Blossom: If you’re going to San Francisco…
The last time, inventures.eu talked to blossom, part of the team had just returned from a three month stay in San Francisco as part of the WKO’s Go Silicon Valley programme (read more on it here). Blossom are co-founders Thomas Schranz (Product), Nik Graf (Engineering) and Allan Berger (UX & Design). They all have a background as software developers and this is also the main target group of their lean product management service, with which they claim to offer the “ideal collaboration and organisation tool for startups that ship early & often.”
…you’re gonna meet some gentle people there
blossom co-founder and CEO Thomas Schranz. Photo: blossom.ioAlready then, we could sense that the founders would not be staying on this side of the Atlantic for very much longer. “I miss being able to catch up with interesting people to talk about ideas and business. It’s so complicated to get in touch with even lower profile executives here in Vienna. Some people almost seem to be scared that you’ll steal from them because the market is so small,” CEO Thomas compared his experience in Austria and the Bay Area. Moreover, they “saw that there was a market for what we do. And we got some valuable insights into this market.”
Counting the teams at Buffer, Twitter and Facebook among their customers, to name but a few of the big names, the strategy of focusing on a particular niche target group – developers of web and mobile apps requiring frequent updates – seems to pay off. Now, the team have just returned to San Francisco until October.
Just before their departure, we seized the chance to catch up with Thomas Schranz, who was in London for a pit stop.
What are you doing in London?
“We’re meeting with investors, friends and mentors from London to figure out what’s the best way to move our company to the Valley. Over 50% of our customers are from the U.S., mainly from the Bay Area. Silicon Valley is leading when it comes to product development and we feel it’s the right place for us. We still love Vienna and Austria, it’s just not the ideal environment for our company.”
And what will you be doing in San Francisco?
“We’ll use our time on the ground to meet some of our early adopters, potential investors and speak at a couple of events about how to build the next generation of mobile, web and glass apps. We’ll be there for six months, which is as long as we can, using the B1 visa we’ve got.
We’ll stay at 20mission, joining people from YCombinator and some major players in the Bitcoin scene. 20mission is a startup commune-like place, a big house with a bunch of brilliant founders, a shared kitchen and living room. This makes it a great crash pad for founders who want to spend some time in San Francisco.”
How did you come up with blossom?
“We might not look that old [editor’s note: the three founders are all in the second half of their twenties] but we’ve all been building web and mobile applications for like ten years. During that time, we’ve worked with every established project management tool out there. None of them really fit the way we were building software. It felt like we were spending more time tracking and prioritising issues instead of working on building better products. It always felt like the project management tools were holding us back.
So one day in 2011 we said, well, we are software engineers and we also have an idea about what great user experience should feel like, why not build something that we ourselves would like? The worst-case scenario would be to end up with a tool that we like. We didn’t even think about selling it, we were just scratching our own itch. However, after showing our prototype to friends and fellow software developers, they wanted to use Blossom for their own projects. Eventually we decided to make a business out of it and apply to SeedCamp.”
What’s next for blossom?
“We are currently working on a bunch of tight integrations with services like Bitbucket, Github, FlowDock and Campfire, as it’s the main sought after feature by our customers. Further down the road, we want to offer a solid API as well as bringing first class support to mobile platforms like iOS, Android and Google Glass.
But let’s first get settled in San Francisco.”
Thanks for the update, Thomas, andall the best for Frisco (we know, they don’t like it when you call it that way…)!
Stay tuned for more updates on this promising startup!
Reporting from London by Floor Drees. Follow her on Twitter @FloorDrees