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The below post was provided by Matt Douglas who is the Founder & CEO of MyPunchbowl.com and he also writes the Startup CEO Blog, Startup Swami. Check out Matt’s previous guest post, The Golden Rule of Startup Success.
Your startup sucks. You know how I know that? I just heard about it for a few minutes, and I have no idea how your product is different from the other dozen in your market. And you know what? There’s no way you can get customers to come to your new website. It’s too hard, it’s too expensive, and simply too crowded in your market.
By the way, you’ll never be able to hire the engineers and marketers you need to grow your startup. No potential employees will ever see the long-term potential of your idea, and no potential employee would EVER leave their stable job to come and join you. You’re better off finding some overseas engineers anyway. You’ll spend a lot less money, and you can fail smaller.
Your startup sucks. Yeah, I just read about it on TechCrunch, but I also read all of the comments. There were a lot of valid points in those comments, and I don’t know how you are going to possibly address all of them. If you don’t fix each and every one of them there is no way you can get the “early adopters” to use your product. And you know that you need the early adopters if you ever have the chance to cross over the chasm to the mainstream user.
Ok, I used your product. It’s nice, but I don’t think I would use it again. But I do have a list of features that I’d love to see you implement. Where should I send that list? How come you don’t have a feedback form for customers yet anyway? You really should get on that.
Oh, and you’ll never get funding for that startup. Investors want to see real traction, real sales, and real competitive barriers. You don’t have them. Trust me, I know what it takes to get funding for a startup, and there is no way you’ll ever get an investor to believe in your vision. How many investors have you even spoken to so far? Did anyone even talk about giving you a term sheet?
Boston-based MyPunchbowl has announced the launch of their eCard Studio today. The eCard Studioallows you to customize the cards by changing the color, font, text and the ability to add your own photo to the card.
eCards can be shared via Facebook and Twitter — the Twitter sharing seems unique. MyPunchbowl notes that they have hundreds of designs to select from. I like the collaborative ideas I’ve seen with the picturebooks I’ve reviewed over the past week. Perhaps that’s something for an online card creator to think about. The "office" cards work pretty well and with all of the "friends" online, could work well in this new media age as well. Would be pretty cool to get a birthday card signed by 50 of my online friends.
With all of the free eCard providers online, it will be interesting to see if MyPunchbowl’s eCard Studio can make any headway into the pack. I assume they will be able to get traction from their current userbase but getting past that will take a lot of effort.
Here’s a demo of the eCard Studio from MyPunchbowl CEO Matt Douglas:
Boston-based event planning service MyPunchbowl has announced that they have completely relaunched the service today. Last month the company raised $2.1 million in venture capital funding. The big piece of their relaunch is the new Design Studio feature.
The basic idea of Design Studio is that it allows you to very heavily customize a save the date or event invitation. Anything can be customized from photos, colors and text. What’s neat is that everything is customizable so while the background might enter the invitation in blue, it can be changed to pink or green. CEO Matt Douglas seems to love the fact that you can now add ribbons to your invitations. With all of the options available, it will make sure your Halloween invite doesn’t look like the 1,000 others you will receive.
The basic flow is to create a "pick a date" mailing where you ask your event attendees when works for them. Then a "save the date" mailing which can be up to a year in advance. Then the actual event invitation. MyPunchbowl also helps with things like travel and local services to make the event special. Then the thank you note. Basically MyPunchbowl is attempting to be the one stop for the entire event plan.
Earlier this summer, eVite relaunched and added the option for users to contribute their own designs. I’d suggest that MyPunchbowl adds that option as well. It will get users excited about putting even more time and effort into their designs.
Here’s CEO Matt Douglas demonstrating how the Design Studio works:
Boston-based MyPunchbowl has announced they have raised a $2.1 million Series A round of venture capital funding. The funding was led by NY-based Contour Venture Partners and included participating from current investors Intel Capital and eCoast Angels. Punchbowl Software notes that the funding will be used to pursue strategic opportunities and grow the Punchbowl Software development team. MyPunchbowl is an end-to-end party planning tool rather than just an invite service such as eVite. Their mission is to, "make the event host look good". The company notes that their traffic has gone up 20 percent month over month.
MyPunchbowl recently launched a Facebook application and integrated Kayak trip planning services.
Event planning service MyPunchbowl has added trip planning features from Kayak today. This is pretty darn innovative – I am not sure I’ve seen any othe event planning service offer trip planning. While my guess is that most events are local, having the ability to find air, car and hotel for a trip to an event is smart. The feature is named, "Travel Center" and is an option that event planners can select. While no mention of revenue sharing was noted, I am assuming that MyPunchbowl will share in the commissions that Kayak generates.
What would be great is if the event planner can select the recommended airline, or hotel to their attendees.
Boston-based MyPunchbowl is launching two new features that founder and CEO Matt Douglas says their users have been asking for. The first new feature is a Facebook game called Hangover. From what I can tell, it’s some sort of card game with a hunt for additional cards which get you points and then you get hungover. Here is the install page if you want to start looking for cards.
The other feature looks like the Facebook news feed and shows you real-time activity around your party or event. Douglas says RSS feeds, SMS notifications and IM messaging are coming in the next weeks. As a party host or planner, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s going on – from invites sent, to invites accepted to event questions to BYOB status. This new Buzz feature is meant to help making things smoother for the event planner or host.
Check out our previous MyPunchbowl coverage including our interview with Douglas. Here is a sample of what the Buzz feature looks like:
We’ve written about party planning tool MyPunchbowl several times before including their relaunch last November. I had a chance to speak with Matt about two announcements the company is making today. The announcements are: a new partnership with 1-800-Flowers on a new site called Celebrations and "Share on Facebook" functionality. Check out the details on both on the Mypunchbowl blog.
MyPunchbowl is creating an end-to-end party planning tool rather than just an invite service such as eVite. He went on to say that their tool "helps the host look good". They are working on finishing the complete loop for party planning. It’d be great to have a service that can not only help you schedule the party but make sure everything you need is ready including location advice and rentals where needed.
Competitors to MyPunchbowl include Socializr and Renkoo (our Renkoo coverage). Matt notes that MyPunchbowl is much larger than both competitors using analytics charts from Compete (Compete is down so I can’t embed a chart unfortunately).
The team is located in Boston and has 4 full-time employees and 5 contractors. All development is done inhouse.
What service do you use for event planning? My sister uses evite for everything, I haven’t had many events to plan.