The making of a progress card for a bootstrapped startup

Briteli is ready for prime time.

It took 6 months, 4 iterations, 2 people, a metaphorical garage, all of which doesn’t sound like much until you add focus, energy and a spark of an idea. This potent combination has brought out the official release of Briteli today.

I woke up with a question on my mind, its been 6 months since I started Briteli and we have a major milestone today, Have I achieved what I wanted and how would you write the progress card of a bootstrapped startup with 2 people.

Sounded like an interesting challenge, there are no investors to please, no board of directors with agendas, It’s mostly in my mind.
In my previous avatar as a corporate employee, I would have put together a slidedeck to talk about quarterly milestones, progress and revenues made as that is the Lingua Franca  in a corporate world. But when I’m writing this for myself, would I even care about graphs and milestones? I live and breathe these things everyday. It was time for an unconventional progress card. I came up with 6 questions that cover what progress is all about.
The same questions can be applied for larger teams and organizations if clarity is what you seek. But if you are looking for ideas to sound professional, this may not help much 🙂
Get the template here if you like it
Briteli’s Progress Card

1. The Big Idea (Slide 1, if you prefer)
This section brings out: Is the idea you started on still a good one and validated?
1.1 What did the startup set out to achieve?
To make it easier to find useful apps in a crowded world.
1.2 Why try to do that?
I dabbled with writing my own apps in late 2013 which helped me understand what it takes to build a useful app. The experiment also highlighted the pain point faced by thousands of indie developers and small studios trying to build apps, the question looming on the horizon for everybody was how would we ever get our apps to our users without busting the bank.
On the other hand, users are struggling to find interesting apps beyond the top charts and search is not the best way to discover apps that they don’t even know about. By the way social signals are so corrupted that devs are trying to buy their way into the top charts.
1.3 Is this a real problem or have you dreamt it up overnight?
There has been lot of investor activity in this area from Quixy, Appcrawlr to Chomp with different solutions (all bought out or heavily invested) So the problem is as real as it gets, but at the same time it’s very niche and not an area where everybody is coming up with a solution to dilute the idea into a mee too competitive product
1.4 Passion for solving a problem is fine, But has the revenue opportunity been identified?
Yes, and this has been used as the basis for projections.
1.5 Do the numbers look promising? 🙂
Yes, at-least for a small team we look good.

2. Where are we? (Slide 2, well you get the gist)
This section covers progress
2.1 Is this technically feasible with a bootstrapped approach
We came out with a POC in early Sep with our limited infrastructure
2.2 Has the market readiness for a such product been evaluated?
We launched an open beta in Oct and reached out to a small community for direct feedback which came out overwhelmingly positive
2.3 How long will it take to get it out there?
Welcome to the first official release. We kind of did it.
2.4 Do you have enough real users?
We have been gradually building up an active userbase, it’s now close to 500. We planned to have 1k users by launch, but its good enough.
2.5 Do you have a strategy to reach your users?
Yes, <details omitted for obvious reasons 🙂 shoot me a mail>

3. Where do we want to be in 6 months time?
Do you have a good roadmap into the future
3.1 What is your next immediate goal
Establish cashflow and get out of the garage
3.2 What else do you plan to do
The curated web is something people have been looking upto for a while. The engine and framework that we use for app curation is completely reusable across domains. We plan to get started on the The curated everything’ project soon.
3.3 What is the value you are building for the future
Briteli curation engine is quite interesting IP that can be useful in the near future.

4. Lets talk money
The headline says it all
4.1 Are we making money now, how much do we plan to make in the next 6 months?
No, <details obviously hidden 🙂 shoot me a mail>
4.2 What do we need for the next 6 months
Cash flow, Few more hands and some decent office space.

5. How does it look going forward
5. 1 Do we have all the vital signs in green
 [user growth, cash flow, feature backlog, identified threats]
yes, no, yes, yes
5.2 Whats the worst case scenario in the next few months?
We fold (as a business) if cash flow is not established

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