Below is the full and in-depth very insightful interview that we have conducted with with Mr. Veloso regarding his start-up “Limetr.ee”:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Limetr.ee” is all about?
Imagine a place where you can gather photos, videos, audio files and texts that illustrate your children’s lives.
Imagine you can put together this recollection of memories as your children are growing, enjoy it, and share it with your family and close friends.
Imagine it’s private, safe and beautiful.
You just imagined Limetree.
It’s your digital shoebox where you can store all kinds of memories from your kids as they grow and it is also a time capsule that is delivered to them on the day you choose. How can you not do it for your kids?
2. When has “Limetr.ee” been founded? And what stage is “Limetr.ee” currently at?
Limetree’s idea began in April 2011. Basically our two co-founders are both parents and would like to create a platform where they could store safely and privately a recollection of their kids’ digital moments – their photos, videos, audios, letters, write down a note or keep a journal.
Until June, both of them worked to produce a document that would describe exactly how that product would work and what would it be. And that was the brief that allowed the engineering team to begin their work.
From August to December the web based application was developed and in January the first Beta testers were invited in.
This private Beta took place from January till May, when we began a new phase and opened the website, to a public beta.
At this moment we’re developing a couple of new functionalities that should be ready in June and will be in place before final launch.
We’re also developing the mobile application for iOS and Android. iOS app will be released (hopefully) in July and Android one, next fall.
3. What is “Limetr.ee” business model and how does it work?
Limetree has a freemium model. Anyone can sign up for a free account, that can stay like that indefinitely. It is limited as for the number of photos the user can upload and it doesn’t support videos and audio files. As for written messages they’ll always be unlimited.
It is possible to upgrade to a premium account. On those accounts it is possible to store unlimited photos (as written messages) and it also supports videos and audio files (although limited). Afterwards it will be possible to buy more videos and audios.
Mobile apps will be free. They’re just a way to interact with your web account.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
The two co-founders are longtime business partners and friends.
The project management and engineering supervision is guaranteed by an old friend of one of the co-founders.
The development, design and illustration teams were chosen from a couple of options to develop this project.
Pedro and Jaime are the 2 co-founders.
Pedro Dias is the CTO and Daniel is responsible for the project management.
Joao and Nuno are the engineers responsible for the development of the web application and the server side.
Rui is responsible for the web design and the overall design of the product and brand.
Raquel is the illustrator who made all the beautiful drawings.
Diogo and Dario are doing the HTML.
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?
Limetree allows you to gather moments of their children’s lives to be delivered to them one day. It will create a digital shoebox where you can put photos, videos, audio files, a journal of your kids childhood, letters you want to write. And it will enable it with a time capsule do it is delivered to your kids in the dates you choose.
With Limetree it is not possible to keep it safe, private and beautiful. Enjoy it and share it with family and friends and establish a day when it will be delivered to your child!
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Limetr.ee” achieved so far?
We’ve been in private Beta and had about 100 users. We’ve opened it last week and have not publicly announced it yet. So by now, we’ve a circa 300 users.
We are going to begin our marketing campaign in the beginning of June, by running a contest for Brazilian and Portuguese bloggers. The contest will be called “The best post in the world” and the first prize is a trip to New York.
With this we hope to begin publicizing it in Brazil and Portugal, and with that we intend to obtain more than ten thousand users. We also expect to engage with a lot of bloggers specially mommy bloggers that will be our ambassadors to spread our message through our target audience: moms and dads.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “Limetr.ee”‘s competitive advantage over them?
As far as we know, our competition are other alternatives to store digital content to your child. Like having a dropbox folder and including there photos and videos of your kids. Or having a private blog and fill it with content for your kids. Or putting up an email account where you send photos and videos and texts every once in a while with the intention to deliver it to your kid in the future.
However, none of these solutions enables you to establish a date when you actually deliver all you’ve been gathering to your kid.
And none of these solutions, allows you to establish privacy settings to enable you to direct some content to one kid, some to another and some to all.
And none of these solutions holds the 3 particular facets that make Limetree great: it’s safe, private and beautiful.
Limetree is specifically designed for your kids. We will keep developing it with this aim in mind.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
We struggled with which technology to use to develop Limetree. Every technology had its pros and cons. We decided to take a leap of faith and we didn’t choose the technology, we chose the team to develop it. The technology came with them.
We are still facing the obstacle of the limited resources (basically, you could always do it better if you’d have more money, right?). So we cannot develop everything we want to at the speed we want to. We prioritize.
Afterwards we will make a similar launch in the US and we expect to be able to achieve a couple of thousand users by this time next year.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
People do get our idea and what we’re developing… sometimes, what people don’t understand is that we have to choose between features and it’s not always what we like, but what we think most people will like.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Because we’ve got a hell of an idea!
Because we’ve developed a product that we actually love and use (for ourselves and for millions of people like us).
Because Limetree allows something that every parent in the world relate to: gather your kids happy moments for them to see it in the future.
We also think we’ve identified well our market and I think we also established in a good form how to reach them. Our marketing policy will rest upon the shoulders of bloggers.
The mommy and daddy blogging community is really growing and we expect to grow with them. On the other side, we consider bloggers have two great advantages for us to use: usually someone who has some audience is a very good writer (so they’ll be perfect to write about us, right?); on the other hand they already have an audience, which means people trust them. Therefore, if we’re able to convince a blogger about the awesomeness of Limetree we’re on a good track to reach lots of potential users.
11. If “Limetr.ee” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We are developing some other areas:
- Expanding mobile (we’re developing the app for iPhone, afterwards we’ll have android and then we’ll see)
– Launch in different languages
– Enabling features using the contents already in the Limetree
– Enabling a system of alerts that will help one use Limetree
– Have time-related context
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Limetr.ee” based on?
The two co-founders are both dads. Between us we have 5 kids. And we wanted to be able to put together content for our kids to see when they grow up. We wrote letters for their kids 18th birthdays, and made videos in particular moments in time for their kids to see in the future. The idea of building a legacy for our children really enticed us. That’s when we began thinking it would be very nice not only to prepare it for ourselves (and our kids) but also as a product every parent should have access to.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
- We have learned a lot about business models.
– We have learned a lot about launching products in the web.
– We’ve learned a lot about social media and social media marketing.
– We’ve learned a lot about coding.
– We’ve learned a lot about technology.
– We’ve learned a lot about mobile.
– We’ve learned a lot about emotions and what makes people do things.
– We’ve learned a lot about parenting.
– We’ve learned a lot about balancing life in family with launching a product.
– We’ve learned so much this is great, just because of that.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
To make sure we have time to continue building a Limetree for our own kids. Because all the work arousing from this should not hinder the final purpose: making make sure our kids (and all the others) have their childhoods registered for them to see in the future.
15. What’s the benefit for the user?
Users will have a unique way to gather different types of content from their children’s lives, enjoy of those contents, share it with family and friends, and make sure it is delivered to their kids when they’re older… in the day of their choice.
16. How did customers and/or users find out about you?
– Social Media in general.
– Conferences about parenting.
– Word of mouth.
17. Who are your current users? Who are your target users?
Our users are friends and all those we already were able to show our product to.
Our users will be parents. We want to appeal to the parents’ emotions. Let them think what would be like to have a recollection of their childhood memories with photos, and videos and a letter from their parents every once in a while.
And we think that most of the parents, when considering this, will come to the conclusion that they would love to have it, so I think they’ll want to do it for their children.
On the other hand, we want the experience of doing so to be great. We want to make sure the parents actually enjoy doing that. So we want the interface to be lovely so that people want to go there and check out what they have done already. And we want the users to be able to share it with their families and friends.
18. Where do new users come from and what makes new users try you?
You never know where your users are coming from. At least, if you are having lots of them coming. We are only beginning to publicize, but we already have lots of users who we don’t know. They’re learning about us by word of mouth and social media. That’s been the way we’ve moved.
We have done some 1 on 1 talks with lots of people too. So we guess that those people are coming in and are also telling their friends about it.
The idea is quite appealing. The feedback we’re having tells us that the concept is something people like, understand and want to use. It makes it easier for them to try it our because they actually feel the urge to do it.
On the other hand we’ve tried to make the user experience very smooth and easy. We want everything to be as intuitive as possible. We hope that’s going to bring new users too!
19. What do your users say about your product and/or service?
We have a lot of feedback from people that felt the need for this. They were either doing it in a blog or with a Gmail account, but felt it was not the same thing.
On the other hand our users keep telling us about new features they would like to see put together. We’re just not sure we will be able to develop it all.
From what we’re learning, our users are really liking it, so we’re in heaven at this moment. I guess we’re really making a difference.
20. How are you going to scale?
Our product is already built with scalability into thoughts.
So everything is actually prepared for the moment when it has to grow. Both in terms of storage and in terms of access to our webpage.
What we have is a platform that will receive, store and show content. Without going in the technicality of it, let me say that we were very concerned about 3 things:
- making sure it was beautiful, easy to use and with a great user experience;
– making sure it was scalable, and that it wouldn’t be ruined because you couldn’t use it if you had a lot of content (or if there were a lot of users)
– making sure that it was safe! And by safe, I mean guaranteeing that all the storage was truly safe and that there was no risk of loosing content; and guaranteeing the information our users are putting in there is safe and is will not be hacked.
And while designing the architecture of the application we had in mind these 3 things. thinking about the scalability of it we had to consider these 3 things and I’d say what we came up with intends to assure these 3 facets however big Limetree becomes.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers keep asking for?
Our platform is still not perfect, but we don’t want to disclose too much about what we’re developing. However, I can say somethings as there are some features that are already in test for some time, and will be launched pretty soon (in less than a month or so).
We still don’t allow users to upload videos, but that’s the next feature we will release. It will allow users to store videos and stream them right out of our platform.
As for other features, you’ll have to wait and see…
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We’re already international. We’re global and our users can be anywhere in the world.
Our limitation, up to this point, is the idiom. It’s only in English.
We’re going to launch the portuguese version for Brazil, tomorrow. And we hope to launch a spanish version later this year.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
There are 38 millions households with kids in the US (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2011 Annual Social and Economic Supplement)
In 2010, 76% of the households in the US had internet connections (Source: ITUWorldTelecommunication/ICT Indicators database)
This means that the number of households with kids and internet connection is of almost 29 million, only in the US. Our goal is to get hundreds of thousands of users in the first year.
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?
We will have to hire some new people. Although we are not hiring at this moment, the first ones we will hire are:
- Social media / communications manager
– Web Engineer (PHP, Python, Perl, Ruby, JS)
– IOS / Android developer
Any application should be sent to: email@example.com
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?
Up to this moment our business is completely bootstrapped. We’ve developed the whole thing without any funding. Now we’ll be looking for funding. We intend to use it for promotion and further developments.
Any contacts should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Begin with your idea, think about it a little and make sure it’s doable.
Imagine out how it should be like. And draft it. On paper. Read it and make sure it still makes sense. It does?
Then, go for it. And stop for nothing.