From Idea to 50 Customers in 7 Months for ZipMessage by Brian Casel

📌
Brian Casel is the founder of ZipMessage - Async video messaging with clients and co-workers.
 

Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?

ZipMessage started with a simple need to ask a customer to record their screen and send it back to me... But it quickly evolved into a back-and-forth asynchronous conversations tool. Clients or co-workers can swap messages using camera, screen, audio-only or text, and have these messages threaded in a single conversation view.
 
Recipients don't need to download or install anything in order to reply. They simply click your link and can record their response in their browser.Works on mobile too :)
 

How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?

We built a very simple version of the product in about 3 months and brought on first customers at that point. We hit 50 customers around 4 months after that, so in total: 7 months to go from idea to 50 customers.
 

Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?

Ruby on Rails, Vanilla JS (with StimulusJS) and TailwindCSS. We love it for it's simplicity and speed to build, maintain and ship new features.
 

What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?

ZipMessage of course!
 
My team is spread across 5 continents and we're 100% asynchronous, so we swap ZipMessages daily to have that face-to-face (err screen-to-screen) interaction without having meetings.
 
We also use GitHub, Notion, Slack, and several other tools to fill out specific needs.Oh, and Stripe of course :)
 

What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?

Ship fast! Be strategic, of course, but the faster you can ship new features or new marketing projects, the faster you can move through your roadmap and get to your next "checkpoint" in your path to product-market-fit.
 
Talking to customers is essential too. I do many calls with customers every week, plus lots of async messaging (using ZipMessage!) with our customers. This gives us total clarity on what exactly we need to build, and in which order. We also use this for voice-of-customer information that we use in our marketing projects.
 
I host 2 podcasts where I and my co-hosts share behind-the-scenes of what we're working on: BootstrappedWeb.com and OpenThreads.co :)