We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Colton Shields”, Co-Founder of the Provo – USA based start-up “bettrnet”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
We provide a service that provides parents with information about their kids and their online behavior. We provide tools to help parents create a unique family culture about internet behavior.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
bettrnet started in the middle of the summer of 2014. We currently have our MVP 0 and we are in private beta. We are developing our next features according to customer’s feedback.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We plan to sell a monthly service to families (similar to Netflix) to cover all the mobile devices in the home. So our target customer is a family that has 5-7 devices and they pay monthly price to have those 5-7 devices covered.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
We are all in the same major and ended up working in the same group. We realized that we worked well together and once Doug (Co-Founder) showed us his idea we ran with it.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
We have bettr coverage, bettr features and its easier and safer to install. We work on all wifi and cellular networks. We provide bettr features and we have an app that walks the user through the install process. Our users do not have to pass their usernames and passwords unto us in order to make our service work.
More details – http://blog.bettrnet.com/2015/02/17/whybettrnet/
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We have received some early angel funding from Campus Founders Fund. Google for Entrepreneurs also backed us and gave us servers for a year. We just completed our MVP 0 and have 30 beta users. Looking to go live on April 30
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
NetNanny – they only work on a single wifi network
OpenDNS – they are focused on Enterprise and only do filtering
CleanRouter – Only works on single wifi network
MamaBear – doesn’t monitor online usage – focused on physical location of child
Others – Don’t work on wifi and cellular networks – have to give instragram/facebook/iCloud usernames and passwords to have the service work
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Dealing with limitation of iOS has really been our biggest obstacle. We spent a lot of time working around it and leveraging existing solutions to deal with the limitations.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Our product really is the code that we have written. We have written the code understanding the nitty gritty internet requests made by mobile devices. This knowledge helped us know how and where we can add features.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Our team rocks! We are all developers graduating with Masters in Information Systems Management. We are nerds that understand business. Not only do we have the best team but we are solving a real problem that people are willing to pay for.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Expand to Education sector – School districts/Universities
Expand to young professionals who want a productivity tool to help manage screen time
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Doug a Co-Founder was looking for a solution with his dad to monitor internet usage and found out there wasn’t a good solution. Looked into what it would take. He showed Troy (another Co-Founder) and myself his prototype and we were sold!
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We need more time! There just isn’t enough time in the day. There is so much to do all the time. We have learned to be flexible and how we need to be nimble and willing to change according to customer’s wants.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Customer Acquisition – continually getting more and more customers on our platform will be our biggest challenge in 6 months. We need to have a solid service that customers love so they want to share our service with their friends and family.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
Increased trust between parent/child. The parent has knowledge about what their kids are seeing online and has an effective tool to manage screen time. It will help parents help their kids make and maintain healthy technology habits.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
The following list shows where users heard about bettrnet:
Startup Grind events
1Million cups events
Brigham Young University
word of mouth
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our target customers and current customers are parents with kids who have mobile devices. We would eventually like to market to young professionals who spend too much time on their devices.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
From friends of current customers or searching online for a solution. There isn’t a good solution in the market to help with screen time, and monitoring of online consumption of media.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They love it and want it on all of their devices. They have lots of ideas about how they can use our service. They have great feedback for new features.
20. How are you going to scale?
In order to really scale we just need to add more and more servers! Luckily our service is all code, so scaling is significantly easier than other businesses.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
An installation process where they don’t have to do anything. Currently we have a install app that walks the user through the install process, however customers have expressed interests in an install process that is easier.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We would like to, its pretty far away right now so we don’t know any of the details. We haven’t put any cycles into discussing this however this is a definite possibility in the future.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We can become the go to service for parents to use to help their kids create healthy technology habits. We will continue to develop awesome features that parents love.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
Currently we are not looking to hire anyone. However in the future we will absolutely be looking for awesome people to bring onto the team. Reach out to us on twitter if you’d like to talk to us!
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We want to bootstrap for the foreseeable future. However that does not rule out opportunities for funding in the future. We are open to whatever makes sense and makes this awesome product get to customers the fastest.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Stick with it! Being a entrepreneur is the best. Highest highs and lowest lows. Make sure to celebrate wins no matter how small they are and make sure to notice key contributions of team members.