TTL;DR (Too too long)
This is going to be a long blog, about the journey of our startup, from an Idea to Product and everything and everyone in between. I will try to make it as conversational as possible
PS: I am a programmer, this will be filled with nerdy stories.
PPS: Did you see the the Statement above?
Scratching an Itch
We were having frappe at Café Coffee Day as usual. We had decided to distance ourselves from the day-to-day operations of our previous startup GuitarStreet, not that it was doing bad, during this time it was doing pretty good, but we really loved to build products. We always thought of creating a product, e-commerce was holding us back for almost 2 years. Now we wanted to move on. ( Our third co-founder knew in-and-out of Music business, so he was happy to run it by himself.)
“Did you checkout the article that I sent” I asked Utkarsh
“Which article? Where ? hangout, E-mail or Skype?”
“I’ll check it out in some time.”
I noticed that he is in the middle of something.
“Maddy, I was thinking what if we create a CRM” he started after few minutes.
“WAT !! CRM ? there are 100s of them already, why you want to build one more?”
“Hear me out, Yes there are hundreds of them, but none of them are addressing a specific problem that we had faced in GS”
“None of them has built in Automation. See in a startup….”
My mind could not process anything beyond automation. It was racing, all my research and experiments that I had done came in front of my eyes. Combination of the things that we did in GS and my side experiments etc…
“Yes, I’m here, Sorry I was in MadSpace. What were you saying.”
“In GS, we did our own CRM and Order management system, Why?” ( yes we did :-) )
“Because none of the CRM gave us flexibility to handle things in our own way.”
“Exactly, how long did it take you to create that auto emailing and reminders for our CRM?”
“About 2 weeks”
This is how he usually starts, taking you to the future, showing how it works in future. But this time I knew where he was going. I could almost see the query and code that will go in creating rule.
*Ok enough, stop stop… come back, listen to what he is saying *
“…and we give them a list of
soft coded rules, for automated reminders, followups, transactional email, marketing campaigns.”
“Ah, I get it.. that would be awesome!”
“They can plan their entire months’ marketing plan in rule and set it up and forget it, and of course, you don’t have to be a technical person to set up these rules”
“Exactly! but still who will use it?”
“People like us, who are running e-commerce business, or lets say brick and mortar shops”
At this point asking who will use it was just a spontaneous question, I was actually thinking about what all we can do with those rules. Reports, suggestions, analytics etc.
“Lets do one thing, lets talk to few people If this is of any use to them”
“Sure, that sounds like a good idea”
We spent almost 3-4 full days thinking about the pitch that we are going to tell our potential users, who, before we walked-in, had no idea what automation was, had no freaking clue that it was a problem.
After we had a convincing pitch we started searching name for the product as well as domain. Its hard to get a domain which is good and available.
After all the thinking and brainstorming We called it AutoCus – Automate Customer interaction ( don’t ask me what were we thinking )
So in next 2-3 weeks we shortlisted 20 people that we have to talk to, including some of our close friends. We met them face to face. That includes some Brick and motor stores. We went to them and told them how automating the communication can help their sales.
Our pitch was something like this “If we could send SMS to your customers in regular basis regarding offers, best wishes for festivals (In India we have one or the other festival every week ). For this you do not need to sit in front of computer for hours. All you need to do is choose the schedule plan from hundreds of pre created list, and
Autocus will send it time to time. If you like we will setup for you”. They were impressed by it, about 8-10 of them asked us to give the product so that they can use it. That is what we wanted.
We knew that we are actually solving a real problem, specific to India.
To be Continued…