This is a guest post by Horia, co-founder and CEO of Swipe – the better way to present and share information to anyone, anywhere – live.
We attended Startup Weekend just about one year ago (one year and two weeks to be exact) and I probably wouldn’t have believed you back then if you told me where we’d be today. Time flies by… incredibly fast too.
Reflecting on a year after Startup Weekend is not very easy. We’ve been under tons of stress and we’ve been angry at each other. A lot of the time it feels like things won’t work out. The team is always too small and there’s never enough time. On top of that, it all happens really fast, so you don’t get much time to think about it. But at the end of the day, the good days are very good and definitely more abundant than the bad ones. Seeing what you can do in such short time is incredible and seeing people use this tiny thing you’ve built is very rewarding.
I know that people say you shouldn’t sit on a product, launch launch launch! I’d say the same but not for the same reasons given by most. I don’t think launching has anything to do with avoiding “feature creep”, or seeing “initial customer validation”, or “validating product-market fit” (or other jargon people tend to use to motivate you to launch). Launching something is very important for you and your team. You see progress, you immediately become insanely judgmental of your own work (and see ways to improve it), and you begin openly using it with other people. It’s not this secret thing that you’re scared everyone will try to copy so you have to protect it anymore. Launching your “alpha”, “beta” or whatever is important for YOU. Doing things out in public means doing things better and at least that’s what it did for us. We launched into private beta with 8000 users initially. We did it about six months after we met at Startup Weekend and we managed to do it by hiding in a barn.
After the same amount of time, we’re coming out of our private beta period and opening the floodgates to anyone, everyone, and their friends and family. We’ve chosen to attack the rather scary funding market and are proud to announce we’re working with Europe’s best angel/seed investors, Eileen Burbidge, Stefan Glaenzer, and Robert Dighero (Passion Capital).
We’re pleased to announce a ton of new things, most of which we learned, fixed, or invented during our private beta period. For those that forgot or never knew, we’re Swipe and we’re building the future of presentations.
From today, you can drag and drop to upload over 15 types of files right in your browser, including PDF, Images, RAW, .PSD, .Ai, Markdown, Keynote, EPS, and SVG. We turn every page of any of those files into unique slides that are ready to share on any device. We break your huge files with many pages in individual visual slides. Mix and match, add web content like Vimeo and YouTube, and you’re ready to start presenting to anyone, anywhere – live. Swipe from your phone, tablet, or computer and watch your slides change on any amount of devices connected to your presentation’s URL. We’ve also made various UI improvements, and rebuilt our view and present modes.
Our goal has and always be to let you swipe anything, to anyone, anywhere and we’re one step closer to that today.
We chose to satisfy our geeky side as well, launching the support for Markdown slides. For those of you unaware of what Markdown is, it’s a really simple, humanistic way to write text that can be interpreted as html. It’s being used by companies like Squarespace, Ghost, GitHub, and Stack Overflow. We love Markdown because it’s an incredibly fast way to write content that belongs on the web. In our context, you basically write one organized clean text file, give it a few little simple commands, and drop it into Swipe. We make it look great on any size screen and make sure it looks beautiful. We’d like to say that this is by far the fastest and easiest way to create a slide deck – ever. We’d love to hear what you think of it!
One year after Startup Weekend we’ve launched publicly, been backed by great people, had some great stories, pitched on Europe’s biggest stage, and we’ve had a lot of fun in the process. It’s amazing how it all flies by, and more amazing is to see what a tiny team of three people can do in such a short time.