Bootstrapping an AI product and consulting startup, 2023 Q3 update and Q2 review

Martyn Garcia
4 min readJul 28, 2023

My cofounder and I are bootstrapping an AI product and consulting startup - 255labs.xyz. Our mission is to build innovative products enhanced by AI, offer consulting services to companies looking to increase velocity with AI, and accumulate NFTs in emergent markets. Despite personal challenges we’ve made great strides in this last quarter, Q2, and hope to have even greater ones on Q3.

A stable diffusion XL rendering of a robot looking at a laptop in a futuristic startup office with a blurred sign that says ‘open [illegible]’ in the background.
255LABS is a generative AI focused bootstrapped consulting and product startup founded by 2 software engineers. We are open for business!

Q2 review:

  • Built out initial web
  • Work on positioning in emerging NFT markets
  • Cost optimization for existing product line
  • Release new AI-powered apps and open source
  • Establish online presence

Q3 goals:

  • Provide stable income through optimization and new product creation.
  • Supplement income with contracting
  • Work towards EOY target, $5k MRR product revenue. Roughly a 2x
  • Continue building online presence

Financial

Existing wix products:

  • Current income is ~$3k MRR before expenses.
  • Cost optimization: We can save anywhere from $300 to $1k per month on existing products increasing margins. So far we’ve rebuilt our deployment infrastructure on t4g systems with docker swarm and optimized other areas of AWS spend.
  • Business development: Research how to increase use and conversion rate, increase visibility.

Consulting:

  • Follow up with inbound leads, reach out to network. The goal is to find the right contract by EOY.
  • We have availability of 2 senior full stack & ML engineers, this typically does not last long. It is typically harder to find good contract or part time work than full time work.
  • Continue building out 255labs.xyz. This serves as an index of our efforts.

New products

nftcardx.com

Provides tools for emergent NFT game markets.

Review: Increased engagement despite public sentiment on this particular technology being low.

Feedback: Continue to support new innovations in this space.

ntc.ai (patreon)

Publish research around ConceptMod, fine tune diffusion models on text-only(no dataset). The spike at the end is from releasing a SDXL lora that extracts data using a new technique.

Q2 Review:Released 10 models and even more on civit.ai/ntc

Q3 Feedback: Update open source tool to support newest model, continue work on site, release new models and training techniques for SDXL.

echorealms.xyz

A proof of concept around interactive storytelling with AI.

Q2 Review: Proof of concept created

Q3 Feedback: Expand on this idea, add new stories

Social media engagement

LinkedIn

LinkedIn seems rate limited on reach. Despite writing quality articles they are not promoted. Long tail is disappointing.

I continue to write but will reduce the frequency of posting with the goal of once every 2 to 4 weeks.

Search engines

You can actually search for my name on Google and Bing. Bing works great but Google still shows incorrect information on me and our site 255labs.xyz still seems hidden. Hopefully this will resolve itself over time.

Product Goals

Cost optimization

Continue to cost optimize. Replace and optimize third party vendors by calculating cost to rewrite the components in use.

2 new apps to 2 new markets

Neither of these apps provide direct monetization but they do serve as a demonstration of our technological capabilities. It is important to release new apps consistently so that the winners can be expanded on and failures can be identified.

A whole article can be written on choosing emergent marketplaces to release to, but our goal is to release 2 paid generative AI apps to 2 marketplaces this quarter.

We are currently in prototyping phase, building out core infrastructure in order to release these applications. It’s too early to talk about but we are excited about what we are going to release here.

Additional notes

  • GPT4 code interpreter is incredibly valuable and useful. Our coding ability and learning continues to increase sharply.
  • More and more AI models are released every day it seems. We should continue to build on and utilize them.

Conclusion

Despite challenges we are very hopeful for the future. In retrospect, on a log scale, we give our progress last quarter an 8/10. We hope to increase that this quarter as we build our AI product and consulting startup.

If you need help with development please reach out to me. It doesn’t have to be AI — we are offer full stack consulting from ideation, maintenance andscaling. We will utilize AI effectively in any engagement. My email is info@255labs.xyz or you can reach out on social media — twitter or LinkedIn.

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