Funware Development sold

February 5, 2012

Funware Development is a small startup I started a year and a half ago to develop games for social networks. A few weeks ago I pulled the plug and sold it to a company from Moscow.

Funware Development was a really lean startup. So lean that the max number of employees working for it (myself excluded because I didn’t get salary) was 3. Nevertheless, we delivered over 10 games and applications to Odnoklassniki, Moi Mir and VKontakte social networks. The total number of installations of these apps is just under 14 millions. Several months ago we were among the top 20 companies (for Russian social networks) based on these numbers. Despite the large number of users, the monetization didn’t go well, and eventually it became clear that the thing just wasn’t worth the trouble. If you are interested in numbers, the total revenue (including the sale of the company) was about $26K with all the costs totaling in about $26K. That’s right, the total profit over the startup’s life is about zero. It’s not as bad as it sounds, because most startups don’t even recover the money that were spent on them.

We surely made many mistakes along the way, and it is clear that we could really make it work. The hindsight is always 20/20 though. I’ve learned so many new things that no amount of reading other people’s blogs could deliver. Lessons learned, moving on.

The picture above is an actual screenshot from the site before I took it down.


Cybercrime pays well…

January 21, 2012

… until they get you and your cars…

Courtesy of TechCrunch.


MobileNoter in 2011

January 15, 2012

2011 was a monster year for MobileNoter. We didn’t get to our goal of 100,000 customers by the end of 2011, but still we are several tens of thousands users in. If you decide to compare these numbers to other services, like Evernote or Catch, remember that these are paying customers we are talking about, not people who download free stuff with the intention of never paying. The 100,000 customers milestone is postponed to the year of 2012 now.

Microsoft released Onenote for iPhone in January and then Onenote for iPad in December 2011. What’s good about these releases: first, they determined the price and trial terms. It will definitely influence our decisions in the future. Second, their release allowed us to differentiate our product from theirs pretty easily. Microsoft provides basic access to their Skydrive stored notes, which is totally free for everyone except power users. MobileNoter gives you full access to the notes stored on Skydrive, Dropbox, your computer, while preserving all graphics, drawings, and provides complete Onenote for Windows experience on the mobile devices. The release of Onenote for iOS from Microsoft has some positive and negative impact on us. Overall, it is a somewhat neutral event.

Android was our top platform in 2011. The sales of MobileNoter for Android went from zero to more than that of for iOS during the year. Two factors helped: exceptionally great releases of MobileNoter for Android and skyrocketing growth of the platform itself. Even MobileNoter sales in Amazon Appstore showed significant growth despite a slow start. The Kindle Fire is to thank for this.

We expect to have some great releases of MobileNoter of iOS in 2012, so this platform is not to be ignored. The dominance of iOS over Android is however evaporating and soon it will be gone forever, as more as more developers find their income from Android growing over that of from iOS.

Our plans for BlackBerry lost some priority as the year of 2011 clearly demonstrated that the platform is struggling to survive. If the enterprise mobile users move to Android/Windows 8 and leave RIM products, then those Blackberries may never see a native MobileNoter and thus receive access to their Onenote notes.

Finally, 2011 was the year when MobileNoter as a startup reached several important financial milestones. If you ever ran a startup, you know what I’m talking about. We never doubted that the day would come, but it’s nice to actually experience it.



MobileNoter turned two!

November 14, 2011

It’s been 2 years since the first commercial version of MobileNoter was released. Even though it’s still far from perfection, the recent release for Android Honeycomb received a lot of love from the Onenote admirers. Anyway, we haven’t reached our goal of 100,000 customers yet, so nothing to brag about. This goal is postponed to the next MobileNoter birthday party.


Groupon common shares are available on Groupon in a group deal!

October 25, 2011

This one is too good to pass. The common shares of Groupon (to be sold during the incoming IPO) are available at 60% discount on a group purchase deal here! Do not click unless you want to become an internet millionaire! Just 9 days are left…

Glavstart funds a project in the Novosibirsk startup weekend

October 18, 2011

It turns out that Glavstart did fund a project during the last startup weekend in Novosibirsk. The winner received an angel round of investment of about $100K. The winner startup’s name is “GoOffline”. The idea is to give people tools to organize and manage their activities, like when a group of people want to go out on a picnic or paintball shootings and they need to schedule it, decide who brings what, etc. The best part however is that the service will offer coupons and discounts to these people for group purchases. In other words, it’s a coupon/discount service dedicated to the outdoor entertainment market segment, with a simple planning tool as an additional bait to lure the people into using the service. The principal founder of the startup is Alena Fedoseeva, whom I used to work in one company some years ago. Congratulations for getting the funding! The startup doesn’t have any site that I could link to at this moment, but I will do another post once they have anything to show to the public.

Another Startup Weekend in Novosibirsk

October 2, 2011

Another Startup Weekend was held in Novosibirsk last weekend, organized by Glavstart as usual. There were fewer participants than during the spring Startup Weekend. This time however I was involved as an expert, giving advice to the aspiring teams.

Overall, the event became somewhat smaller: fewer startup teams, fewer experts, fewer solid ideas, and fewer crazy ideas. Many experts that were working during the spring Weekend didn’t show up this time, meaning they probably didn’t like it enough. The overall level of ideas was pretty good. Only one idea (out of about 50) was to create a new social network, one to create a 3D game for social networks, and one to create a copy of Ning (which is a factory for social networks).

The most solid idea was a clone of gild – which would be a success on a local market, if properly done. Another cool idea was a widget for online gadget catalogs – the widget would display detailed information about a gadget, with specs, photos, reviews, etc. Every site that sells computers and gadgets has its own presentation engine for this, and many times the information is not accurate or poorly presented. The widget would solve this problem. I am sure this is also a clone of someone’s idea, since it is pretty obvious.

I spent a lot of time with Vasiliy Gnuchev talking about his startup – Team Plan. The logo (or theme picture) for Team Plan is at the top of this post. It is trying to create a collaboration tool for architects (the real ones – not the IT ones). It is a clone from Construction Online. Team Plan definitely has some promise if the guys can handle the development.

Here is a picture from the event. The guy with the money is Arkady Moreinis.