Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs for an audience of entrepreneurs. Joining me, someone who in 2014 I interviewed. And what, what got my audience’s attention was how he was basically living on $12. What was it? $12 a day for food.
It was for you or your whole team
Vipin: For me.
Andrew: for you? $12. Actually. It doesn’t seem that bad. Here’s the terrible part. He only had one computer, had somebody come work with him, couldn’t afford to get that person a second computer. They decided to take shifts working out of his house. One of them would work during the day, the other in the evenings who had evening shift.
Do you, from what I remember, right?
Vipin: Yeah, that’s absolutely correct.
Andrew: did your relationship suffer when you did that?
Vipin: Oh, I didn’t listen to relationship at that time.
Andrew: You were just totally focused on work.
Vipin: Yeah, absolutely.
Andrew: And I remember you were listening to Mixergy interviews you at that point that it hit roughly a million dollars in sales from selling plugins, for which platforms.
Vipin: we were selling at that time we were selling the Joomla and, the WordPress also, we started Magento at that time, but that was kind of a very, you can say like very starting point at that time, but primarily on the land WordPress
Andrew: And it was amazing. And I remember actually not. I remember I went back and I looked, you were even hesitant to say a million dollars because wasn’t really a million yet a million seemed like a big number. You wanted to get it right. Maybe you almost were hitting it. Right. You were just kind of on the bubble do you remember that?
Vipin: Yeah, remember that. And I’m very grateful to the Mixergy. Uh, they have introduced, interviewed us when we were nothing, and I’m very, very grateful for the platform, especially, and yes, for sure. The one, $1 million was something like it, wasn’t a kind of tends to $1 million.
So it was something very, very big for us at that time.
Andrew: huge for guy could barely afford a computer. You then came back two years later at that point, I think you were doing, were you doing more services back in 2016?
Vipin: Yes, we have, we start with some kind of a mobility department at that time. And previously we were very much focused on the web. And then we started, we started exploring on the radios diamonds as a web tool. We are not a single idea company. We work on lots of, lots of ideas. Like we previously were focused on the web and commerce.
Then in 2016, we explored into the ARPC Adams and the mobility park
Andrew: Creating software creating software or services,
Vipin: creating softwares.
Andrew: creating software. Okay. And then you hit about $3 million in sales, outside funding, right?
Vipin: No, we are totally bootstrapped.
Andrew: I went through our transcript in preparation for this interview at several times, I CA I called you a company. Cool. Web. Cool. And you kept coming back with web cool software. You wanted me to say the full thing. You are a software company today. I asked you, do you still want me to keep calling you web cool software or just shorten it to a web?
Cool. And you said web cool is fine because you’re more than software. What are you doing today? And what’s your vision for beyond this? What are you doing today before we get to the vision?
Vipin: Yeah, we are a bootstrap company and we don’t have any external funding. So every month of us, it starts from the survival. We don’t live for the luxury. We always try for the survival sport. If someone asks us, like, what is your 10 year vision? So the part is on paper.
It looks continuous within it’s fine, but we always go for the, what is your next month plan? What is your next two month plan? So you always, we always work for survival because we are a bootstrap and we really need to still be near, we are 500 people at the moment or then $7 million in revenue.
Andrew: More than 7 million in revenue. Now,
Andrew: every time we do an interview, it just keeps growing.
let me just introduce you, actually, I should say this is . If you hadn’t seen any of my past interviews with him, go start with the first one. Go listen. It’s fanfic fantastic. We’re going to find out now how he expanded beyond these plugins to then services, which are now a big part of his overall revenue.
Why would somebody go from software to services? It’s it makes sense in enterprise. And I want to understand that. And then. Went from creating plugins to other people’s platforms to now, he also has his own platforms for marketplaces, for a customer help desk. We want to find out about all of those things and we can thanks to two phenomenal sponsors.
The first, if you want to get a read on how your people are doing your customers, your employees, even, but largely your customers get a sense of how happy they are with you. And also how are they doing in general so that you can. Customize your marketing to them specifically as individuals and also to them in general, has a collection of people who want to buy from you want to do business with you.
There’s a piece of software called delighted, delighted.com. Um, I’m going to tell you later why you should go to delighted.com/mixergy. They’ve got a great offer for you. And the second, if you’re hiring developers, especially if you want to it. Use them for some of the things you get fired up about in this interview, go to top town, go to top town.com/mixergy, and you’ll get a great deal.
And I’ll talk about those later first. Why don’t we just go into you did software plugins. At what point did you say we’re going to do services? Also? We have to.
Vipin: again, businesses are doing is still very fine, and we are still keep developing plugins on a lot of platforms. So the problem comes in whenever someone purchases the product from us, but they are not able to find some kind of companies who can customize their product
Andrew: Like what, what’s an example of the plugin that stood out for me from you, was everybody loved Facebook at the time that you were getting started. Businesses wanted to put content from their Facebook page. I think specifically from their wall on their Facebook site to show that the site was dynamically changing, stuff like that, you created a plugin for it, and people would pay you for that.
This is an overly simplistic thing. What would somebody, which of these plugins that you made? Did somebody want a lot of work on, or did many people want more improvements to
Vipin: Exactly. , we started as from the social media, but social media gives us a lot of like a strength and we try this a lot, especially at that time, like in 2010, does Facebook was something like everyone wants to, wants to have a Facebook. I cannot Twitter, like on their website.
And the field says, well,
Andrew: And that doesn’t seem like something that people would want to customize. What software did they want to kind of customize? Do you remember?
Vipin: Yes. So part feels like in the social media, we did, there’s a very less chance to customize it. So we will keep working on the enterprise things. So at that time we have started on kind of a market based kind of assistance at that time. Like we were keep thinking that, okay, the EBIT thing is there an Amazon things there,
Andrew: What’s what was the eBay thing and Amazon.
Vipin: , we started a project called customer partner. By which the customer can sell the product on the platform.
this was one of our projects. And because of that, people comes to us and they say, okay, in our platform, they want our customers to sell their product on their platform. So that was something people are constantly asking
Andrew: Wait, your customers were coming to you and saying, we have a website, people coming to our site, some of the people are coming to our site, want to sell products on our site to reach our community. Can you give us a plugin for that?
Andrew: Okay. And did you make the plugin?
Vipin: Yeah, we have already built it. We already made it. So we’ve been welcoming on behalf of that plugin only.
Andrew: got it. So they would come to you and say, we’ve got this plugin, the plugins working, but.
Vipin: The people who are constantly looking more and more feature. And ultimately they were looking kind of a marketplace. So at that time, the market based system was unpopular, but like, like almost 10 years back, no one was thinking that there will be a huge amount of market presses will be there, but the party, they will see every big site nowadays is a market place.
from the day when we started building kind of a market present associated technology. And because of us, like, maybe I’m not exaggerating, but I think a hundred thousand market places are using our software at the moment.
Andrew: and so did you then get into services and say, look, you’d like this plugin, we’ll just keep doing a little bit of work to adjust it, to make it what you need. You did. And then at some point you said we we’ve got to stop adjusting and customizing for individual people. We have to go towards creating a brand new thing that does what they’re looking for, which is creates a marketplace for them.
Andrew: That’s right. Okay. But you’re still doing services, right? So about what percentage of your sales are now coming from services versus people buying your software?
Vipin: Nowadays it’s like 50, 50,
Andrew: So then what happened next? In the evolution of your services, you were creating these plugins. I could see that you did a lot of customization on the one plugin for marketplaces.
You basically were creating a marketplace. Not plugin, but software for them. What happened next in your evolution of services?
Vipin: Yes. uh, the sadnesses thing is like, we are still very much focused on the product engineering. We are not kind of a company like there’s a lot of service companies take any kind of a project. They will do. We are not doing any kind of a project. What we do, the services, what, what kind of services we offer?
We build the product. And on top of that, we offer the services. So our philosophy is we build the, like I told you, like, we have built the biggest tool and other open source platforms. And on top of that, we offer those services. So suppose that if someone comes to us and say, Hey, look, I want to have this kind of a rocket thing.
Can you build it? So we’ll, we’ll say now we can’t build anything like that.
Andrew: So, but what you will do is once you sell the software, you will be the company that maintains it. That adds features that grows it. So you’re, and that seems like. The way it goes in enterprise, right? That N the bigger companies don’t just want to buy a solution. They want to buy solution and basically hire a team that can implement it and maintain it.
Vipin: Exactly. Every, every big enterprises from the red hat to like the big company, the B2B companies and the enterprise, they work in the same model. We are also trying to replicate the same.
Andrew: Got it. So I would think that as a software vendor, you wouldn’t want to be in services. Why not focus on just creating plugins for smaller businesses that don’t need your work? Why take on all this extra headache of dealing with customers who each one wants a different thing, where you are already in the standard product business?
Vipin: Yeah, that’s a very good question. Actually, we are a company that we are not focused on. single idea. So we always try to build a lot and lot and not have things like everything we want to build it. Like from the hardware to software, we are also planning to build In the hardware we have, we started building for the hardware as well. Our point of sale system, we have also like starting selling, in the local area. So we keep building things up. And because of that, our business in this co in this pandemic, we are growing, like, we are still hiring.
We are making after results. more than I think, 50 or a hundred people. Well, we have recruited in this pandemic
Andrew: Why? Why are you making that decision to not be focused on a single idea?
Vipin: we are not a company, we are a bunch of group of companies. You can like the part is we are a startup and whenever something is doing good, we, the person who started that kind of a startup he’s responsible for building those stuff and then move into the next.
So whatever money we are getting in, we are missing still driving a bicycle, But I can afford a Lamborghini or Ferrari at the moment, instead of purchasing Lamborghini, sorry, I keep investing in my company instead of buying a car or kind of a friend’s house, I can just invest that amount of money in building new department.
Andrew: But then I still wonder why not build out one product really well instead of building multiple and tell me if I’m becoming too much of an armchair therapist here or analyst, I feel a little bit like you got into this stuff with, in the old Facebook days where you could create little things, they should have taken off some did and others didn’t and the ones that did take off.
Lost their power. Once the platform changed things up. And I wonder if you just come from this paranoid background that told you that whatever you do could go away tomorrow, so you better diversify because otherwise if you have all of your focus on one thing, you’ll lose everything. Am I, am I on the right track here?
Vipin: we never wanted to be a single idea company and the reason it’s not like that we are not focused on a single idea. We are, the people are like,
Andrew: You’re saying individuals are focused on one thing,
but the company is, is like a collection of companies. Count the collection of focus. People.
Vipin: Absolutely. The people like who joined us 10 years back, they are still with us. And that’s our true power. Like the founding people, the initial employees, you can say they are still with us and they are heading those kinds of platforms. Like e-commerce, they are heading in and I’m keep, involving new and new and new evolvement, new and new things.
And the thing is like, we are. Like not a single idea. Focused means we are focused on a single idea, but we are also adding more ideas on it. And that is something very important because suppose that the eCommerce we have, uh, we are working in, then we introduce the product product information management.
So the product information, information management system is also adding value into our eCommerce system. So this is something very important. Like we are learning from the different, Technologies and the knowledge we are getting from the different technologies. We are putting back into the, main, main business.
Obviously we are not willing to start the sip ship, rocket rocket making a kind of a company. But the thing is in the very failure in the neighborhood, we are building it up.
Andrew: I remember you used to tell me that you would literally cry when you had your, your previous job, the one that you quit when you decided to be an entrepreneur, right.
Vipin: Yeah. That’s absolutely true.
Andrew: Why, what was bothering you so much that you cried?
Vipin: I’m coming from a very small town I’m from a very moderate family. And, um, from my athlete’s childhood, uh, I was told that you should get a job and you should do them better things.
But whenever I got the job in my college, And then I told from my parents and everyone in the family. So people think, Oh, this guy isn’t totally mad. And why he wants to like, leave the job from a bell central company that like MNC in India, it’s called MNC, multinational companies. And so I got a job there.
Andrew: What didn’t you like about having a job? This was the dream, as you said for not just you, but other people around you had that dream for you. What didn’t you like about it so much that it made you cry?
Vipin: the risk, the risk thing is like a very, you know,
Andrew: And why risk everything when you’ve got it. So good. But then why did you risk it? What was it that you didn’t like about having the job?
Vipin: , I was a hardcore technical person at that time. And I really want to do things in the technology, not in terms of consulting or, you know, there’s a lot of it things as they are in India, but I don’t want to be like that.
So I always wanted to be
in a kind of a technology.
Andrew: could be a builder to be in technology.
Vipin: exactly. And I’m still doing the same
Andrew: You are, are you still coding anything now
Vipin: initial days I was doing a hundred percent, but you can sit in person nowadays.
Andrew: 10% is pretty good considering all the responsibilities that you’ve got. Alright, let me take a moment and talk about my first sponsor. It’s a company called delighted. Are you doing anything to get feedback from your people that have been. you to survey your audience, to survey your customers, to understand how they’re doing, what are you doing?
Vipin: Yeah, we have built our own internal help desk system, and there’s a complete survey and feedback system built in it. So we are already using it.
Andrew: You get any good insights from using it?
Vipin: a lot of feedbacks, are they really, I mean, half a million tickets, we have it in our own health system there’s a lot of complaints. There’s a lot of feedbacks. People are coming in and they’re saying like, okay, this is crap. This is not good. This is good. I love it. So a lot of feedbacks up there. So
Andrew: With delighted does, is they just focus on this creating ways for companies, especially younger companies, like the ones who are listening to me to get feedback from their audience. Now, up until COVID, everyone was really excited about net promoter score. Just ask people how likely are you on a scale of one to 10 to tell or share to recommend us to your friends, to tell them, share, What the people at delighted are telling me is that a lot of times, right now, that’s not the best question to ask. People are going through things that just keep them from wanting to recommend your product that has nothing to do with how your product is doing. They’re just not like, I think I told you before we got started.
I just had a COVID outbreak at their school. I was in such a bad mood all week from that. Now you ask me, Andrew, have you liked your product? Would you recommend it? I don’t like anything this week. I talking to you now. I feel good now that I’m in my element, but other than that, I didn’t want to talk to my wife at the end of the day.
We just want to just veg out and just feel exhausted anyways. So there’s no scale of one to 10. Anything that’s going to capture that. So one of the things that people who use delighted are doing is asking more open ended questions, ones that encourage more texting, more texts. And so they’re learning by making this tool available to lots of companies, what’s working what isn’t, and they’ve shared it with me.
They’re sharing with anyone who is using their software. And one thing that they’re doing is they’re making all the feedback that you get regardless of how it comes in. Via text or via a scale of one to 10 or a thumbs up thumbs down. They’re just making it easy for companies like ours to analyze it and then use it.
So I saw somebody recently on a Facebook group that I’m a part of say, Hey, does anyone know an alternative to delighted? I really liked their software, but I don’t, I’m not in a position where I want to pay. I’m going to tell anyone, listening to me, what I told him. Delighted is giving Mixergy people a chance to use their software for free.
They were going to take this page down. I tested it right now. They’re they’re leaving it up for a little bit longer. If you want to use this software, use it fully for free. Just go to delighted.com/mixergy. I went through it. I don’t think there was an upsell. I do think that they asked me for a credit card because they said they want to make sure that people aren’t using it for spam.
But I was not charged once and we’re talking months and months of being there. I guess I can’t even call it a customer being their user because their free version that they’re making available to mixer to users is so freaking good. If you go to delighted.com/mixergy, right now it’s available, it may be taken down soon.
I really urge you to go and sign up and anyone who wants to get any feedback from their customers should be using this type of this feedback. It’s more than just easy ways to ask people how they’re doing. It’s an easy way for you to analyze and use the responses they’re giving you. All right.
delighted.com/mixergy. Hey, are your sales down post COVID. They’ve been, how are you doing? No,
Vipin: are doing now. We are still, even, our businesses booming at the moment.
Andrew: really after COVID. Why? What are you seeing?
Vipin: The partners, because we have diversified a lot. A couple of our businesses are not doing good, especially our travel sector and our booking extents and on the travel hotel booking systems, that’s not doing good, but the rest of the part is doing really, really well. So that’s, that’s the. Power we have, because we have diversified our business a lot.
And because of that, there’s no impact at all. We are still hiring. We recruited more than 50 people in this pandemic and things are going really good at the moment.
from what I understand, sales overall are up. Am I right?
Vipin: yeah, it’s like, like the one it’s going the normal. It’s not going down for sure
Andrew: Was Begestow am I pronouncing it right? Was that the first big platform you created?
Vipin: We have built a couple of them prior to that and we have built our uveitis system and
Andrew: desk system.
Why there’s so much help desk software out there. There’s help scout there’s Zen desk. There’s this, there’s that right?
Vipin: Yes. The part was like, what? I really believe in that, but the part was the open source wasn’t there were, there are a couple of open sources was there, but not that it’s scalable at the moment, like half a million tickets, we are serving from our own health system and there are a lot of company are using it.
So we have built it for our own purpose. And then we put it for the public that,
Andrew: Why did you want open source help desk software? Why did it matter to you?
Vipin: The part was like, we’re getting a lot of credits, a lot of, and we really need to have a kind of a system which can sell to our customers without any kind of a lag or any kind of,
Andrew: You say your customers came to you? They said they want help desk software. And you said, no.
Vipin: No. The part was a lot of initially we were using emails only, and the thing was as our team grows, the email thing wasn’t working really well for us. So we thought that, okay, there are a couple of things. There are a couple of already available, solutions have lived in, but the thing was. What do you think if actually they were pretty costly at that time, right?
They were charging per user basis. So let’s say if we are charging more and more and more, so they are charging a lot of money. So we thought, okay, we are a technocrat and then we can build it up by your own. So it doesn’t take that amount of time. And we built it up by owner and we keep adding feature and then we put it open source so that a lot of other companies can use it free of cost.
Andrew: But the idea that obviously saving money by creating your own software is pretty expensive, but you were thinking if we want something that doesn’t cost more money per users, other people might too, and we will get paid. If we create this and make it open source, we’ll get paid to make it available to other companies.
Am I right about that?
That was your thinking
Vipin: Yup. It’s going good. It’s going good. And people are coming to us. And, the open source was also doing good. but not as per our expectation, but it’s still going good. This, like, it’s not that bad, but it’s just too going. Good.
Andrew: So UV desk was the first was the first, platform that you created yourself from scratch. What was the next one?
Vipin: the next one was the Culo. it’s a Q L O the Culo it’s it isn’t a hotel booking platform. Part was like, there’s a lot of hotels. But they don’t have their own website. They don’t have their own point of sale system. They don’t have their inventory system. They don’t have their room management system. So we have like put it up open source because really, really important.
The countries like in India or in the Asian and the Africa. People can not afford like a really costly software, even the subscription and software as well. So the thing is open for it, certainly because you know, the eCommerce, boom, is there the web boom, is there, the thing is, most of the part are open source and that’s, that’s, that’s the main thing.
Andrew: Really even a hotel would be willing to figure out open source software instead of paying for someone else’s platform.
Okay, that makes sense. And so was, if they can’t afford to pay for software, can they afford to pay for your services to maintain this?
Vipin: The CULA is an open source. Is that like a couple of people comes to us that they want some kind of a customize and some kind of enhancement, but even, even if they want any kind of enhancement, that’s a standard software. People can use it.
Andrew: Okay. So that wasn’t a big money maker.
Vipin: That is, that is a, still, it is a it’s still money. Not at that time before COVID it was quite okay. But not after the cohort because the hotels are down. So
Andrew: But before Colbert, how was it making money considering that that people who are using it are people who by definition don’t have enough money to pay it for software.
Vipin: exactly a little part is we have also built a plugin system on top of that. So the CULA was free. But, there was kind of a plugin on top of that.
So people can, there’s a plugin for the Culo and they can use it.
Andrew: Got it. And so what you, you were offering the platform for free, but I see it now on a kilos website. If they wanted a Google sync integration, they would pay you $49 one time, not subscription fee if they wanted, To add Stripe payment, they would charge they would pay you $75. Got it. So the extra software on top of this open source platform is what was bringing in revenue.
And then the fact that it’s open source, it means that the community could help improve it. But also you’re spreading the word about your business. Every time somebody uses this for free, they are getting to know your name. Got it. So this one was working.
Vipin: yeah, this was kind of, okay. But we have also released a lot of, there was an application. We have a bill that was called drivers suggest that wasn’t work really. That wasn’t well,
that wasn’t. The drivers suggestions are kind of a system. We have built it for next up that Uber for the sightseeing, not for the week.
is it’s a long term, I would say. But the thing is, suppose that especially in India or somewhere else, if let’s say you visited to kind of a Hill of stairs on somewhere and you don’t own a car at that time, so, and you don’t have an Uber there. So what the option, you have it, you will call your hotel that, okay.
I’m looking for a car. Okay. And they can, like, you can visit by the car in the local sightseeing, sightseeing area, that local market or something like that. But the part is the part, the only choice we have it, you just need to call the hotel and they can charge a lot of money, even that doesn’t work. So we were building kind of a marketplace where the driver can list themselves and on demand of the location.
the people can call that acute to the driver and they will come for the sightsee.
Andrew: Ah, got it. So without a central place, not like Uber where Uber controls everything, but just a marketplace like Uber, like eBay for local drivers, you can also serve as tour guides.
Make sense. Was it doing well? No, that one was not why
the part of, maybe I was thinking because I was more on the technology side and our primary focus area was on the technology, but this was more on the B to C side. And that requires a lot of, non nontechnical people. I wouldn’t want the drivers is they are technical. I’m not insulting them. But the part is like, they’re not that Xav that a software person is actually.
Andrew: So maybe it wasn’t, they needed to be too tech savvy to use it. Was it also that it was hard to recruit
Vipin: Yes, because we were not recruiting at all. We are not charging anything from the divers. So the thing is anyone can list themselves. And then, based on the location, like it, let’s say if you’re in the New York and you want to visit nearby New York, obviously New York is in that, like a metropolis. So you’ll get a lot of taxes, let’s say, but let’s say if you’re in the countryside and there’s a, a tourist spot there, but it will be very hard to get Uber there.
So you will have there, you need to have your own private taxi or something like that. And I have built a solution for the scene,
but that wasn’t. I built it, but that wasn’t worked really well.
Andrew: got it. Okay. Alright. And then the big one then, which, well you tell me what’s the big, the big platform, the one that did the best.
Vipin: The biggest tool we have built the biggest tool platform. the biggest tool is an eCommerce platform built on Laravel and Laravel is, like a very big PHP community based e-commerce PBS, framework, not the eCommerce framework. It’s a framework. So any kind of application can be built by the lateral.
So we have built a eCommerce platform on top of that. So if someone is using Laravel or even not using Laravel, they can build their own eCommerce, eCommerce market process, point of sale system and multichannel selling or mishandled selling and micro services architecture. So it’s kind of a system they can build using biggest tool.
Andrew: No, I’m going to go and talk about my second sponsor and then we’re going to come back and I want to talk about some of the examples that you gave me before we got started. I think it’ll help people understand how it works. I know work for it. Helped me get it. Like grocery delivery.asia is a good example.
First, I want to tell you when it was listening to me, if you need to hire a developer, do what I did. When I needed to hire a developer, I went to top towel.com/mixergy. I was, I think, same day on a call with a matcher that, understood what I was looking for and then sent Andrew. We do have that. A couple of days later, I got on a call with, a couple of doctors who told me what they were capable of doing.
And more importantly, for me, who told me that they’d done this before for other, for other customers, businesses like mine hired one of them. He got the project done fast. And we were ready to go, without any of the headaches of having to hunt down the right developer of having to vet them, having to make sure that they really were who they said they were.
That’s the beauty of top tile. If you have a project that you do not have a developer on staff to work with, or even if you need a team of developers, just go to toptal.com/mixergy and do what I did get on a call with one of their matters. It’s completely, completely free to talk to the matter, obviously, but if you’re not happy, they’ve got a good.
money back guarantee. Essentially, all you have to do is go to top towle.com/mixergy to get that. And if you go there. I should say very clearly top isn’t top of your head tells and talent.com/mixergy. If you go there, you’re going to get 80 hours of developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours.
In addition to that, no risk trial period of up to two weeks that I talked to you about again, that’s it. That’s at top tower.com/mixergy, T O P T a l.com/m I N E R G Y. The grocery delivery business, grocery delivery, that Asia, what do they build using your platform?
Vipin: it’s a kind of market places we’re pool is known for the market pacer solution. We have built a lot of market personnel range of platform. So the grocery delivery is here is a kind of, to sell, glossary. In the Lupron layer buys a kind of hyper local market places. So let’s say the local retailer shop, they want to sell their items to the customers, but they don’t have infrastructure like the shipment or the delivery, so they can list their product.
the marketplace will take care of the payment as well as for the shipping.
Andrew: And that’s because there are other platforms for the grocery stores and software that the grocery grocery stores can use to create their own online store. But what they want is a plan. What they want is a place where there’s a collection of, of stores that will bring customers to them. Right.
Vipin: Yeah. Yeah. If you can say like a Yelp, like a Yelp is a marketplace and
Andrew: But Yelp refers people to the stores themselves. You know what it feels like it’s almost it’s Instacart
Vipin: Yeah, I
stuck on it.
Andrew: right. Like Instacart, except they just put up this website. I think they charge people to be in the marketplace and in store owners can just list their own products. Can take them out when they’re out of stock, et cetera.
Andrew: All right. And didn’t did you do any customized work on this or was it just them using your software?
Vipin: Yes, we have built a lot of, we have done a lot of customizations for them because they will. Have they had a, kind of a very specific requirement. They also want a mobile applications for the same because the user from the mobile only. So we will the complete, multi-vendor mobile application for them.
And, we also build a nearby filtering catalog, filtering the realtime inventory update tracking system, such kind of a thing we have developed for them.
Andrew: Thinking about your dad, didn’t he retire when you asked him, should I go and start this? You said, I’m going to dad go start my own business. And even though he was nervous, he said,
Did he get, did he get to see how far you’ve come?
Vipin: Yeah. Sometimes they said that that was, one of the, this was the many times he said that this was the best decision that you have ever made.
Andrew: Did he get to enjoy any of the success beyond seeing how well you’ve done? Did you buy? I know you’re not buying yourself a Lamborghini. You’re still bike riding. Did you, did you get him something, something to say, dad, I did it.
Vipin: yeah, sometimes he got the, my photo in the newspaper. Sometimes they got my foot in the magazine. So sometimes they got the Mixergy interview. I showed him that, okay. This looking at, I got listed in the Mixergy. So
this is kind of, this is a kind of a proud moment for him and what a parent is looking for kind of happiness for their children.
That’s what, especially in India, not in Indiana, everywhere in the world, for sure. Well, the thing is we came from very moderate, family. So we still didn’t own a car
as a family. No, we don’t own a car at the moment. So the thing is even personally, I don’t own a car. I don’t own a house as well, so I
still live in England. I’m in LA living in a rented apartment.
Andrew: Yeah. I saw that you have to turn off the fan that was over your head so that we could have a conversation. And the fact that it took you until a few minutes into our conversation to say, let’s do it, told me how hard it must be over there. Why aren’t you giving yourself a little bit of space to go enjoy some of your success?
Vipin: Art is like success and happiness is totally individual choice. I think that I’m in loving what I’m doing, and this is to happiness for me. People may have a happiness when they are purchasing luxury cars and they’re visiting Vegas, but the part is whatever. I think everything starts and to myself. So the thing is for me to me is like building products, building techniques is something really, really important for me.
And I really truly love doing that.
Andrew: What part of your work do you especially love, or what’s an example of a day when you looked and said, this is, this is why I quit. This is why I didn’t want to get a job.
Vipin: The part is like, doing the job is quite okay. My son, I’m not against like after 10 years in starting this, like, it was okay. Not doing job is bad or something like everyone to start a business, but after 10 or 12 years of my entrepreneurial journey here in doing job is quite okay.
Andrew: Really like what, what’s a fun part for you. I’ll tell you for me what it is. There’s a bunch of headaches going into booking guests to dealing with, like making sure that I’ve got all the information for sponsors, sponsors request things, and then they change their minds at the last minute, just when I’m about to record all those, all those are really difficult things.
Then I get into a conversation. One where I get to just be myself, ask what I want to have a conversation with somebody who I admire. And I realized this is the best part of not just my job, but apart from time with my family pre COVID, let’s say, it’s the best part of my life. Do you have anything like that?
Is there an aspect of your job where you will you sit down and say, this is what I was meant to do?
Vipin: yes. The part is like, not of a revolutionary thing. We are doing it, in our company, like the recruitment. We are not looking for any degree. The, I, I still recruiting the people, even there doesn’t hold any medium. And I really don’t care about whatever kind of degree they have. It, especially in India, everyone is looking for the like postgraduate or graduate kind of a degree, but we don’t care about what kind of a thing from what, what, whatever kind of a background you are coming.
I really don’t care. The thing is a lot of revolutionary thing. We are coming, even in the covert situation, we have donated a lot. We have dinner. We are still donating the foods. We are rested on it. Equipments the grocery into the local nearby areas.
Andrew: donating groceries and donating what’s equipment that you’re donating.
Vipin: we are purchasing the items from the vendors and then our team, our administrative team, and donating their visiting to the local, to the pool people, who are reciting into the, they can’t afford the
Andrew: You’ve got your team of people now who are giving food to people.
Really, you recruited a whole team of people whose job is to get food and take it to people in need.
Vipin: Not really. We have our own administrator administration team. They are taking care of that. We have, we are at the moment, we are 540 people on board. So we need an administration team who can take care of the complete office infrastructure and that administration team at this time, everyone is working from home.
So what job they can do because there’s no one to manage. In the office. So what they can do, or we have a fund and they are purchasing from the local retail store and they are giving the food item,
Andrew: Who’s doing that, your employees, your employees on their off time, or while they’re working for you while they are working for you, they buy, they buy food and they take it out into their communities.
Vipin: Yeah, we have invested, we have donated a kind of a fund from our office. We have like located X amount of fund and the fund is located for the, for the COVID part, the people who lost their job and they can’t afford something like that. So we are still doing it.
Andrew: What’s life for you. Like under COVID let’s close it with this. I want to get a sense of what a, what part of India you in? Okay. You’re in new Delhi. What’s it like there now?
Vipin: It’s a pretty terrible, it’s like, there’s a, you look into the chart, I think in days in number three, I think number three or four. I think
Andrew: I think it’s Brazil us in India, top three. Am I right?
I think so. Okay. And so what’s like day to day, like I know for us, it’s actually, for us people aren’t going to work, but I do see them walking down the street. I see restaurants are either completely shut or they’re getting innovative and by innovative, I mean, they’re opening up in parking lots.
They’re opening up on the street on the sidewalk, not gives a sense of life to the city. and then if you go to the business area, there’s
Vipin: Yeah, it’s nothing like from last five months, our office is totally closed. We are working from home only. And the Saturday state is people, especially in country like India. Like the maid and the local workers, they have lost their job, but there’s no one is like, yeah, no officers are running. And so there’s obviously there’s no kind of are there.
Andrew: So no one’s calling home cleaners and work cleaners. And I know that, well, I don’t know. It seems like the Indian entrepreneurs I talked to had often had people working for them a lot, somebody to go and get food for them. Right. Somebody to clean up. Yeah. And so you now, as a country have ended up letting go of a lot of people, a lot of jobs.
Vipin: Yeah, it’s a terrible situation at the moment. And a lot of people have lost their job. So the thing is whatever I can do for sure we are doing it at the moment. The best part is we haven’t fired anyone in the cohort situation. We are still recruiting it. Thanks to our customers. Thanks to the people like Andrew, who is still supporting us from the day one.
Andrew: You guys are doing great on your own without, without my support. You’re getting offers. From what I understand for support, you’ve taken conversations, even though you’re bootstrap taking conversations with venture capitalists here in San Francisco. Am I right?
Vipin: not from the San Francisco, the global venture capitalist have their
own offices in Newberry
Andrew: Yup. Some of the brands you would talk to me about are very Bay area brands. I don’t know if, if you want to talk about which ones you’ve talked to, but you’re in conversations, they’re finding you and they’re asking, what do you want money? Do you want an exit? Do you want to sell, what are they talking to you about?
Vipin: Yeah, most of the venture can be even in the India, a lot of venture capitalists out there. And they have approached us that if we are looking some kind of investments or the thing is we are talking, we’ll just stop. We are cookie proud of it. You got to getting profit. We are generating profit. And the thing is we own the business.
So the thing is, if we own the business, we don’t need English at the moment.
Andrew: And the
Andrew: cofounder still? Okay.
Oh three founders. I thought it was two. Okay. And it’s all split evenly. You guys see each other now, even under COVID or do you have to do it all via zoom?
Vipin: On the, on we have built,
Andrew: I was just going to say, you must have built your own. Did you build your own meeting software?
Vipin: Yeah, we have, yes, we are using That’s called Chatwin’s. It’s a jet blue zit. I D let me send you the link. The blue devil.
Andrew: how’s that doing for you now?
Vipin: It’s pretty good. And this was something we was, we were in previously that, okay. Okay. The remote thing is something it’s going to happen for sure. We have built the infrastructure and the software. So we were quite lucky that we have built on time. So, without any delay, like whenever the loud don’t happen, there was no problem for us because all the infrastructure, all the software we are, we’re already ready.
We are having all fun sort of company we’re facing trouble. They are checking June, they’re taking Google meets and a lot of kind of services. But the thing is we have built our own
Andrew: It’s more than just a zoom. It’s it’s a little Slack. Like, am I right?
Vipin: so it’s like a chat and the screen share and the video is not a more, not totally like a Slack, but we have built it for our own, like as a development company, a lot of things, and we are not for our purpose. We are not using any Jew or Google or something like that. We are using
Andrew: because of what, because of the price or because you made it.
Vipin: We have married into this pretty scalable. The thing is if something is bad, no one is going to use it. Even from your teammates. It has to be very, very good. So it is serving our purpose. we have customized in a very good way. So it is working really, really well for us. We can screen share. We can, group group calling.
Is there a group video calling? Is there
Andrew: Some on the side, it says it’s $50, $50 for what? $50 to one time purchase $50 a month,
Vipin: I think it’s a of, for the subscription. It is
Andrew: a month. And then for $50 a month, I get 70 users total instead of, I don’t know a much fewer if I were resume. So that’s another part.
Vipin: Yeah, but at the moment, like we are still adding value. It is there, but we have not officially, it is official, but we are not very aggressive towards selling it at the moment. And we are more like using it for home on purpose.
Andrew: To just get ready at some point to launch it officially. I saw that it wasn’t on your homepage. That explains it. All right. The company is web cool. And it’s not supposed to be web cool. Right? It’s w E B K U L
Vipin: Sabbatical it’s like in India called means is a kind of a community. So we always wanted to build a, not a company, but a group of community like communities, people, we want to build a community like open sources, always have a community. So I was highly inspired with them, kind of a community. So we want to build a community of developers, come and feel the creative people, community of the.
designers kind of a thing. We want to build it up. And that’s why we have a very counter cultural moment in our office as well. It’s still trying to follow the same kind of system. Not kind of like everyone wants to have that kind of a dream, but our dream is totally different.
Andrew: Your dream is white to have good culture of a good community of creators to work for you and to support the community of developers that use your software.
Vipin: Obviously to link, to build a great product for the world.
Andrew: All right. I’m kind of interested just in your, in your nonprofit efforts. That’s not even on your site, is it? I can’t find that anywhere like the. The
Vipin: sometimes they, sometimes they post it on the social media so that people can understand it.
Andrew: Alright. I’m going to go to web Kohl’s, Instagram and a bit and see if I can find it. Alright. It’s web. Cool. Sorry, what call?
Vipin: Yeah, I’m not sure if it is Instagram, but in the Facebook for sure.
Andrew: I know you guys are on Instagram. I see it, but I can see the faces. So it might be a bigger platform for you.
Alright, and I want to thank the two sponsors who made this interview happen. If you want to understand what your customers are going through, if you want to understand what your readers, what your users are going through, you can just go use delighted for free.
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delighted.com. If you go to delighted.com/mixergy, you’ll get to use it for free. And I want to thank my second sponsor. If you’re hiring a developer, go to top towle.com/mixergy. Oh, I see it. I see it on your site. This is it. This is your people with gloves and masks on helping people in need. Right.
Vipin: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: Yeah. Full time guys, just going out and I could see what they’re doing. Wow. This is touching. Yeah, this is really touching, dude. Alright, thanks for doing this interview. Thanks everyone.