How we came up with this idea: Our goal for YC build sprint was to figure out what we want to make, launch a product and get 1 paying customer. We didn’t quite accomplish that but we spent a lot of time talking to our friends who work at smaller companies (Series A/B) and non-tech F500s (Boeing, Medtronic, UnitedHealth Group) about their workflow and problems. Among all our conversations (27 convos), 4 people who were Data Scientists at startups brought up that they “could be managing our notebooks much better”. Shri works in python notebooks a lot at Facebook so he knew that they had a pretty good solution to the problems our interviewees brought up and Akshay made a lot of the data infra for Uber’s marketplace experimentation team so he knew how to make the back-end.
We went back to the 4 DSs and pitched them Supernote -- they liked it so we did 11 more interviews with people we knew. We asked them to pay us $50 for life-time access to the product. 3 out of the 15 people paid us (1 of them is a close friend though) so we decided it was a good idea and we should work on it.
Domain expertise: Shri knows exactly what product we need to build because he’s a power user of Bento notebooks and ANP (internal tools) at Facebook which is what we used to validate our idea with customers. Akshay did a *ton* of data work at Uber and knows exactly how to make the back-end -- otherwise we couldn’t get our MVP up in 2.5-3 weeks.
How we know people need what we’re making: As described above we validated it with a bunch of people and got some pre-sales. Additionally, Facebook and Uber both have fairly large teams that work on these powerful notebooks as internal tools so we’re confident that there’s a real need here.