Our favorite digital tools for building startups: Workflow Management and Research Edition

Spoiler alert: Slack and userinterviews.com are our must haves

By: The Studio Team at 25madison

Workflow management

slack: Communication Hero

It may be the most obvious tool on the list, but it’s absolutely the tool we can’t live without. When slack was down for a few hours in early 2021, our team felt stranded — how do we communicate now? Email? Say it ain’t so.

Notion: Company wiki

Notion has become our favorite tool to easily archive and reference important company docs and notes. For each of our incubated companies, we set up a notion account where we’ll drop links and helpful background context on things like company strategy, brand development, product research, and company roadmaps. With its live collaborative functionality, it’s also a great spot to drop meeting agendas where you can take notes on the fly and share out with the team in real-time. Notion also has handy templates for workflow management like content creation calendars, to-do management (which we’ve retrofitted to function like a kanban QA board when needed), and more. It’s a pretty flexible tool with lots of uses. And who doesn’t love their auto-generated emoji features? If you have interesting ways you’re using Notion that we didn’t mention here, we’d love to hear.

Airtable: Spreadsheets on steroids

Whoever thought spreadsheets could be so pretty and so fun? We’ve used Airtable for project management, vendor evaluation, time management, competitive audits, and more. We like that it’s got more flexibility than your typical spreadsheet, like adding video and imagery within cells. The platform also offers many ways that you can visualize the data, and each team member can have their own view, based on what they like best.


userinterviews.com: Qualitative interview sourcing

Think of the most specific target audience you want to learn about. Now imagine if and how you’re going to reach them. Your answer: userinterviews, our go-to for live, qualitative consumer research.

Pollfish: Quant research with participant recruiting

We conduct a lot of research. We’re always looking to understand consumer interests and behaviors on a quantitative basis that we can augment with qualitative interviews. Pollfish has become our go-to for conducting quant research on market assessments, product concept testing, and developing brand elements. It’s very fast and intuitive to build surveys, and Pollfish does the recruiting for you at affordable prices. Not to mention it’s FAST. We often get survey results within hours — a welcome timeframe for startups. We’ve developed survey templates (by duplicating old surveys) which saves tons of time while also fostering consistency among our studies. Over time, we’ve begun to know what good looks like among demographics (e.g., millennials vs. boomers) and among industries (e.g., CPG vs. finance).

Otter.ai: seamless user interview transcription

With so many qualitative interviews taking place during our research phase, it’s important to be able to quickly share out an easily consumable version of the discussions for team members and for long-term archiving. That’s where Otter.ai comes in. Otter easily syncs with Zoom to transcribe recordings. Bonus: it learns people’s voices over time to get better at transcribing that individual’s language with each new recording.

What are your favorite tools?

What are your go-to workflow management and research tools that we need to know about? We’re always looking for new tools to make our work more efficient, so please send your favorite tools our way! Right now we’re specifically looking for great tools for content creation. Let us know what video and animation creation tools are working for you.

25madison is an NYC-based venture studio, incubating companies from the ground up and investing in early-stage companies. Learn more at 25madison.com.

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