Getting to private beta launch

On 11/11/11 we quietly launched Roboinvest in private beta to a select group of people who had reserved a username on our landing page over the past few months.

 

If you are unfamiliar with Roboinvest, read our profile on StartupSmart.

 

Our private beta list includes fellow entrepreneurs, prominent venture capitalists, successful Wall Street traders, journalists, DIY investors and many others, so it was exciting to have these people as our first users.

 

We chose to launch in private beta to release the product to people we knew would give us the most useful and valuable feedback, so we could focus on gaining our first customers and learn what they really need and want.

 

Over the past two weeks we’ve received a lot of great feedback, and the amount of usage has even exceeded my expectations.

But there were many challenges even getting to this point, and many lessons learned.

 

Key takeaways:

  • Tell as many people as you can about your idea before you start building it, and consider their feedback.
  • Don’t fear telling people about your idea, because an idea is not worth anything.
  • If you think your idea is worth something, try selling it to someone.
  • Build a raw version of the main feature of your product to test thoroughly, if it takes more than a couple of days you’re spending too much time on it.
  • If integrating with a third party API, don’t assume a sandbox environment is the same as production, in fact assume they are different and test both thoroughly.
  • You can’t launch an iPhone app in private beta, so use something like TestFlight, otherwise just stick to Android first and add iPhone when you have officially launched.
  • Focus on building only the core features of your product first.
  • Continually work at building momentum.

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