Redefining Productivity: The Journey of liftOS, Its Pivotal Shifts, and Global Ambitions

Written by

Lotte Geldermans

Published on

August 25, 2023
The two founders of liftOS speaking and pointing at a screen in their officespace with a plant on the desk
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liftOS, a game-changing innovation in the HR and productivity landscape, has been reshaping the way businesses approach their daily tasks and processes. In this article, we delve into the product's genesis, evolution, and the strategic shifts that have marked its growth, offering insights into the development of the innovative feature 'Su,' the challenges faced, and the visionary approach that guides their decision-making, painting a picture of a product designed to transform and elevate the business world.

How did you come up with the idea of liftOS?

The initial idea behind liftOS was born out of a desire to simplify the complex process of onboarding. We developed a modular onboarding product that allowed every step to be a drag and drop, including different module nodes, tasks, and links. However, as the product evolved, we realized that the modular system was not just beneficial for onboarding but could be applied to all HR processes. This realization led to the development of a modular HR system.

Can you tell us more about your process of pivoting?

As we continued to develop and refine our product, we began to see that what we were building could be beneficial beyond HR. This led us to pivot towards creating a more holistic work operating system. Interestingly, this pivot did not involve a complete departure from the product's architecture. The fundamentals remained the same - a modular, scalable system. The primary change was in the target persona. Initially, our focus was on HR, but after analyzing our waitlist and the willingness of HR to pay, we realized that there were better personas to target. This led to a shift from HR to four other core personas, which we are currently narrowing down to two.

How do you approach the launch of the new product?

When it comes to launching the product, we have a clear plan in place. We intend to prioritize beta sign-ups, offering them a discount over the launch price. The plan was to reach out to these early adopters, understand their needs, and then roll out the product fully. Our growth strategy is primarily organic, with a focus on LinkedIn and Twitter for outreach. We share updates about new features, office life, and our thoughts on LinkedIn, while Twitter is a more personal platform. We were also planning to start an educational series to help users understand how to work better with liftos.

liftOS interface provided by Ege

What’s behind your waiting list strategy?

As we continued to build in the new direction, various new personas and user types became interested in liftOS. Therefore, we maintained our HR product to serve HR professionals, while also creating a new waitlist to record interest from other personas we are targeting. The growth of our waitlist and user base is primarily organic through social media, but we are also running outreach campaigns in parallel to onboard users directly. We firmly believe in launching the product as soon as possible and building it with user input. As a result, anyone who reads this can send us an email or fill out our Typeform to get a chance to experience liftOS.

How is your new feature ‘’Su’’ disrupting the productivity market?

Su is our work assistant, strategically positioned on top of every Space. It resides above the Space layer and Applications, as we want its capabilities to be holistic rather than confined to any specific app. Su’s goal is to be an all-knowing assistant that can not only answer questions about anything within the Space but also take action and create new blocks there. This ensures that users can have their Spaces personalized and customized with just a prompt to Su, meaning that relevant apps, data, and teammates can be added to the Space automatically. For example, if a user is working on creating a Space for their board meetings, telling Su, “Hey Su, create a space for all of my Board Meeting information, please” will synchronize their past notes from tools like Google Docs, Notion, or others. It will also create tasks, find any tasks related to board meetings, and attempt to match users that were in other apps for this function, recommending that they be added to this Space.

Users retain control over everything, but Su makes it easier to extract information and bring it all together. We believe that AI is an essential part of productivity tools, mainly because it enhances human productivity. This aligns with our philosophy for liftOS. Our modular software, Space interface, and the current Su UI are a great match, and we plan to grow the liftOS ecosystem with these elements working in harmony.

What’s your biggest learning so far?

Every day presents significant learning opportunities. I contemplate various strategies, such as charging customers early and onboarding users as quickly as possible. One of the major considerations involves the products, particularly software products.

Selling a niche product has become increasingly challenging unless your target audience is vast, and your product is distinguished from the competition within that niche. Ideally, you would have a massive audience for a niche product. However, in today's market, I observe that we've been developing so many specialized products that it has become very difficult for many users to adopt all of these niche solutions. What worked in the past, such as building a specific niche solution like our onboarding software, an HR onboarding tool, or a singular, single-point tool, is no longer the approach that resonates with the future.

We're now shifting our focus towards compound products that encompass multiple feature sets. This trend is why products are increasingly overlapping and expanding in various directions. If you were to download a user guiding tool in the past, it would simply provide user guidance with a click. Now, these tools have become more complex, incorporating surveys, messaging, emails, and many other functions within a single tool.

Having made mistakes in previous iterations and failing to penetrate the market as we intended, we are now adapting with liftOS. We're transforming our approach and building comprehensive compound software.

How do you manage to sustain a healthy relationship with your co-founder?

Maintaining relationships with every teammate is very important, especially your co-founder. It's important to see it, long term, really like a marriage trying to nurture it like a relationship. As with every relationship, it has the basic fundamentals. I look at my girlfriend and my co-founder pretty much the same. He's also married now, so I think I'm his other wife or partner.

To sum it up, I think what's very important is, again, daily respect, finding the common communication language, finding their differences and similarities, and then understanding those. Whatever works for a relationship should be applied to a successful relationship similar to a partnership.

How do you see liftOS’s internationalization about hiring and fundraising?

Our fundraising strategy is international, with a focus on the West. We are agnostic about where we hire from, but we do see the benefits of having a team in the same office. liftOS believes that the type of software we are building requires a lot of input and friction, which is better facilitated in an office setting.

We initiated our fundraising at the pre-seed stage when we had a proof of concept and a clear vision of our path forward. The team was confident in connecting the dots between our current state and our future goals, prompting us to start fundraising. Our decision to seek funding outside of Germany was a natural progression rather than a strategic one. We welcomed investors from all geographies, culminating in a diverse portfolio of investors from Turkey, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany.

It was at this pivotal moment when we came across Pitchdrive. Their highly personalized approach, coupled with the experience of the founders, resonated strongly with us. We opted to fundraise with Pitchdrive, recognizing in them a partner that truly aligned with our vision and mission.

Choosing our investors involved careful discussions and considerations. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to select those we wanted to work within most of our funding rounds. For example Pitchdrive stood out, not merely as an investor but as a collaborator that shared our ambition and was committed to supporting us every step of the way. Their contribution transcended mere financial support, reflecting a synergy that promised to propel us toward our goals.

How do you see the current market development?

The current investment market is interesting. While there is a decrease in VC funding, the requirements for funding are also decreasing due to increased productivity from AI. This means that we might need less funding than planned. However, being at the forefront of new tech, we believe that if we deliver on our promises and the software goes in the right direction, we should have a strong hand for the next round of fundraising.

What does the future hold for Liftos?

Looking ahead, the next three months for liftOS are about nailing down the value proposition and product problem fit. After that, we will assess the fit and decide how much we can scale it. By the end of the year, we aim to have built a complete solution and will then take a step back to evaluate the product and our marketing strategies. Depending on the outcome, we may decide to fuel more and scale, adjust our product or market strategies, or do a combination of both.

If you had to start over with the entire business idea, what would you change?

I believe we've successfully accomplished that. We would proceed in the same way as we did today. Before liftOS evolved into the software we recognize now, the team developed three other products. Including the current product, that totals four products that we haven't shipped. As a result, we've consistently been iterating on our buildings, and if a concept doesn't work for us, we refrain from shipping it.

One of our previous ideas involved a modular process software system. This allowed users to build various processes, step by step, using drag-and-drop elements. With this tool, you could construct a process, a sequence of tasks that could also include additional components like notes, links, and more. That system could have been applied to any repetitive process within a company, but we ultimately abandoned it.

Why did we do this? The scope was not broad enough to capture the market, as previously noted. In regard to the preceding problem, I believe that at this point, I don't have sufficient insights to confidently say I would start from scratch and proceed in a specific direction.

Perhaps in six or seven months, we'll have a better perspective. Every day we refine liftOS by removing some features, adding new ones, or altering existing ones. I view this more as an iterative journey rather than a start-from-scratch endeavor. Especially with this version of liftOS, I feel we made the right initial decisions. Now, each day we take two or three steps forward, and sometimes we may take a step back. Don't forget that our beta is taking place right now, you can sign up through the website to experience liftOS

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