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Time tracking app Mite reveals numbers for first 20 months (yo.lk)
164 points by nordgren on Mar 8, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments



I really like this. Hadn't seen it before.

But it appears to be missing what I would regard as being a key piece of functionality: Expenses.

We tend to bill time and expenses. Indeed the standard contract we operate under is T&M, time and materials.

Materials being travel, accommodation, and stuff like that as well as material in more real terms.

Your time UI looks great, but we already have a really ugly time UI that we'll be sticking with. Why? Because the system that stores the expenses is more critical than the system that stores time.

We can accept a margin of error and a overhead on submission of time reports, but for invoicing and billing we cannot accept such things when it comes to expenses. One of these things goes into the company filings, one does not.

I would love to be able to utilise your time UI, but to do so necessitates some way of extending it to also track expenses.

Expenses relate to time because they occur in a moment of time and are nearly always directly attributable to what you were working on at that time.

i.e. a taxi for a meeting with client X. Verisign Code Certificate for a piece of code for client Y. Hotel whilst visiting client Z.

So it makes sense to record your expense when you incur it... or to enter your expenses at the end of the month (when you get your credit card statement) and then for the date to imply the client.

Perhaps you should be looking at partnering on this front? Maybe pick out someone like Buxfer and see if they're keen to work towards owning the books for small and medium companies?

Doing this stuff would allow you to also build profitability reports. If you know 3 people work for client X, that you invoiced amount A and that your expenses are amount B... then you know how profitable 3 people are for the time allocated. Important stuff for freelancers and those offering services where time tracking and invoicing matters.

Just some ideas. Very much like what I see.


Thanks for your great input! We'd love to keep the tool easy, therefore we'll keep focusing on tracking and analyzing time only.

That said, you're totally right: partnering makes sense. Therefore, we do offer an API. Three invoicing apps already integrated mite to realize exactly the combination you mentioned. We hope some others will follow, it's so great to see tools working together, each focusing on its very own strenghs!


I was wondering... is it really worth it to have an API? Do you have many customers who use it? would those customers not be your customers if it weren't for the API?

Thanks!


I can't prove that with numbers, but oh yes, we think the API is one of our key "success" points!

One, the API helped us a great deal in terms of features / suporting different plattforms. Have a look: http://mite.yo.lk/en/platform/ – this is only possible because of our API, we couldn't have done that by ourselves, with a tiny team.

Two, integrating 3rd party products helps to spread the word about your service, especially, when the customer base is a pretty different one.

Customer wise: a pretty decent part of our customers makes use of our API to integrate intranet tools and the like. And it's a plus to highlight that we don't lock the data of our customers in. But if they hadn't become customers if we didn't have an API? Not sure about that.


Hey Julias, you should join http://www.thesmallbusinessweb.com if you're looking to find a good group of people building the market through integrations. We'll be working on time tracking data standards later this year in fact.

P.S. You should integrate with FreshBooks. (Guess where I work :)


Great site to research for anyone doing a web startup btw. Plenty of great examples to be found in their directory.


Thanks for pointing us to the SBW, sunir. We did stumple upon it already, but will explore it further.


I guess that last question is pretty hard to answer, but from what you say I can tell there's a lot of value to your customers in the API, hence it looks likes it is worth it. Thank you for your reply and congratulations for your success, I hope you keep growing and being profitable!


Go team Kreuzberg. :-)

(For non-Berliners, one of the boroughs of Berlin which has a handful of startups.)


I loved Kreuzberg when I stayed in Berlin for a month. Seriously considered moving to Berlin then. Hopefully will get to live there again for a summer month and decide.


Can someone from the Mite explain what are the factors involved for varying the expenses?


Yes, of course: the biggest factor are our salaries – we're raising them steadily as we're making more money. The second (minor) factor is that some costs are rising depending on the number of customers/users, such as payment or server costs.


Did you start with Ramen salaries and are working up to hamburger? Or did you start with hamburger and working up to steak? It's none of my business of course, I'm just always curious where one puts the line between a reasonable salary and something gratuitous.


Hamburger, I assume ;)

We started with monthly €1,300/founder. Today, we're paying us €2.500/founder.


Great work guys! We have started with premium also ( http://smartupz.com ) - but it's a very soft launch. We will go fully to market in about a month. We probably will share some figures after first quarter :)


I dropped by http://smartupz.com to find out more about your premium app. I found that the grammar was not correct in quite a few spots and would highly recommend you have someone proofread your copy. Not improving the copy will definitely impact your full launch in a very negative way. Having a crystal clear, engaging and gramatically correct message will go a long way to helping you extract people's hard earned money. Good luck with the launch!


Thank you very much for this point. We certainly will correct our pages!


Actually, I just read the article. I'm guessing you guys aren't to Lobster yet, so it probably doesn't matter at this point.

That said, I really really really like the design of the site. Insanely so. The home page is sublime, and the 'Tour' page is near perfection. Grats and good luck.


Tried out the app, but like all time tracking apps out there it fails to meet my extremely simple needs. Here is what a time tracking app should do to be fun to use (I would build one myself if I didn't sign a non-compete):

1) Don't require me to have clients, project, or tasks. Just allow freeform entry. If I don't want to assign time to a project, but just a client I should be able to.

2) Let me mark hours as billed! I don't want to have a project list that looks like, "Project 1a, Project 1b, Project 1c). It makes reporting messy.

3) Don't have New Project, New Client, etc. screens. Just create them when I enter it into the form.

4) Must have a good time tracker that I can start, close, and come back to later to submit.

Doesn't seem that hard to me. Freckle is the one that come closest, and their UI is subpar and they don't allow you to mark hours as billed.


2) + 3) + 4): possible with mite. 1) client only isn't possible, but project only or service only. Sorry to hear you missed those existing features.


How do you do #2? Interface needs work because it is not clear at all.

edit: Took another look. Even knowing it exists I still can't find it.


great to see some real numbers behind a startup!


Question for the thread -

  What are your thoughts on already having a product that people will pay for (and charging appropriately, direct selling to b2b markets) verses giving it away for free and monetize later?
Would this tactic impair because it confuses the value proposition, or benefit by spreading the business virally.

For example: https://www.yammer.com/about/pricing


What was not mentioned in the blog post (but in the comments) is that Mite has been there since December 2006 and the service starts as free (no freemium, no premium, just plain simple free).

I'd like to know if a company can pull this out by starting out immediately as "premium" with 30-days trial period, no kick-start no nothing.


Both your claims are factually incorrect and it took me about 30 seconds to verify that you are indeed incorrect. It doesn't start at free, the first user costs 5 euros. Also, mite did in fact relaunch as a paid service in 2008. True, it would have been nice if they had mentioned the users they retained from the initial launch in 2006, but the picture you paint is not accurate.

http://www.crunchbase.com/product/mite


The user charts do not include any users from before July 2008. But we should have mentioned our history more clearly, at least in the English blog posts, that's right.


It's not really a major objection. I definitely appreciate you sharing the data in the first place. :)


Mite launched in the end of 2006 as a free service up until they re-launched as paid service in mid 2008. That's about 1.5 years free service.


I think an app like this could do it. The "businessy" apps (basecamp-like, targeting businesses or professionals) could probably pull it off. It would all come down to marketing and coverage.

If there's a network effect, or a chicken/egg problem, starting premium only would be very difficult, I think.


Thanks guys, those are interesting numbers. I'm surprised how little you charge for your app though. Have you considered increasing the price or offering more expensive options?


Interesting comment, thanks revorad. Did you realize the price is per user, not per account? We feel the price is in the higher middle-range, feels adequate to us. We're not cosidering to increase it at the moment.


So, they can't live from its profit yet. :(


Why yes, we can, from the very beginning. The expenses do include our salaries.


OH COOL! Congratulations!


I'm surprised the conversion rate fluctuates so much.

Why such a drastic drop in conversion rate jn early January 09?


The drop corresponds to December '08. We think this occured simply because of the holiday season. When the trial expired, people weren't working => didn't read the email => didn't convert.

Another point: our numbers are so low, in general, please keep that in mind. Every little fluctuation looks like a big deal. But isn't, really.


How do you guys like 2checkout.com?


I used them about 6-7 years ago and didn't like them. However, that was 6-7 years ago.


I use them for a paid membership site I own and haven't had any problems for several years now. I'm pretty low volume though so that might have something to do with it.


Wow.. Inspirational. Thanks to the Mite team for providing these numbers. Simply awesome.


thank you for sharing. slow and steady is great. +1 transparency




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