Createtribute is Nigeria’s first online memorial platform for preserving the legacies of loved ones that have passed away. In 2020, we began working on an MVP which we called Tribute To A Love One, we secured the domain name tributetoaloveone.com and launched on the 6th of February 2021, people registered to use the product, and some created free memorials, and we were excited people signed up to create memorials of their loved ones, this validated our idea.
It’s been over a year since our first SaaS MVP product went live, we have experienced growth, adoption, positive and negative criticism, and also paid subscribers who love the product and are preserving the legacies of their loved ones via our various subscription packages.
Thanks to our early adopters, they have proven our idea to be valid and our product timeless, they are our first believers. We have decided to upgrade all existing users memorials to the lifetime plan, freemium, monthly and yearly memorials will be upgraded to lifetime at no cost, this is our little way of thanking our existing users for trusting us to preserve the legacies of their loved ones on our platform.
Building an MVP, gave us the insights we needed to invest our generated revenue in the company to build the product with all the core features, and users feedback, I’m super excited to announce that Tribute To A Love One has rebranded to Create Tribute, with a totally new experience for our existing and new users to create beautiful and engaging memorials that preserves the memories of their loved ones, either privately or publicly.
How it all started
After the death of the Director Of Finance & Accounts, Ministry Of Niger Delta Affairs Moses Chimereze Okpo, FCA, who died on Saturday, August 29, 2020. I got a call from a close friend of the family who was on the funeral planning committee, they wanted to build an online memorial website for their loved one who just passed away, and they wanted a website that allows people to post tributes, stories, and pictures.
At first, they wanted to subscribe to one of the leading memorial platforms in the USA, but I was able to convince the family friend that we could build a single-based website. We started working on the project. While watching the news about people dying from Covid, I thought of a way we could build a bigger version of the product as a B2C product offering, that would allow more people to create their own memorials for their loved ones that have passed away.
During my research, I discovered that there was no memorial platform built by Nigerians for Nigerians, a lot of people who wanted to preserve the legacies of their loved ones had to depend on foreign platforms, I was a bit disappointed but saw it as an opportunity to build the first interactive memorial platform. We swung into action and started working on the project while building the memorial website for our client.
We finished the custom design for our client, I recall the family friend informing me the link to the memorial was added to the letters that were given to various VIPs and dignitaries, including the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
While we kept working on the bigger version of the product, we got excited when we saw people register to post tributes on Mr. Moses’s memorial website, write stories and share pictures, it also validated the product we were building and we know it was going to be a valuable product in the long term.
Rebranding to Create Tribute
Months after going live, I kept talking to a lot of people about the product, it was a new niche product, and a lot of people easily understood the value, however, I got criticized by some people who said mean things and couldn’t see the value proposition, I refused to be spirit broken by the mean things I was told.
We noticed an increase in users and memorials, people outside Nigeria created memorials on our platform, and an Indian created a memorial for her father who died in 2007, and sent us an email to request that we upgrade her father’s memorial to a lifetime package as she could not afford to pay the fee.
Thinking of how we could start working on the core product which would mean building on top of the MVP validation, adding new features, implementing feedback and comments from people who loved the product, revamping the current system, redesigning, and if possible rebranding was going to be our next line of action.
While thinking of a new name, I spoke to friends and acquaintances, and some suggested names, which were really nice, but we faced challenges trying to secure the domain name for the new product name, some of the domain names were either already purchased, some were sold at a really high price which we could not afford as a bootstrapped startup, and we decided not to go for the .africa, .ng or the .com.ng because we wanted a .com because of all the benefits of having a .com domain name.
Some of the names we came up with were ourlovedone.com, foreverloved.com, tributeshared.com, and memorialshared.com, we finally settled for Create Tribute and secured createtribute.com, we were excited when we finally paid for the domain name and SSL. We didn’t have to worry about Cloud storage as we got thousands of credits for Microsoft Azure, AWS, GCP, and Oracle thanks to Newchip Accelerator for backing us.
We had solved the problem of choosing a brand name and domain name, but we were now faced with the problem of designing the new brand logo, the UI/UX design, and the development of the product, this was a new problem, which we had to solve, one problem at a time, we successfully the logo and the user flow, UI/UX design, and prototype.
Developing the product came with various challenges which we never expected but had to learn on the journey, it was going to be a revolutionary product for us and the first of its kind in Nigeria, we knew building it especially as a bootstrapped company wasn’t going to be easy, we had to depend on internally generated revenue to fund the project and pay the team we hired.
Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months of development, we finally finished developing the product, we completed User Acceptance Testing(UAT), and are now live, carrying out various product growth strategies, and working hard to grow and scale the product to reach Product Market Fit(PMF), its a long term journey and we are just getting started.
First Principles Thinking
Create Tribute is built on the principles that people who have lost their loved ones while grieving during that difficult period, can have a reason to smile, and find comfort from the tributes people would share on their loved one memorial website, stories, and images which can help lift the spirits of the grieving family.
Each online memorial comes with features that enable families, friends, and love ones to digitally celebrate the life of their loved ones, by sharing the memories, tributes, and stories of those that have passed away. Creators of each memorial have full control over the memorials they create, some of the features include; About the departed, the life history, birth and death dates, the image, other gallery images of the deceased with members of the family, and a tribute song.
Amy Winehouse whom I’m a big fan of, in her Back To Black song said “We only said goodbye with words”, we got inspired by this to create a platform where people can come together to say goodbye to their loved ones in words, written and shared, which would bring smiles or tears to those who read the tributes and stories.
Growing up as a kid, I have lost loved ones, death is painful, and I believe that most people who have also lost a loved one would find our product useful, we are not disrupting the traditional ways of funerals, we are complementing that culture with the use of technology, we understand the cultural issues that come with technological adoption in Nigeria, and we do not wish to disrupt but educate, and inform people about the benefit of using our online memorial platform.
This is a long-term approach, I do believe we will get to every stage of growth given time, we are 100% bootstrapped at this stage, however, we are open to discussions with companies who are looking to invest in us, on this long-term journey. Nigeria is a land filled with so many opportunities, however, one must be patient and willing to play long-term games in order to win big and reap the rewards.
Hard work is key to achieving our goals, we understand what it takes to build a memorial that would preserve the memories of thousands and millions of people, and as such, we are planning and taking steps to ensure we build a company and product that would stand the test of time, so generations yet unborn can learn about the history of their family members that lived before they were born.
We also understand how important our users are to us, we would take every step necessary to protect our user’s data, implement algorithms that would remove harmful content from users’ memorials, and much more. trust is key, we will work hard to gain the trust of the public and users of our platform.
Roadmap, Growth & What the future holds
Some people tell me, that my team and I have built a solution that’s unique, some also say they are happy people are building products that solve problems as there are lots of problems in Nigeria that technology can solve.
I’m focused on the long term, as I understand that Nigeria has a growing economy as well as an increase in the adoption of technology, there have been various successes in sectors such as telecommunications, oil, and gas, and fintech, however, given time, I believe that other sectors would grow at scale and there will be a massive adoption of technology, especially in the B2C space.
We might be ahead of our time with Create Tribute, however, our internal data shows us that people are adopting the use of our SaaS product, but we are focused on the long term, we believe that as technology adoption grows in Nigeria, and people use our product, we would grow to a stage where we become the household name for anything memorials in Nigeria, We already have the first movers advantage, this is important to us, we have spent time and money to ensure we build a product that stands the test of time.
As the founder of a growing software development company, we have built products for various parent companies across various sectors which has prepared us for this journey of building our own SaaS product, we are working closely with these companies to build their products which we have seen grown from 0 users and 0 downloads to tens, hundreds and thousands of users and hundreds of thousands of downloads, making revenue for these companies who are not even thinking of outside investments at this time of their growth.
However the growth of our clients didn’t happen instantly, we also watched them grow with time, growth beginning months, and years after the development and launch of the product, we are also exploring this approach to growth, and we experienced growth a few months after launching our MVP, from freemium users to monthly, yearly and lifetime users.
Rebranding and rethinking our MVP, and launching it, gives us more room to grow at a higher rate, better than our MVP growth stage, we understand various stages of growth, and also understand that we will face problems that also come with these stages of growth, but we are prepared for when these problems come, and we are confident we will solve it and learn from these problems.
Building a memorial platform, the first of its kind in Nigeria, has opened up a lot more opportunities for us as an indigenous company, in February this year, we got backed by Newchip Accelerator for its March 2022 Newchip Accelerator program, as a founder I have learned so much about what it takes to build and scale a startup at a global level, with experts and mentors from various companies around the world.
My goal is to build my company Codefixbug, and our present and future products for the long term, it’s been my vision since starting Codefixbug two months after graduating from the university, and I’m focused and dedicated to this long-term journey.
From 2018 to date, I have built my confidence in growth, my team and I over the years have been building products for startups, and helping big private companies and government organizations across various sectors solve hard critical problems using technology-converging software and hardware where needed.
The future of Create Tribute is bigger than us its founders, we have found a unique solution to a problem, and we know our product will work, grow and scale, people told me it won’t work, but our MVP proved otherwise, but now its time to go bigger and scale.
We are in a market that’s yet unknown, but ready for the taking, our first mover’s advantage gives us the edge we need to be a household name, and we will stay true and focused on our ambitions for the product. I strongly believe hope is real, and growth is possible.
We have a lot of amazing features on our product roadmap, we understand the task ahead of us, and we will work hard as a team to reach our short-term and long-term goals.
Big things start small.