In the interview above, Matt Doumar walks through how SinglePlatform successfully identified, tested, and proved the riskiest assumptions in their business model. Only once they felt comfortable that they could find ways to mitigate the risks did they build technology and invest solving the challenges their customers had. SinglePlatform first proved that restaurants were willing to pay for a solution to the challenge of updating menus across the internet. After months of perfecting the sale, they were able to secure commitments from several restaurants. Without investing significant dollars in a technology platform, the CEO and founder was able to prove that he had found a problem businesses were willing to pay for. Following that, the team had to prove that online platforms were willing to take data from SinglePlatform for free. With only 20-30 businesses committed to the platform, none of platforms expressed an interest in the data. SinglePlatform had a chicken and egg type business problem. Without the platforms, they couldn’t get commitment from restaurants. Without a significant number of restaurants, the platforms weren’t interested in their data. One of Matt’s first tasks was to solve this classic two-sided market issue. Could they secure data on enough restaurants cheaply enough to entice the platforms without bankrupting SinglePlatform?
After working with several providers, they chose one and uploaded several 300 thousand menus via a simple web form. SinglePlatform proved it’s next hypothesis –they could source enough high quality menu data at a cheap enough price to satisfy the platforms and not bankrupt the company. With this data, they were able to secure partnerships with platforms like Google and Foursquare. Now, they had to prove that they could transfer menu information to these platforms. They started with a low tech solution, proved that the platforms wanted enough that it warranted an investment in high volume technology.
Only after proving these three hypotheses did SinglePlatform start making significant technology investments. They grew their sales team rapidly and built the technology needed to scale all of the solutions that they found to their riskiest assumptions. Eighteen months later, the company was sold to Constant Contact.
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