A few months ago, TK, the Founder of Toutapp, wrote a blog post, which he submitted to AppSumo’s Lean Startup Challenge, about how Toutapp got started, how it stayed lean, and how it exploded in the marketplace as soon as it launched.
They say positivity attracts positivity (thanks, Oprah!), and success must attract success, because the result of this blog post was $10,000 in hosting from Engine Yard, $8,000 in services from Chargify, and $1,000 from Twilio.
As part of the same Challenge, Toutapp also won Eric Ries’s and the 500Startups prize.
As TK’s post describes, Toutapp was exactly what you would describe as a “lean startup.” Right from the start, Toutapp used pre-existing web apps for some of the functionality of the site, including Sengrid for email servers and Chargify for billing. That meant that TK was able to create the product and ship it within three (count ‘em) days. Since the launch, Toutapp has been focused on increasing and perfecting functionality within the site.
The reason that Toutapp was lean from the beginning was because TK was trying to find the best, fastest solution to a problem. He added the paid plan so he could test if others had the same problem and was willing to pay for his solution. It wasn’t something that came from an extensive, cumbersome plan. As TK said, “Great ideas are the things that happen in between all the stuff you’re doing to manufacture your great idea.”
Having the text services from Twilio, the hosting from Engine Yard, and the continued functionality of billing through Chargify has been huge. It has allowed Toutapp to focus on developing features like Tout Groups and Gmail integration.
Why build those elements of a site yourself when there are already great versions out there, just waiting to help you launch your product faster?
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