They say necessity is the mother of invention, that is mostly certainly true for Zapstich. Founder Satya Padmanabham’s previous startup experienced difficulties in consolidating various cloud- based apps and in finding a solution ZapStitch was born. Established with Ravi Madabushi, ZapStitch now enables small businesses automate their data flow across cloud business solutions. We chat with Ravi about the Venture: An excerpt from the Interview:
- What made you start your venture?
At Satya’s previous startup, YourBus.in, the team used multiple cloud business apps for various needs like sales, support, marketing and accounting. The data of each of these apps resided in the respective cloud and thus was highly fragmented. We wanted to seamlessly synchronize and transfer data between these apps. But, getting these apps to “talk” to each other became an issue. It was tiring and frustrating to maintain consistent data across these apps. We spent 10-15% of the time to just manually input data into these apps – and NOT actually do productive work like selling or helping a customer So, we set out to solve this problem for SMBs like ours. ZapStitch is now building a Data Integration platform for SMBs that can be used by a non-tech user and configured within minutes. Our journey started with our first integration between Shopify (eCommerce platform) and QuickBooks Online (world’s most popular accounting software). Today we integrate 4 business verticals – eCommerce, accounting, marketing automation and CRM.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Multiple elements contributed to our growth: Opportunity and Timing: With the proliferation and consumerization of cloud business apps, each company is using on an average 10 cloud apps. The opportunity of no category leader existing in the space to solve data fragmentation problems for SMBs helped us big time. We believe we started the business at the right time. Not too late. Not too early. The timing and opportunity are perfect. Focus on traction: For the first one year, we were so obsessively focused on customer traction that we didn’t care for anything else. The single minded, laser focused approach helped us bag 400 customers in the first year. That boosted our confidence in the opportunity and the market. The team: We are proud of our team. They are one of the key reasons for our growth
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Some of major challenges in our business: We are creating a new category: Data Integration software for non-tech users in SMBs. Creating a new category is a major challenge as you have to educate the market about the problem, about the solution, and about everything. To overcome this, we are creating a lot of educational content for our customers. Our team is based in India. But, our customers are in US, CA, UK, AU regions. Our challenge is being far away from the market and thus the opportunities missed from rapid and deep learning from the market. We overcome this with webinars, Skype calls, timely emails, quick resolution of support tickets etc.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We have lots of pro-bono mentors. We are part of a super helpful community of SaaS startups and entrepreneurs in India. We share best practices, learn from proven success and failures. Some awesome founders who help us on a regular basis are Suresh Sambandam from KISSFlow, Krish from Chargebee, Aditya from Hotelogix, Raj from Recruiterbox among others. Satya is also part of the Morpheus Gang; Ravi and Satya are part of iSpirt – a product startup community in India.
- Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Being a tech product startup, we advocate the use of technology across business functions and truly believe that right softwares and automation increase productivity. We use some of the best SaaS products for various business activities: Customer support: Freshdesk, Olark Web analytics: Heap analytics, Mixpanel, Google Analytics Internal team communication: Slack Project management: Jira Customer insights and messaging: Intercom Development: Github CRM: Pipedrive Marketing: Buffer, Coschedule Email Marketing: Get Response Hiring: Recruiter Box
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
We don’t have a silver bullet strategy. We do multiple things like below: When a customer is in the free trial period of our product, we engage with him in multiple touch points like: emails, phone calls, chats. These are done to understand if the product is solving their problem(s) or not. We have aggressive SLAs for our support conversations in email, ticket, and phone. Thus, we ensure that customers are responded to swiftly For expansion, we rely on Inbound / Content marketing heavily.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Have immense belief in the Idea or Opportunity. That doesn’t mean you will be stubborn about a small tweak here and there. It only means that you know your goal post and you are driving the entire ship (a.k.a the company) towards that goal post. Make Decisions with what you have and where you are: Uncertainty is omnipresent in entrepreneurship. But, you still need to take decisions every day, hour, and minute Focus. Focus. Focus: Always prioritize three things to do. Throw away items two and three. Just focus on item one. Visit their Website: http://www.zapstitch.com/ Like them on Facebook: Zapstitch