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2013 Year in Review – A look back on the year that changed everything

2013 has turned out to be one of the most exciting years for Tint. From moving to SF, to making our company profitable, to hiring new people. Its been a one helluva ride and that’s why I decided to list out the timeline of events that happened during this year for you to experience our journey.

1) January 2nd – BIG MOVE TO SF : Exactly a year ago, our team decided to move our company from LA to SF. It was a very bold decision given the fact that we burnt half of our funding and did not have a solid product to work on. There was a deep sense of excitement and fear among our team members. We wrote an entire blog post listing out why we wanted to move to SF here.

2) February 8th – GOT OUR FIRST CUSTOMER : We had a huge debate on whether we should charge our customers early on. We were afraid of charging customers too soon as it would lower our valuation when we go out to raise more money from investors. We put our inhibitions aside and made the big move to charge our customers. We launched our payments on Feb 8th, 2013 and kept refreshing the page every few minutes, hoping that someone would pay for our product. To our surprise we had a customer paying us on the day of our launch and the feeling was AWESOME.

3) February 23rd – PACERS AND SPURS EMBED TINT ON THEIR WEBSITE : During our early days we were constantly watching our Google Analytics dashboard to see the list of websites embedding us. On February 23rd, I observed our concurrent users on our site increase drastically. To my amusement, two big NBA teams (Spurs and Pacers) started using Tint. Initially they were carrying out an A/B test with two different widgets. The first time I landed on the website I could not find our product. I honestly thought that google analytics was broken and it was reporting false data. Finally towards the end of the day both the teams decided to go with our product. Watching our google analytics report the highest number of visitors made us feel electric. This was the biggest metric then, since everyone talked about page views. We had customers paying for our product and bigger brands using our product. This gave us enough confidence to pursue the idea and stick with the product. Not only did we get a huge moral boost, but we also felt like we had a huge potential now in the market.

4) April 11th – TECHCRUNCH LAUNCH : We were TECHCRUNCH’ED. The article helped us get a lot of free press and good in-bound leads. Checkout the blog post on how to get free press for your startup here.

5) JUNE 1st – WE GET A ROCKSTAR INTERN : Our outstanding intern, Eric Wang, joined us for a summer to help us grow our business and help us craft content for our blog. Thanks to Eric’s work, our blog traffic increased by 40% and in addition he contributed to the team with his positive can-do attitude. We were sad when he had to go back to school, but we were grateful to have brought him on when we did 🙂

6) JUNE 30 – TINT HITS PROFITABILITY : Probably the biggest milestone of 2013, the moment when we made more money than we spent. It felt surreal, especially since we had been worrying about running out of runway for the past year.

7) June 11th – NASDAQ GETS TINTED : NASDAQ used Tint on their giant screen at Times Square. We hope someday TINT gets listed on NASDAQ #givingback 😉

8) July 17th – SANRIO USES TINT FOR #comiccon CAMPAIGN:

9) SEP 1st – WE GET A NEW TEAM MEMBER: Zen reached out to us as she loved our tool when she implemented it on her website. She wanted to bring in her sales experience from Yelp and help our team grow. Not only did she help us increase our revenue, she played a crucial role in setting our team culture. We are extremely happy to have her as a part of our team.

10) SEP 9th – TINT BECOMES THE OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA SPONSOR FOR TECHCRUNCH: What’s better than getting free tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt? Getting there and seeing your product on every display in the venue! We powered the projector displays during the talks as well as secondary plasma displays scattered throughout the event floor. Funny Story: We thought we would have to resort to a gimmick to attract attention so we were originally going to bring Kiwi, the famous alaskan klee kai. Unfortunately, dogs were not allowed, so we came to the conference empty handed. However, we were surprised to find that plenty of potential customers came to us simply after reading our banner. Product market fit!

11) NOV 9th – LAUNCHED OUR ANALYTICS: Customers have been asking for a way to track ROI on their campaigns since the very beginning, so this feature was very rewarding to develop and release. As always, we started with conversations and surveys done with our largest customers, asking them which metrics were most important to them. From there, we better understood the problem we were solving and built a customized solution that allows marketers to track what they need. In the future, we’ll be augmenting this feature to improve how marketers measure the impact of their campaigns. Lesson learned? Ask your customers their problems so you can built exactly what they need!

12) NOV 31st – TINT MAKES > 90k/ MONTH : During our fundraising phase in March, I remember an investor asking us our projected revenue by the end of the year. We were clueless then. We took a random guess and spurted out saying 40-50k per month. Guess how much we ended up making, 100k / month. We not only hit our goals, but we surpassed our expectations. At one phase during our startup, we had to cut our salaries to keep the company afloat. Now we are ending the year with our heads high, proud of what our team has achieved so far. During our entire process, it wasn’t the investors who helped the company stay afloat, it was our customers. They critiqued our product and constantly drove us to build awesome things. A BIG THANK YOU to all our awesome customers. You know who you are ;).

This year has been a whirlwind as we escaped the startup valley of death. We are humbled by the support we’ve received and the success we’ve reached. But there’s still a lot more work to be done and our heads are down working hard to bring you a better Tint product. We are excited for 2014 as we will be hiring, building amazing features, and setting a strong foundation for the long run. Watch out competitors, we’re here to compete as we’ve faced startup death and the lowest of lows.

 

Cheers to 2014,

Nik

Developer

Comments
  1. Having done the startup dance, it’s pretty inspiring to see what it looks like to see an idea start generating revenue so organically. Definitely a great read.