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"We built equaly together with our customers.", Louisa Plasberg & Ronja Hoffacker from equaly.
Louisa Plasberg & Ronja Hoffacker, co-founders of equaly.
Louisa Plasberg and Ronja Hoffacker are the co-founders of equaly, the reconciliation platform for couples. Both Louisa and Ronja were participants in the Berlin Startup Scholarship program, which has played a significant role in supporting their entrepreneurial journey. In this interview, we explore their experience within this program, the significant role played by Grace in their startup's development, and the effective tactics they utilized to expand their customer base. Additionally, they share valuable insights into how they validated their ideas in the early stages of their entrepreneurial ventures. Join us as we gain useful insights and valuable lessons from these remarkable founders.
Can you share your experience as a participant in a program supported by the Berlin Startup Scholarship? How did it contribute to your journey as a founder?
The Berlin Startup Scholarship had three main benefits: First of all due to the financial support it let us focus on our startup. With the stipend it became possible to dedicate the majority of our time to building equaly. Secondly, as part of the Berlin Startup Stipendium we started growing as a team – both in numbers but also in personal development. We learned how to best split tasks between us, how to prioritize and build our organisation. Lastly the BSS introduced us to a great network – in Berlin and beyond, leading to first B2B customers and investor conversations.
How did the support from Grace contribute to the growth and success of your startup?
What I loved about Grace was its founder centricity. Especially in early stage startups, the startup basically is the people who build it. There is not much more than an idea, a few slides and first attempts to validate the idea. Hence, everything depends on the motivation, skills and dedication of the founding team. Grace leverages exactly that resource by helping founders grow in a sustainable way to be able to run this marathon in the long-term.
Can you share specific tactics that were effective in growing your customer base?
We grew our customer base multiple ways: First, modular product development: We developed product elements that we launched in campaigns. Thereby customers could gain insights into equaly quickly and started to spread the word. More than 1/3 of our signups come through word-of-mouth. Second, we used programs and accelerators like Grace and the BSS to get strong intros to a B2B client base, growing our customer base through employer cooperations. Thirdly, we strongly believe in high quality content on social media – rather than focussing on sales-y content, equaly gained attention and traction through mission-driven communication and community interaction.
How did you test and validate your ideas in the early stages of your founding journey?
We built equaly together with our customers.To understand the need and pain points on a larger scale we used a signup survey, where more than 1000 interested couples who wanted to join our waitlist went through 20 questions on their situation, needs and expectations of equaly. Our product was then developed and validated in several waves: First with a no-code prototype (using existing cools like Trello or Google Drive) with a small focus group of couples. Having a clearer idea of what the product needs, we then built a coded prototype that tested it several cohorts with couples who used equaly and gave us feedback in 20 min calls and a follow-up survey to track mid-term effects. Between the cohorts we implemented the feedback of the previous cohort, thereby ensuring that we make continuous progress.
Thank you Louisa and Ronja for the Interview! We are happy to have you in our Grace Network.