First off, can you tell us about your background and your product?
I studied graphic design in Romania, during which I founded a creative agency called eightonesix. After getting my masters degree I could finally start to focus on work. I hired a few more designers, and besides eightonesix.net we started working for numerous websites, selling stock graphic designs. Fortunately we managed to get in the top of these websites with the help of my team. After a while we started expanding our services, and on a fateful night came up with Avatoon.
We noticed that there’s a demand for cartoon avatars, but when we tried to get one ourselves, all google gave us were some cheap avatar generators. Using these always yielded poor results.
We came to the conclusion that there’s a hole in the market regarding custom cartoon avatars, so we plugged that in with this website. After months of research we finally found a talented illustrator to cover the drawing part. Making the website from the ground up was our team’s duty, and I think we did a pretty good job.
How long did it take to build your initial prototype and how did you validate it?
The website took us a few months to construct, we took it easy in the beginning, as we were working on other projects as well, and didn’t have an illustrator. Finding the right illustrator for the job was challenging. but when we did find him, we kicked it up a notch and finished the majority of the website in approximately a week.
How did you get your first paying customer and how long did it take?
Our first paying customer came not long after the launch of the website, it took around 20 hours. The first big wave of customers came through producthunt.com, here we were featured in the top 3 product of the day. Since then the source of our customers is more balanced, they come from multiple websites.
What worked and what didn't work when finding your first users?
We were sending newsletters, held giveaways on facebook, and posted Avatoon at every website that we could get our hands on. Everything worked, so well actually that our servers were overloaded, and we had to expand it, and get our emergency illustrators to work.
How did you grow your user based from the first paying customer?
We grew by sending out a lot of emails, to potential customers, and through social media:instagram, twitter,facebook. Also we paid special attention to SEO as well.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to onboard their first users?
Don’t skim on marketing, we invested most of our saving in it, and it made the difference.
What resources have helped you in the early stages?
We mainly used Mailchimp, and social media for advertising, youtube, and skillshare if we encountered some problem, and the website was constructed in wordpress.
How can people reach you and find out more?
You can find out more and get an avatar here https://avatoon.net/