Back in New York City, our soon to be alumni have been busy preparing their future roadmap for after ubi i/o.
On Tuesday, we organized a working lunch on software product management to get more insights on how to build products users love. Our guest speakers were Thomas Gayno, co-founder and CEO of Cord Project Inc. which was acquired by Spotify & Alison Badrous Senior Product Manager at priceline.com.
“First, make the right thing, then make the thing right”
Following Spotify’s blueprint, Thomas Gayno advised our startups to allocate and prioritize their resources as efficiently as possible. You should define your roadmap in function of your priorities. One way to save time while building new features is by facilitating the engineers’ work by giving them a clear and accurate list of priorities to tackle down and the reasoning behind it.
Spotify’s team works with “bets” that they rank every 6 months according to specific criteria. Thus, they have a categorization of: “incoming bets”, existing ones (bets currently staffed and active), and past bets (finished or abandoned). All the C-levels then review these bets and prioritize them according to the company’s main objectives.
On Wednesday, our workshop focused on raising funds in the U.S. We had the pleasure of welcoming Morgan Hermand-Waiche, Founder & CEO at Adore Me and Olivier Pomel, Co-founder & CEO at Datadog. Since this topic was previously addressed back in San Francisco, we’ll spare you the details but we’ll leave you with one simple fact: alway fundraise when things are smooth sailing for you company. This will give you leverage when talking to investors, and allow you to negotiate the best possible terms.
ubi i/o Demo Day in New York
After 9 intense weeks of hard work, the highly anticipated Demo Day came around in New York City. One last opportunity to pitch a broad audience under ubi i/o’s umbrella. We had the pleasure of hosting Nicolas Dufourcq, CEO of Bpifrance who came through the city to meet & greet with the 2016 batch. Looking back, we’re quite proud of all the accomplishments and progresses made by our 8 founders and their teams, congratulations to you all!
Throughout the length of the program, more than 100 business meetings were organized, a dozen contracts were signed and more are pending! Over 18 workshops on various topics were coordinated to help our entrepreneurs sharpen their skills on marketing, design, operations, HR, Business Development etc. Through our participation in dozens of pitching contests, we’ve witnessed an astonishing improvement in the founders’ pitch skills. Our team wishes them all the best as they will soon be leaving ubi i/o’s nest.
Just like in NYC, ubi i/o’s campus in San Francisco is restless as we are approaching the end of the 2016 edition. Since the beginning of the program, more than 130 B2B meetings have been organized by ubi i/o’s business development team and our 10 startups managed to win 6 pitch competitions throughout the valley.
On Monday, we talked about the management of a business from early-stage to sustainability with Samir Addamine, founder and chairman of Followanalytics. According to Samir, raising funds is just the beginning of the adventure. From there, it’s all about surrounding yourself with the right people starting with a good lawyer who will help you navigate through the complexities of U.S. laws. In Samir’s opinion, it’s not a good idea to hire someone to handle your fundraising process. American VCs like to deal with the founders themselves, not a “professional” representing them.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 13, 2016
Samir also talked about employee retention. With a 3.5% unemployment rate in the Valley, employees aren’t known for their loyalty. If members of your workforce find better opportunities elsewhere, they will most likely take their chance and leave without looking back. That’s why it is so crucial to establish a culture that resonates with your employees and make sure the perks you offer compliment their work satisfaction level.
Demo Day – the end of ubi i/o 2016
It wasn’t that long ago that we wrote a blog post on the pitching session that occurred during our VIP opening night, remember? Well on Tuesday evening, our 10 CEOs left a long lasting impression with their sharpest pitch delivery thus far! Our audience was composed of investors, partners, mentors and prospects who gathered at the Quadrus conference center for ubi i/o’s Demo Day.
The event started with a warm welcome from Kahlil Trocmé, advisor and member of the ubi i/o team, which was followed by an introductory speech from Stéphane Alisse, Managing Director of the Technology and Services Practice in the U.S. Our 10 CEOs then took on the stage to deliver their last pitch as honorary ubi i/o members. Congratulations to all the 2016 ubi i/o participants, we are proud of you!
The pitch session was followed by a casual evening of networking where our guest enjoyed a beautiful view of the Valley alongside delicious food & of course French wine.
Customer experience – from Singular Touch Points to Cumulative Experience.
After this memorable evening, it was time to get back to work. On Wednesday, Frédéric Bidot moderated a working Lunch on customer experience – from Singular Touch Points to Cumulative Experience.
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 15, 2016
Organizations have long emphasized touch points with their customers across multiple channels to stimulate acquisition, activation, retention and referral. But for several years now, a growing number of successful customer centric companies have put the concept of ubiquitous experience in the heart of their customer relation strategy and more importantly, in the heart of their overall strategy. For this session, we invited 3 speakers to share their perspective and experiences: Aurelia Setton, Sales & Operations at Dayuse, Jack Murrin, Director of Customer Experience at Shyp and Jean-Baptiste Minchelli, Director of Product Management – New Customer Experience & Onboarding at Salesforce.
As an introductory statement, our guests agreed upon the definition of customer experience: “the sum of experiences of your clients with your product/service”. How do you manage the relationship with your clients? How do you develop your brand interacting with your customers?”. As every component of your business, you should first determine the metrics and analytics that are crucial to your growth and touch points. This work will allow you to improve your customer experience based upon data. Let’s take FAQ as an example, if your customers keep contacting you after visiting your FAQ section, it simply means that they can’t easily find the answers to their question without contacting you.
Constantly communicating and being in sync with your CSR team is one of the things you should do right from the start in order to improve all your processes, this will enable you to establish a good reputation from a customer service standpoint. To get the most insights from your customers, don’t hesitate to send them surveys soon after specific actions were performed with your service / product. For example, Jean-Baptiste from Salesforce sends a specific question 2mn after people onboard on a new trial period. Regarding your survey’s frequency, don’t abuse of your customer’s time as you may be perceived as a nuisance. However, don’t hesitate to follow up if the answers you gather are interesting enough to get more insights.
How to properly setup your customer experience team? In Jack’s perspective, you can & should create a “customer experience war group” composed of people from all different teams within your organization. Obviously, the customer support team is key as they precisely know all the complaints coming their way. This exercise will allow you to synchronize people’s talent, perspectives and efforts towards one common goal: client satisfaction. Now you may wonder how to hire the right person for your customer support / experience team.
First and foremost, you should focus on hiring educated graduates who can connect with people through empathy and who have sharp written and verbal communication skills. At the end of the day, you should be well aware that your support team’s work is crucial to your success, and because being part of a support team isn’t perceived as glamorous, you should put an emphasis on treating these employees extremely well to limit your turnover rate.
Three steps to quickly iterate your design based on Feedly’s experience
On Wednesday afternoon, Matthieu Blandineau, member of the ubi i/o team, invited Arthur Bodolec, Product Designer @Facebook and previous co-founder / Designer at Feedly. Arthur gave us a lot of insights on how to iterate quickly and improve your product’s UI /UX design.
According to him, there are three steps to quickly iterate around your design:
1/ Understand your users and what “success” means to them.
The best way to do this is to get out of the office and talk to your friends & family or directly to your users on social media and through your customer support channels. Don’t be afraid to do things that don’t scale at the beginning. Arthur always tries to get the most out of his conversations by asking “why” based questions: why did you use this product today? Why do you prefer this feature over another? Etc.
He uses a formula to understand which feature really matters to the users:
-As a “X-TYPE OF USER”, I want “SPECIFIC GOALS” so that “REASONING”.
-Must haves: “we are not going to use your product if we don’t have…”
-Want to have: “Being able to do … would be really helpful to us”
-Nice to have: “We would love to be able to do …”
2/ Create prototypes quickly enough to build the vision for your product.
Arthur uses Sketch to create the first design of any prototype. Then he puts his visuals into InvisionApp to realize a first fake prototype. It allows him to quickly show an MVP to potential clients and iterate to reach a proper product/market fit. Then, a sales rep handles several calls to demo that first prototype, and that’s how they secure their first potential clients without actually building the product!
3/ Quickly add new features
Feedly’s team ships out a new product feature every two weeks. They decide upon which feature to implement depending upon user’s needs and the time it takes to deploy these new product elements. This is a great way to quickly create value for your customers without losing time and capital.
Last call for Pitchforce
As you may have noticed, pitching is a constant throughout ubi i/o. Even though we’re approaching the end of the program it doesn’t mean we don’t stick with our good habits. That’s why we had a French vs American startup battle this past Thursday where 5 ubi i/o companies competed against 5 American startups! Round of applause for Akeneo who took first place in the competition, congratulations!
— ubi i/o (@ubi_io) June 17, 2016