Sramana: What was your first minimally viable product?
Graham Cooke: There were two things that we wanted to do. In 2010, web analytics was not getting feedback. When you are on a website, why do people do things? We wanted to understand why people did stuff. We wrote a very simple survey system to ask a user a question when they were about to leave a website: Why are you leaving the website without buying?
The system we wrote was a way of asking that question and we took that open ended feedback and tried to make sense of it. In reality, we got a lot of information and we did not get any structure for it. We later built an automated categorization for it.
Sramana: What percentage of people who are about to leave a website are willing to give you feedback?
Graham Cooke: About 3 to 5 percent. That is 20 to 30 times higher than the industry average for feedback. We have tested in the past few years to increase response rate. We have learned that if you ask people to fill in a form when they arrive at a website, they don’t want to do that. You are interrupting their journey. You need to ask a person for feedback in the same manner that you would if you were standing at the doors of a brick-and-mortar store and noticed someone was leaving without making a purchase. People are willing to tell you that your price is too high when they are walking out of a store. We wrote our system to pick people, at the point of leaving, which is why we get such a great response. A few months ago we received our millionth piece of feedback across 80 customers. That is pretty good.
Sramana: Who was the first customer that you implemented your minimum viable product on?
Graham Cooke: We always intended to set up a business to business company. Our first customer was a directory business called European Directories. They are like the Yellow Pages of Europe. I think we signed them to a £100,000 deal to provide them with two technologies. We also had another product that took output through the Google Analytics API and structured it into pages of useful information. We would categorize the URLs and take all the metrics and view them in a more structured format.
Sramana: Getting £100,000 is pretty good seed money.
Graham Cooke: It was great. A lot of it was paid up front, and that allowed us to build up our customer base. We added 10 customers our first year. We actually hired out first full-time employee in April and then we started to hire more engineers in the summer. Once we realized that our business plan was working, we started to think about raising some capital.