Buffer

A powerful and intuitive social media management platform complete with scheduling, analytics, and monitoring.
Batch: 2011 Summer
Status: Unsuccessful

Buffer

A powerful and intuitive social media management platform complete with scheduling, analytics, and monitoring.
Batch: 2011 Summer
Status: Unsuccessful

Company

Buffer is an application for Twitter which helps people Tweet consistently without spending all day on Twitter. All people do is put tweets into their Buffer, and the app schedules tweets for them during the day.

We have started development on two core features: detailed analytics and a “Buffer button” for blogs. We make the sharing easier, and we make measuring the impact of your social media efforts easier.

We both live in the UK, Birmingham at the moment. We plan on moving the company to the US, Silicon Valley after YC.

Founders

Joel: After graduating I founded a startup rather than getting a job. It reached 6,000 users and gave me the first real lessons of building a startup. The many mistakes contributed to how I approached Buffer.

Leo: I offered the Business School to build a better feedback system and although they agreed to it beforehand, I was threatened to be kicked out after pushing an MVP live as sharing data in such an interactive way for students, was not acceptable.

I applied the 80/20 principle at University. There was an option where you could gain extra credit by doing more than the recommended load of work. I took Japanese as my extra class, and 3 of my 4 years it enabled me to finish with a mark of 76% although I averaged 70% in my classes.

We met about 2 years ago at an entrepreneurs networking event and have bounced ideas off each other ever since.

Leo will finish his exams at beginning of June.

Leo is having a year out from University to work on Buffer until Summer of 2012. Continuation thereafter is optional.

Progress

We have been working on Buffer since October 2010. We have a fully functioning product which we are shouting about.

We have 1500 users at the moment, of which 45 are paying. This gives us a monthly revenue of $280. Numbers of users is growing at 400% per month. Here is a chart:

Idea

– I wanted to solve my own problem and was frustrated with how other tools approached scheduling tweets.

– Leo created a small company providing a learning centre for newcomers to Twitter in Austria.

– We have 44 people paying for Buffer on a monthly subscription.

– Buffer erases two steps twitter users usually had to take to schedule tweets. The first one being setting the time of each individual tweet. The second one being to go to your account in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to schedule from there. With Buffer all you do is hit the Buffer icon on the page you are reading to add more tweets.

– If users are currently not using Buffer, they would be using “normal tweet scheduling”, such as SocialOomph, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or any of the other about 10 similar services out there.

– At the moment our competitors are the applications named above. In addition there are 3 more application, which are more closer to the nature of Buffer. They are Timely, Pluggio and 14blocks.

– Losing our focus on what the customer needs and focusing on whom we fear most is what we fear most.

One of our users sent us this: “I really appreciate the “human” quality of your company. We try for that in our own company too for the exact reason that those are the kinds of companies we like to deal with ourselves.”

We understand making customers happy is the most important thing.

– We are making $280/mo

– We have a consistent conversion rate from free to paid plans of 4%

– We have a strong acquisition engine through planned referral and affiliate programmes

– We have been focused on building a great product and have not give much thought to how much we could make. At current growth rate, a monthly income in the tens of thousands of dollars seems very achievable.

We have 3 main sources to get users:

– Via blogposts (we write a lot of reviews about our own product and submit them for guestposting or ask for being reviewed)

– Planned referral programme

– Planned affiliate programme

Others

We managed to create a DoS attack on ourselves. We have a Chrome extension which lets people add tweets, and which shows people how many tweets are left in their Buffer too. To show the number, the extension polled the server every 5 seconds. After a few hundred people installed the extension, we found the server almost came to a halt. After some investigation, we thought we were under attack and even started banning some IPs, of our own users! Glad we weren’t!

Comments

Get notified
When there are
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments