Yana Vlatchkova: Swipesapp is just the beginning - our goal is to create productivity company making efficient workflow tools.
Jasom Dotnet was speaking with Yana Vlatchkova, co-founder of Swipes. Swipes is the company behind Swipesapp - to do list & task manager to plan, schedule and achieve your goals.
How many people downloaded your app so far? Today is 18.3.2015.
Well, we have 250 000 downloads.
In Apple store?
Nice result for 2 days.
Yeah, and we are happy.
In this episode of the Yellow hat, I was speaking with Yana Vlatchkova, co-founder of Swipesapp. Swipessapp is to-do app which helps you to plan and schedule your day in just a few swipes. It has really intuitive user interface. So, let's get started!
Hi there, how are you doing?
Perfect, tell me something about you.
Well, I'm Yana from Swipes. I have started the company together with 2 other guys in 2013. We are productivity company. Our first product is Swipesapp. I'm marketer by education. I'm really hooked to do some running and sports.
The subject of this interview is a Swipesapp. I just downloaded it to my Android and I really like the user interface.
That's nice. We have been developing it for 10 months. We spent a lot of time with polishing it.
Which services are integrated with Swipesapp?
Our general idea is to create Swipes as help for your tasks. So essentially, it's gonna be able to collect all your tasks from email, notes, calendar, product management tools into one place so you can have a full picture what all the commitments. Then you can decide what are the priorities and focus on getting those done.
So the first service that we integrated with was Evernote. We did integration last June, last July more precisely and ever since we have building upon it. We have built it up for the personal accounts and for the business accounts in Evernote. And we are collecting all the tasks that you have scheduled across the notes.
Now our next integration is with Gmail allowing you to turn your email into tasks. All you have to do is instead of having long list of emails that are preventing you from getting inbox zero, because you just keep them in your active list because they represent a task, instead of that you can just swipe them or move them to the folder in your Gmail account that we created and it's called AppToSwipes. We transfer automatically this email into a tasks.
So those are the 2 integration that we have right now. Later on we are gonna build integration also with calendar to complete the most common workflow that people have with task and later on we are gonna build upon it with some more interesting integrations like integration with communication tools or with project management tools which usually people get assigned a lot of task from their colleagues and managers.
Which concept do you have behind you app. It's Getting things done concept or...
Well, what we got inspired from was GTD but in very simplified way because GTD is appealing to very specific segment of people. They are highly motivated to optimize the workflow.
Their workflow is very specific, maybe very scheduled across different platforms. They are in a need of highly efficient system in order to maintain it. This segment of people are... for them GTD is very powerful.
They are willing to read the long book, adapt it to themselves, to their habits. It takes a long while because this book was written 20 or 30 years ago. Some things are not relevant anymore like storing things in forlder, but then people transfer it into maybe storing thing in digital folders in Evernode.
So the concept is really great, it's really powerful, but it takes a lot of time to implement it.
So what we essentially want to do is to take this concept, take the great things about it and build upon it with our own conventions, with our own ideas. Put it into designs that represent a lot of this things so the tool itself do a lot of the things for you.
For example one of the steps in GTD is collecting of information. Collecting of information we are trying to automate as much as possible and give you a full picture of your task by doing all this integration with other tools like Gmail, like Evernote, like calendar.
So we are trying to supplement the technology to do a log of the manual work. On the other hand we put this notifications in the app that are encouraging you to get things done, to review something important.
We are working with habit building of the users but in a very subtle way. They don't get overwhelm. They are not in mindset “OMG I'm learning, I'm in process of changing my system”. Their are in the main set of “I'm doing my tasks”.
Alongside of doing them I'm learning and optimizing the process with this app. So a lot of desperate users just say: „Wow, it just works, I don't know what is it, but the app things just way or represents the way I thing“.
And that's a great thing when you are doing a tool with exceptional design. It have the power that people don't need to necessary understand it, but it does the job for them.
So, we are are transfering a lot of from concept and building them into design.
Do you read this from a paper?
It's from your mind? Perfect, I definitely agree with you.
It's not something I need to read or write, it's just in our heads.
Perfect. You know, this is the company. It's a business. What's the business model?
We let the Swipes grow at this moment, so that we can launch a more premium version. This month we run survey among the highly engaged users trying to understand what are the power features for them. What are the things they really mean that we could build and improve their productivity system.
And in later stage we will be ready to make more out of the premium version. Right now, we are really happy, that we have strong investors behind us. They are helping us to focus on growth of the app.
That's my next question. How is all this activity financed?
We bootstrapped. My and my 2 others co-founders, we actually bootstrapped the Swipes with no investment, no resources. For 15 mounts everything was our personal resources.
It was some hardtime but actually it built a character because by that point, if you're not making money, you're just burning money, you need to really believe in what you are doing.
You need to integrate fast what the market needs, what the users tell you in order to survive. We went through this hard period and we managed to attract very nice investor on board. It was in stage when we have already prove on traction and prove on usability of an app.
Who is in the team. How many members do you have?
We are 8 people at the moment.
8 people? Wow, that's pretty big amount of time [8*8 = 64 manhours/day].
Actually we started as team of 3 persons. Then we have one user of our app who was so heavy about it, who wanted to build it for Android. And that's how we met our current android developer who build this version you have in your hands.
He is an awesome guy from Brazil, so we have virtual team of virtual work. And the we have another guy who is a [...] developer. We have 3 guys which joined marketing team this January. Community manager, segmentation expert and the [gross] hacker Mitko that you have already met.
Where do you see this app in horizon of 3 years.
Our ambition with Swipes are related to the company and the productivity space rather then the tool. The tool is just the staring point for us because we really believe that we can make a change in the productivity space.
So our idea is to expand on the brand of high achievers and attract the segment of people who are actively searching for the ways to improve their workflow, to get inspire by other how to achieve their goals.
Then we will apdapt the technologies that are upcoming to the segment of their needs. We start with Swipes for tasks, but there are many other opportunities we will tackle in opportunity space related to team collaboration, office productivity, and a lot of other tools that we could bring up to the market.
So, in long term you are focusing on creating a brand, productivity applications brand.
Yeah, our goal is to create company around productivity that would create different tools for an efficient workflow.
Very interesting focus. How can people stay in touch with you.
Best way to stay in touch with us are social media. We keep them updated all the news and thing that are upcomming. Everytime they have a question they can just post it and we are responding within 24 hours.
I saw your twitter. You are really active there. Your twitter is...
We are speaking about company :-)
So thank you for your time and see you, read you, hear you later.
Thank you very much and thank you for the opportunity in participate in the Ynterview.
Interviewee: Yana Vlatchkova