We’re proudly based in South-Eastern Michigan and in the spirit of encouraging more start-ups in our recovering economy, we thought we’d share the structure and tools (beyond the usual Microsoft Visual Studio and Adobe Creative Suite) that we use everyday.
We heavily rely on web services and new technologies to run as efficiently as possible. This allows us to keep our overhead small and make sure our service is affordable for as many parents as possible.
None of our development efforts would have been possible without BizSpark, an incredible program from Microsoft. BizSpark gives early stage startups access to their complete catalog of software, as well as tremendous technical support and exposure. It has been an invaluable program, and something we would recommend all startups check out.
Check out our BizSpark profile: http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/ConnectDetail.aspx?Startup=94350
Communication & Organization: 37Signals
We rely heavily on 37Signal’s suite of projects, including Campfire, a group chat service that allows our team to stay in sync regardless of when and where we work.
Hosting: Windows Azure
FamilySignal utilizes Microsoft’s Azure cloud services for our hosting and service management. Azure allows us to focus on new features and improving the user experience, instead of worrying about servers and scalability.
Chargify has been invaluable in making the user subscription experience easier for you and our development team at FamilySignal. Their easy-to-manage recurring subscription system and coupon codes allow us to focus on our core technology, while providing secure payments through their automated billing system.
Customer Support: Zendesk
After evaluating many customer support options, Zendesk was the best available for FamilySignal’s customers. With solid integration into our website, every time a support issue is submitted it is categorized and assigned to the correct FamilySignal employee to ensure a quick and accurate response. Don’t like using forms to submit support issues? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take care of it there too!
Alert & Email Services: Twilio for Text Messages & Postmark for Email
As our site says, parents are instantly alerted to any suspected dangerous activity with a text message and an email. Twilio Cloud Communications allows FamilySignal to never slow down or queue text messages when sending your alerts out. In the future, we’ll be moving to a shortcode, which will allow us to send from a universal number in the US, but, for now, add 248-850-1351 to your address book as FamilySignal and you’ll immediately recognize when you have an alert! Postmark on the other hand, is a great email service that handles ours of our mail delivery needs. As FamilySignal grows, so does the services we use, ensuring there is never a missed email or text.
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We highly recommend any of the services and techniques above.
We hope you found this useful, good luck in your own businesses!