One of the most important features for any site is user account information, but it’s certainly not easy. In fact, it usually takes ages to get right. DailyCred hopes to take that pain away by making it easy to add secure user accounts to your site or app. We caught up with co-founder Dave Matthews to talk DailyCred beginnings and drama in startup land.
How did you start working on this problem?
We were working on another project, and ended up having to do a huge amount of work to build a solid, polished user account system. There are just so many facets to it – from security (SSL certs, salted hash functions, secure backup), to user experience (sign up and sign in, password resets), to properly tying in with social networks.
And we realized that most of what we were building wasn’t unique to our site. So many of the startups we were working with were trying to build something similar. This was our AH-HA moment. If we could take this tech that we’d built for ourselves and offer it to other sites – we could save them a ton of grief.
How’d you come up with the name DailyCred?
DailyCred is all about “every day credentials” for your site. And it’s a play on the phrase “daily bread”, which helps make it memorable.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Julius and I co-founded the company at the beginning of 2011, and then we moved from SF to Seattle. We’re up to 4 full-time right now.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
We actually started off by joining AngelPad, which is a great accelerator in SF. That was an intense start – and I’d just left my job at Microsoft to move to San Francisco days earlier.
During those months and the fundraising after – it was like we were in a time distortion field. We were doing so many thing trying to get ready for launch, that days felt like weeks. We’d often have to remind ourselves of that- like we’d get stressed out wondering why an investor was taking so long to get back to us – and then we’d realize that we’d just contacted them the day before. Other people were in “real-world-time” and we were in “startup-time“.
What’s your office environment like?
We’ve moved around a lot. The first few months we were in the AngelPad office in SF. After that I was renting a place right next door to Julius, so it was convenient to work from our apartments for another few months. When we moved to Seattle, we got some desks in the TechStars office in South Lake Union, and now we’re in the SURF incubator space downtown.
It’s a cool classic building, and we even have a great view of Puget Sound. There are a bunch of other teams working in this space, from groups of 4 or 5, to single founders.
It’s great being around other startups – I prefer that over working at home. It’s a good way to get insight into what other devs are going through with their projects – which really helps us since we’re building a product to help make their lives easier.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
5 years is a long time. We look at some of the bigger trends around identity and security, and how social networks are become fragmented – and what this means for our clients.
We have a list of ideas that could take us 10 years to get through, but realistically we’re going to focus one pain-point at a time, and then learn from our customers where the real value is. Like anyone, we need to be flexible and react to the reality of what’s happening in the market, and where the real opportunities are.
How’d you fund this venture?
We raised from a great roster of investors in the valley including Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, and angles, and also from angels right here in Seattle, like Matt Shobe. It’s great to have the runway this give us, since it lets us hire great devs and build something big.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Focus on what’s unique about your startup! You’ll be able to move so much faster if you don’t waste time on things that aren’t core to what you’re building.
- Don’t buy servers, rent them from Amazon
- Don’t build user support software, use Olark
- Don’t build your own mail system, use SendGrid
- Don’t build user accounts, use DailyCred
The cost of these services scales with your size, so optimizing for cost isn’t the right priority when you’re getting started. Get up and running fast, and see what works.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
Guilty pleasure: I check out startup boards like HackerNews too much. There’s always some kind of drama in startup land. Plus there’s been so much talk this summer about password security, bcrypt vs scrypt, websites screwing up and losing their users passwords.
It’s great to see this, because it means the problems DailyCred is solving are a hot topic right now.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Recently – Google Authenticator. So much easier for protecting things than the key fob our bank makes me carry.
Dogs or cats?
We are a pug company.
iOS or Android?
Both. I prefer iOS, but I was testing on Android yesterday and was jealous of the screen size. Come-on iPhone 5! Please have a bigger screen!
What’s the greatest thing about DailyCred?
If you’re going to work on a big problem, you should solve it for the first time, or the last time. Startups waste so much time reinventing their user account systems, it’s ridiculous.
We want to focus on doing an amazing job on that piece of the puzzle, so other people won’t have work on that problem any more.
Where can our readers reach out?
Check us out at Dailycred.com
Thanks, Dave! If you want to save some serious time and effort to make sure your user accounts are safe and secure, check out DailyCred. And Dave, don’t kill me, but I have to make a Dave Matthew’s reference here. I mean, cmon, who doesn’t like a little Crash Into Me?