We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Bruno Figueiredo”, CEO at the Lisbon – Portugal based start-up “Hiveflux”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
HiveFlux is a beautiful, simple project management app that gives you a real-time overview of what everyone in the company is working on. It’s also a great planning tool, letting you adjust your team’s daily workload, making sure everyone is productive and never overbooked.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
HiveFlux was founded in 2013. The project has been entirely bootstrapped until now. Our closed Beta started in May 2014 and we launched 15 October 2014. We are now looking for investment to develop the product into our final vision.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
HiveFlux is a web app that works as a Software-as-a-Service. We offer 5 different plans, one of them free, making it work in a Freemium model. We offer both monthly and yearly plans.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Both partners have been working together in a consulting business for years. When we started this project, we hired external developers and designers to work with us.
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?
Most task management tools only show you what you have to do or what you’ve done. Not the in-between. By starting a task you automatically broadcast it to the entire team as your status update. What makes us unique is this real-time overview of your company’s pulse.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
We’ve been growing steadily since launch and we have about 2000 companies signed up already. Our aim is to reach 10000 companies in the first semester this year.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors are products like Trello, Asana or Basecamp. Our main advantage is our design, since we started developing it to take advantage of all the latest interaction technologies. Our past experience as interaction designers also helped us reduce complexity significantly throughout the product. For instance, you never need to assign people to projects first; you assign them a task and they’re part of it.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Designing our interface presented quite a few challenges, since we make extensive use of cards and scrollable targets. Other than that, the bulk of our work was to figure out ways to provide a powerful yet simple product. You never see the entire interface at once. It evolves with your use.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Mainly that productivity software is not only about providing useful features but also about user behavior and giving them the right incentives to be productive.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We’re a beautifully simple and intuitive app. Also, we don’t price our product per user. We want everyone to be able to use our product and spread the word about it.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We designed it to be scalable, so we have plans to expand it into other areas. Our goal is to become the one app everyone keeps open to all day to get their work done.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
I worked in a lot of new media agencies and saw an opportunity to overcome their collaboration projects by designing a beautiful app catering for the way people effectively work these days.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
That spreading the word about your product is nearly as much work as designing and building it. We’re learning new things everyday. It’s a lot of fun.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Dealing with scale. As our user base grows, so will our infrastructure needs. But we already have a plan in place and a great partner managing this issue.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The main benefits are getting a happier, more productive team, one that’s not overworked, has fewer interruptions and doesn’t need to spend so much time figuring out what others are doing to get their own work done.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Mostly word of mouth, but we’re also listed in most web app directories. We also have a fair share of media outlets reporting on our innovative take on enterprise productivity.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
We have several small to mid size design agencies and consulting businesses signed up. For larger companies we have some groups inside them using the tool, but not their whole companies yet.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
I think the main drive is our design and simplicity. New customers come from word of mouth and social media, where we already have an active presence.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Most say they love the design and the way we solved some particular issues that some of our competitors still struggle with. Its simplicity also gets a lot of positive comments.
20. How are you going to scale?
We designed the software and its architecture to be able to scale it as we grow. Our infrastructure partner is also ready to soar to new heights at the flick of a switch.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Gantt charts. However, we do not plan to offer them per se, but instead to design something that is just as powerful, yet easier to understand and use.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Our app was designed from start to incorporate localizations. We already offer our plans in 3 different currencies. So yes, we do plan to expand as we grow.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
I think we can grab a fair share of the market. Our aim is to be to enterprise productivity software what Salesforce was for CRM. We have lofty goals.
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?
Not at the moment. We’re keeping the team purposely small to make it sustainable as we grow and we only plan to hire new people when we absolutely need them.
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?
Yes, we’re looking for outside investment from VCs. We feel that’s the best way to grow our platform and turn it into a big business. They can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
To spend a lot more time designing your product and testing different prototypes than effectively building it. Building without a clear purpose is a waste of time.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Just that we use our tool everyday to build itself and we love it. We hope we get a lot more companies on board. We’re sure we could make their work environments happier and more productive.