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Lowercase Alpha

Handpicked beta products from Lowercase founders and friends

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Jackson Dahl@jacksondahl · Lowercase Capital
All of you international folks, please sign up here: http://bit.ly/LCAintl! We'd love to have you involved and this will help us keep you in the loop :)
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Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
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 ;)
Jackson Dahl
Maker
@jacksondahl · Lowercase Capital
@bentossell We're US-only for now, unfortunately. We're working to take international numbers in the future!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@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?
Jackson Dahl
Maker
@jacksondahl · Lowercase Capital
@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!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@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)
Jackson Dahl
Maker
@jacksondahl · Lowercase Capital
@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!).
Tom Flemming@tflemming
@bentossell UK numbers +1
John Doherty@dohertyjf · Founder, Credo (GetCredo.com)
@bentossell Google voice number, Google voice app to receive texts? Or Google voice and authenticate it with WhatsApp or some other messaging service? PITA but maybe a workaround :-)
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@jacksondahl I look forward to dirty industries being cleaned up by technology SMS is one of the channels I'm unsure about... even giving out my number to receive an app link to download I'm hesitant. Signing up for this would be different though (because of the trust).
Jackson Dahl
Maker
@jacksondahl · Lowercase Capital
@bentossell Yeah, I think trust is more essential here there anywhere else
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@jacksondahl my mobile number is for people I know well and trust enough with it... takes knowing the people behind a company to be happy with that
Pulkit Agrawal@_pulkitagrawal · Building Better Onboarding @trychameleon
@jacksondahl @bentossell hey you might consider using sendsonar.com (from @MatthewBerman and @neewho) which does international numbers I believe
Andreas Mitschke@andmitsch · I own a computer
@bentossell We are doing right that - AI + social recommendation. Good to know that we are en vogue then :D
Jon Thompson@jont · Tech at Independents United
@jacksondahl @bentossell I'm working on a thing that might help, should have it done in a day or so, will let you know
Ian@ianmayman
@bentossell Thanks for adding that comment... saves me finding it's U.S-only (as with so many startups). Personally I have a U.S number from Hushed, so that's one option for things like this, but I'm still not sure it's worth it unless most suggested apps are available for "internationals" like us. :)
Marc Köhlbrugge@marckohlbrugge · Founder of BetaList
> […] 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.
Matt Mazzeo
Maker
@mazzeo · Managing Director, Lowercase Capital
@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.
Marc Köhlbrugge@marckohlbrugge · Founder of BetaList
@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? 😉
Matt Mazzeo
Maker
@mazzeo · Managing Director, Lowercase Capital
@marckohlbrugge would love to get more LC companies in that mix! Will drop you a line
Marc Köhlbrugge@marckohlbrugge · Founder of BetaList
@mazzeo 👍 marc@betalist.com or Twitter: @marckohlbrugge
Laura Gluhanich@lauraglu · founder, signal camp
@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/)
Marc Köhlbrugge@marckohlbrugge · Founder of BetaList
@mazzeo With regards to diversifying your audience one things thats worth considering is trying to leverage _their_ network as well. That way you'll be able to reach a broader audience. Practically speaking that could mean providing people with multiple invites to share with their network, rather than just the one for themselves. Early adopters love to share exclusive invites. Play to their egos :)
Maya Prohovnik@mayafish · Product & operations at Anchor
@marckohlbrugge (cc @borthwick) We definitely have a skewed audience on Openbeta - it's almost all early adopters from the tech industry, and also leans pretty heavily towards NYC locals since most of our companies, projects, and events take place here. We think of Openbeta as our "public alpha" testing phase. We tend to share things through Openbeta before we release a public beta, but after we've already proven basic value internally at our studio and with close friends of betaworks. Like this offering, we also occasionally feature new beta products from our wider network (not just from our studio or our portfolio companies) and anything else we're currently interested in. Glad to see others doing the same and always excited to test out innovative new products :)
Justin Gough@justingough
@marckohlbrugge @mazzeo Can definitely vouch for Betalist. Very helpful early on.
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
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 🙌
David Kram@davidkram · Entrepreneur. Financial Consultant
@nivo0o0 You have a 314 number? #STL?
Niv Dror@nivo0o0 · Words @ProductHunt & @AngelList
@davidkram it's 'pi' ;)
David Kram@davidkram · Entrepreneur. Financial Consultant
@nivo0o0 makes sense now. I got all excited for a second thinking I found a fellow St. Louisan!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Reminds me of betaworks' Openbeta, which has been around for a couple years, delivered via email.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@mazzeo I can't enter a UK phone number 😭