Startup Spotlight: Cliqbit
Startup Spotlight: Cliqbit
This week we spoke to Hannah and Olivia, co-founders and respectively President and CEO of Cliqbit. Cliqbit is a social platform that allows people to easily create custom funny content to share with their friends.
GH: What is Cliqbit?
Olivia: CliqBit is a social platform that uniquely combines the humor and personal spaces on the internet. Drop the news and ditch the drama, you come to CliqBit for a good time and a quick laugh. With hysterical editing tools, a lighthearted culture, and unique layers of disappearing options and privacy, CliqBit equips people to easily create custom funny content to share with their friends.
GH: What is your name and role?
Olivia: Olivia Joslin is the CEO and Co-founder of CliqBit. I handle product management, UX/UI, and finances, as well as other responsibilities. Hannah Wei is the President and Co-founder of CliqBit. She works on marketing, focus groups, keeping up to date on internet privacy policies, and data analytics/visualization.
GH: What was your Eureka moment: how did CliqBit get started?
Olivia:There was this one day that Hannah slipped and fell all the way down an icy hill on our campus. Her books went flying and it was a funny scene since Hannah was clearly okay. The only other person to see this was the one cute guy on our women’s college campus—the campus police officer. We found out later that he captured a photo of Hannah tumbling down and that he really wanted to share this hysterical photo, but didn’t know where to put it. So it got us thinking, we all have these funny moments on our phones, especially teens— our generation truly captures everything on our phones to share. Our Instagrams are beautiful, our Facebooks (when we have them) are like our online resumes, and Snapchat is almost our version of day-to-day texting. But where do our funny moments go? The middle-schoolers, high schoolers, and college students we’ve talked to and work with agree—it’s time for a fun and lighthearted social platform like CliqBit.
GH: How did you build your team?
Olivia: Hannah and I have a history of being great friends/collaborators and Everett joined the team over a year ago to assist us in the development of the app. We are all really close, and catch up personally on a regular basis. We have defined roles and responsibilities and we all are passionate about the power of a daily laugh. We all work on CliqBit way beyond normal working hours, and share excitement about the next generation. These are qualities we’ll look for in other team members as we expand in the next 6 months.
In building a team, we first go through our network and connections. We put careful consideration, not only into an individual’s talents, but also their fit with our culture and vision. In a team our size, a good fit is really important.
GH: What is your company philosophy driving your company culture?
Hannah: Learn faster than you implement. For us, this means that we don’t work blindly. It is important to make informed decisions and predict the results of what you implement. This way you can hold yourself accountable for the decisions and actions you take.
GH: Startup life is full of failures and ‘make it work’ moments – can you identify how you bounced back from one of yours?
Olivia: I would say that we don’t exactly perceive failures in the traditional sense, at least in terms of the product. Instead we view them as often being crucial learning points that get a product like CliqBit, closer to truly resonating with its users. The only way to truly figure out whether you are wrong or right about an educated product decision is to test. If you are unsuccessful in making a decision that pushes the needle, analyze why and test again with your new knowledge.
For example, we prioritized building a few features that were more on the networking side than the tools/editing side. We this wasn’t making a great impact on our retention metrics once implemented though and we came to the realization that we should have been prioritizing a greater new user experience for people who may not yet have their friends or network is on CliqBit. (In other words, they should still love and need CliqBit for other reasons, such as awesome editing tools). We’ve absolutely prioritized this initial onboarding experience ever since and our retention and usage has increased significantly as a result.
GH: What did you learn from your first users?
Olivia: We learned early on that you should take what users say with a grain of salt. What people say they’ll do and what they actually do are two very different things. As silly as this realization seems, it was so important in switching our product decision methodology to monitoring behavior and metrics/analytics, which has been far more useful in positively impacting our product roadmap.
GH: What has the Boston ecosystem provided you?
Hannah: We could go on forever here about the incredible Boston ecosystem, but I will limit it to a few items for now. The Babson WIN Lab has been an awesome resource for us. The Capital Network has provided us with a great opportunity to attend the Series A Fast Track event for free as students. We also have a lot of great mentors and advisors from MIT and the startup space who have been immensely helpful in guiding us on this journey.
GH: What is the Boston ecosystem lacking from your perspective?
Olivia: It would be incredible to see more early-stage investors/investment opportunities in the consumer space. But, every ecosystem has it’s own strengths.
GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?
Hannah: The best piece of advice we’ve received was from Miro Kazakoff, one of our mentors, who said something along the lines of: Always hold yourself to your metrics and numerical milestones. Whether it’s your product or marketing strategies, it’s really important to always measure how much your agenda was successful in moving you closer to your goals.
The worst piece of advice was that we shouldn’t really bother with what we are doing, because email is too big of a competitor. It’s not only really bad advice, it’s pretty humorous as well, which we appreciate.
GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?
Hannah: Everyone says the first technical hire is critical to the company’s culture and success. The best thing that happened to us was that we brought Everett, our VP of Tech, onto our team. He has been an incredible addition and has been immensely wonderful to work with on a daily basis. He’s definitely as excited about CliqBit’s progress and vision as we have always been.
GH: What does the future hold for Cliqbit?
Hannah: Our aim is for CliqBit to become an essential part of everyone’s life—when you have or need a laugh, you can turn to CliqBit. We want to see CliqBit transform the way laughs are shared among friends and be at the forefront of new and fun editing tools to enhance creativity in doing so. Social media, especially the last few months, has been very heavy. But it’s great to know you can always open up CliqBit for a good laugh.