Wow! It can be easy to forget how hectic the first few months of a startup can be!
Roughly 6 weeks ago, we announced the launch of 23press. The support from the community, friends and family, and our growing partner network was phenomenal. Since then Terry, Jason and I have been pushing hard on marketing prep, conference schedules, building out our full product roadmap and getting Move That Blog 2.0 out (more on that further down!).
But before we get into that, we want to talk about some top line changes over the last few weeks!
Save Some Money! Make Some Money!
We’ve done a few things recently to help you save money. First up, we’ve introduced a Tweet for Discount upgrade. Simply put, when you’re buying a 23press product just authenticate to Twitter, customize your tweet (or use our default) and get 20% off your purchase!
Second, we are currently in the process of beta testing our affiliate program. Sign up, and whenever one of your readers or clients (or yourself, hah) buys, you’ll get 20% of the proceeds from their purchase. Of course, you could combine these if you wanted to ;-)
Move That Blog Upgrades
For those of you who aren’t aware, Move That Blog was the product that kicked 23press off. It solved a “simple” problem: moving a blog from one host (like GoDaddy) to another (say, WPEngine) can be challenging. More challenging than you think it will be if you haven’t done it before! WordPress’s built-in Import/Export really just moves core data (posts, categories, tags, authors, etc). It doesn’t move themes, theme options, plugins, plugin options, widgets, widget options, etc. In short, it moves the “backend” of your blog, but not many of the items users interact with on a daily basis. Boo!
Move That Blog turns a 5 hour task into a 5 minute task. Not bad for $10, right? ;-)
Version 1 of Move That Blog was functional: solve the problem. Version 2, available now, makes several significant changes (obviously if you bought Version 1, the upgrade to Version 2 is free so feel free to download now!):
- Login: Instead of supplying two keys to authenticate to your account, we’ll allow you to simply login with your 23press ID. This should be easier, but will also allow us to give you discounts in the future as we launch more products.
- Progress info: Version 1 gave you a simple progress bar, while version 2 gives you much deeper information on where your move is at. Included in this is detailed logging, that way if something goes wrong with the move we can help you figure out what more easily.
- Resume move: We’ve retooled the entire moving engine, including allowing you to resume a move that stopped or failed for some reason. Simple is good.
- Support for more hosts: Several of our customers experienced issues with file transfers, and we’ve overhauled our entire file transfer process to make our plug-in work with as many hosts as possible.
Move That Blog: Host Edition
This is a big deal for us, and I talked about this high level in our last post, but we’ve now released our first custom version of Move That Blog to our first hosting partner. It allows them to either move a blog FOR a customer, or give them some quick instructions on how to do it directly themselves! Now that this is out, we’ll be reaching out to more hosts to allow them to offer their customers one-click moves to their platform. This will allow users to sign up, install the plugin on their side and have the host move and configure their entire blog for them.
Easy! (just the way we like it)
We’ll be continuing to release host tools as we release more products, to allow for simplified management of WordPress installs, greater security and speed for all users, etc.
If you’re a host interested in our Host Suite, let me know at email@example.com.
New Product Heads Up: BackupPress
Now that we have released Move That Blog 2.0, we are setting our sights on the next overly complex problem in the WordPress space: backups. We’ll be releasing our alpha to our internal testing team in the next week, at which point we’ll get everyone more updates on this. But suffice to say we believe this will be simpler (our motto!), faster, better and more cost effective than other solutions out there. And, as a bonus, all BackupPress customers get Move That Blog for free!
We’ll be launching this product publicly at BlogWorld LA, so come by our booth to see more if you’re around!
Since our last post, we’ve had several inquiries around our funding plans. As we mentioned last time, the founders put in the first round of money for technology, so Terry could work on 23press full time, and for us to amp up partnerships and marketing efforts (expect announcements on some of these in the next few weeks).
Our original plan was to raise an angel round in early 2012, however significant interest has meant we’re currently putting together a small convertible debt round with one or two investors with the angel round moving out to March/April. Given the number of folk who’ve asked to be involved, if you’re interested just drop me a line and I can fill you in quickly on our top line plans. Since we don’t need the money, we want to make sure we don’t distract ourselves!
Phew! Not a bad 6 weeks, eh? We’re looking forward to more announcements later this week and next week, so keep an eye out here and on the upcoming 23press blog!
Thanks again everyone for your support! We’re looking forward to continuing to grow the WordPress ecosystem and, hopefully soon, to move beyond the walls of the WordPress community to begin working with folk in the MovableType, Tumblr, Posterous and other communities!
If you’re interested in any of the above, or other discussions, say firstname.lastname@example.org!
Once upon a time, a little boy decided he wanted to solve problems. That boy quickly learned that he functioned better in a multi-disciplinary environment and, as he grew, started several companies and sold most of them. Then one day, as he neared manhood (he was a late bloomer), he joined a few other folk and started b5media. It got big. Raised lots of money. He worked hard. So hard that he burnt out.
For the last couple of years, he’s toyed with starting a real new startup. But it wasn’t until today that he was ready to show it to the world.
Announcing: 23press, a startup focused on “making blogging easier for regular humans”!
What Is 23press?
Quite simply, being a blogger is too hard. Even the simple things like finding the right SEO plugin, making a theme “really work”, moving a blog between hosts and backing up your blog… these things are just too hard! 23press will make all the stupid stuff that’s way too hard about blogging a whole lot easier.
Who We Are
The founding team is made up of myself and two other fantastic gents, as well as support from a LOT of friends and family. Terry Smith, who I hired at b5 and then became solid friends with, is our awesome Head Humanizer (ie: he builds the shit that makes your blogging life easier). Terry is easily one of the top WordPress guys in the world, and is super smart to boot, so working together on our own startup was a no brainer.
Second is Jason Hall. Jason’s a bit new to the social media world, but has started startups before, does serious marketing work and is one of the smartest and hardest working guys I’ve ever met. Jason not only makes sure the trains run on time, but in his role as Head Head, ensures marketing, planning and product are all well and truly handled.
And me? Well, I’m the Head Human. It’s my job to grow this puppy and hopefully learn from my lessons last time around!
What We Are Doing
Well, Move That Blog has been out for a few months now. When we released it, we knew we were solving a problem, but the response has been great! We will be releasing a few more tidbits on the rest of the MTB family later this week, including a dedicated version for web hosts (so customers can be moved, or move themselves, in seconds with no hassle).
Beyond that, look for our set of product announcements in the next few days!
Wrapping this all up a little bit, here is a bit more info!
- Funding: Unlike my last startup, b5media (which raised, well, a lot of money), this project is currently funded by our own little group. We’ve been asked to allow outside investors in, though, as the vision is fun, so we’ll likely be doing that in January ish. Not that we’ll need it, but money to grow faster is rarely a bad thing.
- Founding Team: With both me and Terry having deep roots in the social and blogging spaces, we’re both looking forward to tackling a fresh problem that we can brainstorm with our friends about all over again. And Jason? Well, he’s just happy he gets to come to Canada once in awhile ;-)
- Launch Date: September 1, 2011. Hence announcements coming “soon”!
- Products: Well, you have Move That Blog already. After that will be stuff that all bloggers should have readily accessible and without any real work: security, speed, backups, etc. Boring, but important. And after that? Well, that’s when the magic happens. Just wait!
- Branding: We’re a startup. So we did our logo at 99designs. Cause we’d rather work than be super pretty. Besides, when we need pretty we have Jason!
- Management: Luckily, we have many people interested in helping with this project. Some will be helping grow the effort on a volunteer basis.
- Partners: Oh, yeah, we have some. We’ll announce those in the next couple of weeks too. Might be a bit surprising.
- Affiliate programs: Yep, coming, any day now.
- The name: Oh, yeah. We make stuff easier for “regular humans”. Humans have 23 chromosomes. Also, I have a minor thing for numbers in names!
In the next few days, we’ll be sharing our initial product roadmap for the Move That Blog suite, deeper details on our backup product, and top line info on our line of optimization and security tools. We are aiming to have our backup product in market in the next 4 weeks (let us know if you want to beta test!), and our optimization tools in market 4 weeks later (love startup timelines!).
We’ll also be at BlogWorld LA, making several rather significant announcements, planning and attending WordCamps and ensuring that the next time Jason hops in a cab, he doesn’t wake up in an entirely different city 7 hours later.
Oh, fine, email me: email@example.com. Or skype: jeremy_wright.