Potluckli: Potluck in Minutes

Name of your company?

Potluckli

http://www.potluck.li/

Date started?

Potluckli was born on March 12, 2011, one of the first days of SXSW Interactive. Being an Austin based company, we were definitely motivated by all the startup excitement of SXSW.

Date officially launched?

We’re targeting big holidays for our various launches. We will launch our alpha version just in time for Memorial Day 2011, so a lucky few can kick off the summer the right way, with a full belly and no dishes to wash. Our beta version will launch later in the summer, hopefully just in time for the Fourth of July. As for our public launch, it’s a bit early to say, but we have Thanksgiving in mind as a possible date.

What is your product or service?

Potluckli is a web potluck app, that organizes potlucks and get-togethers effectively. We leverage the Facebook and Meetup APIs so your friends can easily opt-in to bring a yummy dish. Potluckli also sends you a reminder a couple of days before the event so you don’t forget to pick up your ingredients from the grocery store.

Why did you start your company?

Our initial idea was a crowdsourced party app where folks can chip in to throw an legendary party, but we realized it would be much harder to convince people to part with their hard earned money on a new site. So our idea evolved into a potluck app. We were targeting college kids initially with the crowdsourced partying idea, but with the potluck idea our target market is primarily church goers, people who feed the homeless, sports fans, and really anyone else who enjoys a good potluck.

We really wanted to improve upon the potluck experience and one of the keys to a good potluck is variety. I’ve been to so many potlucks where almost half the dishes are mac n cheese. How boring!

Potluckli allows you to see what your friends are bringing so you can have a well balanced meal.

How was it financed ?

We are self-financed. We have a programmer and a designer on the team, so we haven’t had to pay for anything besides our domain name and hosting.

What free online or offline tools do you use?

Google Docs, Twitter, Quora, Tumblr

We use Tumblr to keep our followers up to date on any changes made to the site. We also post exciting user submitted recipes daily.

Twitter enables us to discover and engage with anyone tweeting about “potlucks”. It’s a great way of finding our target users, without spending any money on advertising, although it may be time consuming. There are “potluck” tweets every few seconds, so twitter keeps us very busy.

Google Docs is great tool for sharing and editing documents as a team.

Quora is awesome because it allows you to answer the questions you want to answer and you can become an “expert” on a topic i.e. potlucks.

What is the best advice you never got?

My best piece of advice is “If you build it, they will not come.” Building a cool product does not guarantee success. You’ve got to hustle to get your name out there. Sometimes that means “faking it, till you make it”, which was exactly what we did when we landed an interview at SXSW with RCR Wireless. Our website was live, literally less than an hour before the interview started and our designer had just completed the design earlier that morning. I was absolutely freaking out hoping they wouldn’t try to visit our website, only to be redirected to some obscure page.

Watch the interview here: http://bit.ly/eYNz9Y

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XPJWlU0DxM

What is the one thing you did right?

Always be improving. That’s our motto. Go out and meet like minded people and do something everyday that’s going to benefit your future self. Creating a startup is a scary and exciting journey, especially if it’s your first time. There’s no textbook to tell you what to do, so you’ve got to figure out most things for yourself. It’s also very important to surround yourself with people you can learn from. Find yourself a mentor, someone who has been through the same thing you are currently going through and has succeeded. Finding a mentor is really just as easy as asking someone you’ve met recently if you can email them with a few of your questions every now and then.

Are you currently in the black or red?

We haven’t made any money, but we’ve only spent a small amount of money purchasing our domain and hosting. We wont run ads, at least until our public launch.

Recent Regret

I wish we had done a prank for April Fools Day. It would’ve been a great way to generate even more buzz around Potluckli.

Would you want to be acquired by a bigger company, run it yourself or sell in a couple of years?

We’re definitely in it for the long haul, but who knows what tomorrow brings.

How long do you think it will take you to get to your projected annual revenue?

Our goal is to become the number one option for organizing potlucks and parties of all sorts. As we continue to grow, we will be able to truly leverage our data. We plan on using ads in the future as a constant source of revenue.

 

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Once we are launched, word of mouth and feedback from our fellow potluck lovers will be of great use to our growth. We want to hear what they love as well as what can be improved upon. Taking advantage of the summer holidays and Thanksgiving will be crucial to our continued success.

Contact Us via Social Media

Twitter: twitter.com/potluckli

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/PotluckL

Tumblr: potluckli.tumblr.com/

 

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