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This article was published on September 6, 2012

Project management app Wunderkit to cease further development. Focus is on Wunderlist.

Project management app Wunderkit to cease further development. Focus is on Wunderlist.
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Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos Former CEO of The Next Web. A fan of startups, entrepreneurship, getting things done faster, penning the occasional blog post, taking photos, designing, listening to good music and making lurrrve.

This is somewhat surprising.

Wunderkit, a powerful project management app from Germany based 6Wunderkinder, will cease further development.

The app, which launched to rave reviews in 2011, was seen by many as the immediate competitor to popular project management startups Asana and Basecamp. But after months of feedback and testing, the company has decided to abandon it and focus on developing its first successful product, list management app Wunderlist.

Wunderlist launched in 2010 and swiftly grew into one of the most popular task/list management tools on the market.  It has been downloaded more than 5.5 million times and has almost three million users. As with many list management apps, its standout feature was its limited scope of features; and ironically, that’s exactly what seems to have gone wrong with Wunderkit, too many features and in turn, complexity.

In a post on the company’s blog, the team revealed details of its thought process:

“Since Wunderkit launched in February earlier this year, we have had good sign up rates, almost 400,000 within the last six months. However, the magic of Wunderlist was missing and engagement was not meeting our expectations. We simply weren’t getting the traction we wanted. What’s more you, our users, started to raise concerns. Concerns we were also faced with. Much like you we discovered bugs, scaling challenges and usability issues, which lead us to get frustrated with our own product. Not ideal. So we decided to rethink it.

Our whole team went back to the drawing board. We went through all of your feedback, and we clearly recognized that there was one key issue – complexity. Something that we never wanted. Of course the concept itself was much more complex than Wunderlist, but it lacked what we are known for – simplicity and joy of use.”

CEO Christian Reber elaborates:

“For a young startup like us, our only goal has been to have one successful product. One! But we were working on two and that was incredibly tough. Every startup deals with the problem of not having enough resources, but we dealt with it twice. We never found the right balance between working on Wunderlist and Wunderkit.”

After months of work trying to simplify Wunderkit, the team never felt truly feeling satisfied and ultimately made the difficult decision to abandon Wunderkit and focus on improving its more successful product Wunderlist. Wunderlist will become Wunderlist 2 and will be released later this year.

6Wunderkinder’s CEO Christian Reber goes into some depth on the future of Wunderlist in a post on his personal blog here. The most notable change is that the company is abandoning Titanium, the technology that helped the product launch on multiple platforms fast. 6Wunderkinder will instead build native apps for iOS, Android Mac, Windows and the web – great news but it’s not going to be cheap.

The abandoning of Wunderkit is a bold move by the company, one that many companies simply wouldn’t have the courage to make, nor the investors who would be willing to stand by them. Judging by the comments on the announcement post, many users feel it was the right move to make.

Reber insists Wunderkit wasn’t a waste of time.

“The experience of launching something successfully, and then something ‘less successful’ has been of huge value for me, and for us as a team. Without the experience of Wunderkit things at 6Wunderkinder would be different. In the end we were actually pretty lucky to have both products, because it made us realize what we should really focus on. We found the core of our company, the one thing we really believe in: Creating beautiful, emotional and easy-to-use products that serve the needs of many”

6Wunderkinder is a 36 man Berlin based company backed by prominent investors including EarlyBird and Niklas Zennström’s Atomico.

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