Why we entirely rethought SimpliField

This may be the fastest rollercoaster I ever had a chance to ride: building a startup from scratch. Let me share with you the challenges we faced to finally reach our target: build a product that brings a clear added value to our users.

The SimpliField story started in 2013 when Jonathan and I got fed up of manually entering data for a field project we were working on at our previous company. When it is time for big data, cloud-computing and smart devices, why did we still have to spend hours every week manually adding notes to excel, renaming pictures, sending our reports by email, aggregating and building excel dashboards to monitor our team on the field… Talking with Georges (our CTO) I realized we could rethink our job by automating the tedious parts of it — and that’s the reason why we created SimpliField.

We visited many companies showing them our concept, and we quickly signed our first (paying) account for a PoC (Proof of Concept): a mobile and web solution streamlining field data collection. We raised a seed round after 5 months with KIMA venture and top Business Angels like Jacques Antoine Granjon, Oleg Tscheltzoff, Jean-David Benichou or Ilan Abehassera

Everything was running smoothly, our deck was bright, feedbacks were great, Nicolas & Arnaud (top JavaScript developers) joined the team and after 9 months we moved from our PoC to the first version of SimpliField.

“Until you make the effort to get to know someone or something, you don’t know anything.” Ben Horowitz

During the following months we sold our product around Mobile Data Collection to big names in France (SFR, La Poste…) and started having some traction. But we had two remaining challenges to face:

Positioning & added value

Data collection is an issue for all type of businesses (from SME to Fortune 500 companies) and in various sectors: Insurance, Health, Construction, Security, Food, Audit, Retail & Consumer Goods… We won 1 or 2 customers in each of them, and every time we were faced with specific needs, specific procedures to use our product (some of them relying more on the mobile solution, others on the analytics…). We had to build something to please all of them and we became very generic. The issue was that our value proposition was becoming unclear, and we were turning into an offline form app. You will find many of those in the market.

Technical scalability

To manage our costs and build quickly, we decided to focus on building internally the best database and analytics tool and to outsource our mobile application. Our mobile app was very basic at first, but we thought it would do the job. After reaching 10 accounts, and more than 5000 reports per month, our app started to appear undersized and too slow. The more users, the more technical problems appeared, the more support we had to devote to our customers. The app was not scalable and we had to rely on our external freelance provider to improve it or fix bugs.

We had to take a “make it or break it” decision and the team required to see a clear path to success.

We joined 50 Partners, a startup accelerator, in April 2015, we raised a new seed round, hired new team members in sales, product & marketing and with our new advisor (Xavier Dura), we decided that it would be best to entirely rethink SimpliField, building on the achievements, but changing what needed to be changed.

Our aim was to build a product that businesses would love and use everyday. We decided to visit and listen to our customers to precisely understand their expectations as to the value we were bringing to them. This exercise clearly demonstrated that our analytics solution (building real time dashboards and places profiles) was what they were valuing most. We also look on app engagement and where we can bring value to every user (field teams, management…) to get the whole team involved with SimpliField. Retail & consumer brands accounts (Courir, Leader Santé, Go Sport…) were using SimpliField not only for data collection but to easily monitor their daily in-store execution.

Our vision is that context and data will change the way retailers and brands manage their in-store operations. With mobile application available everywhere, we could connect field and store teams to headquarters seamlessly and bring them more agility and efficiency. Stores will be at the center of their Omni channels strategy.

Introducing a new SimpliField

We decided to re-build our solution, giving consumer brands and retailers an unprecedented visibility and insight into their in-store execution performance.

Field teams and store managers don’t have to wait for their mobile operator anymore. We offer them a solution to access their PoS information anywhere and in the easiest way to get field reports done. Thanks to our new app they can access their data in real time and get all the information they need on their in-store operations right away. They can then quickly take better decisions based on facts.

We provide the full power of cloud / mobile and analytics to give them the agility they need to be more reactive, more competitive and ensure a great customer experience in every store.

Our customers are playing with the beta version since June and their feedbacks demonstrate that we are moving in the right direction. They appreciate the new photos gallery functionality, the new detailed Points of Sale profile and the new mobile app which is much more comprehensive than it used to be. Our pricing grid is also much clearer, it has moved from a user based model to a report based one, allowing onboarding of their teams from day 1.

“SimpliField sustained the progress of our sales force in a very short time.The tool is particularly easy to use, which is one of its main strengths. SimpliField’s team has been very supportive, especially while launching the project on our network.” Pierre Chambaudrie, DG Courir
“SimpliField’s application is a practical and ideal tool to monitor the business of the company. Easy to use & trusted by all, it analyses all the reports directly without the need for reprocessing. I recommend SimpliField to all who spend their time running after commercial figures.” Marielle Gruaud, Aviva

We are proud to launch this new version of SimpliField, available everywhere, starting today. Discover it here and tell us what you think.