These last few weeks have been very exciting. I took some time off my PhD to focus on launching our new startup TimeStash.
I have been working part-time on TimeStash since beginning of 2013. I am taking care of the full stack: database, system administration, backend programming and front-end programming. My colleagues are dealing with the business aspects of the project and are designing the user experience.
TimeStash is a platform to retrieve, store, and organize all your memories. It is also designed to be a social experience, where you can share souvenirs with your friends. One of the core feature of TimeStash is a sort of time machine, where you can navigate through the years and browse the public memories at the time.
We had developed and refined TimeStash for close to two years, so we were confident that the product was ready for prime time. We knew that we still had some issues, such as not being mobile-friendly. However, the website had grown quite complex, and unfortunately wasn’t designed with mobile experience in mind. At that point, it was just too much work to redesign the website to make it reactive. So the plan was to grab the desktop users, and confirm that there was a market for our product. Only then, we would start to invest resource in a mobile version.
We launched TimeStash in Mexico City. Why so far from Switzerland? Two reasons. Our CEO had very good contacts in Mexico, and we thought that the conditions there were ideal to test our concept before going for a bigger market like the United States.
I wasn’t directly involved in the logistics of the launch. I am just the tech guy and just had to make sure the website wouldn’t crash. The reason I mention this is to make it clear that I have no merit in how the launch was handled. But I have to say, what was accomplished there is a true miracle. I can’t go too much into details as some of this information is still confidential, but I will try to give an overview of what we did and what response we got.
We were able to negociate a deal with a famous, triple-platinum, Mexican band to become our brand ambassadors and actually perform at our launch event. We booked a venue in a club in Mexico City, invited the local press as well as some local celebrities. This was a great lesson for me. You don’t need to be rich or famous to organize that kind of things. It’s possible to make it happen with a few connections and a lot of business acumen.
Thanks to this event, we got a lot of press coverage. We even got about 30 seconds of national television! Those 30 seconds came close to actually bringing down the website. I was watching the server and the analytics, and I must say I had never seen anything like that before. That was a bit scary, but also exciting.
In terms of actual numbers, Google Analytics tells us that we received about 5,000 new sessions the day following the launch. It went down a bit, and then spiked again after the TV apparition. All together, we got close to 30,000 unique visitors during the month of August. I am releasing a screenshot taken from Google Analytics. Please note that I am only showing the new users segments.
So I believe we were quite successful in bringing people to our website. The next question is how many of them ended up creating an account? Actually, quite a lot. We are very close to 10,000 users now on TimeStash, only a couple hundred of them are friends, family, or contacts. In the end, about a third of the visitors ended up creating an account. Of course, creating an account is not the end of the road, we still need those users to actually use TimeStash. But that story is for a future article…