-founder and I are both competent programmers, and versed in the CS fundamentals. I've been a TA for our data structures course. But neither of us have really any experience with the frameworks, web design, mobile, etc. What are some tools or languages I should be thinking about learning? Lately, I've been looking into progressive web apps for our current design to simplify over cross-platform. Ideally, we'd have a presence on the web and mobile applications, as our idea is initially targeted towards college students.
We are privileged to have capital to support us while we are creating a prototype, and initial money to invest in it if needed.
We've written up pitches, and documents fleshing out our idea – target audience, features, competition, differentiating factors, monetization, addressing which need, etc. If anyone has gone through this process before, and could shed some light on pitfalls or a common path, that would be greatly appreciated. Or a short chat. Thank you all! Go bears
EDIT: There are 3 comments, but I can only see one
UAE businessman Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah has partnered with Israel’s OurCrowd venture capital to form a $ 100 million (Dh367m) fund to back technology investments between the two countries. The venture is the first of its kind since the two countries normalised relations last month.
Read more here.
How do you share important information with your employees or customers? While traditional methods like emails or in-person meetings may be easy to do, they don’t capture your audience’s attention quite like visually appealing digital signs. With Look Digital Signage, managing these signs has never been easier.
Look is a digital signage software that lets you manage your signs at any time from any location. After installing the Look player on your screens, you can use the Look Content manager on your PC or tablet to remotely manage your screens. Look enables you to upload audio, images, video and ZIP HTML content to create and broadcast elegant and engaging playlists to one screen or many.
This offers a variety of benefits for businesses of all kinds, from retail to banking to corporate offices and more. Retail stores, for example, can use their signs to up-sell and cross-sell within their stores to increase customer spending. Banks, fitness centers and more can use their signs to catch the attention of potential new customers and provide current customers with helpful information about their branch or location. For corporate offices, digital signs are a great way to highlight employee achievements, provide breaking news, or manage the booking of conference rooms. With Look, companies are able to do all of this remotely, and can even schedule content to run ahead of time.
Layout designer: With the layout designer, users can customize their display by dividing the screen into multiple sections that each plays different content at the same time. The inbuilt graphics editor lets users control the look and feel of their imagery, and the layout designer allows users to create adaptive layouts that adjust to screens of varying sizes.
App integration: Users can pull content from popular news, social media, business, finance and video apps to provide their audience with engaging and relevant information.
Interactive scenarios: Look users with touch monitors can increase engagement with their audience through multi-layered interactive scenarios, such as an interactive catalog, gamification, and collecting feedback.
Offline playback: Content is stored on the device itself, so it will continue to play even in offline mode. An internet connection is only needed when uploading content, updating settings, or monitoring the screen’s status.
Smart scheduling: Instead of having to make updates in real time, the broadcast start time and duration can be set for an entire playlist or individual content sections.
Multi-user access: Multiple users can collaborate on network management, and can be assigned specific access rights depending on their role.
Built-in statistics: Look users can track and download important data about their content impressions, helping to inform decisions about future content.
24/7 support: Look customer service representatives are always available via their online chat feature.
Digital signs shouldn’t be boring. Look Digital Signage’s award-winning software makes it easy to create and broadcast relevant and eye-catching content to engage with their audience, whether customers or employees. Check it out for yourself at lookdigitalsignage.com.
Look Digital Signage
The post Create Stunning Digital Signs with Look Digital Signage appeared first on KillerStartups.
One of the broader trends of the pandemic has been the unbundling of Zoom with startups pulling out a feature or two and designing entire products centered around a specific vision of remote work. One of the more tempting product ideas has been the development of the omnipresent always-on video workspace where managers can always see their directs onscreen and team members are only a shout away from getting someone else’s attention. While it’s seemed like an exciting product for the founders building those startups amid the remote work boom, it also sounded awful for the workers using the software.
Remotion CEO Alexander Embiricos was never crazy about the idea of an always-on camera either, but he did like the idea of making it easier to build face-to-face time over video chat into a team’s culture. The startup he co-founded has been building an always-there dashboard that pins your co-workers profile pictures to a workspace taskbar on your Mac desktop.
Mouse over a team member’s profile pic bubble, click the video chat icon, send a quick chat request and get to talking over video. It’s far from a revolutionary workflow, but Remotion is aiming to build a platform that makes video calls feel like less of an event and more like a lightweight way to quickly get to the bottom of something without back-and-forth emails or Slacks .
“Right now, when we look at teams we say, okay, we have ways to schedule meetings, and it works. We have ways to message each other, and it works,” Embiricos tells TechCrunch. “There’s no problems there that we want to fix, what we fundamentally want to change is when we use video and how we use video, making it so that you can use video informally.”
Remotion is launching their product in beta today and announcing that they’ve raised $ 13 million in funding, including a Series A led by Greylock and a seed round led by First Round. The startup is debuting its product on the heels of a historic pandemic that many believe could fundamentally shift companies away from strict office cultures towards embracing more hybrid and fully remote workforces.
“I think that the pandemic has permanently changed the way people work,” Greylock’s Sarah Guo, who led the Series A deal, tells TechCrunch. “I think people are disengaged in big video meetings — they just go in and multitask, and Slack is great, it’s instant and asynchronous, but… I just don’t see most companies doing distributed work in a text-first way.”
You won’t see an endless cascade of team member bubbles on Remotion, users designate favorites that sit on their desktop, and the app is largely designed around helping small teams collaborate anyway. Fittingly, Embiricos, who is based in Brooklyn, has been building Remotion with a small remote team, alongside co-founder Charley Ho, who is based in Chicago.
One of Remotion’s biggest risks is pushing users to give it a permanent home on their desktop. Users can opt to let the hub of profile bubbles hover over their other windows or recede behind them but the app is designed to leave your co-workers and their availability statuses just a glance away at most times. All of that screen real estate can be a big sacrifice to workers that might be already be dealing with more cramped workspaces than they’re used to in the office.
The app aims to give users controls to designate when they’re heads-down, need to talk or just open for some idle chitchat. Users can set standard or custom availability statuses, quickly update profiled pictures with a Photobooth-esque feature, or let a Google Calendar integration automatically do the work in signaling what they’re busy with.
There’s a familiar danger for new workplace collaboration tools where something that was meant to help users cut back on another form of communication like emailing or Slacking ends up just adding to the noise, jamming notifications into your feed and giving you another inbox to check obsessively. Embiricos hopes that the ambient nature of just being pinned to the desktop can prevent this from becoming a problem.
“Showing up to Slack in the morning — it’s a wall of text and like eight channels you have to check,” Embiricos says. “What we’re trying to create is like, you wake up and show up in the product, but there’s nothing to check, you didn’t miss anything. It’s just the product is just there. And when someone comes online or doesn’t come online there are no notifications. If you want to know, you can glance over your team and find out.”
Remotion is live in beta for Mac with a waitlist for Windows and Linux users.
Jerusalem/Dubai, Oct. 6, 2020 – OurCrowd, the world’s largest global venture investing platform, today signed a memorandum of understanding with Phoenix, a business development company, to increase business and tech ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. This is the first announced alliance between a top-ranked UAE corporation and a major Israeli venture investment firm.
Read more here.