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Yotako – Or how to create apps and websites from your drawings!

Having functional and visually appealing websites is vital for any successful business nowadays. However, not all businesses have the right skills and resources to develop websites and apps they want, and even if they do, this process can take a long time.

Yotako, a startup based in Luxembourg, helps web and mobile developers build websites and apps in a faster and more efficient way than ever before. By developing a tool that translates design into code, the developers can focus on the website/application’s logic instead of spending hours, even days developing the front-end of websites and mobile applications.

Founded in 2016 and hosted by EBN Member Technoport SA, Yotako is one of the winners of this year’s EBN Congress’ pitching competition (see Twikit and Ziggu, also one of the winners promoted earlier this year).

Their story

Alfonso García, Yotako’s founder and CEO (on the left), came with the idea of Yotako during his postdoctoral research. Originally from Spain, he moved to France and then Luxembourg where he later established Yotako to pursue his research. Passionate about computer science and addressing the gaps facing his industry, Alfonso combined his expert knowledge and customer experience testing to make the life of the fellow professionals in the industry easier. After several iterations and improvements with companies all over the world, Yotako is now growing and attracting investment around the world.

Problem

During his postdoctoral research, Alfonso noticed the obstacle faced by many website/mobile developers: instead of focusing on the application’s logic, they first needed to devote a long time to turn the initial design into coding. Developers had to code manually using different programming languages, libraries, frameworks, etc., to integrate the design into websites or online applications.  Alfonso organised a focus group involving designers and developers during a conference in Paris to address this question. It seemed that the problem was common in the industry, but no solutions were developed yet to solve it. That is where Yotako came in,  developing the tools tackling a problem not previously addressed by the industry.  

Solution

As designers tend to use different tools with different workflows, developers often have hard time dealing with them before they start working on the technical aspects at the back-end of the websites/applications. Yotako supports the most used design tools in the world (Adobe Photoshop, Balsamiq, ) by successfully translating their layouts, fonts, details into the ready-made code.  You can import design files into Yotako which saves you a lot of time in your website/app development process.

Moreover, Yotako developed Yotako Freehand Canvas which would enable users to even create a website without having any knowledge of the design tools.

Yotako Freehand Canvas is an online paper sheet where you can draw your application with your mouse. Whatever you draw is automatically converted to a real application that reflects your design, and because Yotako Freehand Canvas is online, both you and your customers can be in any part of the world while discussing and prototyping online. It works with any tablets or touch devices of your choice.

Challenge and how has Lux Innovation and Technoport SA supported them

Yotako team had a sound understanding of the problem website and mobile developers face when translating complex designs into codes, but they didn’t have the full picture of it. They had to understand all the little steps the developers had to go through on the path from receiving a beautiful front page design from a designer to developing complex functionalities at the back-end of the websites/applications. This was one of the main challenges Yotako team faced, as they had to put themselves in the shoes of their clients (web and mobile developers) and think of all the potential issues they could face. To ensure its tools satisfy the needs of the developers, Yotako team gathered feedback based on the two rounds of user testing. During the testing, they discovered that not only experienced website and mobile developers were interested in their tool – even amateurs interested in website development wanted to use the tool. After the testing, they incorporated the feedback into the tool, crafting Yotako’s service-offering based on the needs, while helping both experienced web/mobile developers and amateurs (with Yotako Freehand Canvas) to develop websites/apps.

Another challenge they faced was a lack of funding. Fortunately, shortly after establishing their business, Yotako team applied for Fit 4 Start, an acceleration programme organised by Lux Innovation, Luxembourg's national agency for the promotion of innovation and research, partner at EBN Congress. The programme, hosted by EBN Member Technoport SA, helped the startup further define their business model and service-offering. Moreover, thanks to the programme and Technoport’s support, Yotako even managed to get the first fundraising round in the same period. Since then, Yotako has been based at Technoport’s premises and Alfonso Garcia, Yotako’s CEO has been very pleased with the experience:

“Besides using the premises and the various services (workshops, networking) offered by Technoport, we are very happy to be surrounded by many other startups, which helps us to always keep up with the trends in the fast-moving innovation and entrepreneurship sphere”, he said.

Yotako – EBN Congress pitching winner

Along with Twikit, Ziggu and Veoware, Yotako was one of the 4 winning startups of this year’s EBN Congress pitching competition. Along with 21 other startups pitching in its category, Yotako pitched in front of the EBN Congress audience while the international expert panel consisted of EBN staff, EBN Members, corporates such as Microsoft and Vodafone, investors and business angels evaluated the startups, awarding Yotako as one of the best ones.

Yotako’s CEO Alfonso was excited to receive the award and he strongly recommended EBN Congress to startups:

“It was a really great experience, besides wining the prize, I met new interesting people all around the world, and I’m still in touch with some of the people I met at EBN Congress. I would recommend it to startups all around the world to make professional connections.”

Next steps

Yotako is currently polishing “freehand canvas” tool which will enable anyone with just a piece of paper or a sketch to create beautiful and user-friendly websites. The tool has attracted attention of investors around the world, so the team is working hard to fine-tune the tool and get it to the market.

On 15th of October 2018 during AdobeMAX, Adobe's annual conference,  Yotako has become one of the first companies to have access to AdobeXD plugins which are one of the best design tools on the market. 

You can now design at your best with XD and send your design right away to Yotako to get your app up and running.

The team is now planning the second fundraising round – interested in getting touch with them and perhaps supporting their business? Explore their services and get in touch with Yotako’CEO Alfonso Garcia.

Associated member: Technoport SA
Published on 01-10-2018 00:00 by Lana Blagojevic. 161 page views

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