After a year of founding Codiga and running it solo, I now have a pretty good idea about the good tools to use.
These are my guidelines to evaluate the service:
- Least friction: easy to sign-up and offboard if there is an issue and/or you have better options
- Transparency pricing: you can see how much you will pay on the website. Starting using the service does not require a call with a sales rep with shady prices.
Too many products and services require either (1) a sales call or (2) multiple emails back and forth. Ultimately, if they do not adapt, such services are going to die because:
- they cannot scale (manual operations are expensive, which is reflected in the price)
- people do not want interaction ; they want a service that works out of the box
Before you start
- Register your company in Delaware (if you are planning to be backed by venture capital). Online platforms provide services without much pain, such as Stripe Atlas. Being in Delaware is essential if you plan to raise funding.
- Get a lawyer. There are good firms around for startups such as Goodwin or Gunder
- Get an accountant. A good accountant will take you few thousand dollars a year and ensure everything is on track, reported, and accurate.
What services to use
- Email: GSuite is the industry standard to manage/handle your daily email, calendar, etc. Do not wait to get your google account started. Just pay $12/month.
- Security: make mandatory that ALL employees/contractors/collaborators to enable 2FA.
- Important: use Gsuite to sign up for services and use SSO authentication, so that enable/disable accounts is easy.
- Accounting: even if I dislike intuit for their yearly spam notice about taxes, quickbooks is the standard for bookkeeping.
- Slack: a must-have for communication today, start paying or switch to Discord. Just set your mind on the right communication channel.
- Hosting: use AWS as they have plenty of discount with many VC. By taking AWS, you are pretty sure you will not pay any cloud expenses until series B. You will likely receive $10,000 to $20,000 credits until you raise series A and an additional $100,000 credits until series B. After that, you should have enough $$$ to cover your cloud bills or find better alternatives. And yes, you might prefer
<another-cheaper-cloud-provider>but (1) they are not as reliable as AWS and (2) they do not offer the same discounts or services.
- Design: sign up for Figma for your whole team. Just the best design tool I have seen for design. Signing up for any Adobe product pulls you back in the 90s.
- Captable management: Carta is the industry’s gold standard, but (1) they are costly early-stage, and (2) their customer service is terrible. I recommend Cake, which costs me about $800 a year (vs. $5000 for Carta).
- Source code management: GitHub is now the industry standard for source code management and all your employees are familiar with it. A good alternative is GitLab. Avoid Bitbucket because their user interface/user experience is terrible, the support for CI/CD tool is limited and the number of integrations is also very limited.
- Monitoring: Datadog is just the best monitoring tool on the market. Easy to configure and use, you get your monitoring stack up and running in less than one hour.
- SOC-2 certification with Secureframe: if you have a SaaS business and needs SOC-2 compliance, Secureframe facilitates all the certification/audit process. SOC-2 used to be a $70,000 to $80,000 line item ; companies like Secureframe automate a lot of the process and make it available between $10,000 to $20,000.