Arkadiy founded Plutoview, a co-browsing API that enables unparalleled collaboration at scale. They recently raised $385k and pivoted into API, while earning Product Hunt’s Product of the Day. They also had over 200,000 collaborative hours hosted in 2021.
Hi Arkadiy! Who are you and what are you currently working on?
My name is Arkadiy Baltser. I’m 23 and based in the USA.
My startup journey started pretty early. I’ve been building in the remote collaboration space for the past six years, starting with MyWebRoom, then moving onto Newshunch, and I’m currently the Founder and CEO of Plutoview.
Plutoview is revolutionizing remote collaboration by virtualizing applications and moving them to the cloud. By virtualizing them, there’s potential for an unlimited number of people to collaborate in those applications.
With Plutoview, we’re envisioning a world where everyone has equal access to the tools they need to achieve success in their lives and careers. Making that vision a reality will entail users moving applications from their devices to the cloud. We believe that this is the first step to bridging the digital divide.
Can you tell us a little bit of your backstory and how you came up with the idea for Plutoview?
I worked as a product developer on MyWebRoom, an Internet personalization startup that included VR Rooms. I also worked on Newshunch, a news gamification platform. We were working on gamifying some of the interactions and user experiences in the news media space.
I was a Philosophy of Science Major at Boston University. I’ve always been intrigued by big questions, especially those that have to do with the progress of humanity.
During my senior year, I decided to leave Boston University to work full-time on Plutoview.
My older brother was a massive inspiration for me. He founded MyWebRoom and then went on to found the renowned startup Grabr.io. I gained loads of experience watching my brother navigate his startup journey. I learned what goes into building a successful startup and was enamored by developing something from scratch that was all my own.
How did you go from idea to product?
We managed to build the first MVP in 2 months, in 2019. In developing the breakthrough virtualization technology, we prioritized scalability.
Our goal from Day 1 was to bring an unprecedented number of simultaneous live applications with large user bases. We launched on PH with our co-browsing service in the summer of 2020. We saw enormous success, validating our approach to revolutionizing remote collaboration. We worked on piloting our technology with those who need it most in the Edtech and remote collaboration communities.
Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?
We've always focused on validation above all. This is why we prioritize public launches like Product Hunt (which we have done twice already). We are looking for every opportunity to showcase the incredible technology behind Plutoview. This includes competitions, public launches, live presentations, etc. It’s how we manage to generate a solid amount of inbound leads every month.
We’ve extended our outbound efforts into direct sales upon fully transitioning into the API space.
What is the state of Plutoview today and what are your goals for the future?
Plutoview has not only remained relevant in 2021, but it’s soaring into next year with the hopes of growing even larger.
In early 2021, Plutoview joined the Startup Wise Guys, Europe’s hottest and first ever sustainability-focused startup accelerator, as one of its first 11 sustainability startups. The program lasted close to 6 months, during which Plutoview was able to raise $60k.
Later, Plutoview built on its success with Startup Wise Guys and raised another $320k from 2 investors on the back of its transition from a workspace solution catering to remote teams to an API integration provider catering to other workspaces. This was a fundamental transition for the company that opened new avenues of growth.
Plutoview also had significant wins in terms of its hires in 2021, onboarding seven new engineers to champion its transition into API. To begin actively scaling our API model, the company has teamed up with Teamflow, an all-in-one virtual office with a similar mission to Plutoview.
Overall, 2021 has been a pivotal year for the present and future of Plutoview. In November, we effectively raised funds by pivoting into API and even earned Product Hunt’s Product of the Day. Finally, Plutoview totaled over 200,000 collaborative hours hosted in 2021.
But we are not going to stop there. The company has some ambitious yet attainable goals for 2022. First, I plan to raise the seed round, a significant benchmark for startups in this stage. The company will also onboard the top 10 leading remote workspaces and virtual offices to solidify its collaboration integration category. Third, Plutoview will expand its suite of virtual applications and expand its already extensive use case library. But of utmost importance, I want Plutoview to become recognized globally in its story, mission, and name.
What have you learned since starting Plutoview?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this process is that you have to lead by example. In building such innovative technology as Plutoview, we need to showcase its capabilities and revolutionary power at every opportunity.
What were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?
Underfinancing has been the biggest bottleneck in the early days of Plutoview.
One sales experiment that failed was bringing in an ex-CMO as our interim head of sales. We thought that the experience of this ex-CMO would help us upgrade our sales structure, but in reality, it brought close to no results. This was when we learned that you have to be careful in placing extensive expectations on new hires and that it’s always better to grow your talent in-house.
What tools & resources do you recommend?
I would definitely recommend reading books. Books play a significant role in my life. They teach you how to concentrate on a storyline and immerse yourself. In general, books teach you life lessons. They give you wisdom. No matter what type of books you read, fiction or non-fiction, reading them will benefit you greatly. I love science fiction. One of my favorite books is written by the Strugatskiy brothers. All of their books are so deep with philosophy and humanity.