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Founders Talk: Justin Mitchell – From Sofriendly to YAC
September 9, 2019 @ 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
YAC is a voice communication platform for remote teams. No meetings, scheduling, or timezone checks necessary. Just click to leave a voice message.
YAC is a byproduct of our partially remote, design and development agency based out of Orlando called SoFriendly. So while it did come out of a desire to help remote teams feel more connected, we actually started by scratching our own itch. We have employees all around the world and we found that we felt more connected to employees using voice chat vs just text alone. Our designers and developers felt awkward on camera but didn’t get enough human connection through text. So we invented a way to have a happy medium between a Slack message and a Zoom call.
Startup teams and project managers like us wasted time spinning up and planning entire meetings instead of getting work done. This is detrimental, especially for startups, since speed and execution are paramount. We also knew that building relationships and culture with your team is often not a priority, and in the age of Slack, quick emotionless messages are often used when convenience trumps culture.
Last year, Product Hunt launched their very first Makers Festival. It was Thanksgiving weekend, and we had no idea what would come out of it. However, after a few sleepless nights, we submitted our voice-first communication project and hoped for the best.
We applied under the “Remote Workers” category as Yelling Across Cubicles (YAC), a walkie-talkie app for macOS.
The response was unreal. We had download after download for the entirety of Makers Festival, leading up to the final day of voting. The day of the results, we were in Product Hunt’s morning newsletter, on the blog, tweeted out, and posted on Facebook. We had won.
This was our first time winning a hackathon and also winning a Golden Kitty. This 3d printed, silver kitten served as the proof for stakeholders to know we were on an early path to success. Our team couldn’t be more proud.
Demand for the product skyrocketed and vaulted YAC to new heights. We immediately started working on an update to the app. What started as a redesign, quickly turned into a full fledged rebrand, new features like screen-sharing, push notifications, and more. The team at SoFriendly wasn’t just an agency with a hackathon project anymore, we were quickly moving into a standalone startup with a product to sell.
Then, the tweet of a lifetime, thanks to Aidan Wolf…
You can find out the rest of the story on Monday September 9th!