Ideas and Validation August 12, 2020

Idea feedback: helping startups save money on their software bills.

Tadhg O'Leary @Tadhg808

Hi 👋 I have an idea for a side project that Id' love some feedback on.

I've put together a quick Notion page to illustrate the idea. It's called The Startup Negotiator (https://startupnegotiator.com/).

The Startup Negotiator helps startups save $$$ on their software bills by negotiating on their behalf. The goal is to wait until at least 1000 startups sign up and use the power of group negotiating to get the best deals possible for those startups.

I've had this idea for ages but never got around to launching it. I'd really appreciate any feedback anyone has. In particular, is the value prop clear from the website? Should I keep the Notion page as my website or is it a bit "unprofessional"? What do you think of the signup flow? Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Thanks

  1. 1

    Thanks everyone for all of the feedback on this post. I've updated and simplified the website based on everyone's feedback. Have a look here: https://startupnegotiator.com/

    Thanks

  2. 1

    Take a look at sites that offer to negotiate peoples' bills for them, like billfixer.com, asktrim.com, billshark.com and truebills.com. These sites negotiate existing bills for the customer and then take a cut of the monthly savings. It would probably be simpler for you to collect information about existing software options [including pricing], getting the entrepreneur to choose which software he / she wants, and then negotiating a deal for them to either subscribe or renew. That way, you can charge a cut of their savings and having a continuous business, as opposed to waiting for 1000 people to sign up before anything can be done

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback. Really interesting model that I'll definitely consider. Quite similar to https://www.buyer.co/. My thinking is that it might be more compelling to aggregate the demand on the startup side first (1000 signups), before going to the suppliers. But, ya, getting 1000 startups to sign up in the first place is going to be quite tricky.

    2. 1

      Just FYI, only asktrim.com seems to be functional & relevant links.

      1. 1

        Sorry, not sure why the links didn't work. There are several services here, with active links: https://www.frugalrules.com/best-bill-negotiation-services/

        Also, I personally use billfixers at https://billfixers.com/

  3. 1

    It has high chance to be useless to me as even if you succeed you may negotiate discounts for software I neither use nor care about. If I could see some sort of a list/ranking of companies that you intend to talk to I could be more inclined to sign.

    Secondly, as indiehacker I am sympathetic, but as a customer/prospect it is a bit too speculative, the copy screams to me "Wait so you didn't talk to any company yet?".

    Finally, the website (copy) does not build my confidence. Could use some sort of a indication as to who is collecting the signups and why should I trust them to succeed negotiating with companies e.g. "As an experienced online marketer...".

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback. Love the idea of adding social proof. Whats tricky is that the idea is to let the startup founders tell me which companies they most want me to talk to. Switch the model from being a software deals website like AppSumo to one where I only look for deals from providers that you care about. But can understand that you would have no idea which providers other founders most want me to talk to. What about a list of the top 10 most commonly requested companies/providers so far? Could continually update the list then every 50 signups or so.

  4. 1

    I think it makes more sense for just end users / solo entrepreneurs. The reason is that if a startup is seeking a new software, they're seeking it NOW. Whereas if I'm just one person browsing deals for software, I might be willing to wait long enough for you to aggregate the negotiating power to get me the software more cheaply (See browsing versus search https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/pinduoduo).

    That said, I think you can solve issue 2 from @hatkyinc by creating a holding account for your company which aggregates the buying power of your clients. When a user says they want a certain software, have them set a price point that they'd be willing to buy at and then have them enter their credit info (see how https://www.inmotion.app/ does it after the sign up process - no purchase, yet I'm still willing to enter my details).

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. What's probably not coming across very well, is that this service wouldnt be focused on new software. It would be focused on negotiating for better deals on the software you currently use. So, for example, if 100 startups sign up and tell me that they already use Heroku, I would then negotiate with Heroku for a better deal on behalf of all those startups.

    2. 1

      Your right about new subscriptions, but often these deals also include moving existing subscriptions into the deal, so that it doesn't block startups that bought before the deal was struck cause they couldn't wait.

  5. 1
    • Startups need time more than the money, it should be easy, fast, the page and the process, not register, list, pray, wait...
    • "Big companies often save over 50% by negotiating their software contracts."
      I don't think it's a good start, that happens cause the pricing module already accounts for that, like the pricing list doesn't scale and everyone knows that.
      I don't think you'd reach something similar by have many tiny accounts as you would one big account.
      You also are setting the expectations on saving, which IDK if you'd be able to deliver..
    • I think the page is like over the top, in-place of being simple
      "Co-op software accounts" "Tell us what you use, we will get you a deal"
      something like
      and just have an email and a place to list software/services... (could be simple text box, later to be made better with autocomplete tagging)
    • Than the entire product could just be an email list basically.
    1. 2

      Thanks a lot for your feedback, really helpful. Definitely think I need to fix the sign up flow to make it as quick and easy to sign up as possible. So will definitely work on that.

      On the expectations of savings issue, I think you'd be pleasantly surprised by the amount of potential savings available on common saas tools. Even for smaller 10-20 person startups. This article covers it quite well: https://www.cleanshelf.com/resources/the-state-of-business-saas-spend-2018/

      Thanks for the feedback on t being "over the top", can completely see where you are coming from. I'm trying to make it really clear to people that there are big potential savings available. But will test out a couple of versions where the copy is less "loud".

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