In one sentence, what is your product/service?
Marvel creates mobile and web prototypes from images and design files in your Dropbox.
What problem(s) does it solve?
Designers and agencies often present thousands of pounds worth of designs in Powerpoints and email attachments. It’s a terrible way to win a pitch, get work signed off or showcase high quality work.
If you’ve ever put your designs into the clients hands rather than in an email or Powerpoint you know the difference it can make. There’s a great tweet I saw the other day which said “If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a prototype is worth a thousand meetings”
Marvel lets anyone turn their design into a prototype within minutes. It requires no coding knowledge and therefore no extra cost or strain on resources.
We use Dropbox because it means Marvel can change prototypes in real-time as the design changes. Soon as you hit save in Photoshop – the prototype updates. So there’s no need to keep saving out PNGs and reuploading. It just gets out of the way. Just give your client the URL to your prototype and they can view it on any device.
What are your immediate goals?
We’re launching in around two weeks so everything is focused to hit that target. We decided to soft launch last Friday and have already had 1200 projects created and 4000 uploads so we know we’re on the right track.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech and your team?
The toughest part is trying to process multiple PSDs that can be up to 40-50mb each. Most people don’t upload one by one either, they usually throw in 10 or 20 at a time. If 1000 users all decide to upload a 50mb PSD, we have to make sure we don’t break.
After much hardening, we can now process 4-5mb PSDs in around 6 seconds, yesterday a user uploaded 40x2mb PSDs in one go. We completed the whole thing in less than 30 seconds. The scary thing is that it’s only going to get faster as we optimise the site.
As we get bigger it’s going to become more of a challenge. Luckily we’ve got some seriously good infrastructure thanks to Ubiquity Cloud Servers.
How will the company make money?
The prototyping will be free and unlimited for designers, that will never change. We’re going to launch a ‘pro’ account which has features focused more towards agencies and businesses.
We’re working with some amazing designers and agencies to help define our roadmap. Over the next couple of months we plan on getting most of our features complete.
Who is in your team?
I’m leading the design and product, Brendan Moore and Jonathan Siao (ex-Nokia/Navteq) are building the backend and Oleg Tsaplin is doing the front-end work.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?
In one year I would like to have Marvel with 50,000 users and in three years becoming one of the default apps in a designers toolbox along with Photoshop and Sketch. In five years time? Wow, who knows!
Other than your own, what are your favorite websites / apps / tools?
I’m addicted to reading and researching at the moment, I spend a lot of time trying to take in as much info as possible so I tend to like apps that give me great content to look at.
Kippt is a great social bookmarking tool, once you start following interesting people it really shines. Believe it or not my new favourite site is Digg! It’s made a quiet comeback and now has amazing articles every day, plus the new design is great.