What began as a visitor management app for iPad has grown and evolved into something that is ideally suited to a world that is dealing with constant and rapid change.
Here, the team at Sign In App discuss their passion project, how it has developed and reacted to market changes, and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
How did Sign In App start?
Dan: Chris and I had worked together for 13 years and decided to set up a software business in 2013. Nicola joined us as Operations Director in 2015. We originally started out building bespoke apps for businesses, streamlining processes and using mobile devices as an enabler. A couple of years in we realised we wanted to create our own product that we could take to market, so we built a visitor management app for iPad. It was a bit of a passion project at first, with just a few customers – however early feedback was good and our friends in business kept urging us to focus on it more. Our product found us and now we eat, sleep and breathe Sign In App.
Sign In App is now on V4 which is very different to your first release. Can you give us an idea as to the amount of resource that has gone into Sign In App as it has evolved.
Chris: Sign In App has grown and evolved so quickly that we don’t often get a chance to look back at where we started. It’s taken many, many hours of thinking, planning and development to build the product up to where it is today. Key to it all is the great feedback we get from our customers. We’re always planning new versions and this feedback helps drive our team of 16 (including 5 full time developers). The ideas never stop so we always have plenty to work on.
How far in advance do you plan new features to the app, and what drives these changes?
Chris: We have a two year roadmap of ideas and we’re actively discussing what the next 12 months will look like. Dan and I have a clear vision of where the space is going and we’re always listening to feedback from our customers. As well as planning ahead, we make sure we’re reactive to changes in the market. This year in particular the team has done a great job working on new features that we never could’ve predicted needing 12 months ago.
There must be a number of milestones you have achieved over the last 7 years, which is the standout one?
Dan: There are so many; our first great review, first order from a household name and first overseas customer are all moments where it felt like we were going in the right direction. When we reached our first million sign ins it was a huge achievement. We’re now sitting on over 35 million sign ins worldwide, which just bends my head.
You are selling into over 50 countries, which country has been the most challenging, and which country excites you most from a new business opportunity?
Dan: The most challenging would probably be Russia or Ukraine, only because there’s a lot more paperwork. The language barrier in some of the countries we deal with can be a challenge as it makes it more difficult to maintain our high standards around customer experience. We’ve just opened a European hub in Spain where we’ll be recruiting a multilingual customer experience team. I’m just going to brush up on my Russian.
There are so many opportunities, but the biggest would have to be the US. We were due to open an office there this year but for obvious reasons we have delayed this to 2021. Around 8% of our sites are there already, but it is key to our continued growth along with the Asia Pacific region. The exciting part of Sign In App is there are so many opportunities.
You’ve got thousands of customers using Sign In App daily. Can you share any household names or businesses that are using Sign In App that might surprise our readers?
Chris: We are really lucky to have so many different types of organisations using us around the world, from small community groups to multinational global brands. We’re proud that all of our customers get the same attention, large or small. We work with primary schools through to some of the most prestigious universities, boutique fashion designers, to high street retailers. I forget who we’re allowed to mention but if you take a look at our website you can see a few names you’ll recognise.
What are the plans for the next 2 years, and how much do you anticipate to grow by?
Chris: We’ll continue to develop the product, adding features that our customers need for the evolving workplace. We have some really exciting additions being released over the next couple of months and we anticipate these will open up some new markets while continuing to add great value to our current customers. If the plan continues to come together we should double in size over the next two years, taking us to over 10,000 sites.
What advice do you give to a business or individual that has a vision for a new piece of innovative technology?
Dan: I find this really difficult to answer, as every opportunity is so different. When people share their ideas with me, I often think they’re good ideas – but I always give the advice that building the product is only the start of the journey. So many people think that version 1 of their concept will take off and they’re on their way to success, but it generally doesn’t work like that. You need to take feedback and have a healthy budget for continued development, support and marketing. But my advice would be if you believe in your idea and yourself, go for it. If you don’t try it you’ll never know, just make sure you have a good support network. Sign In App continues to be a huge team effort.
Finally…summarise your journey with Sign In App so far, but you can only use 5 words. 😉
Fantastic support from our team