HalfBake is our second startup as co-founders. The idea came out of our own challenges while working on our previous startup – www.motorpaneer.com. We were building a recommendation engine that helped Indian car buyers pick the best new car for them. As a designer/developer team, we had no trouble building new features, but we really struggled to figure out which ideas to go after next. Like every other team, we had a whole bunch of ideas and no clue how to evaluate and prioritize them. So we came up with some complicated excel sheets to rank and analyze ideas between the two of us. We also had a whole lot of amazing mentors, advisors and investors at our disposal, but we didn’t know how to keep them in the loop for our ideation process. We were also working on a way to get feedback from users on our website and include it in our ideation process.
Eventually, we decided to move on from our previous startup and began building our internal solution as a web app that any team can use. And that’s HalfBake.io now. It’s a web app that helps your team gather new ideas and get early feedback while you evaluate and refine them into a smarter roadmap. It helps you include your team, your external stakeholders as well as the users on our website in the ideation process. Your team can use it to test your assumptions early and avoid making costly mistakes.
We built the first version of our User Engagement tool – the Hollerback Widget in a month and released it last week. It helps teams get feedback and ideas from users on their website. We got featured by BetaList and have more than 480 beta sign-ups from all over the world and are consistently getting 10-20 new sign-ups every day. Anyone who wants to see how our awesome new tool works, can check out the personalized demo. We’re running a limited time free trial for early bird sign-ups.
Our time at Axel Springer Plug and Play has been really great. We made some great connections and got feedback from a lot of mentors from diverse backgrounds.
We are huge fans of LayerVault (RIP), Slack, AirBnB and Sketch. In Germany, we absolutely love Number26 for doing something completely new, bold and executing it this well.
Give it a shot and sign up for beta!
Toni: Currently, we’ve somehow ended up in this niche of building a lot of internal tools for startups and teams. But this is not the only thing we want to do. What I like about it is that we’re starting projects from scratch and we have full control over them.
Martin: The first project we worked on was a tool for a large scale real estate development company. What they needed was a tool for their Sales people - to be able to mark their different spots and locations at different stages of the sales funnel. So we created a tool that helps them in this process.
Toni: And this one actually served as a starting point for the tool we’ve developed for betahaus, which aims to allow the Sales and Management team to see which team rooms are occupied right now, which ones are free or will be occupied in a few weeks or months, so no double bookings appear.
Alex: These two projects were more focused on real estate, let’s say, but we’ve also done more design-heavy projects like the one we did for Artique which is an online artists agency. For them, we built a whole website and an online system to present their artists starting only from their logo. It had to be very flexible, because the artists needed to be able to edit their own profiles, putting their resume, changing colours.
Toni: Honestly, we have skillsets that you don’t usually find in developers. Because we've had lives that were not just about computer science. I think to some extent this is what makes us different.
Martin: I believe one of the reasons why people pick us over other studios is because it can be very hard working with developers. If you’re not understanding their work, if the communication is not flowing, you, as a client can feel lost. We're easy to communicate with and we’re always open to feedback and we're open to discuss anything. In the end, after all iterations, if you say we need to start the website from scratch and that you don’t like the idea, we won’t take it personally.
Alex: Also, I think, since we all work as coding teachers, we are officially qualified to explain what coding is to people who don't code, which is actually really rare because a lot of developers, as Martin says, don't want to, or literally just don't know how to articulate what they're doing. Whereas we are trained in articulating what it is that we're doing, why it's meaningful and why it takes a certain amount of time.
Alex: Zimt & Mehl - the Turkish bakery around the corner. It’s just soo good.
Martin: Oh, there is this Italian restaurant called Ristorante del Arte
Tony: Oh, my God, this place is so funny. It looks like a pretty average Italian restaurant, but the whole interior design inside is just decorated in such a weird way. The entire place is covered in frescoes. They have crystal chandeliers and Easter bunnies. Some Greek columns. It has a different name on the menu, on the side and on the Internet. And it was an ex-shoe-store.
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