The Problem with Product
IrisPR was two years into a startup journey. The company had a real platform that customers were buying, they were using daily, they loved it, and everything seemed to be coming together. The company had one in-house developer and some outsourced resources, so any bugs that came up were addressed quickly, and iterations were being made based on the customer feedback loop.
“It all seemed to be running smoothly. We had a great product that stood up, and were working on building out our roadmap,” said Aly Saxe, Founder & CEO of IrisPR. “Then we lost our engineer.”
Finding a new full-time Java developer turned into a full-time job. The Java talent pool in Phoenix, AZ is limited, which meant looking outside in very expensive markets. It became clear to Aly that she may not be able to afford a senior-level programmer.
“We are running lean as we continue to prove out the market. I needed a development resource that was senior enough to help me make critical technology decisions, and would also put their hands on keys and code, AND could fit in our startup budget. After a while, I realized I was looking for a unicorn.”
The Product Solution
Aly had worked with Vincent previously at a couple of startups. She knew his expertise, attention to detail, and work ethic. After diving into the platform, Vincent concluded that IrisPR didn’t actually need a full-time development team or individual. The product was already in great shape. Iris needed a dev partner who could address problems as they arose, and help Aly build out the roadmap. This could be done affordably and flexibly.
“Vincent and his team jumped right in and started knocking out tickets that had been sitting in our agile tool for weeks. They got familiar with the platform quickly and their output is always solid.”
Not only was the Founders Workshop team able to get involved and make improvements right away, but Vincent was also able to help when customers started asking for custom development work.
“Vincent has stepped in as a technical leader more times than I can count. I feel totally confident putting him on the phone with customers and have brought him in at that idea stage with every opportunity. He really feels like part of our team.”
Founders Workshop was especially helpful when a special project went south.
“We hired another development team to execute a specific project for a customer. We had worked with this team before and been pleased with their output, but this time, it just wasn’t coming together.”
Founders Workshop volunteered to help manage the project and try to get the other team on track, but deadlines were being missed and the customer was growing frustrated.
“Vincent could have chosen to bad mouth this other team and take the work out from under them, but he was extremely professional and helpful. Eventually, we handed the project over to Founders Workshop and explained to the customer what had gone wrong. They were very understanding, and when we hit our new deadline and delivered a solution that worked just as intended, they were ecstatic. This was a win we owe to Founders Workshop.”
As the IrisPR platform improves, Vincent often comes up with creative feature ideas and is helping to build out a tremendous roadmap. Customers continue to be pleased with product iterations and the speed at which bugs are addressed.
“Product is the last thing I worry about now. Every person we’ve worked with at Founders Workshop has been wonderful, and we have total peace of mind. Startups would be crazy to not hire Vincent and his team as a resource.”
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