Broadcast: BetaBait is a discovery platform where early adopters who live for finding new applications can easily connect with startups who need these people to either test or become their first users.
Tête-à-tête with Cody Barbierri, the Founder of BetaBait.com
Idea and Vision:
Cody Barbierri, the Founder says, “The idea of connecting these two groups has been bothering me for some time. I’m a contributor to VentureBeat, a top technology blog, and through that experience realized that bloggers are really the gate keepers to a startups initial success. If you get coverage, you can be successful. If you don’t, it can be a struggle.”
What is your start-up story? How did you start? Where did you get funding from?
I thought there had to be an easier way for new early stage startups to find these early adopters and get them to participate in their application.
I brought this idea to my now co-founder Rory Thompson, who specializes in development, and brainstormed how we could solve the problem. After a few months, BetaBait was born and we have gone from a simple email service to a full-blown online discovery platform.
We are currently bootstrapped and have not accepted any outside funding, though we are considering a seed round and speaking to several funding firms.
What is your target market? What is your revenue earning plan or model? What’s cooking for enhancing user engagement?
We really have three target markets: 1) the startups 2) the early adopters and 3) advertisers. For the startups, we are currently giving them sponsorship options to get their app front and center among our early adopter users. Through special placements and even sponsoring an email, it’s a low cost way for the startup to get additional engagement and feedback.
For early adopters, we are exploring a more customized and filtered experience. With so many startups out there, we have the opportunity to allow users to pick and choose who they want to see, such as by category or type of application, and possibly charge a small monthly fee for those preferences. We still have a long way to go in this area, but it’s something we are thinking about and running by our users.
For advertisers, we offer very similar options to our startups, which is the ability to advertise a product or service to our community in several different areas, including within our daily email and online.
In terms of marketing and business development, we have initially focused our attention on the top technology blogs, including TechCrunch, VentureBeat and The Next Web, as a source for early adopters and startups. Gaining this type of coverage has propelled our community size and it continues to grow organically through word of mouth and social features. In the future, we will continue with this strategy as well as look at other options, such as SEO/SEM/partnerships, etc.
Team is the bloodline of a startup. What’s your take?
Currently, there are only two of us working on BetaBait. My co-founder, Rory Thompson, and I play off each other well. We have two different backgrounds and expertise, so it helps in gaining an overall perspective on the service and its purpose. I might think I have the next best feature, but when I bring it to Rory, he can quickly give me the alternate viewpoint, which is key in making sure you’re creating the very best service.
Any ideas you want to share from your startup briefcase?
I would say to try to take a laid back approach to your service. For example, we are laid back in the sense that we are slowly rolling out, judging people’s responses and tweaking. Then we do it all over again with the next phase, which are mainly new features and functions for either the startups or early adopters.
Some startups try so hard to get their product completely right before they open the doors and that really isn’t our mentality. You learn so much from your users and it’s stuff you would have never thought about – regardless of how much you think you know about it.
Fun @ Work:
Just picture a tall glass of beer after a hard day’s work, that’s our work culture. When it comes to a startup, you can easily work 60+ hours a week, but you need to unwind and do it often. Otherwise, it’s not enjoyable.
Any new releases from BetaBait?
We are planning on giving our early adopters more of a voice. While we already have a commenting section on individual app pages, we plan on adding a voting mechanism, so that users, if they really love an app, can help vote it to the top of a particular category. It’s these kinds of features and functions that users appreciate and gives them a reason to return and engage with our discovery platform.
How do you think BetaBait is adding value to the startup eco-system?
Startups fuel the world. They create jobs and give the economy a boost. If we can make more startups successful, then we continue to create more jobs and pump more money into the eco-system.
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