Appetiser Co-Founders Discuss Creating Customer Relationships and Achieving MVP – TechCrunch

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AperitifThe site lists three factors for the success of the app: technology, marketing, and design. And while the Australian agency was recommended to TechCrunch through ours our survey to identify software development partners for startups, it could very well have come through our survey to recommend growing marketers, which you can respond to here.

With a focus on designing, building and growing mobile and web apps, Appetiser co-founders Jamie Shostak and Michael MacRae have been endorsed by several clients who have worked with them since the early days of their projects. “Every startup must start with an idea. And some of the best startups may come from people experiencing the problem themselves, even if they’re not the most technical, ”Shostak noted.

TradeNow, an Australian postpaid financing option for commercial businesses and their clients, is one such client. “The Appetizer team has developed great leading applications and has also believed in TradeNow’s vision from the start,” wrote its founder Matt Brennan. “We were able to develop a great working relationship in the beginning and continue this along the journey.”

Fellow entrepreneur Andre Eikmeier praised the flexibility of the starter model. “We were able to use our CTO to lead a team of six developers from the Appetizer team, with occasional UX / UI, product management and project management as needed. It was strictly collaborative, not a blackbox agency deal. So we were able to build capacity internally at the same time rather than addiction. “

To find out more, we interviewed both Shostak and MacRae, in a discussion that went from prototyping to growth, and from MVP to design excellence.

Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What is the history of the origins of Antipasto?

Jamie Shostak: In 2017, I ran into a tall German guy at the coffee machine of a co-working space in Melbourne: Michael. It had apps with millions of users, and I ran a growth marketing agency. After getting to know each other, we discovered a mutual passion for building and growing technology products. We’ve had some healthy debates and identified how we can help others with their product success: speed to market, data-driven insights, top-notch quality, and strong teams. And that’s how Antipasto was born.

How big is your team now and how is it structured?

Michael MacRae: We have a team of 150 people in Asia and 30 people in Australia. Our teams are built around efficiency – small, client-integrated production teams that include iOS, Android and backend developers, as well as UX designers, product management and QA / PM experts. These teams work together in an agile environment and increase or decrease according to the needs of the project. The starter itself is relatively flat, with a huge focus on data-driven decision making via iterative testing.

One of your customers told TechCrunch that Appetizer is “the opposite of a black box”. What does it mean?

MacRae: The “Phone Game” is a popular game for children to teach us the consequences of messages traveling from person to person. Unfortunately, agencies love to “protect” their team of developers, testers, and designers from clients by introducing levels. Simply put, we do the opposite. When we create your team on Appetiser, it will be your team! Join standups, ideas with your team, discuss challenges or even have one-on-one meetings. We replicated the successful startup structure with internal teams and then rebuilt it as an agency.


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Your site claims that in addition to designing and building apps, you are your customers’ “growth engine”. Can you explain?

MacRae: Antipasto’s vision was never to be an app development company. Instead, we think of ourselves as a successful product agency. Simply put, we try to maximize the chances of a product becoming a success story. We measure how many of our apps are successful, how many users they have, how much revenue they generate and how much money they raise.

Our entire team is held accountable for these success metrics, which means we do whatever it takes to help our clients get there. This can include planning, development and growth, but is often also strategy, fundraising help, and more.

Why does your strategy require the definition of a minimum viable product (MVP)?

Shostak: We’ve spent years perfecting data-driven internal IP to deliver reliable, high-quality products quickly. We use it to help entrepreneurs quickly reach the market with an MVP.

MacRae: Defining that MVP comes down to creating value in the real world, but also to detaching ourselves emotionally from pleasant people. They can always be added later! As a result, we reduce the amount of time and iteration cycles to find the fit for the product market. Our customers save time and money, which will be invested in the growth of their products. Our customer Move with us used this approach to cut development time in half, achieving tremendous success in both Australia and the United States

But before that, do the prototyping. Why?

Shostak: Whether you are a person with an idea or a large business, we always start with a self-design phase and an interactive prototype. It allows us to visually examine the design as we build an industry-leading front-end experience. In the words of Steve Jobs, we like to start with the user experience as well [work backward to the technology].

This also serves as a great starting point to raise capital, gain stakeholder consensus or validate their idea before taking the steps to full development. We are extremely proud of customers such as Good Empire Other Fleece that they have been able to raise [funding] even before development.

Why do you appreciate the quality of the design?

MacRae: On the App Store, you have a few seconds to convince a user to download your app. On the web, if you don’t convert a visitor in seconds, they’re gone forever. So, in the beginning, design excellence is a matter of understanding what users want. This speeds up user acquisition. And once you’ve registered your user, a strong user experience keeps them.

We also believe that product design is not just a creative field; It’s a question of performance – one design will always outperform the other. We try to centralize the teachings of all our projects to design based on proven tactics to minimize risky assumptions.

How do you share knowledge internally?

MacRae: Appetizer has created more internal IPs than most agencies. This includes our base plate; our gold standards to unify the team based on best practices, which a large part of our team continually investigates, tests and repeats; and our teaching materials and courses.

For the latter, we have established the University of the Aperitif. It has a growing curriculum of manufacturing-relevant topics such as standards, best practices, and guidelines, and also covers topics like economics, CRO, and data analytics. Antipasto employees even have weekly exams that ask them to apply what they have learned.

What are some of your plans for next year?

Shostak: With a remote culture, our plan has always been to hire the best talent in the world. This started with a focus on Asia Pacific first. So far we are in Davao, Cebu, Manilla, Melbourne and Sydney. In 2022, we are looking to expand it to some other continents [ … ] and you can expect to see us in the US within the next 12 months.

Additionally, starting in 2022 and beyond, we want to build our startup community and platform and expand it globally. From collaborating with investors, crowdfunding platforms, lawyers and accountants to creating our educational content. We want to enable startups to conquer international markets. And we’re also building an incubator called Appetizer Ventures, where we’ll help accelerate client start-ups further and even potentially build some in-house.

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