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Growth Talks: Charting the Course of Modern Launch – Powering Success Through Custom Software

Welcome to another edition of Growth Talks. Today, we spotlight Cody Benedetto, a visionary co-founder behind Modern Launch, a powerhouse in custom software development for startups and high-growth companies.

At Modern Launch, Cody and his co-founder, Ryan Serkes, utilize their robust backgrounds in software engineering and tech management to fuel entrepreneurial success stories. Their mission? To help ambitious professionals transform their innovative ideas into custom websites and mobile applications.

The journey to founding Modern Launch was built upon a rich tapestry of experiences. With an extensive history of working with diverse technology companies, coupled with their personal foray into launching and selling various businesses, Cody and Ryan crafted a unique approach to assist fellow founders in achieving their objectives.

What is the backstory of Modern Launch? How did you get from an idea to a business? 

My co-founder Ryan, and I, share a long history of working with technology and custom software. We both have worked directly with and for a wide range of technology companies supporting entrepreneurs, startups, and high-growth companies. In the past decade, we have also launched and sold several companies ranging from cryptocurrency fund management software to real estate analytics. This experience in launching and project managing tech products ultimately led us to look past our business ventures to assist other founders in reaching their goals.


How did you validate your idea? 

We had been building software together for quite some time and were heavily involved with other startups and high-growth companies. We knew that there were plenty of founders and business owners out there who needed development resources so before we launched, we started engaging with folks and putting ourselves out there. We made a point to land our first client before the company was officially formed.

What marketing strategies have been successful for Modern Launch so far? 

Referrals and SEO have been our main sources of quality leads. We leverage our professional network daily and are always trying to engage with like-minded professionals, forming strategic partnerships, and attending business and entrepreneurial networking events. We put in a lot of effort to ensure that our company appears front and center on our local Google search results pages and we stay actively engaged on our social media accounts. We also release weekly blog articles containing content that is valuable for founders and business owners. Our goal is to have a more national presence as we ramp up our online presence and improve our SEO strategies.

How did you get your first customers?

 Our first clients came from our own personal and professional networks. Upon launching, we made a point to share our company goals with our friends, family, and former colleagues. We published our linkedin page and quickly gathered 200+ followers which spurred quite a bit of attention. This actually landed a long-term client relationship with someone I hadn’t spoken to in years right from the start. Leveraging relationships has been our key to success thus far.

From your website, I can see that you work primarily with startups just launching their product. Can you tell me more about your approach toward potential startups and how you choose if a specific startup can be your client? 

When working with startups, it’s very important that we truly understand the business at all levels. Our pre-onboarding process allows us to clearly understand what stage a company is at, what their short-mid-long term goals are, and how we can help them to achieve their goals through software development. We dive deep early on because we want to set our clients and the relationship up for success from the get-go. For me, the most important things I look at from founders and business owners are: 

  • Passion for their business/product/industry
  • Clear product vision
  • Market Research/Target Market Fit
  • Business Strategy & Business Acumen
  • Sufficient funds for development
  • Clear lines of communication

What do you consider your biggest win so far with Modern Launch?

I’m extremely proud of our ability to scale as a bootstrapped agency in year one. We started lean and were profitable by month 2. In our first year, we’ve taken on over a dozen clients and have had the opportunity to work on some incredibly interesting and powerful products. I’d say that our biggest win has been jumping in headfirst without letting “being a new company” slow us down. We still have quite a way to go in terms of reaching our long-term goals for the business but we’re excited about the future. Ryan and I love what we do and can’t wait to work with more founders and business owners to bring their visions to life.

What has been your most difficult challenge to overcome so far? And how did you overcome it? 

We faced many of the same challenges many new business owners face, specifically gaining traction, getting our names out there, and building a strong reputation in the space. We needed to get as many quotes out as possible. We did our best to combat the “new guy” struggle by leveraging our expertise and focusing on building trust first. Although the company was new, we weren’t starting at square one so the most important thing was to build on our portfolio and tackle some small new projects ASAP and build on relationships. In our early client engagements, we were transparent with our clients about the company being a new entity to build trust upfront. This paid off for the most part but we did lose some projects due to our infancy stage. Within 2 months we had several new clients under our belt and were building out a pipeline of work. 

The sales process was and will forever be a challenge. Early on, estimating and quoting projects was a bottleneck and we quickly realized that we needed to change our approach. We received some valuable feedback from one of our mentors that continues to pay dividends in time and energy saved. It was simple, “Discuss costs on the first call.” Giving clients a rough estimate range from the get-go is the best way to quickly set expectations and uncover barriers without wasting time on follow-up emails, meetings, and calls. We never want to waste anybody’s time and our time is valuable so being transparent about pricing is critical upfront.   

What has been your most difficult challenge to overcome so far? And how did you overcome it?

1. Tell everyone you know what you’re planning to do well before you do it, well before any kind of launch. This helps to create external pressure to help guide you through your timeline and achieve what you set out to do. You don’t want to let yourself and all those people down do you? More importantly, doing this spreads the good word before you officially start. Personal connections are the most important thing to starting a new business. It’s all about who you know (and who they know).

2. You don’t have to be technical to be a successful founder. However, understanding the fundamentals of project/product management and the product development lifecycle, are keys to success. Lots of early founders get caught up in their initial “idea” and design countless features on what folks “might” want. It’s important to map out the product, engage with early users, and use real feedback to dictate how a product looks and feels. Do research before you start building too much. I’ve seen far too many founders put unbelievable time, money, and resources, into building things on speculation without engaging with users and determining target market fit. Defining a true MVP is imperative. Stay agile, make changes, and iterate as much as possible. 

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Learn more about our Launch with AI program from the following blogs:

From Service to Product: Introducing Launch With AI Program for Startup Success – Part 1
From Service to Product: Introducing Launch With AI Program for Startup Success – Part 2
From Service to Product: Introducing Launch With AI Program for Startup Success – Part 3
From Service to Product: Introducing Launch With AI Program for Startup Success – Part 4
From Service to Product: Introducing Launch With AI Program for Startup Success – Part 5

Stefan Despotovski

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