Status update – March 2014

After returning from our trip to the US in December, we sat down and re-thought the product. We decided to start afresh, and have used the feedback we had gotten there as our guiding light – 1) make the product dashboard driven, easy for product/marketing folks to use without involving their engineering teams and 2) make it work for even the small/medium businesses.

It’s been three months since, and I’m happy to report that  we’re nearly code complete for the Private Beta launch. We have now started demoing the product to potential customers and some investors, our old customers are back and we’ve signed up some new ones. The current set includes web businesses having 4 transactions a day all the way to the ones doing 40K transactions a day. The feedback so far is very encouraging, and we’re working with our customers to build out the product further.

What’s WizRocket? 

WizRocket is a visitor behavior analysis & targeting tool that helps small, medium and large web businesses interact with their users across offline and online mediums. You could do web messaging, push notifications, in-app messaging and even reach out to customers via SMS or Email.

Simply put, we let websites discover the who (people), what (events) and why (behavior) on their own websites and mobile apps and then apply behavior targeting to improve retention, engagement and conversion rates. The analytics and the targeting are dashboard driven. 100% of all analytics* and targeting is real time no matter what size of business you operate.

We’re now ready to get an office, augment the team and onboard more customers. We’re ready to fly**.

*The big breakthrough that we’re proud of is the ability to query 100 million data points in less than 200ms on a small sized AWS EC2 instance. This enables quick segmentation to study  several facets of user behavior.

** WizRocket was listed by as one of the 5 promising Mumbai startups that will bloom in 2014.

Here are some screen shots of the product in action -

The future looks bright

We didn’t make it to the YC W14 batch*. We were interviewed by Paul Buchheit, Harj Taggar, Kevin Hale and Jessica Livingston. They liked us and they liked the product, but they wanted to see the product work for sites with lesser traffic. We got similar feedback from the people we met during our two week stay in the US.

So that’s what is keeping us busy these days. We’re working on making the product more helpful for smaller businesses. A little course correction mid-way doesn’t hurt as long as it ensures that you’re on the right trajectory. Once we’ve made the necessary changes we’ll signup lesser trafficked sites to see how well the product works for them.

Did I tell you we’re now live with three customers and process about 15 million unique profiles?

*We’re seasoned entrepreneurs and know how to take a rejection in our stride. burrp! (my previous startup) was rejected for funding by all major VCs in India. That  furthered our resolved to make it work.

The rocket has taken off

Coinciding with the ISRO rocket launch to Mars today, we have a little bit of news to share – WizRocket got selected for the Y Combinator interview. While we’re super happy right now, we know this is just one of first steps towards a long journey. No matter what the outcome of the interview, we’re happy to have made the cut itself. We’re flying out to California next week. Wish us luck.

In other news, we’re now live with our third customer – who happens to be a large ecommerce player. The existing infra is chugging along well.

Happy Diwali.

Live with the second customer

It’s been almost two months since the last post but we’ve got good progress to report.

Our strategy was to go alpha live with 5 close customers who can help us flush out product requirements, use cases and to test our scale. We didn’t want to build a “lab” product which is dead on arrival since no one needs it. To that effect, we’re now live with two installations and will soon onboard the third customer. The first one has been live since about 3 months now. The second customer has about 8x the traffic of the first one and I’m happy to state that our existing infra pulled on well without requiring any tweaks or additional servers.

Thankfully, the existing architecture and product design works well for some new use cases that we’re encountering as we go along.

We’re taking baby steps and will continue with limited exposure until we’re ready to hit the big league.

We flew it a little in our backyard

We got a lot done in the past two months. On the company front we found out that even after your company’s incorporated there’s a slew of filings, registrations etc. that need to be done. We got that done thanks to a competent CA that Avlesh of WebEngage recommended. We’ve signed him up for good now.

On the product front we put our heads down and coded up a version that internally we call v1. It’s shaped up beautifully (at least that’s what we think ;-)). We have deployed the v1 version on a friend site just to see whether it survives the onslaught of real world traffic/data and it did. Happy to see it fly a little albeit in our own backyard. Not quite ready to hit the big league, but we know where we’re headed.

Where’s your office

We keep getting that question ever since the word got out that we’re starting up. The truth is that we don’t have an office of our own yet.

With our meagre budget of Rs. 15000/month (about $300/month), Mumbai doesn’t offer too many enticing options. Even if we had managed to find a decent place, we’d have to set it up with furniture, hunt for an ISP and worry about a thousand other things. Not the kind of stuff you should be spending your energy on when in the early stages of defining and building your product.

Our good friends Kunal and Deap of freecharge (ob SEO plug – offered to host us at their their office till we were ready to fly on our own. Not having to find an office is a HUGE time saver and so we gladly took them up on that offer. We’re now stationed in their office with only one worry on our hands – making our product win in the market.

Now that we’ve gone through this experience, we will pay forward this gracious gesture to another deserving startup when we’ve got an office of our own. That’s a promise!

We’re legit now

Happy to announce that WizRocket received its incorporation documents on Friday, May 24th. We’re now totally legit as certified by the powers to be and ready for business. While this is not exactly what you may call a champagne popping moment, we feel as happy as a kid who just got admitted to a good college. We know that with lots of hard work and some luck we’ll soon graduate with flying colors.

To mark the occasion we went out with our friends and family for a nice barbecue dinner.

We promise to document our journey of milestones and everything in between on this blog. Be ready for a hell of a ride.