2015 has been a fascinating year.
Scheduit has grown from a fledgling and ambitious idea, into a determined company with a big vision to radically transform how business networking happens all around the world.
Our journey has only just begun yet we’re happy with our achievements thus far.
Our web platform and mobile apps are trusted by 1000s of professionals worldwide, and we’re happy to say that our team of eight has a healthy habit of experiencing growth spurts every couple of months.
The process has not been easy. There were ups and downs, but we truly believe that we have not even scratched the surface of our vision. In this post, I would like to share with you our behind-the-scenes story so far:
Building The Team and Getting Started
Going back to January 2015, I had just hired our first developers, Andy, an experienced technical architect and Shaun, an extremely talented software engineer. Together, they were given the herculean task of transforming our initial vision into a real platform that would help like-minded professionals grow their network efficiently. The system uses A.I and machine learning technologies to make the whole experience seamless. I gave both of them full creative control in designing the back end, front end, and in providing input and ideas on a continuous basis.
Right from the beginning time was of the essence.
With the networking apps landscape quickly heating up, we had to work hard to get Scheduit off the ground. The team continued to grow, with Andrew, Ricky and Luke all joining the development team, each bringing important new skill sets to the company.
Being a startup, maintaining a high level of productivity was key. I knew that implementing an Agile methodology was an important step that we needed to take in order to get our platform developed as quickly as possible.
We worked dynamically, and continuously revised our technology roadmap in order to quickly overcome development and strategic hurdles that we faced on a daily basis. The team grew closer together.
Even the all-nighters spent fixing bugs and revisiting roadmaps have been invaluable, and have kept us focused on our priorities. They have helped us put aside features that were able to be postponed and it’s saved us around 10% on our critical path.
How Our First Success Stories Made Us Pivot
We first beta-tested Scheduit at the RC44 Yacht race in Malta, an event that was attended by high profile business people from around the world. This was a really exciting time for us and thankfully the app was received well. For the first time we saw people find compatible matches and set up business meetings through the app. At that moment, I knew that we were witnessing a paradigm shift in business networking and we were perfectly placed to lead.
Our next event was the Wealth Briefing Investors summit in London, and again Scheduit was used as the networking app for the event. This boosted our belief that we should work even harder and faster to get the app off the ground before the end of the year.
First though, we had to go to Belfast! We were selected to participate atEnterConf, a high level startup event organized by the organisers of the Web Summit. Scheduit was selected to exhibit among various other promising startups, and again, we received very positive feedback from the organisers and participants. The event also helped us get our first media coverage. With the help of Christian Peregin and BRND WGN, Scheduit got featured byYahoo, MSN,USA Today, Reuters, Times of Malta, and many other publications.
This amazing reception and accelerated growth made us realise that Scheduit was the ‘accidental hero’ of the event networking space and that we shouldn’t miss this opportunity.
However, focusing on events would completely change our strategy so this was a major decision. After thinking long and hard about this, we all agreed and decided to pivot and focus on developing Scheduit to be specifically useful for event networking.
Riding the Momentum and Getting Serious About Growth
Although we had spent a few months working with an ad agency, we realized that the time was right to bring in someone internally who could manage Scheduit’s community and marketing.
I felt it was important to have an internal expert who could contribute knowledge on growth hacking, social media, and innovation into our everyday internal discussions. That’s why we brought in Jeffrey. His efforts are further complemented by the brilliant mind and experience of my friend and colleague Rustam Ismailov who has been leading our business development efforts from the start.
Since we were now focusing more on events, we offered Scheduit as the official app for local events. JCI Malta, FinanceMalta and MBR Publications, all saw the potential in Scheduit and opted to use it at their events. Then cameDigital DNA, a fantastic UK based event that catapulted Scheduit onto the international stage and opened us up to the world.
The Web Summit is the world’s biggest startup event and pitching there is an opportunity offered to the top 10% of global startups participating.
I could write a whole post about our build up for Web Summit, the relentless pitch practices, the exhibition preparation, the 1000+ tweets we sent in our social media build up, our request for expedited review by Apple, our crazy plans to fly a drone at the Summit, and the many sleepless nights preparing for this event.
But it was all worth it in the end.
There were 42,000 people attending Web Summit, which made it hard to stand out, but because of our hard work, determination, and belief in our app, we got many people to use Scheduit. We gave away $3000 worth of prizes thanks toClever Accounting, ProdPad, OnePageCRM, NinjaOutreach, Sniply,MindMeister,Promotehour and we met fantastic startups such as Keeeb,Kwaver, Feelings Appand FullContact.
Being at the Web Summit helped us be inspired by industry leaders and other startup founders, we met many investors and we got even more media coverage. We were featured as one of the top 10 startups at Web Summit, invited to speak about growth hacking and we were described as the Tinder for Networking.
Certainly, one of the highlights of our journey was meeting the Startup Vanguys where we had some of our best fun discussions. See here:
The year ahead
Arriving back from the Web Summit, it was really time to take a look back, see what we’ve achieved and plan our path for the future.
2016 will definitely be the year where we grow and scale Scheduit. We have plans not just to improve our product for our customers & users, but we also want to grow and mature as a company and as a business.
From the product-side we’re refining our A.I and Machine Learning algorithms to make our networking recommendations even more accurate. Our use of game mechanics will make our app even more fun and our event features will make Scheduit a must-use app for event organizers wanting to engage their audience and deliver better value to their sponsors.
As a company, 2016 will not only be the year in which we generate much more revenue but also the year in which start investing more in our employees and company culture.
Everything we do will be driven by our company mission.
And that mission is to make social interactions in the business world effortless, productive and enjoyable. For everyone. We see ourselves as using artificial intelligence to stimulate value creation, because we know that when compatible people meet, great things happen.
This post was contributed by Dr. Abdalla Kablan, founder of Scheduit and Data Science expert.