We would like to present to you the successful story of TrevorAI. An app that grew from a vision to a market ready product in less than 3 months. This was accomplished with Obecto’s new software development service for startups — Tech Cofounder as a Service. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start where all good stories start — in the beginning
It all began in December 2015 when George Petrov, (the proud founder of TrevorAI, joined an incubator called Founder Institute (FI) with his business idea. He wanted to build an artificially intelligent assistant that helps you plan, understand and improve how you spend your most valuable resource — your time. One that will manage your day-to-day tasks and focus on those that make your life a fulfilling one. During the course, the FI did what they do best — helped George shape and validate the idea. But there came the first of George’s problems — who was going to actually build the software behind his AI assistant?
Part 1: An idea for a startup is only as good as its execution
There are plenty of software companies as well as freelance developers out there. And even if you find one with reasonable pricing there is an array of questions, that startups with no software project experience, have to answer:
- How do I make a specification that communicates the value proposition of my startup?
- Should I make a full design to go with my specification?
- Should I hire someone to manage my software project or leave that to the company?
- Do I pay up front for the whole project or pay for small increments of working software in order to minimize my risks?
All very important questions that most founders who come to us at Obecto have not even considered. If left unresolved, they can lead to an early downfall of a startup like Trevor AI.
Thankfully the FI connected George with like-minded individuals in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sofia, Bulgaria. One of those individuals was Todor Kolev, the founder and CEO of Obecto, which at that point had 7+ years of experience working with all sizes of startups.
We both started talking about artificial intelligence, recalls George. During our first ‘business’ meeting Todor showed me an exciting A.I. they were working on. I met two of his A.I. specialists, we talked about Trevor and at that point I knew we shared the same vision. It seemed inevitable that a more serious meeting was in order.
Which leads us to the next problem startups with no tech cofounder face — aim and focus.
Part 2: You can hit a fly with a space shuttle or with a fine dart (and with many objects in between)
“Space shuttle” is what we at Obecto, lovingly call when a startup comes with a software project requesting far more features than it needs in order to fulfill its mission. Actually, space missions (and shuttles) are an incredibly common topic in the meeting rooms of the software companies.
Being creative in their nature, startup founders tend to go wild with features. Unaware, usually, that those features are both costly and completely unnecessary for the success of their product when it hits the market. Furthermore, some features are already developed and offered out of the box by third party providers.Having a good CTO onboard would warn you of these considerations. Looking at your specification just as the cash associated with implementing it, some software companies might not be that willing to keep you from building your dreamed space shuttle.
Shortly after our first meeting, Todor made an interesting proposal that was just too good to pass — a “Tech Partner as a Service” as he called it. It enabled us to build, test and launch a live product on the App Store in less than 3 months.
Part 3: Tech Cofounder as a Service (sorry, no catchy paragraph title here)
Paying for a full software product with no proven monetization is a risk far too big for an early stage startup. And investing in an early stage startup with no MVP (Minimal Viable Product) is a risk far too big for an investor. So if you are a startup founder and you want to build your product with experienced software engineering team, but without giving equity, what do you do?
Here is the solution Obecto offered George for Trevor AI:
- A proven software engineering team
- Help to scope his product and guidance through the whole journey of developing it
- CTO level technical expertise and supervision
- Agile Scrum process based on 2 week iterations (Sprints).
- Utilization of the industry’s best practices to build the product
- Pay-per-sprint terms for the actually spent man-hours
- Obecto as a co-founder that he can utilize without giving equity
We started working with Obecto on 14 of March and we released our product on 7th of June. Not a prototype, not a Beta, but a live finished product. During the first day after its release, TrevorAI had few hundred downloads and a week later, I already have offers from London based investors. Without this partnership we would probably still be doing a prototype of some sort. I am thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to work with such an aspiring team. My success is their success.
Now TrevorAI is primed and ready for anyone to download it from the AppStore.
Want to see your project come to live too? You can start here.