Hello everyone, today on the Leantale interview series we have Raghavendra, founder of Mobiezy. Let me tell you a little bit about mobiezy. Mobiezy goes beyond the cash collection system and offers a complete solution to bring overall efficiency to the local businesses.
The company’s software solution has several features that provide a sophisticated CRM software solution addressing the needs of subscription based business like cable TV operators, fitness centres, house rental management etc.
Ajeet- Tell Me About Yourself Including Your Start-Up Journey?
I come from a small town in Karnataka, I am an engineering graduate from Mangalore University, after college I started my career in Satyam computers.After that I got chance to work for Iflex, 3Com, Supervalu, MetricStream. In MetricStream I got good exposure in solutioning. I enjoyed implementing MetricStream products to big enterprises in many European countries, Middle East and South Africa.
One day I was listening to our honorable PM Modiji’s Man Ki Baat. He was addressing Software Engineers, he said “We have such a huge talent base in India, with so much experience why cant you work towards organizing our own Indian Small businesses” . I really got inspired from that speech. Started exploring what can be done.
From one of my cousins in Udupi I got to know about challenges faced by Cable Operators and other subscription based businesses like newspaper distributors, milk vendors etc. He explained how tough it is managing the collection and complaints. I realized the revenue leakage these under served business are going through and I sensed the problem and opportunity.
I designed and developed a product for Cable TV Operators with his input, which was well accepted by others also. That’s how Mobiezy was born. Which is a good brand and well known in Local Cable Tv Operators circle in India.
Ajeet- How Did You Validate Your Start-up Idea?
In 2015, I did not have any previous knowledge about this cable tv business sector. Before starting I spoke to around 50 different local cable operators from different cities and states. I called many unknown operators all over just by searching for their number in Google and I spoke to them as if I had a product already and asked if they are interested to buy. That conversation was very encouraging as many of them said they are interested in buying that imaginary product.
After making a minimum viable product, I successfully convinced and sold it to a cable operator in Bangalore and charged him Rs.5000. I never wanted to give it for free as free products cant be validated seriously. He was very happy and he had already referred us to his friends who also needed such an application. That day I realized whatever we have done has worked. This gave me a courage to resign from my steady job.
Ajeet- How Did You Build Your Initial Team like What was the Process of Selecting Co-Founders?
I started this as a solo founder. My initial team consisted of just one junior software engineer with three MCA interns. I hired those who are hungry for a job and learning. Always gave preference to those who come from a financially backward community. My idea was even if my product fails these guys will have good experience and they can make their career.
When this product started taking good shape I started telling about this to many in my circle, one of my good friends believed in my idea and he supported it and he also became part of the company. He invested a bit and always helped in mentoring and making strategies.
Ajeet- What Kind of Changes You Notice in Your Mind Set in Terms of Before the Start up and After Start-up?
Before starting Mobiezy, I was just a Techy. I had zero knowledge about Sales and Marketing, but in mobiezy I was whole and sole, so I did not have any option other than going on the ground. So I started getting into sales, finance, product development, hiring. I bet this will be the same story with many other start-up founders. As an Enterpreuner it always helps if you have knowledge of how to develop product, how to do marketing and sales, what is finance, how to recruit HR, what are the compliances etc. I can say this learning is enormous.
Ajeet- What Suggestions Would You Like to Make If Anyone Wants to Do a Startup After College?
If they have thought about doing a start up, first of all I would like to congratulate them for that out of the box thinking. We always believe that our idea is next big thing in this world but we are not aware how market will accept that. So you have to follow your passion, do good research, find mentors, network constantly, cultivate grit because it takes lot of hard work to build. Be ready for lot of ups and downs. Mainly stop comparing your self to others.
Ajeet- What Type of Books Would You Like to Recommend If One is Interested in Start-Up?
Definitely, there are few books I would like to recommend. “Rework” from Jason Fried, The 4 Hour Work Week, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and recently I read Power of Habbit by Charles Duhigg. I enjoy reading small articles by Vani Kola and many other great enterpreuners. Also, I got inspired by Sridhar Vembu from Zoho Corp.
Ajeet- What Kind of Tools You Use to Manage Your Team and Business?
Good question, Work without business tools is a bit of a porridge. You know there are so many tools available on the internet for every aspect of managing work and business. Good thing is many of them are available without any cost, which should be good enough in the early stage.
At mobiezy we use GreytHR as HRMS tool, lot of tools from Zoho for collaboration, HubSpot as CRM, Biteable for Video making, Canva for Digital content, Figma for prototyping, Base Camp for task management.. The list goes on…
In fact cost of these management tools is 1000% lower than it used to be twenty years ago. Thanks to Open Source technology. By the way I am planning to write a Blog on this Ajeet, will tell you soon once I complete it 🙂
Ajeet- What is the Biggest Challenge You have Faced During Your Start Up and How did You Tackle That?
I believe there is no single challenge that can stop passionate entrepreneurs, in fact key challenges I faced are Limited resources as we did not go for any big funding. While technology is open and affordable, skill is still required to build, manage and market a product, at times I had to invest my savings to run this business.
Hiring and managing , attracting buyers, competition are some of the other challenges we had to face in this journey.
Ajeet- What are The Plans You Consider One should Take as the Footsteps of a Startup?
For those of you who have never started a business before, it can sound like a freightening task.
Dont get me wrong: It takes lot of energy, effort, dedication , money and even after that some times failures before succeding. Some of the important steps you must do are
- Making a solid Business Plan
- Keep some funds for running your business
- Hire good team with complimentary skills
- Involve in Marketing
- Expect the unexpected
Ajeet- What are The Three Key Learnings During Your Overall Journey that You would Like to Dictate?
1. It’s not always about you and your idea:
Manage your time and take yourself breaks and days off. I take time to socialize and spend time with family and friends. Always look for opportunities to help people and serve. This not only makes us feel better but it also helps business. I have observed more businesses and people are drawn to you when you help them.
2. Think for the short term and adapt:
Make plans, but stick to the short-term and near future. I now like to plan for three to six months or a year ahead, depending on the venture. I also do not waste valuable time drafting plans that could be overwritten as things change which is unavoidable.
3. Learn the importance of being simple and lean:
I dont think we should worry about getting a fancy office, website, and all the “sexy startup” things. Just focus on generating revenue and building a bank account so the business can survive.
Ajeet- What are Your Future Plans for Mobiezy?
My future plan is to scale up. Also I am working on building one more Product on Rental Management for Self Managed House owners. This product is already out for validation, I have high hope on that. Lets see
Ajeet- That is great. Thanks a Lot Raghavendra for Sharing Your Great Experience with Us.
That is cool. Thank you.