How we choose tools for the Recipes

How we choose tools for the Recipes

Innovation Works has assembled the material on this site to serve as a starting point for entrepreneurs, to guide their business efforts. It is not legal advice, and Innovation Works strongly encourages you to seek independent legal advice before utilizing these documents. References to commercially-available tools included in this site are not recommendations or endorsements. Rather, Innovation Works has included them to demonstrate common approaches to addressing needs frequently expressed by early-stage startups. Innovation Works is not compensated by any company for including a product in this site.

When evaluating tools to use in a Recipe, we use the following criteria:


Since this guide provides a path to validate and launch an MVP with as little cash outlay as possible, price is a primary consideration. When evaluating a tool's price we look for a few key things:

  • Transparency. Tools that do not list a price on their website and/or cannot be purchased without a sales representative being involved were excluded from this guide. Startups are on a budget and need price certainty to effectively plan.
  • Whether the tool offers a free trial or a free-forever tier that founders can use to defer paying until they are able to generate revenue.
  • Paid tiers that scale with company growth. Products that have a limited free tier that startups will hit quickly, but have a very expensive entry-level paid tier are ranked lower in our evaluation.

Feature set

Naturally our first consideration is to look for tools that address the need stated in the Recipe. Beyond those key features we also consider the tool's:

  • Specificity. We prefer tools that are purpose-built to address the need.
  • Interoperability. Where possible we prefer tools that support integrations with other popular tools, and/or support Zapier/IFTTT integration.
  • Well-supported financially. While we prefer to support startups where possible, we must balance that against the risks of using a tool that may unexpectedly shut down.


When selecting tools for Recipes we take in to account popularity within their product category. A particular tool may have a higher annual cost but be a better fit due to its popularity. Tools that are popular enough to have an ecosystem of developers and users provide the following benefits:

  • The founder will be less likely to need to replace the tool as they grow.
  • The skills that they develop will be transferable in the event that the founder decides not to pursue the venture.
  • It will be easier to hire individuals or firms to provide maintenance and support as the founder's cash position grows.
  • We are less likely to need to modify the Recipe to use a different tool in the near future.