We had an ongoing problem with handling work inquiries coming mostly from our own website. We would either lose track of them because they would just drift down into the depths of our inboxes, and we would often forget to follow up on deals we didn’t receive a reply on.
We figured all this trouble can be solved — at least to a point — with an app that would have the following basic feature set:
- a simple form for capturing leads, similar to a contact form many sites have,
- a centralized place that would allow us to process these leads, that was not in our email inboxes, potentially lost or forgotten about among other email,
- a way to communicate with our customers through the app, as well as through standard email,
- ability to put together and send professional proposals as we couldn't be bothered to create PDFs each and every time someone wanted an estimate,
- an address book that consisted of profiles of people that contacted us, but one that we could add to manually as well.
On April 5, 2011 the first line of code was written of what will later become Funnel (then called Rikvest). After about a year of development the first bare-bones version was deployed to a Heroku production server, and a contact form was set up on our website.
This was a monumental event for us as it quickly proved that we were on the right path with this adventure. The system had its kinks and we worked them out over time, but it made an enormous difference in the way we handled deals with potential customers.
There was an unmistakable spike in the amount of deals we closed. Then another interesting thing happened: people started asking about it.
This is when we kind of began to think we were on to something, and started entertaining the idea of opening up Funnel to other people. Thus, in 2012 we began a huge code refactoring effort that would allow other people to register for Funnel and use it on their own sites. Up until this point the application was architectured so it could be applied only to our own site.
2014 was the year we finally launched the long-announced closed beta. This is also the time where we sped up the development and started adding features. We greatly improved the deliverability of emails making sure they always went where they were intended to go, added Google oAuth for signing in, and numerous others.
One of the most important new features we introduced was the completely new UI that was launched with the public beta in 2015 with which we opened up the service to everyone and laid the ground to start charging for the service, kicking off a whole new chapter of Funnel which is to do our best to make it a valuable service, and a sustainable business on its own.
What we believe in.
Since we are in the service business (as Superawesøme) where we help our customers every day to shape their own projects and get them to market, we are well aware that there are many roads one can take in order to get there.
We chose to self-finance the development of Funnel, and will continue to do so for as long as our main service business can take the load, or at one point — if we're lucky — Funnel becomes self sustainable. This is the main reason we started charging for the service, and why we can't afford to give it away for free.
Choosing to take investment capital to start up a business is definitely the way to go for some companies, but we are sure it is not the way for us. We know and have worked with a lot of people who chose not to take funding, that have made huge successes of their companies and products, and we admire them greatly.
Whatever the reasons may be, it just feels natural and brings us closer to our DIY roots.
The main reason we decided to take the harder path with this venture — as in not look for funding or investment capital — is that we're honestly not the biggest fans of the current Sillicon Valley-esque startup scene, which is teaching us that the only way to make anything is to first throw (someone else's) money at it. Quite frankly we would like to distance ourselves from that image as much as possible.
Romanticisation of the startup that's going on at the moment in the tech world is something that's completely strange to us, and it's not the world we belong in. A startup is not some kind of a way to better your chances of success, or find friends, or get rich without really working too hard.
On the contrary we are very excited about the fact that there are many young companies and products — with more popping up each day — that are coming from Europe, and we're proud to be in their company, even if only geographically.
Delivering reliable, quality service to our customers. This is our priority.
We like to think that we will succeed as a business if we create a quality product that speaks to people, and that solves a real-world problem. Hopefully people will find value in what we do and decide to support us by paying for the service that we provide.
Give respect, and get it back.
Dragan Babić, Superawesøme.
Funnel is a Superawesøme gig. Give respect and get it back.