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Inside the offices of Stride

It took just 24 hours for the self-described “startup junkies” at Stride to get their new customer relationship management service off the ground. But they didn’t stop there, and now just over a year after its formal launch, the team is still iterating and developing. The Stride app — created by Andrew Dumont, Nathan Carnes, Adrian Pike and Amiel Martin —has attracted more than 10,000 customers to date.

“We built Stride to suit our needs, because there was nothing available that did what we wanted,” said Stride’s Kevin Chau, adding that the product is a different type of CRM which is “built with love.” But the company’s users, who pay anywhere from $12 to $49 per month for Stride, also have played a key role, helping to guide the product direction and new features.

Here’s more from Chau in the latest Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We make tracking sales deals and relationships easy and simple.”

Inspiration hit us when: “When we were all getting frustrated with the CRM solutions currently on the market. There was nothing out there that did what we needed. They were either clunky, bloated, or just not right. So we set out to make our own.”

stride-11VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We launched bootstrapped, and remain so, this allows us to focus on the things that matter. We don’t have the time to let our minds deviate far from the task at hand.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Passion, and, dedication. All of us love what we do, we want to provide the best product for our users. We’re all extremely picky in the products and software that we use, so we apply that same strict judgement to everything that we do, whether it is development, marketing, or product.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Keep it simple. We listened to our customers to develop our roadpath. By having all of our feedback and feature requests on Uservoice, we easily added a support portal, and had our users vote on which key features they would want in future iterations of Stride. This was (and is) our product roadmap. It’s why we quickly rolled out team collaboration, contact association, an iOS app, deeper metrics, etc. The important piece that most early staged companies miss, is that the evolution of the product came after proving the concept, not before. If we prioritized those features prior, we wouldn’t have been able to take the feedback from our users to drive development, we would’ve been guessing. Not to mention, the product may have never launched.”

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Kevin Chau

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Because Stride functions as a side project for most of us, with the reception that we had, we should have focused more on it earlier. We would have had an earlier growth sprout had we pushed it harder, sooner. But, because it was a side project, not all of us had the time to fully dedicate to Stride.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Well, we are all Apple junkies, so naturally, Jobs. But, fanboyism aside, Jobs has that ‘eye’ for detail. He was meticulous in everything he did. He had that drive, and knew how to drive people. Stuff got done, always. Not to mention his showmanship. We always enjoyed watching a Jobs’ keynote.”

Our world domination strategy starts when: “You’re saying it hasn’t started yet?”

stide-logoRivals should fear us because: “Our users make our product, with minimal time to focus on ideation, we let our users help point us towards the features they want. We have a team, dedicated to making the absolutely best product possible. There is no vestigiality here.”

We are truly unique because: “We all love what we do, and we don’t do it for the money. This is our experiment, and we treat it like one. It allows us to explore with a free mind, without having advisors or VCs to tell us what to do. We do what we feel is the best approach.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Handling the influx of customers, we had a big rush, and we had to throw some stuff around to accomodate them. Needless to say, we are ready for any sort of scaling issues that may arise.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Keep your head high, don’t let people pull you down, and believe in what you do. Your company is only as good as the leader(ship).”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Pacific Northwest startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out this questionnaire in a fun and engaging style that shows off your startup’s culture. (Remember to upload photos). Past profiles can be found here.

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