We asked NeonBarter founder Stephen Klava, about building a voice chat app used by businesses, customers, and fans. Stephen has a background in mechanical engineering and product development. He then switched careers and learned Java, and became a software developer. He chose Bubble because the no-code platform enabled him to build something quickly yet efficiently.
Tell us about your app and what it does.
NeonBarter.com is a concept for intentional conversations. It has two main services at the moment that are Neon Hero and Neon Brand. Both of these services are a voice chat volley. Think of it as an upscaled push to talk conversation between two parties.
The Neon Hero is intended to be a conversation between a Hero and a fan. Basically I wanted to allow people that are famous, smart, have a great story, or in general have a fanbase to have an access point. I did not know of any other startup working on this type of access, and the voice chat feature I created makes this a very smooth and easy interaction. Unlike other famous people-to-consumer apps, this one allows direct and meaningful conversations. Think about talking with Oprah or Warren Buffet with a direct chat or talking with Tom Brady after winning a Super Bowl. Maybe you want a talk with a Nobel Prize-Winning Doctor. People have Heroes, and they might like to talk with them.
Neon Brand is a conversation between small businesses and their customers. I wanted to point out that small businesses that are using AI Robot Technologies are not giving the customer what they want. No small business customer wants to talk with a robot! You have a few advantages as a small business & one of the best is that you have the ability to give a personal touch to your interactions. Neon Brand allows a voice chat between the brand and the customers.
How does your app work?
I wanted to simplify how these services work so anyone famous or any small business owner could setup and apply the service. You create the Neon Hero or Neon Brand with a few inputs. Once created a URL is created for the service. To use it you simply provide the URL in the form of a Button on your website or emails. You can also provide the link to your socials in a post or put in a link sharing service. Making the service a simple link makes it easy to apply. You can choose the best way to get it in front of your customers. Neon Brands do have a subscription model for easy monthly payments too.
Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.
I switched careers from Mechanical Engineering, Product Development after 14 years of developing water filtration systems & fitness equipment. I was on the design team for the Life Fitness treadmill you find in many gyms. I learned Java and became a SW Developer and Architect for a small IT consultancy that did work for many Silicon Valley Heavies. Our small team won Google's Technology Partner of the Year award, with my code being the cornerstone for that award being given to our little three to five person consultancy. After Leaving that consultancy, I started a bespoke startup accelerator. My wanting to discover no-code solutions for my accelerator led me to find the no-code players. I was on Clubhouse and discovered a room talking about no-code and asked which solutions would be best to look at. Most suggested Bubble. I tried all the ones mentioned and decided to use Bubble.
Why did you build your app on Bubble?
I decided on Bubble because it just made sense in how it worked and my style of logic fits nicely with how it works. So my experiment with "no-code" was to see how fast I could take an idea and make a working MVP website. I know how to code and that likely gives me some advantage over true no-coders but I wanted to build something fast. I set out and spent around four hours a day to building some initial services to NeonBarter.com. I was done with three services and launched the website in 10 days! I was astounded on how fast I could build and try things. At this point I was happy about the no-code abilities and quickness it provided.
What have been your milestones or successes so far?
So after the creation and release of the initial, NeonBarter.com, I was able to develop other "new" services quickly. Each new Service allowed me to "validate" the concept and pivot the ideas in weeks. I created some services that I thought were cool, like a way for people to get to know each other without needing a dating app. Basically, you could put links in your socials(mainly Instagram) that the courter could use to start the process of getting to know you. The cool factor is that the courter would have to pay a fee to start the conversation. So if someone is not willing to spend a few bucks, you know they are not intentional. The dating concepts led me to the Voice conversations, and thus Neon Hero and Neon Brand were born. Finding the right product can take a few iterations and building off what you have developed so far.
What are your next steps or future plans for your app?
I would like to release these services and drive adoption. I want to listen to my early customers to decide on feature roadmaps and, with the help of Bubble, make features real. In a nut shell, I want to quickly make features that my customers need. With Bubble this can be done with a simple plugin.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 500,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.