Alaa was in a cab with his Co-founder Alexandra after they just attended Slush in Copenhagen, when he got a notification “Kristaps Prusis wants to access your pitch deck”. Not really thinking about it, or knowing who he was, he accepted the request and went on with his day. After a while the phone rang, and Kristaps and Alaa had a conversation that later led into a meeting. The founders had been looking for investors but had not found a good match yet. They were looking for someone who could support them with more than just cash, they wanted knowledge regarding investment, network, technology, business development, and that is why they chose to partner up with VNTRS.
Alaa noticed early that the construction industry was in a desperate need of a digitalisation. While working on multiple architectural projects he noticed how outdated the system was, he would get large amounts of data from multiple stakeholders with different types of sources that needed to be gathered, read and analysed before he could even start a project. So he asked himself: What if I could gather all these files in a visually appealing way so everyone involved can easily, and in a time efficient manner, understand it?
When we got in contact with Combify, they had already validated their solution with pilot customers and had some more in their pipeline. However, they knew that they did not have the technological expertise to fully create their business. They needed help to set up the infrastructure for their platform.
“Tech was the core help from VNTRS, and since our platform collects huge amounts of data from different stakeholders, we definitely needed a lot of help.” – Alexandra. So, we assembled a team of senior developers with expertise in backend, frontend and fullstack who could create this complex solution.
To identify what needs a startup has and what their customers want, we always start with a Discovery Workshop where we explain the VNTRS process and try to “challenge” the startup to maximize their potential, and possibly identify areas of improvement. During the workshop we established a joint team from VNTRS and Combify and set guidelines for our upcoming collaboration together.
The workshop led to a close collaboration between VNTRS CTO (Johan Berglind), developers and the Combify team to set the infrastructure for the platform and plan the work ahead in order to scale in an efficient way.
”Since everyone at VNTRS have shares in the companies we work with, everyone involved has a personal gain from working on the case: because if they succeed, we succeed and vice versa.” VNTRS.
“In this phase there were many minor errors that arose, and we were grateful for always having close and transparent communication with help from both technical and business developers at VNTRS just one phone call away. It was always reassuring for us that everyone in the team was dedicated to our collaboration, and I think one contributing factor to this is the VNTRS sweat equity model.”
“A big part of the VNTRS strategy is iterating and challenging the client throughout the process, this is to make sure that all decisions are validated.” VNTRS.
Talking to Alaa and Alexandra they explain how they got challenged over and over again along the process, Why are you doing this? In what way? And for whom? This made the team have the customer's perspective in mind in every decision.
Moving forward to the next phase there will still be a close partnership between Combify and VNTRS.
Several people have been asking Combify if the product is finished lately. According to them, “a product is never really finished. It is a never ending story of further development and improvement, but VNTRS helped us to set the foundation of our platform which made it possible for us to launch our product.”
“We are very happy with the partnership, we got more than we expected! We got a lot of great advices along the way and everything we asked for on the tech part”
Working closely with developers, the founders got an understanding of how to see things logically. Adding that way of thinking they now also try to think of how things compliment each other in the development of the product and knowing that things will always take longer than what you expect.
Which leads to another learning, prioritizing. As an entrepreneur you get many ideas and just want to get things done. However, adding structure to them is what really creates the results you want. “It is easy to get stuck on certain aspects of a product as well, me as a designer easily gets stuck on small details and I have a need for everything to be perfect at once. But thanks to VNTRS iterations process I learned to focus on what needs to be done in order to keep the company moving forward.” Alaa Alshawa.
After building the foundation and infrastructure of the product, Combify is now moving into a new phase with us where growth strategies such as tracking gets implemented.
Alaa did not know about Growth Hacking before and got introduced to Lean Analytics by our Head of Growth, Mikaela Pedersen. He immediately saw the value of tracking users in order to understand customers and develop a product in a way that is appealing for the customers.
“This is just the beginning, I WANT TO DO MORE! I think growth hacking is so important for the future” Alaa Alshawa, Co-founder and CEO of Combify.