We passed 2 terrific days sharing dinner, stage, experiences and many other things with the finalists of the #CICD Startup Competition 2013 in San Sebastian.

The competition started many months before, when we had to send our proposal to the jury. After some weeks of uncertainty and nervous we received an e-mail from the organization telling us we were one of the ten finalists. After that, a couple of weeks of frenetic work preparing the presentation, investigating each minimum data that the jury could ask us and a few hours feeling a bit stupid front of the mirror ;-).
It was our first experience showing our startup to investors and they were of first level (Inma Martinez, Aquilino Peña, Laura Urquizu, Nacho de Pinedo,Luis Gosalbez, Igor Marroquín and Javier Martin).
Everything started the night before with a networking dinner (finalists and judges), it was fantastic. We met a lot of interesting people and very interesting projects too.
On Thursday morning we started an intensive day showing our presentations to the jury. We had 10 minutes to present and other 10 minutes for questions.
The questions of the judges were very impressive and at the same time they made us feel comfortable in every moment. The level of our competitors was really high. Definitively, we assume it had to be very difficult for them to decide the winners.

This was the final result:
Picture

First prize: ByHours
Second prize: Chicfy
Third prize:  Mystoremate

Entrepreneurial Spirit prize: Quoders Mobile (on the left you can see our award :-). A "txapela".

Without any doubt the most important thing was the networking. We met a lot of interesting people and we learn a lot talking (listening) to our competitors (we are really proud to share the final with all of them) and the judges. As we said before, there was a very high level and we could learn from all of them, some of them had bright ideas, other made fantastic presentations. And, of course, we took note of all the questions of the jury people, not only to us but also to the other competitors.


#CICD Startup Competition finalists 2013
#CICD Startup Competition finalists 2013
 
 
EMT MadridPowered by EMT
Definitively it has been a fantastic week for us. Our app Madrid Bus got 5000 downloads on Google Play and we just uploaded a new release v0.99.6 Beta.
From past August we received very good feedback from our users (almost 4,5 rating) but most of them repeated the same comment: "If it had real time connection it would be perfect". We love to hear our users and thanks to EMT Madrid (Open Data) we have had the chance to include Real time connection on this new version.
Madrid Bus users are telling us all the time they love the app basically because it's extremely easy to use, so we had the challenge to include the new feature (real time) without impact in the usability. At the same time we want to keep the offline navigation (provide lines, stops, estimated time arrival...) so we decided to do it transparent for our users. So, it works very easy, when the user go to the required Stop screen if the device is connected to Internet it provides real time data, in case it's not connected to Internet in that moment the app provides estimated time data (calculation based on official timetable). It's very easy to know whether you are receiving real time data or not. When the app is connected to Internet in every places where it provides real time info you can see the text "Powered by EMT" and the EMT logo.
In the screenshots below you can see a couple of examples:

Stops

MadridBus Stops with Internet Connection
Stops screen with Internet Connection
MadridBus Stops without Internet connection
Stops screen without Internet connection

favourites

Madrid Bus Favourites with Internet Connection
Favourites with Internet Connection
Madrid Bus Favourites without Internet
Favourites without Internet connection
We have fixed some minor issues too, one of them was requested in a comment by one of our users in Google Play, It consisted of when you closed the app it continued using the GPS and therefore wasting battery.
We hope you enjoy and recommend our Android app Madrid Bus and as always please don't hesitate to contact our team for new suggestions.
If you want more details about Madrid Bus you can find more details here.
 
 

MadridBus v0.99.5 Beta. 

This is a new transport app for Android devices that provides info about the lines, stops and timetable of buses in Madrid (EMT). It's a FREE APP.

Why is this app different or better from the dozens of apps in the market?
  • It's extremely easy to use. You don't need to know what line you need, where is the stop, NOTHING. You simply say where you want to go and the app will calculate the closest bus stop and the line you need to take. That's all.
  • It's in 5 languages (English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish). We want tourists, foreigns, Erasmus ;-) to use the app too.


From Madrid to heaven

On Nov 29, 2011 Quoders started a fantastic adventure with BilbaoBus. It was a different product (after Archer Master), a different market, so we hadn't any idea what would happen. In less than one year we have something in the market very close to the app that we dreamed, probably better, thanks to the advice and support of our users.
A few months ago we noticed that we were spending too much time for one app in order to get the quality that we wanted and it was bad for the business ;-).

And here is the elephant in the room, if you have a look to BilbaoBus and MadridBus you will see they are very similar, in fact, they have the same core app. But both of them have a very important difference in the backend. We use General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) as source data for MadridBus. GTFS is an standard format proposed and supported by Google and it's being used right now for almost 500 cities in the world. It means that once we complete the beta for MadridBus and the users gave us their approve we are in a position to raise hundreds of transport apps in the world. But this is material for other Post in the future :-).

Features

If you already know BilbaoBus then you are ready to use MadridBus. In other case you can find more details about MadridBus on this page.

Things you need to know about the MadridBus

 
 
We have delayed for more than 4 months from version 0.99.3 to this one but we think the wait was worth it. 

We have introduced a lot of improvements on this version and most of them in the frontend so we hope you enjoy them ;-)  This new version can be downloaded from Google Play.

Main screen

We have changed the information button (on right-top corner) to include Language selection and About options following  Ice Cream style guide.
We have updated the summer timetable published by BilboBus a week ago. 

Lines

We have done a outstanding work here. We have included swype to move from Day lines to Night lines and we have added a Search Engine

Stops

The most important feature on this version. We have added a new list view for the stops of a line. It means that now when you press on a line you can see the stops in a list or in the map (like previous versions).
We've also added a search box for stops and a button that easily let you change the direction of the line to see the outward and return.
And finally we've included the transfers for each stop, very useful info without any doubt.

StopDetails

We are providing more info in a neater screen by splitting it up into three tabs: info, timetable and map.
  • Info: Show the next bus estimated arrival in minutes (This is only an estimation because the app is not connected to BilboBus GPS system). It also shows the bus transfers available.
  • Timetable: Shows the timetable ;-)
  • Map: Show the map and street view 

Favorites

We received feedback from some users remarking that favorites feature in the previous version wasn't intuitive enough. Therefore, we've changed the interface in order to make it easy for our users to add and remove favorite stops from the Stops, Favorites and Stops-Details screen. We've done that because it's one of the key features of the application. 

Also, we have included the estimated time for the next bus in this screen to save one additional click to the users.

We've added a new column on the left with the star, so now the user can remove a stop from the list with just one tap.

Conclusion

Currently we have more than 6.000 downloads and a 4.5 average rate. We think this new version has enough improvements to achieve 10.000 downloads after the summer and the most important point is that we are very close to the quality product we were looking for. So, if our users support this new version as much as we hope, it will be the moment to start to think in other cities and other countries ;-)
 
 
We are very close to complete our last sprint before releasing a new version of BilbaoBus, in this case it will be v.0.99.4 Beta.

Of course, we'll be providing you a detailed post with technical details and new features included on this new version, as we did with the previous version: BilbaoBus v0.99.3 beta.

Anyway, we are so excited with the new features that we wanna to show you an advance.
 
 
One of the better things of been involved in an startup is the hundreds of crazy ideas you discuss every week. Normally, most of them are discarded in the first minute, but from time to time one of these ideas become "interesting" and the members of the team start to think that it's not so crazy and dedicate to it some exciting brainstormings. And just after this is the moment of truth: To decide.
It's a crucial moment for a startup. You must to decide to change everything, stop the development of your product, or whatever in order to follow the new "crazy" idea. It's not easy to keep a cool head because the last weeks you've been discussing about the idea and the incredible revenue it will provide the company and how good and unique it is. 
Olympic Legends Map

We lived this situation the last 3-4 weeks with one of these crazy ideas. Everything started reading a news about London tube during the Olympic games: Tube Stops named after Olympics athletes. We said, this is our chance, hundred of thousands tourists from many countries will be visiting London during the Games, so why not take advantage of it to show them our work. The idea was to develop "London Tube Olympic Games Special Edition". 

 It would be an Android app with the following features:
- Free
- Multilanguage (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish)
- Typical data of a transport app (Lines, Stops, etc...)
- For each Stop we would provide details about the biography of the Athlete and a picture
- Info about the different sport events places (how to arrive, etc...)

Advantages:
- Use the core of BilbaoBus, so we wouldn't need too much time to develop it.
- A powerful Marketing tool for us. We think a lot of people would download it during the weeks of the event, so many people of different countries would know us. 
- Good for our portfolio.
- Good position to raise a payment app for London tube after the games.

Risks:
- Redesign the graphics to become it an smart application.
- Develop the product on time. The deadline in this case was clear: 27/07/12.
- Use data feeds of Transport for London (TFL). We would need to develop a new feature of the app only to parse the info from TFL format to our format.
- Stop our current work and delay other products we are working on.
- And the most important one for us. Raise the app with the Quality that we demand to ourselves.

Conclusion

So, after think a lot about it and many discussion we decided that Discretion is the better part of valour. We love the idea but the deadline was very close and for us it's not a choice to raise an app in the market with the minimum warranties. 

Is it an error? We never know.

Was it lost time? We don't think so, all these discussion help to the team. We are more focus now, even discarding the idea.

What do you think? How should an startup manage this kind of issues? 
 
 
As we told in our March post about the release v.0.99.3 of BilbaoBus we've included an important (invisible) feature, Google Analytics,  to learn more about the habits of our users and so be able to improve our app on that way.
After two months in the market and more than 2500 active users we have got some lesson learned.
In our last post we talked about the comments and rating of our users and how we try to take them into account for future improvements.
Anyway, it's a reality that most of the users don't provide direct feedback but now thanks to Google Analytics we are receiving it anyway.

We are working in the new release of BilbaoBus v0.99.4 (we hope to have it before the end of this month) and we are including some improvements based on analysis of Analytics data.

What Analytics is telling us

In the picture above we can find very interesting statistics. Let's discuss topic by topic.
  • 81.17% Returning Visitor. Very good news, it means that most of our users continue using the app and don't remove it after first testing. This number is quite aligned with our downloads vs active users.
  • 7.04 pages/visit and Avg Visit 00:04:25.We need to check this more carefully. It looks like good news because the users spend more than 4 minutes each time they open the app. If they are looking for different stops and/or lines that's fine but if they spend all this time to find the info they need, we are in trouble. It won't take long until the users search for a new app. We have clear this is a "service" app, so the users only open it when they need the info regarding the buses, etc... So, it's mandatory to find it easy and fast. On the other hand it could be that our users like to check for different options or spend sometime "playing" with the app while they are waiting next bus (what means terrific news for us).
  • Line Visits evolution. We started the first week with a big increment of the visits (this is due to the time spent by our user to upgrade the app to the version 0.99.3 that supported Analytics.  The next 3 weeks we kept more or less the same visits and we had an increment the last month due to the more than 1000 downloads during April.
  • Line Avg. Visits Duration evolution.  The time spent by our users each time they open the app is ok. We think between 3-5 minutes is a good average. It should be enough time to find the info they need and check for other lines, read the news, etc...
This screen from Analytics is specially useful. It gives us at a glance how our users are navigating through the app.
We've added the view of the home screen of the app in order to help you to understand the graphic. As you can see the name of the options are self-explanatory.
  • home. As normal most of the users go trough the home (we are trying to understand how is possible some users go directly to other section :-D). In this page the most important topic is that most of the users continue navigating. Only 12.8% (in red) drop off.
  • lines. Most of the users like to go directly to check the line they need and once they get it go to Stopdetail (this is an screen that show details about the Stop, including timetable, next bus estimation, Streetview, etc...). After stopdetail only 5.66% of the users left the app. So, it seems they like to check of the lines.
  • favorites. 15.3% of the traffic go directly to Favorites. To be honest we though more people would use it. Anyway if we check only the "Returning Visitors" the number of users that go to Favorites is a bit higher.
  • goto. This is our STAR feature but it's not being used so much as we expected. We think it's due to most of the people that is using the app are from Bilbao so they have an idea where is the Stop or what is the Line they need. Anyway, we think that it will be a fantastic feature for big cities 
  • stops. Definitely, our users look more useful Line screen than Stops. 
  • news. 5% of the users  are looking to the news. It make sense because we are only providing the info regarding BilboBus than normally are regarding changes in the service.
  • other. The rest of pages of the app aren't almost visited. It's quite normal. One of them is the "Information" that shows Quoders information. Only 1.87% of the users navigate till Greentab screen where we show the CO2 info (we need to think if we remove this screen from the app or if we change it.).
Apart of this info in other graphs we found that most of the people is using Spanish (89%), 10% is using Euskera (Country Basque local language) and less than 1% english. (So, definitively not too much tourists are downloading our app :-( YET).


Conclusion

Returning to the begin of this post users continue providing us with very good feedback. They tell us what their favourite features are and how they want to use our app. 

After analyzing the info above we have to take some decisions about the improvements for the new release of BilbaoBus v0.99.4 (vs the current v.0.99.3).
  • Most of the users go from Lines to StopDetails page. We should think in a way to avoid this step to our users.
  • Should we remove Greentab screen? Nobody is using it but at the sametime it's not disturbing anyone. So, what's the best choice?
  • Is there some way we can get that Bilbao tourist have a look to our app?

As always your feedback will be more than welcome. Leave a comment or send us an email from our Contact webpage.

In our next post we will provide you the first screens of the new release of BilbaoBus and the new features.
 
 
BilbaoBus Mobile
On Nov 29, 2011 was released the first version beta of BilbaoBus, our first professional job (after our dear Archer Master).
Many hours, efforts, discussions and pizzas were spent until we had it on the Market (yes, Google Play was known as Market yet :-P).
In the last 5 months we have accumulated a lot of experiences and we would like to share them with you and as always receive feedback.

Statistics


Below you can find the evolution from Nov 29, 11 to Apr 29, 12. Total users vs active users. Daily and monthly installs.
At the first blush the numbers could seem not very significant but taking into account the market conditions we are very happy with the results and believe they are a great success.
When we uploaded BilbaoBus to the market it wasn't the first app for Bilbao Urban Transport. It even existed an official app from Bilbao Council (with more than 75.000 downloads) but the truth is that it wasn't a real app for Android (it was a Java app compatible, but not specific for any platform). Also, in January of this year the council raised an iPhone app.
Our budget for publicity was 0 €. It doesn't mean we didn't run marketing actions, on the contrary we did a very big effort in social networks and in the local media (in this case we didn't pressure to global Bloggers because our app was focus on local people and tourist).

Ok, let's go with statistics and discuss them below.
We can see in the charts above very interesting information.

The line that shows the installations is quit straight, it means that daily installs are regular. Looking to the daily installs chart we see that it's not totally on that way. During the first 2 months we had significant differences. It's normal we hadn't too many installs during the 2-3 first weeks due to nobody knew us, our rate didn't exist yet and this kind of  local transport app is quite specific, it's not like a game that 1 week later has been posted in China and USA blogs...

Also, it's funny to see our download record on Jan 2. You are probably wondering what happened. We delayed a couple of days to discover it. We were stunned, how did we pass from 20-30 downloads to 100 during 2 days? Finally, a friend told us that a lot of people was talking about our app in the local newspaper. Our first question was Why? :-S
As we said before Bilbao Council released an iPhone app and there was a news about that in the internet edition of the newspaper. Someone asked about an app for Android and "magic" a couple of  people talked about our app with very good ratings. So, it's interesting to see how sometimes the competition helps you :-)

The last three months we have more or less the same downloads. It looks like April wasn't so good as previous months but we should add the downloads from April 30 (out of scope of this study) that would help to be very close to 800 installs.

Other statistics

BilbaoBus Android Version Statistics
Installs by Android version
BilbaoBus Mobile Statistics
Installs by Mobile Device
Android 2.3.3+ is the King yet. One of the interesting things looking at these numbers is that it looks like we are a bit behind the average in Spain regarding Android update version. For transport apps Android 2.2 is 9,41% while we are yet in 19,35%. And for version 4.0.x we are at 9,68% when the average in the world is 14,05%.
Regarding mobile devices Samsung Galaxy wins (3 between the 9 first).


User ratings

As we always say quality is a MUST, so everything below 5 stars is not acceptable for us. We focus in opinions with the poor ratings. Unfortunately, sometimes the users only select a low rate but they don't include any comment that give us a clue about the issue.
In this case we only had 1 comment from the 1 star rating. It was in Spanish but it said something like: "Bad bad bad. Buses time are wrong". Well, this is not exactly on this way. We show in the app the official times, so in the cases that a bus is under time we are not able to anticipate.

Many users have asked us about GPS connection. We are in touch with Bilbao urban transport company (Veolia) in order to get access to the GPS servers and provide real-time information but at this moment we are waiting an answer yet.
The rest of the people are happy with the app and they congratulate and encourage us to release new versions.


Milestones

  • Nov 29, 2011            BilbaoBus Golive (3 downloads :-P)
  • Dec 29, 2011            515 total installs
  • Jan 02, 2012            109 installs in one day (record)
  • Jan 10, 2012            1008 total installs
  • Feb 15, 2012            2003 total installs
  • Mar 08, 2012            Last Release v0.99.3
  • Mar 22, 2012            2999 total installs
  • Mar 26, 2012            Interview in RadioEuskadi (important local radio)
  • Apr 15, 2012            Posted in Caverna Cibernetica (important local blog)
  • Apr 29, 2012            Over 4000 downloads :-D


Conclusion

After 5 months, 4060 downloads, 3 releases these are our thoughts;
  • It was a good idea releasing BilbaoBus as free app. The feedback provided by our users will be more useful than all money we could get. Our app is now much better than 5 months ago and it will be a lot better in the future thanks to users feedback and our own experience.
  • It's a MUST to listen the users, they are the best to tell us what they need.
  • Raise often releases is a good idea, the users feel comfortable with continuous improvements. It generates more traffic and downloads.
  • A good rating is the key. We escalated to the first positions thanks to user ratings and at this moment our app is the number one for Bilbao for local transport.
  • Internet provides options that were very difficult (almost impossible) a few years ago. Now, you can contact directly with bloggers, journalists, etc... If you provide them a good story they will be happy to help you for free. We sent several mails explaining clearly what we did, how we did it, which were our objectives... and of course a lot of them didn't answer us but two (very important) did and we could talk about BilbaoBus in the most important local radio in Country Basque and in a technology blog of a very important local newspaper.
And that's all for the moment we hope don't bother you with so many data. In our next Post we will explain our lessons learned after including Google Analytics in the last version of BilbaoBus.