Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
My name is Alex, and I am a co-founder and CMO at Linguix. We are building an AI-based grammar checker and writing assistant for anyone writing in English.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
As an immigrant and a non-native speaker I needed to boost my language knowledge, and especially writing.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
I've tried grammar checking and writing enhancement tools existed at the moment, but was disappointed either by quality or pricing. So, I've discussed the idea of building own product with my co-founder and CTO Vitaly, and we've started building things right away.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Our biggest struggle/failure so far was the case where we picked up the name for a startup with no thorough research. As a result, we had to rebrand, as there was a project with identical name, holding a trademark on this name. They refused to sell us this trademark, and to avoid legal risks, we had to pick another name. But happily, this name and domain are even better than what we had before. So this unpleasant situation turned out as a win.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
We've ranked #1 product of the day on Product Hunt. If speak of business-related stuff, building a product people use everyday and pay for from scratch - for me this is the biggest achievement.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
The #1 tool for us was content marketing and email marketing: we publish post to our blog, manage newsletters, publish pieces and announces on external websites like Product Hunt, Indie Hackers. We've also experimented with content in Spanish – that worked out pretty good as well.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Everything is simple: you get an idea, you discuss it with your co-founder or adviser, research the market, build an MVP, try to get people using it or paying for it, then raise money and go worward.
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
Yes, betalist was not that good, while Product Hunt turned out to work better: we've got around 2500 new users from there, sold some subscriptions. More important, people there are makers themselves, so they provide valuable feedback.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
We have a freemium model and offer a free plan along with paid monthly, quarterly, yearly subscriptions. Our revenues grow along with the user base, and we are working hard on conversion optimization.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
The main obstacle was to take off as a bootstrapped and self-funded startup, attract seed investments, build the product, and attract first users. For the future we want to build even better product, grow our user base at least 10x in the upcoming months, and raise our second round.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
For now we are doing well, working towards adding more features for our users (mobile keyboards, advanced version for businesses and schools, etc.)
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I understood that you have to find balance everyday. Balance between your plans and money, your backlog and investors/users requests, boring but important tasks and fancy experiments with new technologies and marketing approaches that might work out (and might not).
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We use Google Docs, Jira, Trello, Grafana
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
Drew Houston of Dropbox
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Hacker News, Paul Graham's letters
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Be prepared to face a lot of problems, hear 'no' every day, see slower than expected progress. But also, you prepare to be excited to see first users of your app, jumping high when the first customer buys the full version, be proud of yourself when you see positive reviews or media coverage. These are both sides of a coin. There is no guarantee of any success, but the journey itself is worthy of trying for sure.