Lowercase Alpha

Handpicked beta products from Lowercase founders and friends

#3 Product of the DayDecember 08, 2015
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I always want to know what kinds of startups (and founders) @mazzeo and @sacca are investing in over @lowercase I do need to be able to add a UK number though ;)
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@bentossell We're US-only for now, unfortunately. We're working to take international numbers in the future!
@jacksondahl nope... going to have to get me on there somehow ;) cc @mazzeo So how did you get involved Jackson? Are all the products that are sent out for people to use, invested in by Lowercase?
@bentossell Product-wise, it'll be a mix of portfolio companies and friends of Lowercase. Matt brought me on as a coordinator back in September!
@jacksondahl Awesome - what product have you seen and used in that time that is your favourite? From the mix of companies can you see a pattern of what companies we may be seeing a lot of in 2016? I'm assuming 'AI' will be the letters (word?) that will be over-used and then used in the wrong context. Also (slightly off-topic), what is the best and worst thing working with Matt and Chris? @mazzeo & @sacca - how does Jackson make your lives easier ;) (if easier is the right word haha)
@bentossell I'm actually pretty pumped about our first candidate for Alpha, which involves mobile video curation. More to come there ;) Also really love what the Rex team is building around recommendation from friends and people w/ great taste. We've been doing a lot of investments in "dirty" industries -- projects that are not quite as sexy or flashy, and very well aren't going to be the kind of thing we could even push on something like Alpha. There are a lot of meaningful problems that can be solved or improved with technology, and I expect to see more of those tackled in the next year. We're also really interested in messaging at Lowercase, and Alpha is included in that. SMS is one of the few channels that still feels personal and tightly curated. I think people will be open to SMS and other messaging channels if the right amount of trust is there. There's already been a lot said about WeChat, FB's strategy around Messenger, and so on, but I still believe the best is yet to come for products that are purely sms-based or rely heavily on messaging paradigms (I'm still curious to see if Apple enters the space as well -- @mg had a great post on that a while back: https://medium.com/@mg/there-s-a...) AI will certainly be a piece of this, but I'm not sure it's the central theme (for now!).
> […] when founders reach out to their initial 100 users, often that group is anything but representative of their potential future userbase. In fact, it’s usually the same limited sample size of friends, family, and the same group of early stage investors, journalists, and Product Hunters who jump on new products constantly. It would be great if that initial pool of users was just little bit deeper. @mazzeo I'd be curious to hear more about your plans for diversifying that group of beta testers as I imagine people signing up for Lowercase Alpha are the same type of people browsing Product Hunt, TechCrunch, etc. Something we're looking into at BetaList is working with media publications in different niches to distribute beta products to their audience. That way you can reach the end-user and gain actual customer insights rather than just feedback from your peers and startup enthusiasts. Betaworks has something similar by the way called Openbeta: https://betaworks.com/openbeta/ I'd be curious to hear from @mayafish @borthwick if they have any insights to share with regards to how representative the user feedback is and what the best timing is to get a large group of beta testers involved.
@marckohlbrugge would love any ideas here. Right now part of the plan is to incorporate it into the conversation whenever we're talking to new and diverse audiences. We're a lean team so taking slow and open to experimenting.
@marckohlbrugge @mazzeo P.S. at BetaList we have an audience of a few 10,000 early adopters eager to try out beta products. If you're not familiar with it yet, you can think of it as Product Hunt for pre-launch startups. We previously featured startups like Pinterest, Shyp, IFTTT, About.me, Zapier, Mailbox, Fab, etc all before they launched. How about we add some more Lowercase portfolio companies to that list? 😉
@marckohlbrugge would love to get more LC companies in that mix! Will drop you a line
@mazzeo @marckohlbrugge This is something we worked with a lot of companies on as Signal Camp (http://www.signalcamp.com/). Just going through the thought exercise with founders of, who needs this product in their hands the most right now, will provide meaningful feedback and help spread the word at launch, frequently helped identify where to start looking. It's good to get a mix of people who test lots of different things and those who don't. It takes time and effort but can indicate whether your product will stick. (For one niche, I recommend http://enlistmoms.com/)
This has to be the simplest sign up flow I've ever gone through. Congrats on the launch @Mazzeo @jacksondahl @sacca this is a great service to portfolio companies + early adopters 🙌
@nivo0o0 You have a 314 number? #STL?
@davidkram it's 'pi' ;)
@nivo0o0 makes sense now. I got all excited for a second thinking I found a fellow St. Louisan!
Reminds me of betaworks' Openbeta, which has been around for a couple years, delivered via email.
@mazzeo I can't enter a UK phone number 😭