We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Alexandre Vaz”, CEO at the Lisbon – Portugal based start-up “Liquid”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Liquid is a personalization platform that allows mobile app publishers to easily segment users and personalize their apps in real-time based on profiling, activity and without changing the code.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
The first lines of code of Liquid were written in late September 2013. In the beginning of May 2014 we initiated a closed Beta for a handful of selected Beta requesters, and later in August 2014 we had our public release. We are currently working with a number of clients who have helped us validate our platform and who are now active users and our most valuable supporters.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
We have a SaaS platform and charge a monthly fee based on the data volume each app sends every month. We also have a free tier without time and functionalities limitations so that still small in volume apps can use it since day 1.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Liquid was born out of frustration with the existing mobile analytics tools available in the market, which don’t offer sufficient user personalization and do not give publishers a full 360o view on what is going on in their apps. Product development house, Faber Ventures, together with Alexandre Vaz believed they could do better and started developing a prototype to test that hypothesis. After prove right, the next obvious step was to create Liquid.
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?
Liquid combines analytics and personalization in a single, one-stop-shop suite, designed specifically for app developers, product owners and marketing professionals. Our ability to change any variable in the app code in real-time, means an app publisher can change without the need to change the code of the app, submit it to the app store, wait to be approved and wait for users to update their phones. Plus you can
do it for all your users, a segment of it or just one user.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Most of our growth has been organic and through key relationships that we have established with apps publishers. We have reached our first goal of having more than 500 apps in our platform.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our main competitors are Mixpanel and Flurry for analytics. There are a few others for A/B testing but none that can offer all that we can give our customers. Our competitive advantage is the fact that we are a one-stop shop for analytics and personalization. Our platform shortens the process and the amount of time needed to react to your users data.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The main obstacles Liquid faced were mainly small team versus demanding timescales. We have successfully launched Liquid and gathered feedback from first users to make adjustments to our platform and define priorities to our product development roadmap.Our latest upgrade was a re-development that made our platform scalable and suitable for clients with very large data volumes.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
The main feature and key differentiator that Liquid offers is personalization, which is a recent offering in the industry. Therefore we need to explain our users the connection between analytics and personalization so that they can fully understand the benefits of using Liquid e Platform. Our goal is to ensure that our users start taking full advantage of all functionality as soon as they integrate their apps with our platform.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We have a solid product with a unique approach to an existing problem in the mobile community: users have different experiences and needs that need to be addressed differently. Liquid is here to fill a whitespace, allowing app publishers to segment and personalize their
apps according to each target.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
On the short term Liquid will continue investing in the field of analytics and personalization for mobile apps. Currently we have a roadmap
full of ideas and features we would like to implement, and we believe this will keep us focused and busy for the times ahead. We have started recently in the field of machine learning.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
Most of our team has a background of working in startups and using analytics. The problems mentioned previously were very present in our daily lives, and the main reason why we started analyzing this market gap.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We have learned that effort and success come side by side, and that working with a great team makes everything possible. We have worked hard to launch Liquid and are confident that our product is unique, robust and reliable.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
If everything continues as planned, 6 months from now our biggest problem will be keeping up with growth. We are preparing for that and believe we will be able to tackle it.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The main benefit is the ability for our customers, i.e., app publishers, to increase engagement with their user and thus increase their app monetization. With Liquid our customers have access to a one-stop shop that allows them to study users and react to their audience. We believe this will drive up users engagement, building up a better user community, and increasing monetization.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
When we entered our Beta phase, we were featured in Product Hunt and Beta List, as well as TechCrunch and VentureBeat. These mentions gave us a strong market exposure, which led to several sign ups in our platform and a lot of word of mouth We have also done some marketing campaigns, attended events, and focused on spreading the word about our new platform.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
We have customers from all industries in the Mobile world, from game publishers, entertainment apps, social networking apps, and others. I wouldn’t say that we focus a specific industry or geography, since we believe our product is a fit in the mobile industry generically.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
We have several new customer sources, and our initiatives include digital marketing campaigns, attending events, and also the efforts of two business developers who work on lead generation, relationship building and deal closure. They are drawn to sign in and integrate their app mainly because we are innovative and the benefits of the platform are easily perceptible.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
The feedback we have been receiving is unanimous, and we can clearly state that our clients are very happy with our product. Positive feedback includes simplicity, functionality, velocity, ease of use, but most of all the return of investment.
20. How are you going to scale?
We are scaling organically: we grow alongside our clients and the needs that they uncover along they way. We constantly undergo new developments so that we can quickly respond to market needs and improve our offer to current and future users.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
There isn’t one big missing feature, but a series of suggestions from our users. We incentivize all our costumers to give us detailed feedback and, whenever we feel it’s adequate, we address those suggestions. We currently support iOS, Android and Windows Phone and our customers are asking to add a few other languages.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Due to the nature of our service we will always be an international business. We plan to expand organically and define geography priorities according to market demands.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Our growth possibilities are yet undefined, but we plan to integrate our app with clients in all industries and geographies. Our latest developments will allow us to scale with existing and new users.
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 are comfortable with our team right now, but we are currently looking for new Ruby on Rails developers. Anyone interested that would like to be part of our team can send us and e-mail 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?
Currently we are looking for new partners, either app publishers that would like to test our platform and create new experiences with it, or development agencies. Any parties that would be interested in partnering up with us can easily reach us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
There is always someone that doesn’t think your idea will work or it will be too hard to do. Don’t listen to them, if you are persistent and work hard, success will follow.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
We believe we are shaping a new trend in apps with the capability to offer different experiences to its users through personalization. So we would like to invite anyone that is interested to check our platform capabilities and send us your feedback afterword. Thank you.