Bootstrapping your first startup: how Knok did it fast and cheap!

When beginning his first startup journey José Bastos, CEO of Knok, wasn't really sure what it would be like. Now, three months in, he has customers, revenue and offers of investment. Knok has even saved a life! All of this by spending a small part of the co-founders savings. But how did José do this?

Imagine your child has a temperature that doesn't go away and you grab your mobile, tap on the app Knok, select the area you are in, find a paeditrician who operates in that area and tap again for the doctor to come to where you are, in the comfort of your own home. This makes everything a lot easier, doesn't it?

 This has become a reality after José and his friends had similar experiences and spoke about how terrible it was to wait for so many hours for the doctor to see their ill children. In order for it not to happen again they jokingly said they would solve the problem. And thus, Knok was born!

Since its launch in December 2015, Knok has been downloaded 3000 times, growing at a 20% rate per week. During this month of February, three months after Knok started, it got its first offer for investment by a venture capital. As mentioned above, these fantastic results were reached only by spending a little of the co-founders personal savings.

When it comes to online marketing, José Bastos only spends 25 euros per week on boosting posts on Knok's Facebook page, and uses his own Twitter handle to promote the app.

José Bastos and his co-founders have no experience in coding, so they asked a group of programmers, who had founded their own startup, if they were interested in not only develop the app but be co-founders as well. This not only cut the costs, but also made sure it was in everybody's interest to have the best version possible of the Knok app. The same goes for invoice and tracking software. Keeping the costs to a minimum while all parts make an extra effort for the project to go ahead is a big gain for a startup.

José has already decided on the next steps to take, which not only involve launching the app in the UK, but also in Spain (as a big number of Spanish doctors havea sked if they were about to enter their market as well). The Android version is coming out this year and a web app is in the making, as well as a way to book a doctor when he or she is offline (in case they are seeing another patient or they will be online within the next hour). It all looks very promising indeed!

José Bastos' pearls of wisdom:

  • Don't spend money you don't have
  • When launching a startup everything takes more time than you want it to
  • Launching a startup can be very lonely sometines
  • But it is surely all worth it in the end!

Christina Kronback and Stewart Noakes