Top lessons learnt in scaling a tech-based startup

Obviously, when creating a startup business, the main goal is to achieve success – to find your business in a position to grow, evolve, and scale in line with your ambitions.

In the world of tech, it’s especially satisfying to watch the metrics that indicate a successful venture grow – not limited to revenue and cash flow, these metrics include user numbers, downloads, and other highly measurable stats that all shoot upwards when plotted on a graph.

When building UniTaskr, we quickly came to realise, that scaling a startup comes with its own set of challenges, which we’ve distilled into a handful of distinct lessons that any budding entrepreneur – especially those with tech-related aspirations – can take advantage of.

Prioritising design over usability

It’s very easy, when putting together your platform – whether that be a website or an app – to gravitate straight towards design.

We all want to see our visions realised with as sleek, elegant, and striking an effect as we possibly can – but, in practice, this isn’t the most practical move.

Focussing too much on the design-related bells and whistles at an early stage can be a huge waste of time and resources. It’s much better to steer clear of trying to create a flashy final version of your concept at the first attempt – instead, try to focus on simplicity and usability.

Getting the basic concept across to early adopters or investors is far more efficient, and far more likely to pay off in the long run. With UniTaskr, we originally tried building a Native app on both iOS and Android, which cost us an unnecessary amount of money and time. In fact, we should of built a simple website to start collecting information on what services students could sell, and build from there.

The importance of personnel

Of course, these considerations of how early platforms look and feel have to come hand-in-hand with the person building the platform.

You don’t have to be a techie to create a tech-based startup, as myself and my co-founder can attest, but that freedom comes with an important caveat: you need to hire the right person.

We’ve had to go through several iterations of freelancers, agencies, and CTOs until finally settling on an in-house development team we’re happy with – demonstrating that, while tech expertise isn’t essential to scaling a startup, it is important to be able to recognise the right skills in others and understand the value of a good fit.

Building the tech can be the most expensive part of building a tech company, so look into finding a technical co-founder that truly believes in the dream, and someone you can imagine working with for a long time, in the hope they will work day and night building the product whilst you focus on the building the business. At UniTaskr, we didn’t go down the technical co-founder route, and I’m sure it cost us a couple of years of progress.

Keeping up with tech advances

Having settled on a good development team, it’s important that neither they (nor anyone else in the company) rest on their laurels.

Scaling any business is all about forward momentum, finding new ways to grow and innovate, and this is especially important in a world of tech that constantly improves.

As systems become more scalable and new databases and software come into play, it’s vital that the tech side of the company continues to discover new efficiencies and better ways to keep the platform appealing.

User interaction

Your platform’s appeal is always going to be relative, of course, to how users experience it.

That’s why it’s vital to keep an eye on how users interact with your platform, maintaining a culture of reflection on what features or improvements are required by the people using your service.

Of course, user responses can be very useful in the early design stages – which is all the more reason, to refer back to a previous point, to keep designs simple until you have a clear idea of what users actually need before committing time and resources to design dead-ends.

User retention

Keeping an eye on users can also offer valuable insights when it comes to retention.

This is, in many ways, the most important aspect of scaling a tech-based startup. After all, the huge volumes of downloads that might trigger growth and scaling mean a lot less if those downloads don’t lead to signups, or if signups quickly drop off.

As such, it’s vital to ensure there are very few barriers to those looking to sign up with your platform. Account creation, for example, can be a huge barrier if it’s not as quick and painless as possible (another reason to focus on that all-important usability).

Moreover, it’s important to proactively invest in keeping user retention strong.

In our case we’ve taken to introducing a loyalty program in which points can be earned for consistent interaction with our platform and later redeemed in the form of raffle tickets.

In many ways, user retention is at the heart of any effort to scale a business like this – only when you can demonstrate reliable, meaningful growth that foregrounds a genuinely committed user base can scaling be reliably achieved.

Startup Details

Startup Details



Connecting businesses with a workforce of over 85,000 skilled, trusted and verified students.

  • Headquarters Regions
  • Founded Date
  • Founders
    Joseph Black, Oliver Jacobs
  • Operating Status
  • Number of Employees