With WebInno34 days away we thought it would be a good time to catch up with another of our past WebInnovators. Karl Wirth, the founder of Apptegic, participated as a "Side Dish" at WebInno30.
So tell us about Apptegic.
Apptegic is a customer retention solution for subscription businesses. Say you have a customer using your web or mobile app; whether they’re using it through a free trial, on a freemium basis or as a paying customer, you know who they are and you want to make sure you retain them. We help you understand, on a per customer basis, what they’re doing with - and how they’re using your software. We provide insight into what actions customers are taking, what features they’re using, how often they’re accessing the app, how they are doing against business metrics that matter to you etc. But we also enable you to respond personally to your customers in email and in-app. It’s a huge win for SaaS and other online businesses because we enable them to respond to what customers are actually doing, not just what they say. In this way, we help online companies convert free to paid, and up-sell, keep and renew their existing paying customers.
How did you get involved with WebInno?
When I first started thinking about doing a startup myself, I hadn’t been paying much attention to the startup scene. I went to a few WebInno events and loved them – they were a great way to meet people and see what was going on out there. When we were ready to do something public with our early alpha, we approached David about presenting.
How was being a SideDish at WebInno?
We wanted Webinno to be the first place we showed what we’d done because we knew it would be great for that. Knowing the event was coming up forced us to get everything wrapped up, so it was a good reason to focus. Once we were there, we had great interactions with the other demoers as well as all of the people that you meet as they come to see what you’re all about. We talked to them until we were hoarse. It was worth it. We got some great leads. In fact, we met one of our very best beta customers that night.
Leads were the biggest thing we were hoping to get out of the event and we definitely got what we wanted. It was so valuable to receive immediate feedback. We also were interested in finding candidates; and while we didn’t end up hiring anyone, we had some great conversations and got good sense of the hiring market. We also met other types of people – investors, service providers, and so on. While we didn’t really need any help at the time, we did meet a recruiter we’ve stayed in touch with. We also met people who ended up introducing us to some great beta candidates.
Honestly, if I could demo there every two months I would, just to be out there talking to people in the community.
What is your best WebInno memory?
We had just brought out our early alpha and suddenly we had line of people twelve deep wanting to talk to us, interested in what we were doing, and think it was a good idea. It was an incredibly validating experience.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from starting Apptegic?
One huge thing I’ve learned is to ask for help. People are amazingly willing to help – it really was way beyond my expectations. Over and over people responded positively, asking, “how can I help you”, “who can I introduce you to”, and so on. I had amazing responses from people to cold outreach on LinkedIn, emails or calls. I think too many people are afraid to reach out like that – but just do it, because it works. Ask for help and just reach out.
What do you think about Boston as a startup community?
Maybe it’s because we’re a web startup, but I feel like there is often an event happening that is tailor-made for us. Whenever I felt like I needed a few more people in beta I would go to these events and wander around, meet companies, and engage with people – it worked. Now that we are out of Beta, we are having success connecting with possible team members and partners at local events.
The help from the community is great. Founders/Mentors has been really helpful for advice, and MassTLC events are great places for learning and finding leads. There are lots of opportunities to learn from other CEOs in Boston thanks to programs like 12x12, which pairs 12 VCs and 12 current CEOs with 12 founders to mentor them.
We’re angel backed and have raised $1.5M in seed funding from a great group including Point Judith, ATV, Jit Saxena and Andy Palmer.
I really couldn’t really ask for more from a startup community. When I’ve needed things I’ve gone out and asked for them, and there they are. It’s been great.
So what’s next for Apptegic?
We’re hiring inside sales and customer success managers, operations folks to manage our growing data cluster and keep it running smoothly, Java developers, and data scientists. We have a lot of data on how our customers’ users engage with applications and that data will be anonymized and analyzed to find insights and develop customized solutions to improve and enhance the product.
Since WebInno, we were a finalist at the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battlefield, which was a lot of fun, have come out of beta and are rapidly growing the number of customers we serve. It’s a really exciting time.
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