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How Networking Can Take Your MVP to the Next Level

When stepping into a new workplace, it’s always great to have relevant experience. But skills are not the only thing that we are taking with us from one workplace to another. A network of contacts is something that we accumulate and it can help us grow products, raise awareness and build communities. We’ve talked to Alina, the CPO at Subty, an app that gets all your paid subscriptions in order, about how her experience and her network helped Subty put the perfect MVP together.

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Hi! My name is Alina and I am the CPO at Subty. How did I get here? Well, that’s a long story but I can say that since I joined the startup team my life has been divided into two parts: before and after. Three years ago a friend of mine, who used to be a tester of Xiaomi TV sets, invited me to become a part of his startup and build a network of partnerships. It was in the middle of lockdowns and I was working remotely and had enough drive to work two jobs — so I dived in!

What does Subty do? 

Subty is a marketplace for subscriptions that allows you to get the best offers with extended discounts and trials for new subscriptions and control your expenses with a tracking tool for free. . Overall, it allows the users to Control how much money they are spending on subscriptions. We are trying to Think outside the box and we consider every recurring payment, like a mortgage payment, a phone bill or  a gas bill a subscription. We want to allow our users to see how much money exactly they are spending each month on their recurring payments. 

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Starting but not from scratch: How relevant experience helps you start a new venture

I joined Subty because my experience was about as relevant as it gets:

  1. I used to work at streaming platforms and I know what’s inside
  • I knew how the price of the subscription for the user is calculated 
  • I knew how much it actually cost to provide such a service
  • I knew everything about the commissions of the payment systems;
  • I knew the pain points of our users;
  • And I had a road network of Contacts from similar services: music streaming services, online book shops and others.

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  1. I was the one to launch an aggregator of content for online cinemas and I kept my network of contacts, learned how to work with competitors and could negotiate bonuses from online cinemas for our users when we were just starting out. 

How did it all help me? 

A startup is like your baby. But you’re literally trying to sell it to everyone you know. And, of course, it’s much easier and much more Pleasant to start with someone you know. Your  network Will provide you with warm feedback, come up with valuable ideas and their critique will be less painful for you because you know they are trying to help you out. 

From getting investments to building an MVP: networking as key to all steps of building a startup 

To get investments and generally have more faith in our project, we needed to investigate the market for our potential partners. And believe me, if you just want to show up at Netflix and ask them to evaluate your startup idea, there probably won’t be any outcome. That’s why I used my network of contacts. I went and talked to my former colleagues and partners and asked them for their feedback on our idea. With some of them I signed a letter of intent,  and so by the time we started looking for funding, we already had a network of pre-signed partners.

The managers at online cinema helped me to find developers to get on a call to find out how to build the system for exchanging data. And, as an outcome, our developers team got a valuable piece of advice on how to create the most efficient protocol for working with our partners.

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That’s why when we started looking for investors actively, we were totally ready for it: we had a full analysis of the market, we had a working technical integration and we already had potential partners waiting for our MVP. By the way, our partners were very excited and they kept monitoring online app stores to find our app. Their support was priceless at that time. 

Now we are relaunching our product on a new market with the experience that we already have — and we are ready for this new adventure. 

Advice on how to use networking to your advantage

What kind of advice would I give to someone who is starting out? 

  1. Always be friendly. You never know who might become your most valuable contact. 
  2. Don’t miss out on events that your Partners organize: yes, sometimes you feel like sleeping for an extra hour instead of going to that business  breakfast or Watch a movie at Home instead of going to an event. But trust me, the people that you can meet at these events are much more valuable than your night’s rest.
  3. Keep all of the business cards you get. If you’re worried about the ecology and about accumulating waste, you can always use the apps that allow you to digitize Business cards and keep all of the Contacts always at hand.
  4. Stay active on your social media. Likes and shares will help you broaden your network of contacts with the potential partners and users of your product.  

Some may think that this is all super obvious, but maybe someone will find this helpful and my experience will encourage someone to step outside and go attend a networking event instead of staying in.

And, of course, if you want to chat about my experience in working for a startup or you wanted to know anything related to subscriptions – I’d be happy to chat on Intch!

Alina Grishina


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