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We went into the collaboration tools market without a plan, this is what happened so far

Hey Indie Hackers!

I'm Ben, Co-Founder of Tape. We are 5 people with no experience in founding a SaaS business.

We somehow thought that building an all-in-one collaboration platform for your team was a good idea. After 2.5 years of intense development, we figured out that we might need a strategy to be able to compete against Notion, Airtable, Monday and all the other billion dollar companies that eat up that market as we speak.

Well, maybe you guys have an idea for what's next, here's the story of Tape so far:

May 2019 - Let's get started 🏃

After a couple of month talking back and forth, the Tape founding team had its kickoff meeting and set sail to this rather daring startup journey. We didn't know yet the thousand of challenges and problems we would have to solve in the coming years, but hey without a little naivete no startup would ever be founded right?
So there we were, 5 guys with a big vision and no experience.

October 2020 - Public beta release! 🎉

After 18 month of hard-core development, we finally were ready to launch our very first version of the product. That seems like a long time to launch an MVP, however building the core engine for a generic database with awesome collaboration UX is no easy task...

Of course, nobody cared about us launching. Some friends tried out the product and did not understand what we had built, why we had built it or how they should use it. You might think that at this point, we would sit down and discuss some basics like what's our ideal customer profile, who is our target group or how are we going to find them on the internet.

But no, we still had a lot of the initial naivete left inside us so we simply discarded the user feedback, ignored the lack of interest and kept on building our personal vision of how the collaboration platform of the future should look like.

You already guessed it, more pain was coming our way. 🙃

February 2021 - First doubts 🤔

After many more month of being behind our stated product roadmap and even more users who didn't understand the product, we finally sat down and had a bunch of crisis meetings.

We were less and less convinced that our team of 3 devs, 1 product owner and 1 sales guy could deliver the features we need, generate enough leads, iterate on the landing page, talk to customers, optimize the onboarding experience, do the back office stuff and all the other things we needed to do. 🥵

We also found more and more tools that we were in direct competition with. Notion, Airtable and Monday seemed to be quickly gaining market share and had hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal for developers and marketing.

So what did we do? Simple, we kept on building features. "They will come once we have our mobile app, for sure" 📱

September 2021 - Tactical development break

After many more month of bugfixes, feature releases, mobile application development and project management improvements we finally arrived at our first version of Tape that didn't suck 🕺.

Although we had been dog-fooding 🐶 our own product since our public beta launch in October 2020, we had to admit to ourselves that the product was not really usable until now. While still missing hundreds of features we wish we'd have, we could see use-cases where Tape could already provide great value to small teams.

Since our landing page was attracting 0-2 visitors a day, we knew that developing more features would not help us to get out of this mess. A tactical development break was the result. All 5 people should go out into the world wide web and find early adopters who enjoy using an all-in-one workplace with a great UI&UX, even if that means they don't have all the features that such a platform eventually has to offer.

So this is our current status. No surprises, struggling like everybody else here 😅. I'd be happy for any input you guys have and of course we can use all the feedback possible. What's missing, what's cool, what's hard to understand?

Cheers and hope to hearing from you,
Ben

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