8 min read
It was just another dinner table idea. Being away from social media for about year, we wanted to find a way to still connect with the car community. The options for applications and tools at the time all felt incomplete, dated, and with poor user experience overall — so the brothers decided to execute and make it happen.
Ideas are cheap, execution is
- Chris Sacca
Gerard on the left and Jeremy on the right are two brothers who are polar opposites, but also share a lot of things in common. One the the biggest thing is their love and appreciation for cars — truly because they were both influenced by their late older brother Greg who was knee deep in the Honda and Acura scene in the 90s.
Fast forward years later, Gerard is a product designer by trade and Jeremy is a software engineer by trade. Why not make something together as it totally make sense. They decided to create a well designed and built car meet application for both iOS and Android. Neither of them have done something in this full extent and start a business together as family to say the least. There were a lot of learnings and hard conversations — at the end we grew a ton professionally and personally. We also gained an overwhelming amount of friends and support along the way.
First we needed to feel out the market and to see where we want to position overselves. We knew that we didn’t want to be another social media application that will compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We want to complement them and their users.
Since Gerard is a designer, we focused on User Centered Design thinking and used the most effective way in creating digital products through Design Thinking. We interviewed subject matter experts in the car industry and created user personas for each group represented and those were the people who we focused on. We then created a clickable prototype using a tool called InVision to convince people about the idea.
Jeremy with his full stack coding background, he started to create the infrastructure and making sure the back end system is going to support the user interface that people are going to see and interact with.
While Gerard was working on the designs and Jeremy on the back end, we needed to hire some mobile developers and the hunt began in the Philippines during our family reunion hence the picture above.
It turned to be a bit difficult to look for talent while we were on vacation. It wasn’t the right time. So once we got back in Bay Area, we started to groom LinkedIn for affordable talents outside the United States. India turned out to be still a bit more expensive and the Philippines became the more obvious decision.
Then the build became real, although the rates for outsource talent was affordable we started to put down money and there’s no turning back. We used Asana as a project management and ticketing tool.
Once we had our app, we aggressively went out to the world and showed what we had just built. We recorded promotional vidoes, printed banners, stickers and tried to create partnerships with local lifestyle brand such as Fatlace and car shops #becausebags.
Is this really happening? A competitor approached us and wanted to join our team. One of the most flattering form of compliment one can get. Dheepak and Krish are also brothers who had a similar idea, but decided to terminate their partnership with their 3rd partner due to their own internal decisions. They were still looking for something similar in the car industry to build a business in. A few conversations later, beroundup now had 4 partners. Amazing!
Dheepak and Krish came in with decades of experience from the tech world. They are well armed with education going up to having their doctorine and MBAs. They came in with fresh ideas and were willing to build a business with another set of brothers.
With more man power, literally, we started to further extend our relationships with groups such as Audi Gruppe of Silicon Valley and AgilitiyDrives.US. We threw events such as a Boba Rally where we learned a lot in regards to how to improve the experience of our applications and Toys for Tot events to just be kinda to kids.
It was a tough year. We failed to become organized and our daily jobs and lives were affecting our effectiveness. We were missing communicating with the developers and spinning on new features until eventually we lost our Philippine developers’ interest regardless that the money was good. So we left our mobile application on maintenance mode.
We also realized that the application wasn’t gaining and retaining much traction. Relying on the public to continually create meets and shows on our application wasn’t as easy as we thought. Facebook and Instagram still made it easy for them to host everything there — it was backed by groups, and the people using those applications.
WTF? What are we going to do?
Some changes happened beyond our control and 1 of each brothers decided to take a break. Dheepak and Gerard still stayed on and took in the most talented Sri — we had to pivot.
Before Sri came as a partner we had the “Apply to Participate” idea. It was suppose to coincide work with the mobile application, but the mobile experience would have become even more complex and we just didn’t have the resources to make that happen. And so ATP web application was born.
Sri brings in a world of talent as another full stack engineer. A kind and shy guy who is stacked with experience and willingness to make a hudge difference.
We recently launched ATP to the world and we hope that you find our service useful and makes your life a lot easier. If you have any feedback and ways to make the tool better we would love to hear from you.