Why Startups Should Hire a Product Agency for Traction and Growth Initiatives
Josh Korr, Former Product Strategy Director, and
Kevin Vigneault, Vice President of Product Services
Agencies can be a great fit for strategic initiatives like making the vision concrete, product expansion design and development, and UX revamps.
In our last article, we explained why product agencies can be a good solution to startups' first big staffing need: assembling a team to design and build their MVP.
But staffing needs don't end at launch — and product agencies can also be a good solution for the many strategic initiatives that emerge throughout the startup lifecycle. In this article, we'll share some of the common startup traction and growth initiatives that can be a good fit for product agencies, using real Viget clients as examples.
Make the Vision Concrete
We often hear from startups who have a high-level product vision but need help turning it into concrete, compelling product strategy, definition, and design. In most cases, we hand off this initial thinking to the client team to fully define and build.
- Industry: Cybersecurity
- Stage Engaged: Traction
- Total Funding to Date: $8M
SnapAttack is a cybersecurity software startup that spun out of Booz Allen Hamilton's Dark Labs incubator.
They came to us with a vision of bringing their product's expert-level knowledge and tools to mainstream enterprise-level users, but were struggling to turn their technical expertise into a product that everyone could easily use. We worked with SnapAttack's leadership team to turn this vision into a concrete strategy, defining the major new features, core concepts, and cohesive user experience that could serve this broader market.
Industry: Privacy and Data Protection
Stage Engaged: Traction to Growth
Total Funding to Date: $43.7M
Wirewheel offers a privacy management software platform for enterprise companies. Wirewheel had achieved initial market traction and was trying to envision "Wirewheel 2.0."
We worked with Wirewheel's Chief Product Officer and team to help articulate the foundational concepts behind Wirewheel 2.0, and designed key new features and flows that turned the high-level vision into specific product solutions.
Product Expansion Design and Development
In other cases, a startup comes to us with more concrete ideas for major new features that they need help turning into actionable solutions. In these cases, we may both design and develop the features.
Stage Engaged: Traction (immediate post-launch)
Total Funding to Date: $29M
In our previous article, we highlighted SpectrumAi as a case study for hiring a product agency to build the MVP of their Twyll product. SpectrumAi is also a great example of hiring a product agency for traction initiatives.
After the MVP launch, we continued partnering to design and build what we think of as Year 1 Features: the major product expansion features that don't fit in the MVP, or that emerge based on early market feedback.
Stage Engaged: Traction
Total Funding to Date: $239.4M
Standard AI offers an autonomous retail platform for stores to deliver checkout-free experiences.
Standard came to Viget with a functioning backend and supporting technologies (cameras), but lacked any customer-facing applications. In a period of 4 weeks, Viget developed 3 applications using React and React Native (iOS and Android) to enable customer checkout, guest checkout, and store management functions. Later, after Standard secured a Series C funding round, we created concept designs for their in-store shopping app.
Sometimes startups recognize that the product's holistic UX is a significant barrier to traction or growth. For example, you can adopt all the product-led growth tactics in the playbook — but they may not move the needle if the foundational UX is fundamentally confusing or otherwise lacking.
In these cases, we audit the product and propose holistic UX changes to improve engagement.
We're also skilled at navigating the internal politics and team feels that can accompany these engagements. We're not there to point fingers or dunk on the current UX; our goal is to collaborate to help you figure out how to unlock product engagement and growth.
Industry: Public Sector Procurement
Stage Engaged: Traction
Total Funding to Date: $15M
Procurated is a supplier ratings and reviews site for the public sector.
Procurated came to Viget with an early product that had some usage, but not the traction they hoped for. We audited the product and assessed that the holistic UX was confusing and didn't effectively convey the product's value or what users should do. We designed a revamped user experience to focus on the product’s value and customers’ top problems.
Stage Engaged: Growth
Total Funding to Date: $123M
AppOmni's SaaS security posture management platform enables security and IT teams to easily protect and monitor their entire SaaS environment.
After a $70M Series C funding round, AppOmni identified that a UX revamp could unlock significant growth opportunity. We worked with the startup's Chief Product Officer and team to re-envision the holistic product UX, while also designing key near-term features.
All of the Above
Our favorite scenario is serving as a long-term partner for successful startups. Over the course of yearslong relationships, we get to help with all of the above initiatives and more.
Industry: Grocery / Food Supply Chain
Stage Engaged: Traction & Growth (multiple business lines)
Total Funding to Date: $499M
Grubmarket is a food technology company with a mission to digitally transform the food supply chain industry, serving both business customers and end consumers.
We've worked with Grubmarket for a decade, starting while they were a Y Combinator participant. We've helped with multiple major product expansions. First, as they grew their original B2C offering, we revamped the visual identity, user experience, and design. Later, we designed a major new B2B offering: software for the food supply chain industry.
And the partnership continues: we recently started our 17th (!) engagement as Grubmarket continues their meteoric growth.
Why Hire an Agency for Traction and Growth Initiatives?
We see two types of staffing needs driving post-launch startups to reach out to agencies:
- Role Needs: Sometimes, startups simply lack the necessary roles to tackle a given initiative.
In recent years, we've seen this need manifest primarily in product roles (strategy, management, design, research), less around developer roles.
In the past, this need has manifested for developer roles in the context of a new or specific technology, for example React or mobile development. (Perhaps AI will be another example.)
Bandwidth Needs: Sometimes, startups have the necessary roles — just not enough to work on multiple initiatives at once.
For either need, the decision to hire an agency for traction and growth initiatives can be more clear-cut than whether to hire an agency for the MVP.
In the MVP case, you need to hire the full team at some point anyway, and internal ownership is a powerful driver of long-term team success. Whereas in the case of strategic post-launch initiatives, the need is typically both urgent and timebound — you need the help now, and only for a short period. This can make ROI calculations much more straightforward.
If you’re a startup leader deciding whether to green-light a strategic product initiative and how to staff it, get in touch. We’d love to help you think through the options.