Managed by Q was recently selected to host an event produced by the Lean Startup Company — an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and innovators build better products through the Lean Startup Methodology and modern management techniques. We were honored to participate, as we’ve practiced the methodology since the very early days of Q and were excited to share what we’ve learned along the way.
Here’s a quick refresher on what we mean by Lean Startup Methodology…Initially brought into modern business lexicon by Eric Ries, the Lean Startup Methodology is the process of building a company based on rapid iteration of product and service development, largely influenced by a continuous flow of customer feedback. In other words, it’s focused on getting the right product in a customer’s hands as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Lean Startup Labs Summit Series
As a part of the Lean Startup Labs Summit Series — an NYC-based conference that features keynotes, roundtable discussions, and off-site visits to NYC’s most innovative and high-growth startups — Q hosted a private tour of our NYC headquarters and led a fireside chat with Summit attendees.
Attendees ranged from CEOs in the health insurance and fashion industries, to Innovation Specialists representing Fortune 500 brands. A handful of the companies that attended the Summit included Gerber Technology, Kaiser Permanente, Humana, Autodesk, Sony, and Deloitte.
Despite the wide range of industries and experience levels represented, all attendees had a common goal — to learn more about how “Silicon Alley” startups practice the Lean Startup Methodology. Having launched less than two years ago with a lean team, Q has had the benefit of employing the method from day one. We’ve learned quite a bit in the process of building Q and were keen to share how we’ve adopted the methodology.
As hosts of the Lean Startup Labs Tour, it was our hope to shed light on how having an entrepreneurial mindset can spur growth — something that’s been key to our success at Q.
Our CEO and co-founder, Dan Teran, along with our NYC General Manager, Laura Castaing, opened the conversation with a round of introductions, Q’s background and an overview of our business. From there we launched into a conversation around how Q has embodied lean principles.
Prior to founding Q, our CEO, Dan Teran, was a partner at Prehype — a venture development firm that incubated startups in partnership with large brands looking to innovate. Dan has worked with companies such as Mondelez, Castrol, Unilever, News Corp and others to help build new businesses. Through that experience he learned how difficult it is to innovate within large organizations. Early in his career, Dan gained an appreciation of the Lean Startup Methodology, making it an obvious choice when building Q.
How Q practices the Lean Startup Methodology
Dan and his co-founder Saman Rahmanian started Q because they were having trouble with the way their apartment buildings were managed. They sought to improve the tenant experience by creating a service that made it easy for property managers to streamline facilities management.
Without having written a single line of code, Dan and Saman met with 20 property management boards to pitch what ultimately would become Q. Through those conversations, they learned that the opportunity in commercial property management was larger than residential, and they quickly pivoted to develop Q as a B2B offering.
Dan and Saman then met with office managers in NYC to validate their new idea. Soon after, having built only a payment processing system, they were able to sign up their first 15 clients with a start date less than two months out. Over the next six weeks, they worked tirelessly to build the first version of the Q app, which they released when Q first began serving clients in April 2014.
Two years of lean product development helped Q nail a business model that newcomers are now replicating across the US and Europe.
Dan and Saman were intentionally lean in the early stages of Q. It worked in our favor, as it saved an incredible amount of time and cost spent building products that weren’t yet validated by our future users. Had we built our app for property managers, prior to signing up our early clients, it would have taken Q weeks, if not months, to launch the business.
While Q is a much larger business today than it was in early 2014, we still maintain a culture of innovation and experimentation in every aspect of our business. Our penchant for hypothesis-driven development will continue to be core as we expand into new geographies and business lines.