Pete Martin


Case study on start-up from CEO interviews

December 9, 2022


The story so far… 

An innovative idea for a gifting application hit serious development issues with their off-shore technology partners. Sloppy documentation, miscommunications (not helped by the language barrier), a lack of attention to detail… What seemed the prudent financial choice at the start was fast turning into a nightmare.  

They had a month to launch a product that was 66% complete and going nowhere fast.  

But their race wasn’t run yet. They reached out to Creative Stack in the hope of salvaging the investment they had made: refactoring the code and reverse-engineering to turn that 66% complete product into an MVP they could ship. 

The clock was ticking. 

They needed an actionable, realistic plan to audit the implementation, plus a roadmap to finalise the app before their rapidly-approaching deadline. They needed skilled developers. An experienced, honourable team, without the aggro. They needed someone who spoke their language (literally and figuratively).  

“We needed someone to match our vision and deploy it the way we wanted….somebody who would listen to us, side by side, to help us execute what it is we have in our mind…to be able to bring that product to the world…” – Omid Moallemi, Prsnt CEO 

And with Creative Stack’s help they got the product back on track: re-engineering to stabilise the app, fixing the security issues and completing the missing security requirements. All in time for their Christmas 2020 deadline. Ho ho ho! 

That was then, so where are they now? 

That roller-coaster got them their MVP. The road since has been a more familiar, more enjoyable, and altogether less bumpy one. The time-tested ‘MVP to MMP route’. 

{Internal link to MVP article} 

Prsnt: MVP to MMP  

In the end, what was delivered in Christmas 2020 was more than a salvage job. Much more. 

As well as taking home the Silver Prize in the prestigious Mobile App Awards 2021, they also secured the main prize they had their eye on: the extra funding needed to take the project from a Minimum Viable to their Minimum Marketable Product. 

And here’s how they did it… 

Having demonstrated their proof of concept, Prsnt got the funding they needed to take them on the next stage of their journey. 

From here they took stock of where the improvements could be made and how. 

“We already knew enough from the MVP to know what the international, scalable product needed to be….it was important at that point we had the proof we also had the platform that could scale….”- David Parr, Prsnt CMO 

They looked at all the performance flow. The overall UX/UI. The whole logic of the app, in fact. It looked great, yeah. And it clearly worked. But where could it be better? Could it be streamlined?  

Together with Creative Stack they redesigned and refined the app closer to the ambitious vision of their creators.  

They ironed out kinks with the dashboard and were able to make significant improvements with the business platform and the API. The infrastructure itself was re-worked too.  

The concept itself was founded on the empathetic ideals- the pressing, un-satisfied NEED for people to be able to send more than a measly message of congratulations on their loved ones special day- and all the while their design process had a strong user-focus. They never lost sight of who they were building for. 

“We wanted to build something the customer will love…we know success will follow that”- Omid, Prsnt CEO 

An interesting development arose during this further testing and design phase: 

“The c2c play was the initial concept…but a lot of feedback from customers was ‘can we use this for business’… they saw the potential for driving/incentivising.. so from there we were able to build and spec out a business platform”- Omid, Prsnt CEO 

Whilst the business market was one they had at the back of the mind for further down the road, they decided to accelerated it’s incorporation. Luckily, thanks to their over-speccing of the hardware they were already 80% of the way there! 

“The efficiency savings in budget and time (by Creative Stack) meant that we were able to move that saving towards something that we felt would propel the business forward and from my point-of-view as a marketeer it’s made my life a lot easier”- David, Prsnt CMO 

From here they released the second version of the app and things have went from strength to strength.  

“The big question was whether people would take the technology and use it in a way that would help the user-growth plan..growth-hack it… and the answer was yeah, it does”- David, Prsnt 

And that was their journey.  

Not without it’s drama but thankfully they were able to utilise all the benefits their previous experience brought to the table: 

“We’re ‘start-up guys’; we understand the process and enjoy the process. A company will come to win this ‘space’ and that company will be us. Our aim is to see it through”- Omid, Prsnt CEO 

So, after all that, are there any parting lessons the guys can impart? Any wise words to help future entrepreneurs as they take their tentative first steps? 

Omid leads will a moral you will likely have gleaned yourself if you read the first part of this case-study… 

“don’t buy cheap if you don’t have to…do whatever it takes  to have the right team behind you from day one- aim to work with people that share with you vision because it will be better in the long run”- Omid, Prsnt CEO 

And David: 

“try and have the discipline to keep pulling yourself back to the primary problem and the simplest solution that will give you the proof that you are on the right track to solving that problem: one piece of proof based on one business objective, if you can”- David, Prsnt CMO 

I hope you enjoyed their journey. I’d like to say a big thanks to all the team at Prsnt- Dan, Hamish, Louis, David and Omid- for taking us along on their journey with them. A journey neither of us are ready to get off just yet! 

And they were nice enough to share a few kind words for the part we were able to play in getting their project back on track and well on it’s way to realising their lofty creative vision. 

“everyone can outsource staff…you go that extra level. What you bring in is awesome and that’s what makes it such a good-value proposition in the end… the way you work with a vetted wider network of talent across the board with a plug-and-play kind of financial agreement is exactly what we needed: expertise, in controlled bursts, with budget control, at the right price…obviously you can go cheaper..but cheapers not always best….we’re proof to that!”- David, Prsnt CMO 

I’ll leave the last word to Omid and what may well be the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me… 

“I didn’t have to shout at anyone. I haven’t had to get on the phone and bollock anyone. The fact that I haven’t done that means that you’ve done a great job”- Omid, Prsnt CEO 

Hi, I'm

Pete Martin

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