We recently had the chance to talk with Pablo Villalba from Teambox about how he got started and what advice he has to pass onto new and budding entrepreneurs, better yet, Teambox is now inBloon’s project management solution. The trickle effects of Next Top Startup, but I digress.
So without further ado, the startup feature of : Teambox
How did you come up with the idea for your company?
On one hand, I was looking for something that would tie our team together as a group. We tried some online solutions, excel spreadsheets, blogs and Gantt planning, but nothing worked.
When a client asked to deploy a solution in his own server, I started some real research for a quality open-source project manager. There was not such a thing. So, with a little seed funding, we got started.
The first versions were merely proofs of concept, and were only available on Spanish. However, they taught us important lessons on software development and clients’ needs. All this made a difference for Teambox 2.
Any milestones that you’d like to share?
When Teambox 2 was launched, it was one of a kind. It was the first Twitter-style collaboration tool that grouped team communication and task management.
After exiting the beta period, we set up some pricing plans for users who needed more of what we were doing. So far, we have over 100 paid accounts for the online version and we’re starting to have our first corporate clients. This means a lot of new lessons to learn, and the need to adapt quickly.
We recently acquired an online group chat application in our space, and we have plans to integrate its functionality in Teambox while expanding its offerings. We’re very excited about the possibilities.
Can you tell us a bit about the team?
At the heart of Teambox, we’re very technically minded people with a passion for design.
We had endless discussions over little details, because we care about usability. You can spend months developing the coolest feature on Earth, but unless you make it simple nobody is going to use it.We’re currently 5 programmers and 3 mixed profiles for sales and marketing. We expect to keep things small and simple, scaling our service without a significant increase on staff.
For that, we only work with the best. Our open-source community has been a great talent pool, where people can learn our working style before joining the company.
Any difficulties you’ve experienced in the startup process of your company?
It’s been extremely hard to get funded during the hard times economy has been through. Nevertheless, we were lucky to find the right investors who trusted the startup and team and made it possible.
It has also been very disappointing to see how public grants have more to do with political reasons than real innovation and supporting research and development. Lessons learned from this: Private money is reasonable, and it’s always better to survive with your own money or customers than looking for money from others.
Any advice to pass on to budding entrepreneurs?
Just get started. Entrepreneurship is like a George Lucas film, where you meet your friends during a long journey to an uncertain destination