Jose introduces his startup venture Nextub, his process to building a beta app and his experiences innovating in a slow moving industry.
Jose Naranjo is the Co-founder and CEO of Nextub, a clever little startup disrupting the intersection of retail and hospitality.
Tell us a bit more about yourself, how you got the idea for Nextub?
I’m an economist and an entrepreneur fascinated about the mobile technologies market. I’m from Spain and love to travel. I’ve now been living in London for the last 2 years, after periods in the Netherlands and also Denmark.
During my time abroad I noticed an annoying problem that many of us are facing: finding new places to hangout involves too much planning and is really time-consuming. This is why my team and I at Nextub decided to create a personal tool to answer the question “Where do I go now?” within seconds.
What is the industry like to be involved in and how are they reacting to innovation in the space?
The sector we’re working in (cafes, bars, pubs and clubs) is a complex one, with a myriad of small business owners competing against large corporations that control well-known chains along UK and Europe. However, the economic crisis has hit all them with the same force, during the worst of the crash 31 British pubs were closing their doors each week!
We also identified a large digitalisation gap between the hospitality sector (cafes, bars and clubs) and other related industries like travelling and retail, which is affecting the potential growth of those businesses.
I believe that one of the reasons why this is happening is because they don’t have the right tools to understand their customers, engage with them and attract new ones. What can the small business owner do when the customer flow is gradually reduced? What about large corporations? The current answer tends to be to lower their prices through promotions, affecting to the whole revenue model.
At Nextub we’re also helping convert analogue businesses into successful data-driven companies, providing the tools and insight that will allow business owners and managers to increase sales and customer engagement levels using mobile channels.
“Digitalise your business or die.”
We got a lot of attention when we started to explain that Nextub can help local managers and owners to engage their current customers and attract new ones without reducing prices or making extra sacrifices. It’s not going to be an easy transformation, but as is happening in many other industries (transportation, retail,…) the current context says “digitalise your business or die”.
Can you take us through the steps you used to build your Minimum Viable Product?
Defining, implementing and validating the MVP is the most critical journey that any startup founder will have to go through. The result of this process will define the future business proposition and growth.
We initially defined which would be the perfect and complete product, with tons of interesting features, perfect design and a clear focus in the mainstream market. From there, using the feedback from the interviews with potential users, we have limited the product to a small number of high value functionalities, but making sure that the spirit of Nextub remains patent in the MVP.
What worked well and what have you learned from the experience?
Our analytical approach has proved itself very useful and efficient. I am confident that the extra time invested carrying out A/B testing tasks and field customer interviews has saved us a great amount of money and many headaches.
We have learned that nothing is written in stone. The roadmap has to be flexible. The key advantage a startup is that we can adapt faster than the larger organisations and pivot when necessary. We need to embrace our nature and and understand that it is the interaction with the market who ultimately decides what the final product will be.
Having a great team is essential to the success of your business. Our team consists of experts in mobile technologies, infrastructure and design and has enabled us to deliver a high quality MVP in a short period of time.
What are you working on currently at Nextub?
We just opened our beta to the public on both Android and iOS devices so we’re really looking forward to seeing the feedback and success stories our users having through our app. We’ve focused on offering a great experience while extracting as much valuable feedback as possible, both from mobile users and business owners.
On the other hand I wanted to emphasize that this is just the start of something a lot bigger. We are ambitious and our goal is to professionalise and digitalise the full industry. Our roadmap is exciting, brave and innovative. We’re looking at integrating mobile payments, expanding our learning algorithms and developing smartwatch apps.
What can people expect from your beta and how can we become beta users?
We’ve worked hard to make connections with awesome hangouts such as cafes, clubs and pubs to make sure our product will be useful and easy to use. We’re confident with Nextub, our users will be able to discover great new places a whole lot faster.
To join our beta you just need to go to www.nextub.com. When we first let slip that we were letting out a beta, we had more than 1400 users register in just 6 weeks, we’re still letting new users join our beta but we work on a first-come, first-served basis, so make sure that you are quick!
p.s Oh yeah and our launching party in London on the 24th of October is going to be a lot of fun complete with pizza, beer and maybe even a robot! Come along and find out how Nextub can make your life more spontaneous.