The 32 tools this Aussie founder uses to build her Silicon Valley startup
Wednesday, February 10, 2016/
By Holly Cardew
Over the past year I have used hundreds of tools while building Pixc.
Here are some of the best ones that helped me to create my startup:
- Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. I use it when I am making lists of investors/advisors/mentors to contact and need to move them along to another list (E.g.: To be contacted, to another list ‘contacted’ / ‘follow up’ etc.). Other people use it as their everyday task list.
- Asana is my favourite task tool. You can create detailed task lists for projects with your team. I highly recommend it. It is free too for up to 15 members.
- This is so handy to work on collaborative documents with the team. No need to save and update / sync the latest files. I use presentations, spreadsheets and word docs for our team.
- I have a distributed team, as well as customers in over 200 different cities. Whatsapp is a great way to instantly message anyone in the world for free.
Marketing, social, growth and distribution
- Need to schedule a lot of social media posts across all different platforms? Use Buffer. You can also schedule pins to Pinterest now.
- Get rewarded for sharing other people’s content and posts.
- Need some growth experiments done? Hire a growth geek.
I have used Growth Geeks for a few tasks and there are some great people on it, but there are also others that are clearly just outsourcing the work. The quality has varied over time.
- Beautiful stock images (that don’t look ‘stock-y’) to get your website started. Images from only $10.
- Free stock images — they have a great range
- This is the latest software that I have been using as a sales tool to contact potential customers. Even though they have raised $2 million it still needs a bit of work but I am looking forward to seeing what they do.
- I have only tried Close.io for a limited period of time and it wasn’t for us but it looks fantastic for sales teams. They also produce great videosto help you.
- Grow your Instagram fan base (with real fans). Try it for yourself and you will know what I mean after three days.
- Again another favourite. Intercom is essentially a CRM and live chat tool in one. Once it has been integrated with your site, as a non-technical person, I can build out email funnels to get in touch with leads and customers. I can see how many times they have been on the site, placed an order and send them targeted messages.
- A great if you need a task done and don’t have the time to do it.
- Get your PR done via PressFriendly as a monthly service. I have just signed up so I will let you know how it goes.
- Product image editing and optimisation for your eCommerce store – yes I am biased
- Being busy, I found that I started getting lazy and reaching for the closest snack. In San Francisco, this is usually a pastry, cookie or muffin at the closest coffee shop.
So, yes, I outsource my shopping when I stay at the office until 10pm and need my groceries delivered. I have no excuse not to be healthy.
Product & Development
- moqups allows you to quickly sketch up wireframes for your website or landing page layout which you can then easily pass to a designer.
- I have only recently started working with a product manager. Previous to this, I was the product manager and I would spec everything out in a word document and in moqups. Now, we use Invision which allows everyone to add comments on the wireframes and design. We are definitely more efficient.
Logos and design
- Need a logo? Throw it up on 99Designs, run a contest and see what you get back.
- A marketplace full of fonts, graphics, icons, Photoshop brushes and more
- Envato is a collection of multiple websites and tools but my favourite is ThemeForestwhere you can get all these themes you want to start a website. If you are bootstrapping your company, I definitely would not design something from scratch.
- Actually it is not that common in Australia to use LinkedIn however it sure is the best way to network and keep in touch with everyone around the world.
- If you haven’t already, create an AngelList profile for you and your company. This is the best way to recruit and connect with investors.
- I am part of a small members-only network in San Francisco which allows me to build close and honest relationships with other founders. I think when you are building a company, this is really important.
- Use MeetUp to attend events that you are interested in. Be careful that you don’t get caught up attending any oldevent if you are busy building a company – this will suck up your time.
- Go to brunch with a group of people that has been carefully curated. This is a great way to meet other people in San Francisco.
- Think Tinder meets LinkedIn. Swipe right or left to meet people in your industry. I have met all sorts of people from marketing, growth, technical, to artists.
Other — startup life related
- Keep fit while you are working at home from your desk.
- I could not live without Uber and Lyft. You can get anywhere you need at the tap of your phone.
- The best offline tool of them all. I bought a NutriBullet and I blend everything
- Getaround is peer-to-peer car rental which I use when I want to drive beyond San Francisco. The app allows you to book within five minutes and unlock the car with your phone.
I will be adding to this list as I continue to build my company so let me know if there is anything I should try — I’m always looking for new cool tools to use.
From the frontlines
Alan Jones: How to raise investment for a startup with no customers and no revenue Alan Jones M8 Ventures partner
Canva's Melanie Perkins has 10 tips for startups with 'crazy-big dreams' Melanie Perkins Canva co-founder
Why Up's transgender controversy shows there can be no separation between founders and their companies Joan Westenberg StartupSmart columnist
Take a stand: Why being neutral hurts profitability and engagement Steven Maarbani VentureCrowd executive director
The power of passion: Naked Wines' co-founder reflects on what made the startup successful Peta Jecks Naked Wines co-founder
Hipsters, hustlers and hackers: Three instances of everyday bias in startupland Theresa Lim Play2Lead founder
Diversity and coaching will rid the banking sector of its toxic culture problem Hema Kangeson inSpur founder
Why you should find the right role for the right person — not the other way around Bruce Stronge Outfit founder