May 29, 2019

May 2019 Startup Update

Help Wanted/Asks:

  • N/A

Hiring: 

  • Working with Armin now. Calls every other day, text continuously.
  • Talked to another potential cofounder. Not as interested in this project.

KPIs/Core Metrics:

  • Revenue: $0
  • Got out of building: Every single day.

Product:

  • Added polish
  • Made up-front reservation fee default. Clearer to test value for now.
  • Tested test-drives
  • Removed insurance
  • Added value-add club
    • Found out NIO is doing the same things
    • Found out Carmiq is doing the same thing.
  • Got out of building with off-line marketing.
    • Distributed 100 Flyers & Posters
    • Talking to people at charging stations (5)
    • Spent days in Daly City Supercharger.

Experiments/Hypothesis run:

  • Experiment: Not one user opened Stripe Credit Card screen to lease car. Possible Solutions:

    • Would a more trustworthy seeming interace help?
      • Clearer onboarding process. More trustworthy
      • Polish, so app seems less sketchy
      • Results: One stripe open, still no checkouts.
    • Value-add to differentiate (Fair has “cancel any time” and “bundled insurance”)
      • New cofounder Amir suggested we try a value-add add-ons/Benefits on top of lease to differentiate ourselves from normal leasing lke Fair’s “Cancel any time”?
      • Results: No difference.
    • And what if could sell unbundled from car lease, too?
  • Experiment: Sell value-add features instead of leasing, with digital marketing.

    • $35 per month value-add benefits EV bundle (pivot)
    • Add leases again later once we’re the AAA of EVs.
    • Upside: Address whole EV market, not just subset actively looking for EV lease.
    • Upside: Less friction due to 1 month instead of 36 month commitment. $35 commitment instead of $8,000 commitment for lease.
    • Advertise new value prop through paid marketing. If we can get 10 people to pay $35 in the next week we’ll pivot.
      • Results: On Reddit ads 18 clicks for $8 -> 5 installs ($1.6 per install) -> 5 people touched through to pricing -> 0 subscribers
      • Results: On iOS app store marketing 3 installs for $6 -> None of them actual customers, none of them even in the USA.
    • Advertise new value prop through paid marketing, but with better tag line and investing into marketing: “Put your EV needs on autopilot”.
      • Results: Reddit Ads bought 18 clicks for $7.97 -> 5 installs ($1.6 per install) -> 4 people touched through to pricing -> 0 subscribers.
    • Learnings: Paid ads not cost-effective, and no need for product.
      • Marketing: What if we try as content marketing with blog piece on new better title?
      • Product: NIO is offering home-charging pickup in China for NIO owners. -> working in China?
      • Marketing: Offline marketing with flyers and and talking to users.
  • Experiment: Sell charging concierge, with physical marketing.

    • We know charging concierge is a thing in China with NIO.
    • What if we put flyers on chargers (pre-targeted audience) and let people text my number for a $35 per pickup to validate the market for this same thing in the USA?
    • 4 tear-off strips next to chargers.

      • Results:
    • 120 flyers distributed under windscreen wipers.

      • Results:
    • Learnings: Physical ads working, but little need for this service and hard to implement.

      • Marketing: Pretty sure physical flyer marketing is the way to go – we’re definitely getting infront of the right, targeted customers now (ie. Tesla owners).
      • Product: No need for this service, but we’re sure of this now after doing flyers AND talking to customers.
  • Experiment: Go into field and watch people at supercharger stations.

    • Watch people at superchargers - Like Airbnb live-in that Chesky did. Notes from field:
      • Supercharging stations feel like a Tesla club on the top story of this parking garage (this is what NIO was trying to achieve?).
      • Tried to see what people are buying when they leave their car (quickly) but a large share of people just sit in their car. Seat back. Kids play. They’re on their phone. Read paper. Door open. Downtime.
      • How to get their attention though? QR codes won’t work or are too lossy – they don’t look up. Driving sign in front of them for app or sign to order coffee from nearby store? Or float? -> “Supercharged coffee”, Supercharger snacks, Supercharger food truck.
      • Supercharger take-out (charges too fast to pick up food said youtube video)
      • Supercharger chat for people who are bored.
      • Supercharger delivery
      • QR code to market the app?
      • Supercharger ads on drive-by car?
      • Supercharger club - remote services at superchargers. We bring you stuff at superchargers. It’s like take-out at superchargers. Nearby stuff at superchargers.
      • Learning: Get out of the building, go off-line.
      • Results: New idea! 👇
  • Experiment: Sell delivery service at supercharger stations to people sitting in their cars (with sign, walk up to windows in T-Shirt so not sketched out).

    • 20 cars go through per hour on average.
    • 5 cars per hour convert * $8 * 10 hours = $400. Pay someone $150 of that.
    • The flyer hustle with a matching electrify T-shirt at the supercharger.
    • Give people flyers and tell them to text a number for half price on first delivery – launching next week. Make a run every half hour.
      • Handed out from 3.30p - 6:30p at Supercharger in Serramonte
      • Roughly 60% people sit in car when supercharging, half of those opened the window.
      • Mostly from moms and/or dads with kids in the back smiled and engaged.
      • Results: 34 flyers handed out, 3 texted us back (best conversion rate yet) to sign up, including email and name!
      • Now that have 3 sign-ups, deliver food to them at certain times of day.
      • Work-intensive to implement as solo full-time founder (Armin’s not available to deliver, etc)

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