Singapore Startup ‘Remember’ Pivoted 20 Days Before Demo Day

May 9, 2012

9:00 am

You’re 80 days into an incubator program, and you realize that your startup idea just isn’t working. It’s only 20 days until demo day – and your big pitch in front of a roomful of investors. What do you do?

The team at Gradeful faced this very dilemma, and they decided to pivot. They had been developing an app to make dads more awesome – with ideas for activities and ways to save memories – but the feedback they got was less than enthusiastic. Dads were interested, but they wanted their wives to use Gradeful, too. Digging deeper, the team discovered that the biggest issue for parents was organizing their photos – photos often scattered across Mom’s iPhone, Dad’s Android, and the home computer.

So Gradeful became Remember, an app for families to take, share, and print their photo memories (like FamilyLeaf, but focusing on photos).

But it was tough to be so far behind all the other teams at JFDI. “When you pivot, your team gets down,” says cofounder and CEO Adrian Tan, who told me his body is still recovering from lots of late nights. “[The other teams] are so far ahead in the pitch and the product.” He adds, “There’s so much stuff you have to do again, like user research, look for names, competition.”

Ultimately, Tan lays the blame with adding too many features and not getting a basic product in front of their customers fast enough. “We could have spared ourselves this pain,” he admits. “You hear people tell you this all the time, but when you’re going through it, there’s this tendency to just want to add features, so it’s a lesson we have learned.”

“It was difficult, but … at the end of the day, we’re not wasting time because we’re building something our customers indicated they want.”

Remember is paying a price – they’re still 1 month away from launch – but it looks like they made a wise choice.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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