StartUs Presents: Spaceship

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Dominik Vacikar, founder of Spaceship, landed on earth once again to talk to us about the importance of customer relationships for sales and how he adds value to them.

Describe Spaceship in 50 words or less.

Spaceship offers simple tools which enable you to generate thousands of highly targeted leads.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Working for someone else can be a very valuable experience. However, since I was a kid I always wanted to build my own companies. So once I had a chance to do so I immediately jumped into it. There is a saying that goes like this; it’s better to terribly fail on your own, than to perform miracles for someone else. And I agree with that 100% – working for someone else will usually put you in a “box of limits” which is unacceptable for me. That is also why everyone at Spaceship has complete freedom to learn on their own.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

We will fully automate lead generation and build one of the smartest sales tools around. Our customers will benefit from a continuous supply of highly targeted leads. Our aim is to help companies quickly scale their sales and business. In the last year, we understood that in order to build a really valuable company – you need to build something that is highly integrated into the daily routine of your customers (look at i.e. Slack, Facebook, Whatsapp etc.). And that is exactly what we are going to do.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

We use our own Live KPI Dashboard. You can learn more about it on our website 🙂 We measure many KPIs, but the most important ones for me are: monthly revenue, traffic and average conversion value. We project the Live Dashboard in our office 24/7. Hence, everyone knows exactly how are we doing in real-time.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

I come to the office around 9am, then I check the performance of our campaigns and conversions that happened over night (as we have customers in different time-zones). After that, I usually plan out my day – from the highest to lowest priority. So I will start with tasks that directly contribute to revenue. And only later during the day I will get to things that are not directly linked to revenue. I leave the office around 8-9pm and finish my day off by replying to the last e-mails or analyzing our customer-segments.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the services like you imagined it in the beginning?

We have launched our MVP three months ago. Since then we managed to get customers from 42+ countries. Hence, so far we are quite happy with the traction. And we cannot wait to properly scale up. So far we didn’t have to issue a refund, so I am confident that our product has a strong value for the users.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Currently we are bootstrapping. However, let’s see what the future brings!

What were the biggest challenges you faced building your startup?

It was not the first time we were building something from scratch. So we haven’t experienced as many challenges as in the past. Truth be told, we put together the first version of the product in 2 weekends. And it made money immediately from the first day. That is in my opinion quite rare. So we stayed very humble and listened to our first customers as much as possible. And we try to grow significantly m-o-m ever since.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Three things: value, honesty and quality. As I explained before, we only build things that are valuable for our users. We never build “into the dark”, that is way too expensive and time-consuming. Second, we are very honest about what we do. And everything carries my name. I also try to personally meet as many customers as possible. I care very much about them because they are the reason we wake up in the morning and come to the office. That is also why we discuss our future features and pricing with them. And last, quality – no matter what we do, it has to be on a certain quality level (content, campaigns, visuals, etc.). Over the years we have developed a good eye for design and content. So we won’t publish an article or run a campaign, unless we are 100% happy with it.

What do you look for in team members?

Especially in startups the only thing that matters is attitude. Experience is great, but expensive. Education does not matter at all (sorry). And everything else is just bulls*it people use to fill-up their CVs. I believe that the biggest problem our generation faces is that school teaches you how to meet deadlines and complete assignments. It doesn’t teach you what to do with knowledge you’ve gained and how to apply it properly. Let’s put it this way: while you can find 82,300,000 results on how to make a good first impression at interview, you will find only 8,000,000 results on how to be a valuable employee.

Why would a talent join your team?

I believe the things we build are pretty awesome. Otherwise, we would not have worked on them in the first place. Second thing is freedom – everyone who joins us can make their own learnings. We will never stop anyone from trying new things. And the third thing is knowledge-sharing, whatever we have learned until now – we share with our team. It can be anything from simple coding to running performance ads. But we make sure to pass on the most valuable experiences we have made.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

There have been quite a few. For me personally it was probably to leave a Rocket-Internet backed startup to build something new. It was one of those moments when you just know and you don’t have to think about it for long. Since then it has been a roller coaster. So I cannot really point out one particular moment. But for me what matters the most is feedback from our customers. So when someone tells me our tools really f*cking rock or that “I am a legend” because I give someone great customer service – that is what makes me really happy and at the end of the day that is the main reason why I do this.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

I personally hate this question. I believe there are only very few people who should advise others. I also think it’s quite dangerous to blindly follow advice just because it comes from your “idol” or someone who is perceived as successful by the society. There is a quote from ‘Lil Wayne’ which goes;

“If you need a role model to know how to live, you shouldn’t have been born in the first place. “

I am not saying that you shouldn’t try to learn, copy and steal from the others, but (again) if you need a role model to understand how to run your business, you probably shouldn’t have started it in the first place.

StartUs Presents: Spaceship


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