To build a successful tech startup, founders utilize simple tools and strategies. In fact, the most bulletproof systems allow team members to communicate more effectively, get more done in less time, and manage to-do lists. In the last decade, SaaS companies have deployed all-new innovations to streamline these and other daily processes.
"Thanks to the developments in digital technology, it has been increasingly easier for entrepreneurs to take charge of their own growth trajectories. Wherever you are in your startup journey, you can get your hands on the most helpful software applications and platforms just by knowing where to look," says Vikas Agrawal, startup investor and cofounder at Infobrandz.com.
With the right tools in place, founders can take their startups to the next level. Read on to learn about the tech industry's top software tools designed to fuel startup growth.
Top 5 Software Tools Founders Utilize to Unlock Massive Growth
Did you know that employees spend a third of their time reading and answering emails? Slack allows team members to engage in one-to-one or group communication online. This convenient and easy-to-use software solution allows teams to reduce their dependency on email.
"As we've grown to over 1,000 employees, Slack has given us one centralized place to manage our work and to communicate and connect with each other — regardless of where we are physically," says Rajeev Jaswal, CIO at Rapid7.
Slack was founded by Stewart Butterfield in 2013. In months, the platform had amassed several thousand users. By the end of the year, Slack had raised a $120 million funding round, cementing itself as the fastest-growing startup in the world. Today, the company is valued at $5.1 billion and supports more than nine million active users in 100 countries.
The free plan is suitable for most early-stage startups. However, unlimited app integrations and other premium features cost $6.67 per user. Benefits of the platform include:
- Organized Communication: Startups typically communicate across a variety of different platforms. Slack integrates with nearly every enterprise application including Gmail, Dropbox, and GitHub. This all-in-one tool provides startup teams with the cross-platform transparency needed to communicate effectively and get work done.
- Increased Productivity: Slack reduces a startup's dependency on emails and meetings. As such, startup teams can focus more on value-driven and growth-oriented tasks.
To get started, visit https://slack.com/.
Trello is a project management application that allows teams to assign, organize, and track projects. Featuring convenient, easy-to-use tools and a drag-and-drop interface, this deceptively simple tool can break down even the biggest projects into bite-sized tasks. In fact, Kickstarter uses Trello to organize content writing, product marketing, and community support initiatives.
In 2017, Atlassian acquired Trello for $425 million. Today, Trello has accumulated more than 19 million active users. Integrations with Google Hangouts, MailChimp, Salesforce, and more have helped the platform to become one of the most widely used SaaS applications in the world.
The basic plan is free. However, the business plan — app integrations, team overviews, greater security — costs $9.99 per month. Benefits of the platform include:
- Workflow Mapping: Trello gives team members the autonomy and control they need to master project management. Users can create simple project "blueprints" to organize tasks and workflows.
- Increased Transparency: The application utilizes project deadlines to hold team members accountable. Additionally, managers can quickly query based on project status.
To get started, visit https://trello.com/.
Balsamiq is an industry-leading wireframing tool built to streamline product — web, desktop, mobile application — prototypes. By utilizing the application's seamless quality control tools, developers can get instant feedback needed to create a better product. The platform features a variety of UI elements to make wireframing easy. Apple, Adobe, and Sony utilize Balsamiq to streamline wireframing and prototyping.
"If you're struggling to visualize your website and communicate your ideas to the team, look at Balsamiq," tweets Hans de Kretser Associates. It helps you create a mock-up of the site, allowing you to create different layouts quickly and decide as a team which is best."
Balsamiq launched in 2008. In just 18 months, the team had amassed over $2 million in sales. Today, the tool is hailed as one of the industry's most convenient and easy-to-use wireframing tools.
Balsamiq starts at $9 per month for solo developers. However, the $49 per month option is ideal for most teams. Benefits of the platform include:
- UX Validation: The application's intuitive and easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality allows users to visualize the UX for new projects.
- Enhanced Communication: Balsamiq is the perfect "in-between" tool for product managers, developers, and designers.
To get started, visit https://balsamiq.com/.
InVision is a product design platform that allows users to prototype, manage, and test web and mobile products. Industry-leading designers utilize the platform to create interactive mockups. InVision allows teams to quickly share product prototypes with employees, clients, and stakeholders. In fact, InVision streamlines communication and collaboration all within one easy-to-use platform. Fortune 100 companies including Disney, IBM, and Walmart utilize InVision to master product prototyping.
"InVision allows me to get all the right people involved as early as possible and minimize road blocks, avoiding the frustration of forgetting to think about something," says Paul Liddelow of Eventbrite. "I use it for wireframing, tracking comments, version control, final design audits, and even user testing."
Since 2011, InVision has garnered more than 3 million users in industries ranging from software development to customer support.
InVision offers a free plan. However, the starter plan — 1 designer, 3 prototypes, 3 boards — starts at $13 per month. Benefits of the platform include:
- Design Control: InVision allows users to more accurately assess design concepts before implementation or development. This methodical approach to design allows teams to think more clearly about the impact of UI/UX.
- Multi-platform Prototyping: From websites to mobile applications, InVision allows users to design concepts across a variety of mediums.
To get started, visit https://www.invisionapp.com/.
FreshBooks is a cloud accounting solution designed exclusively for business owners. The software can simplify the client invoicing process, allowing startups to focus on high-value tasks instead of financing. Startups use FreshBooks to invoice, organize expenses, track time, and more.
Michael McDerment created the company in 2003. McDerment needed a custom solution to streamline billing. In just two weeks, McDerment created FreshBooks. Surprisingly, in the first ten years, FreshBooks avoided venture capital.
"I lived in fear of losing control of the company and that our customers would suffer as a result... I felt really concerned that if I raised capital too early, I would do a bad deal," McDerment told Tech Crunch.
Lite plans start at $15 per month. However, FreshBooks' plus plan might be an ideal solution for startups. Benefits of the platform include:
- Faster Billing: FreshBooks allows startups to prepare and send invoices via email. FreshBooks will also deliver physical invoices by mail for a nominal fee.
- Simplified Collections: FreshBooks sends regular reminders to delinquent accounts, making overdue collections a breeze.
- Convenient Integrations: FreshBooks is compatible with more than 70 different applications including BaseCamp, PayPal, and Google Apps.
To get started, visit https://www.freshbooks.com/.
Scale Faster with RocketSpace
From raising venture capital to perfecting product-market fit, building a tech startup is difficult work. However, industry-leading tech startup founders utilize the latest and greatest software solutions to automate and organize these and other challenging processes.
If you're looking for even more tools and resources to help your startup scale faster, RocketSpace is a one-of-a-kind tech ecosystem built to help startups achieve terminal velocity. In fact, RocketSpace exclusively admits the best-of-the-best in tech. Are you a Seed to Series C tech startup with a minimum viable product in place? If so, take advantage of RocketSpace's modern coworking facilities, growth-oriented programming, and network events to help startups scale faster.
Since 2011, RocketSpace has supported 18 tech giants including Spotify, Uber, and Domo. Is your tech startup next?