Startup Toolbox [2017]: Services and tools

Giorgos Psistakis

As a startup, we always keep an eye on the latest marketing, customer success and productivity tools to help us stay connected and do our best work. Since the beginning of our startup trip, we have used a large number of tools and services. That is also a very common question that I get.

So I thought it would be useful to create a quick post that details every tool and service we strongly recommend. If you are thinking it is useful, you may bookmark this page for your reference.

To make it easier and helpful to find these tools, here’s a look at all I’ll cover in this blog post.

Startup tools to get things done#Infrastructure

Amazon Web Services
Google Cloud Platform
Rackspace

#Analytics / Data

Blendo
Chartio
PostgreSQL
Mixpanel
Google Analytics

#Marketing

MailChimp
Buffer

#Customer Success

Intercom
Respond
Mention

#Communication

Appear.in
Calendly
Olark
Slack

#CRM

Hubspot CRM

#Finance

Chargebee
Stripe

#Multimedia / Graphics
Canva
Stocksnap.io

Infrastructure

Amazon Web Services

Blendo is an AWS partner and we use many of their technologies. Amazon Redshift (we use it as data warehouse destination in Blendo too) and Amazon RDS along with EC2 or S3 are the most popular.  Find more about AWS.

Google Cloud Platform

We are Google Cloud partners and we also use part of their offerings. Google BigQuery, for example, is a destination for Blendo so we know its ins and outs along with Google Data Studio are great tools for getting started. Find more about GCP.

Rackspace

We love Rackspace for their support and they also have a great program for startups with many perks.

Analytics / Data

Blendo

If we were not using what we are building then we would be a startup. As we use many tools (you will see more later) we needed to have a way to collect all of our data into a PostgreSQL in Amazon RDS and run custom analytics. We use Blendo to pull data from Mixpanel, MailChimp, Intercom, Stripe, Hubspot CRM and Zendesk, I set it up in a few minutes and now both our analyst and I have access to all our valuable data. More about Blendo.

Once you’ve researched all your data analytics options, we’d love to help you with your data integration needs — so you can easily have access to all of your data sources and get better insights in your analytics!

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Chartio

Chartio is a Blendo partner

Blendo is Chartio’s partner and I am in love with their Interactive Mode. Chartio is a SaaS, self-service business intelligence (BI) tool. It supports a lot of different data sources, and they focus on connecting to on-premise databases as well as cloud-based databases. Chartio provides a comfortable, light-weight tool for basic data pulls, so either you use SQL or their drag-and-drop Interactive Mode. Find out more about Chartio.

PostgreSQL

PostgreSQL is an open-source relational database. We use it as our Data Warehouse for our custom analytics.

Mixpanel

Import your Mixpanel data into your data warehouse - Blendo.coIn my recent post, I wrote that Mixpanel helped us to easily create funnels and visualizations of how people are using Blendo. Mixpanel helps you dive into your events, analyze them, discover trends or create weekly cohorts. Other than the events, Mixpanel has People analytics that focuses on the user and Engage that allow you to act with emailing or push notifications.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics the tool that most people start with. The one-stop-shop to setup a basic to advanced analytics infrastructure. You can track website actions, events, or set up goals. There are so many ways that someone can customize it, so he may not need to proceed with other tools.

Marketing

MailChimp

Import your MailChimp data into your data warehouse - Blendo.co

We use MailChimp as our main part of our marketing efforts. We like it as it is easy to use and gets our job done. Find more about MailChimp.

Buffer

I am a long-time of Buffer paying user. What it does is really simple but important. You add your social media updates to a queue and they will be posted for you, according to a schedule. Super useful. There is a free option too. You can try Pablo by Buffer too. The easiest way to build images for social media.

Customer Success

Intercom

A great fan of Intercom here. I love everything about their product, the way you contact your users, the events you may setup. You will probably need the help of a developer for customizations or advanced features to work. I do not like their pricing scheme though, too complicated for me.

Respond

Respond

Respond is like a customer support inbox for Twitter. You may connect your Twitter accounts and monitor all your mentions, searches, and direct messages. Nice!

Mention

Mention along with Respond from above we use it for the same reason. To monitor all the mentions and respond effectively.

Communication

As most of the people, we use Skype, Google Hangouts etc. I wanted to share a few tools that I use and are working great!

Appear.in

Appear.in was started building inside Telenor. Yep, you heard that right! Currently, operates as an independent startup within the incubator environment of Telenor Digital. Appear.in is a dead-simple video conferencing tool. You may join a video chat room by clicking on a link and with no install. You may even have your own video room personal address Plus beautiful design! It is free with an option to pay.

Calendly

Calendly is a great tool to help you find a time that’s good for everyone to hop on a call or participate in a meeting without email back and forth. Good value and it is free.

Olark

Olark is great to talk to your customers for sales and support. We use the chat window on our website, where anyone can find us. They have paid tiers but the chat window is for free and effective!

CRM

Hubspot CRM

Hubspot CRM is an easy and intuitive tool to help you keep track your sales and communication in general. It has free and paid versions.

Finance

Chargebee

Chargebee is a Chennai-based startup that helps companies manage their billing and subscription needs. It is growing like crazy and they recently raised anther funding round. We used Chargebee so we do not have to build our own billing system. Supports a large number of payment gateways like Braintree, Stripe or Paypal. It took less than half an hour to have our Billing system ready and integrated. They also have their own program for startups, Chargebee Launch.

Stripe

Stripe is a quick and secure way to accept credit card and debit card payments online. The integration / support with Stripe so far was excellent.

Multimedia / Graphics

Canva

Another tool that I love to use is Canva. I love its flexibility and options and they have an extensive library of beautiful social media templates to start off. Check out these beautifully-crafted graphics here. You can even create an e-book template from their website.

The header design of the blog post was made on Canva.

Stocksnap.io

Looking for free, with great quality, stock photos? This is one of my favorite sites.

The image used in the header of the post is from StockSnap.io.

Blogs

Ghost


I am a great fan of WordPress, though Ghost is my recent love. Not a great marketplace and plugins that WordPress has yet, but it will get there.

WordPress

We also use a self-hosted version of WordPress for our blog.

Closing

I would love to hear your thoughts below or your comments. What tools do you use? How do you get your data to run custom analytics?

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