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User Feedback: Listening and Implementing

Vol.ly is a group text messaging app that allows friends to plan events on the go. Co-founder Max Mullen and Daniel O’Shea first met at SW Los Angeles (May 2010). A major reason for Vol.ly’s success is that they incorporate users’ opinions in each product iteration. Mullen explains, “we receive feedback in several ways: there’s a prominent link in our iPhone app, there are calls to action on our website to e-mail feedback@vol.ly, and we survey users all the time asking for their feedback. We also use Olark on our website – it enables any visitor to ask a question which goes to our mobile phones and we answer it live.”

The Power of Networking…It Can Get You Funding!

Vol.ly has achieved amazing things since SW Los Angeles, most notably: receiving $400,000 in funding from Idealab. Mullen says that “Startup Weekend was the reason we were able to raise money for our product so quickly. We had many meetings after the SW Los Angeles win last year and the investment community in LA is pretty small. I think people starting talking about us and that’s always good for entrepreneurs. After each meeting I made sure to either get that person’s interest or get referrals to someone they knew. Through a referral from Mark Suster, who was on the judging panel at SW Los Angeles, we were introduced to Bill Gross at Idealab.” Vol.ly 2.0 was released shortly thereafter, and the company reached 1,000 users in under a week!

Casual Event Planning Through SMS

As mobile phones have continued to improve, “text messaging has stayed exactly the same” says Mullen. “Our initial iteration of the product was about casual event planning, and there was one feature that everyone really loved. That was the ability to respond to events via text message. We took that feature and blew it out into the product you see today,” says Mullen. One person in each group becomes a Captain and can invite others to help plan an event. To drive decision-making the Captain has the ability to pick the best idea, which gives the group a heads-up about the final details for the event. Plan your next event with Vol.ly and help spread the word!

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