We used QuickBooks Desktop. The version we used was for people with strong financial backgrounds. If you’re a small startup, and don’t have dedicated financial people, you will probably need outside help to start using QuickBooks. The unfortunate part of that is that startups really should get in the habit of tracking their own finances early on, but there is no good user-friendly accounting software that is great for startups. It’s an unrealized need, in my opinion.
When we started building mobile apps, we chose Localytics for mobile analytics. At one point, we were generating the most data out of all of their clients! Their comprehensive overviews and summary reports were amazing, but what made them really stand out was that they’d also give us the raw data.
We used Google Analytics because it’s comprehensive and free.
We never accepted credit cards, but we did invoice people with Stripe. We sold in-app purchases in our app and in our partner apps, and we collected revenue from the app store using Stripe. Our accounting department was very happy with Stripe.
We switched from UserVoice to Zendesk to allow users to report bugs and to collect general user feedback. We did some customer service via Zendesk, and hired a community manager to answer Zendesk tickets, but it was mostly used for one-way communication and getting feedback from users. Zendesk’s level of customization was better than UserVoice’s, and it allowed for more customization and branding. A huge plus was that we could make our Zendesk website look just like Aviary’s website.
We didn’t do much email marketing, but when we did, we used MailChimp. They were a partner, so it was a no-brainer to use them, but we would’ve chosen them regardless. They were a fantastic company to work with all-around, as partners and as a service provider. The entire interface was great, and the reports were top notch. They also have an Aviary editor built into it, so how can you knock it?
We use Google Drive if we need to do a quick presentation or work in a shared, collaborative document.
We used Dropbox for Business, but we’ve been using it much less now. The designers still use it to share designs and wireframes, and we use it for team organization for the Aviary team.
We chose Ambrose initially because their rates were more competitive than TriNet. The decision was heavily guided by our COO, who had a lot of friends using Ambrose. The personalization and customer service was really good. Shortly after we chose Ambrose, they were acquired by TriNet, but the rates were not affected, and we were still happy we chose them.
We use Slack. All internal communications--from what we all want for lunch to bug fixes--live in Slack. What’s funny is that it’s not an original idea, as programs like IRC have been around for a long time, but Slack puts it all into a great-looking package that is also fun and enjoyable to use.
We had lots of contracts with independent freelancers, and we used HelloSign to collect, and track, all contract signatures. They also give you virtual fax numbers, and allow someone to sign documents just using a mouse. The interface was extremely simple, and simplicity rules over everything else.
FogBugz is great for bug tracking. It was started by the same people that made Trello and Stack Exchange.
Early on, we used Basecamp. The decision to start using it was driven by external designers, and then we adopted it. But we needed something much more robust in the long term. Basecamp was like a combination of Slack and Pivotal Tracker, and became an extra tool that was unneeded. We just used Slack for Slack purposes, and Pivotal Tracker for Pivotal Tracker purposes.
We also use Trello for building pipelines. A huge con is that it’s really intended for online connected use. We had some syncing issues with Trello when we were offline. The format is really great for mobile devices, but there is a lot of wasted space on the desktop version; there’s no way to see all of your cards in one view. But the sheer number of plug-ins and benefits definitely outweigh the cons.