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Web-based products making their mark

Published:Monday | September 8, 2014 | 9:00 AM
Marc Gayle and his wife, Cheyenne-Kari Gayle, of 5KMVP. - Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer

From the comfort of his home in Kingston, Marc Gayle builds minimum-feature, web-based products for clients all over the world. Gayle runs the aptly named 5KMVP, which builds minimum viable products (MVPs) at US$5,000 (US$565,000), for clients seeking early stage, web-based solutions.

Gayle said he experimented with 10K, 7K, 3K and 5K, however 10K and 7K were too expensive for the market, and 3K was too cheap for him. Gayle said most of his clients liked the 5K price and, ever since he has been pushing it. "I have seen a number of people using that 5K as a benchmark for the amount that people are willing to pay for an MVP," he said.

Gayle has been interested in startups for the last 17 years and has been building web-based products for the nearly four years. The company, according to Gayle, specifically produces web-based products that have a minimum feature set that entities in a particular market would consider a viable early stage solution.

"Too many startups begin with an idea for a product that they think people want. They then spend months, sometimes years, perfecting that product without ever showing it, even in a very rudimentary form, to the prospective customer," Gayle said.

"When they fail to reach broad uptake from customers, it is often because they never spoke to prospective customers and determined whether the product was interesting. When customers ultimately communicate, through their indifference, that they don't care about the idea, the startup fails," Gayle added.

Gayle sated that he has always had an interest in technology and his long-term goal was to build products for himself and own his own business. The tech entrepreneur, who studied computer science at Eckerd College in St Petersburg, Florida, and has an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Tampa, has been among the quiet players in Jamaica's technology sector for years.

After returning to Jamaica in 2009, he began working with a digital media startup that he formed a relationship with during his years in school. However, the financial meltdown took a significant toll on the company and it folded shortly after his return. Those experiences led Gayle to set up 5KMVP.com

Rather than trying to justify a budget for a full-scale web application (web app) with lots of features, 5KMVP adjusts the budget and decreases the first version to an MVP of just necessary features.

"By keeping the budget constant, we believe it is easier to get to the core of the solution they are offering. So the first step is we spell out the scope and milestones of their MVP. After milestones and scope are agreed upon, the client pays 50 a per cent deposit, before any work begins. The aim is to have the entire web app completed in about 10 to 12 weeks," Gayle said.

The venture required absolutely no money to get off the ground, as all Gayle needed was a laptop and an Internet connection. His years of experience and determination to bring in projects, however, are critical intangibles he said. In an industry perfectly suited for it, his technology blog posts that show his expertise are his biggest marketing tool to get his name out in the global technology market.

The end result is that 5KMVP has a growing international client base, which Gayle stated is critical for the Jamaican technology industry. 5KMVP is currently working on three projects, two from the United States (Texas and Boston) and one from Australia.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com