It’s perfectly reasonable for a company with a strong vision could still be lacking in many other fields such as design, building the website and other important aspects. Unfortunately most of the services that help build companies are not in line with the ‘lean’ scientific yet creative side of startup building. This is where Coplex thrives. Their co-creative, engaging process is sure to replace the outdated waterfall way of doing things as they have already gained significant traction.
Today, we sit down with the Coplex team about how they garner so much enthusiasm with the ‘co-creative’ method as well as their recent round of funding that hopes to take them to new heights.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Coplex raised $1.5M Seed round from Jim Prendergrast, the CEO of HealthiestYou, Scott Stanford, cofounder & Chief Growth Officer of HealthiestYou, Opus Bank and Anthony Johnson, CEO of American Injury Attorney Group.
Tell us about your product or service.
Coplex is a Los Angeles and Phoenix-based startup studio focused on truly collaborative product design, development, and growth. Coplex builds startups and digital products using lean and agile techniques.
What inspired you to start the company?
Coplex became a startup studio after over 15 years of web development and design. We recognized that the traditional development/design agency model was broken and not conducive of building early stage tech companies. Our goal is to be the best startup studio in the world by working alongside great entrepreneurs and optimizing the process of getting new web and mobile startups to product/market fit.
We believe that great companies start with great entrepreneurs. We want to work alongside those entrepreneurs to turn ideas into impactful companies. We want to do this while making a positive impact on startup communities around the world, which will provide meaningful opportunities for millions.
How is it different?
Traditional development shops aren’t designed to build startups. We are experts in lean startup methodologies and agile development. Our process helps entrepreneurs build, test & iterate towards the best working minimum viable product in 8 to 10 weeks. At Coplex, we work alongside great entrepreneurs to cocreate an early idea that puts the entrepreneurs that work with us on a trajectory to grow their business, raise capital or exit.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We are focused on helping to build products for Seed, Series A and Series B funded software companies and corporate innovation products. In 2015 alone, there was over $58.8 Billion invested in Venture Capital across the U.S., While we are based in LA & Phoenix, we serve clients around the country. We seek to rapidly expand our presence to new markets over the next 5 years.
What’s your business model?
At Coplex we rent ‘startup teams’ in oneweek sprint increments to work alongside our customers to design, build and validate products. We work with the entrepreneur(s) to develop hypothesis we believe to be true for the product to succeed. Then we work to create experiments that will validate or invalidate our assumptions. The experiments drives what our team designs and builds. After each release we drive new customers to the app to see how they use it. Then, we review the results of the tests, determine what needs to be tested next and then iterate the product with a new build. We repeat this process and drive new customers until we arrive at product market fit.
Would you mind telling us about some of the LA based clients you work with
and their projects?
Manduka, simplehuman, Five Four Club, Swavy and Open Me, to name a few.
What was the funding process like?
As most entrepreneurs who have raised capital know, the funding process can be quite brutal. We started the process in October of ’15 and we were able to close in March of 16. Being the first time I’ve raised capital it was certainly an interesting learning experience! We’re grateful to have the strategic investors we have now as well as Opus bank to support us.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Due diligence with the banks we worked with was a bit rough and very time consuming. We quickly realized the importance of having clean GAAP financials and a great CFO (George Jacynycz).
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Honestly, they were excited about the vision to become the best startup studio in the world. They see value in our focus on startups and see a great need for our services in today’s marketplace.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have a lot of cleanup to do after closing our round of funding. The plan is to continue to grow, but most importantly focus in on our new niche to work with early stage startups or startup innovation within larger corporations. We will get more involved in the LA community and continue to play a major role in Phoenix.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you are a young company low on cash or struggling to raise capital, I have a few suggestions. Make sure you validate the underlying assumptions around your product and business model. Read ‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries and check out the chapter “Testing” in the book ‘Value Proposition Design.” Both of these have a great framework to help you validate your hypothesis and even generate revenue before writing a single line of code.
Your network is your net worth. Get involved in your community by going to events, workshops or mixers. Try to help others by using your skills, experience or network. If you focus on building relationships and making friends versus contacts then you can enjoy the journey. Being an entrepreneur is difficult and oftentimes lonely, it’s important to appreciate the moment and the people around you.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We want Coplex to become the best startup studio in the world. In the near term we plan to get more involved in Los Angeles by helping entrepreneurs, hosting events and much more. We will continue to hire great new people that share our vision and values.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Pink’s Hot Dogs