Codiqa a Top 100 AngelList Startup To Watch In 2013

codiqa_page_logoCodiqa (aka Drifty Co) was rated as one of the “100 AngelList Startups To Watch In 2013” by ReadWriteWeb. Codiqa ranked among the top “Design Startups” on the list. The list contained 9 different startup categories, and represents a powerful cross-section of today’s best technology startups.

Drifty Co is a cloud based software company whose products include the mobile web and app prototyping builder Codiqa, and the Twitter Bootstrap interface builder Jetstrap. Check out the full list of 100 Startups here.

TechStars Cloud: Month 1 – The Mentors

Max Lynch is a Madison entrepreneur and co-founder of Codiqa. Codiqa provides rapid HTML5 mobile prototyping in the cloud. Max shares his journey through the TechStars Cloud program.

codiqa_page_logoOne month ago Drifty Co. (creators of HTML5 dev tools Codiqa and Jetstrap) started our three months of TechStars Cloud in San Antonio, TX.

TechStars is a national, mentor-driven accelerator program for early stage startups. The “Cloud” version, sponsored by Rackspace, focuses on companies building out the future plumbing of the cloud. Of all the TechStars programs, Cloud is probably the nerdiest, with many startups stacked with technical founders focusing on developer tools, APIs, and services.

TechStars programs follow a consistent format: the first month is all about meeting with mentors and finding a core set to meet with for the duration of the program. Month two is all about working with that core set of mentors and making progress, and month three is focusing on demo day and raising money for those who choose to (hint: it really is your choice).

We are in the first month, which is supposedly the most intense part of the program, and I have to agree: I have never been more mentally and physically exhausted or worked so hard in my entire life. We have met with so many mentors, and each has had something unique to add or challenge us to conquer. We work hard each week to try out their suggestions, gather data, and figure out where the truth lies.

You learn quickly that to get the most out of your mentor meetings you must effectively explain your company, vision, current progress, and challenges within the first few minutes, lest you dwell on the same questions from mentors and waste the precious 30 minutes.

The mentor meetings have been hugely important for us. We have gained perspective and clarity about where our company is at, and where we are going. I feel much more confident about our future and how we are going to tackle this huge opportunity in front of us. That includes working on our marketing, big vision, hiring strategy, capitalization, and product development, among many other things.

Now that we are reaching the end of the first month, I am happy to say that the group of 12 startups (50+ founders and employees) are becoming much closer. Through drunken nights of ping-pong to playing Werewolf, to critiquing each other’s pitch, we have formed relationships that feel more like real friendships than simple business acquaintances.

I’m starting to fully appreciate the importance of forming real friendships with others in the startup space. When you can’t bullshit each other and can trust telling each other your deepest darkest fears, you form truly strong bonds that help you conquer amazing challenges and grow in profound ways.

It’s one of the biggest lessons I want to take back to Madison with me. Our startup scene and city will grow best when we form more informal relationships with each other outside of work. When we feel more comfortable sharing the realities of running a startup, we can receive and give the best advice. But it’s a two-way street.

Now that month one is ending and month two is beginning, we are extremely anxious to hit the track and make more progress on the product and business. We are preparing for demo day, but we are leaning towards not raising money: we’d rather close some big deals we are working on and use that to fund our company.

More than anything, TechStars is like a 3rd co-founder, complete with all the closed-door discourse and honesty you’d expect from a founder. But at the end of the day “it’s your company” (commonly heard here) and you truly are in control.

We all feel like we are in college again, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s a blast!

Until next month,
Max Lynch
Founder of Drifty Co.
max@drifty.co

Codiqa Featured in Wisconsin State Journal

codiqa_logoCodiqa was recently featured in the Wisconsin State Journal. Codiqa is in the middle of their 3 month TechStars Cloud accelerator experience, and they join Capital Entrepreneurs members Murfie, Vidmaker, and Spill as being a TechStars company. Codiqa is a prototyping and interface-building tool for jQuery Mobile that makes it easy to create mobile websites or native apps. The article touches on their roots and products – check out the full article here.

2012 Recap: Codiqa

In 2012 my best friend Ben Sperry and I, two recent UW-Madison graduates, started a startup called Codiqa with a dream to make it easy for anyone to build mobile and web apps with HTML5 technologies.

We entered private beta right after new year’s (bad idea, I guess normal people take vacations), and then we launched publicly at the end of February. We grew our first beta user base almost exclusively through twitter and a landing page that encouraged sharing across social networks.

We had our first big break at the end of February when we were featured directly on jquerymobile.com, where we still contribute to jQuery Mobile development to this day. We blogged how that got us over 10k users in a month, despite us getting rejected from YC a few months earlier. That post shot to the top of Hacker News for an entire day and brought us a lot of outside attention.

In March we started charging for Codiqa, and at the beginning of April we charged our first credit card ever. Since then, we’ve expanded our user base to almost 100k users spread out in over 35 countries around the world, and slowly became profitable enough to pay two founders full time. And that’s all without raising a dime of outside funding or dipping into savings or debt.

In 2012 we closed several licensing deals with large international companies, and we’ve cultivated relationships for many more to come.

We also launched our second product, Jetstrap which has seen large adoption in the Twitter Bootstrap developer community, with over 40k users signing up since October when it was launched into beta.

But our brightest days are truly ahead of us. December is shaping up to be our best month on record by a large margin, and we just hired our first ever full time employee. We plan to hire a few more great full-time Javascript/CoffeeScript developers in 2013 (is that you?).

We are so excited to be a growing part of the Madison startup community. In the three years since I entered the community, 2012 seemed its best year, with more startups being created that have seen real traction and acclaim outside of the area. Its best days are to come!

Check out past Codiqa news posts here.

Firsthand Perspective: Building our Startup from Scratch

Max Lynch is a Madison entrepreneur and co-founder of Codiqa. Codiqa provides rapid HTML5 mobile prototyping in the cloud. Max shares his journey taking an idea and turning it into a company with us now.

In 2012, my friend Ben Sperry and I launched our startup Codiqa, in Madison, Wisconsin. Since the year is almost over, I thought it would be fun to create a timeline of events that carried us through the year, as well as touch on what we are excited about in 2013.

In one year we went from just an idea to a three-person profitable software startup. Here’s how we did it:

Late 2011 – The Birth of an Idea

When we built Codiqa, we didn’t really have any plans to turn it into a business.

We built it because we were doing jQuery Mobile development through the standard mockup -> prototype -> end-product process, and we thought mockups were redundant when the end-product technology was known (in this case, jQuery Mobile). Why not have a simple interface builder for jQuery Mobile that could quickly build these kinds of apps?

There were a few visual builders for jQuery Mobile, but we largely put them out of our mind since we just wanted to build something that was ours. We started playing around with the idea late in 2011, but we hadn’t shown it to anyone yet.

Ben and I also had full time jobs at a local mobile game startup, PerBlue, so we were juggling our 9-5s and our side project.

Jan 1st – The Landing Page and Initial Users

Before we had a working product, we threw together a fun landing page that had an interactive demo and a viral share option upon entering your email for our beta mailing list. Through this landing page, we grew to about 1500 interested beta users, primarily through Twitter shares.

February 1st – Private Beta

When we felt like we had a product that worked well enough, we started inviting some of our initial users into the beta. The biggest feedback we received was that this was awesome… but way too buggy.

Ben and I had just read about the Lean Startup method, and we were trying to apply it to Codiqa by releasing early and often, testing our ideas with customers, and tweaking them when we had learned what worked and what didn’t.

Over the next few weeks we took what we learned and the bugs we found and tweaked and improved it, releasing many small updates in a short amount of time.

February 20th – Public Beta

By the end of February, we felt confident we had something that worked well enough that we could open the product up to the public. We sent an email out to our beta list inviting everyone to the new site, and we replaced our landing page with a real site.

A few weeks before our beta, we started showing the jQuery Mobile team what we had built. We thought it was be an awesome way to give back by making an embedded version of our tool that would make it easy for anyone coming to the jQuery Mobile site to build an app and try it out right away. They agreed, and we tried to figure out a way to make it happen.

At the end of February, we launched an embedded version of Codiqa directly on jquerymobile.com, and started to slowly grow our user base.

A few weeks later we blogged about growing our user base to 10k users in a month, which coincided nicely with a rejection from YC a few months earlier. The post was #1 on HN for a whole day and drew us a great deal of traffic and interest from around the world…

But wait, there’s more! Find out the rest of Codiqa’s journey of Building their Startup from Scratch – including Monetization, MVP, Marketing, and more! Read the full post here.

Codiqa Reaches 10k Users in 1 Month after YC Rejection

CE member Codiqa will surpass 10,000 registered users this week, despite being rejected from Y Combinator last fall. Codiqa builds drag-and-drop jQuery Mobile prototyping tools and allows users to share working mobile app prototypes with a team. One month ago Codiqa left private beta and launched an embedded version directly on the jQuery Mobile homepage, which helps contribute to over 400 new developers from all over the world signing up to use the service each day. Read more about their growth here.