This is the case study of Playme AR from the day of incorporating the company to the development and the lessons learnt along the way. As with many startups pushing to promote its startups to the world being stealthy is usually not the option most take to proceed forward. This is the case for many focusing on user growth and gathering a lot of its users as soon as possible. Lets move on to the pros and cons of being stealthy.

Benefits of Stealth Mode for Startups

  1. Highly focused on development. – This is important for Playme case as our system rely heavily on the app and web app to be able to allow us to scale much faster later in stage.
  2. Better product on launch day. – There is no way to get the perfect product on launch day but having a focused team without pressure will allow you to have a ready product to serve the market. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time with the customers when the basics are not done.
  3. Allowing you to lay most groundwork for future expansion. – It takes time to build something that will scale when its needed to. It makes no sense to build a product without figuring the future plans.

Disadvantages of Stealth Mode for Startups

  1. Not enough feedback to pivot or improve product. – For the case of Playme we did an early research with potential clients and even locked some into agreement and this allows us to proper build Playme to be consumer ready when we launch but it is never perfect.
  2. Giving you a false sense of security and not knowing of competitors. – Not having competitors is unhealthy as it shows there is no market yet but if its blue ocean and there is other parts of the world doing this then it is alright. Being in stealth mode is dangerous as there is no sense of urgency. Spending 2 years to build a minimum viable product or something can be seen as a bad investment. (based on certain industries)
  3. Social Media Interest. – Being stealth makes you unable to tap into the richness of social media and the fanning of word-of-mouth that your product be an answer to their pain. For Playme we were slow to move into this area that made it into a disadvantage for us.

Back in 2013 we were validating and testing out whether there is a need for an Asian Augmented Reality Creator Tool and the response was nice that we decided to move in full-time. Playme AR was in stealth mode for almost 8-10 months of properly developing and i was constantly in the hiring process with fellow local startups such as MobileAds, Piktochart, Splory, DeliveryEat and MyHero that are based in Penang, Malaysia. This caused us to focus hard to build a team that fits with the vision of Playme’s  to make an easy Augmented Reality creation tool.  Our slogan “Augmenting the things around us!”  is so that everyone can make their own AR in the comfort of their own home.

playmear-stealth-mode-ar-creator

Playme AR Creator

It took us to create the tool and now we’re ready to market it out and are just the same as all other startups wondering the questions of whether being stealthy is a good thing for us. We would say it would be 50/50 for us as we need to get the basics up and running while maintaining a small degree of noise to make sure no one has forgotten about us. We had somewhat a small hype on our product but not exactly loud as well. For our case of making sure a fully functional creation tool and flow is achieved and move onto other aspects of upgrades.  Therefore we chose to remain stealth and focused on creating the tool plus with multitude of advancement of the app.

We can say we made a mistake of neglecting our online presence and not making enough impact to gather followings from interested parties. Therefore right now we are refocusing our efforts in building our online presence and moving with the local southeast asian partners to push this forward.

In summary we notice a few positive note to this is that we’ve managed to create our end product and with better upgrades to the initial plan. This allow us to build a great product to match with the growing AR industry that is going around to the world. So decide which is best for your startup and team and keep moving forward towards growing your startups or company.

What do you think of this and share on to be stealth mode or not to be stealth mode.