Women in Tech Series, Part 2
Today we’re highlighting three interviews from the Mixergy vault about how proven female tech founders created profitable companies. Check out part 1 here.
1. How to Find Out if People Will REALLY Pay
Tal Shoham was an event organizer who hated having to create social pages for each new event.
She knew that before building an automated solution, though, she had to make sure that others shared her problem…and were willing to pay.
To do that, she took a different approach.
“I presented it as if it exists already,” says Tal, the founder of Evolero. “And that was a very smart way to go about it because…I was selling them something and I named a price, I asked them if they’re willing to buy it. I showed these mockups that I made.”
That way when they said they’d buy, she knew they were serious.
“It helped validate it really fast, and I mean in an authentic way that’s not people just saying, ‘Oh, that’s nice. Yeah, wow, it sounds nice.’ It was very real and it was very useful.”
In the full interview, Tal tells you how she launched and grew the company.
2. Where to Find Your Next Profitable Idea
Know your audience.
That’s one of the golden rules of marketing and sales. But how do you really do it? How do you make sure that you’re in tune with their problems and what they’re complaining about?
Amy Hoy, the founder of Slash7, says, “I read a lot of crap.”
Specifically, she reads what her audience is reading.
“You can learn a lot about what people are anxious and worried about by what is popular reading,” says Amy. “So you can look at what people really read and buy and choose voluntarily, and flip it around. Why would you read this? Well, if you’re anxious about X, you read about X and how to do it well.”
For instance, Amy’s audience is active on Hacker News.
“Hacker News is full of sometimes very silly articles about ‘how I made $2,000 on a side business while doing consulting,’” she says. “It’s like $2,000 is not inspirational. However, people are nervous they can’t even go from zero to $1, and so in that sense it’s inspirational.”
Amy talks about how she chooses which of their problems to solve and how she figures out what they’ll pay for in her full interview.
3. Do You Really Need Funding?
These cofounders took funding, but decided to give the money back.
Lakshmi Raj & Raj Narayanaswamy are the cofounders of Replicon, which makes hassle-free, web-based timesheet software.
They raised $2.5 million, hoping to fix some internal problems and grow the company. But the investors were looking for a quick sale.
“After 9/11 nobody was buying,” says Lakshmi. “After the bubble burst in 2000, people were becoming more conservative. And so, a lot of things were happening. The outside market conditions changed.”
“That led to a conflict at the board level, and the board was pretty split,” says Raj. “We felt that the board would always support the entrepreneurs.”
But that wasn’t how things turned out.
“I think that’s something entrepreneurs don’t realize,” says Lakshmi. “Even with a small percentage in the company, the investors could control a lot. The contract that you sign with them and the board composition gives them extreme control over your company. The investment percentage and the control over the company are not related. It’s not equal.”
So they held a meeting with all of their investors, and drew a line in the sand.
In the full interview, you’ll find out what happened next.
Written by April Dykman.