Ioannis Verdelis – Syntellia (Fleksy)

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syntelliafleksy

Ioannis Verdelis is the Founder and COO of San Francisco-based Syntellia, maker of Fleksy, a software keyboard that lets you type on a touchscreen without even looking at the screen.

GROW

We designed Fleksy right from the start to need ZERO learning curve. Basically, you can type with our keyboard just as you do with your regular phone keyboard, and you will notice it works a lot better than you are used to. We then have designed some ways in which you can improve the experience further. These have some learning curve, and most users pick them up over time. It has, however, been important to ensure that a new user coming to our product would have zero friction.

PRODUCE

We started having a team breakfast meeting on Mondays, going through achievements of last week and targets for this one. Even though we  all sit in the same office, it is great to take stock every week and find ways to help each others’ work. There’s always a hive of activity here after these meetings with people helping each other.

DELIGHT

We monitor and action every single comment made publicly on our product on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus). We have engaged our customers in the design of our product right from the start. When at the end of the week we issue a software update which does what customers have been asking us to do, we build a loyal customer base – and a better product.

PITCH

In our case, the product demo does the job. I just type a whole sentence on a smartphone without looking, right at the start of the meeting. Normally, this gets my audience intrigued and asking me tons of questions.

SELL

We have multiple sales routes for our product – both B2B corporate clients and B2C channels. The first clients came from introductions via our advisors and investors – before our product was out in the market. These days, we try to generate enough buzz around product and technology, and to be out there in events to meet decision makers.

DARE

We turned down a number of big opportunities early on that were not aligned with our vision because early in the company’s life, you need to balance the long term and the short term. You sometimes have to make short term decisions, but only when these are not taking you in a completely different direction than your long term goals.

RAISE

Fundraising is an investment in time now, to get more resources and move faster after you get it. However, if you do this too early, it can waste a lot of your time without success. So much, that you will wonder if you would be better off just focussing on your business and product until later. And sometimes, that’s precisely what you should do. Bootstrap until you are ready for fundraising – then it will be easier and quicker.

HACK

We made a great video for our product. Not great in the sense of production value (we actually shot it on an iPhone in our living room) – but great in demonstrating what our tech was capable of doing, and what our future vision entailed. We made it so impressive that people could not resist sharing. By the time our product was ready to go to beta, journalists and the public already knew of us and were eager to see what we would come up with.

SHARE

I’ve sent our deck to a major investor with a personalized message about why he is The One we want to work with. Only, I typed the wrong email and sent it to the wrong investor, who I had pitched the day before. Too many emails, too much stress, too many opportunities to mess up!

FINISH

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” —Mahatma Gandhi

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