Sramana Mitra: Did you pick a vertical to go after or were you doing it more horizontally at this point?
Manish Sood: We did narrow down on the life sciences vertical because we had seen some adoption from a SaaS perspective. But we were also approaching customers outside that vertical to understand where the potential opportunities might exist. During this whole process, we were still developing it as a horizontal technology because that was a part of the vision from the very beginning. Although from a go-to market point of view, we wanted to focus on just one vertical so that we could penetrate that vertical and get revenue out of it.
Throughout this process and from the beginning of our journey, which started in July of 2011, the goal was to get to revenues and use that as a way to grow the company. Having been a part of a startup journey in the past gave us insights into some of the challenges that we were going to face. Also if we were to really grow the organization, we had to figure out a way of building value for all the people who were involved in the organization as well as for the potential investors that we would bring into the equation later on. With that in mind, we took the bootstrapped model as the best way to build and grow the company.
Sramana Mitra: That financial services project that you did, which pretty much gave you your seed capital, how big was that project?
Manish Sood: That gave us about a quarter million dollars to start.
Sramana Mitra: Excellent. Since you follow my blog, you know we have written a lot about this topic of bootstrapping using services. I even have a book on this topic. It’s a very powerful tried and true method of bootstrapping that a lot of entrepreneurs had success with. I’m very glad to see that that worked out for you. When you actually started selling, where did you see the traction?
Manish Sood: Before I answer that question, I would just like to add something to your previous comment. Services is a good way to start it but if the services are not aligned with the vision that you are building towards, then it’s a distraction.
Sramana Mitra: That’s right.
Manish Sood: You have to be careful where you are only doing the services that will help you build the product.
Sramana Mitra: Bootstrapping using services works best when you’re approaching the customer base that starts giving you customer insights as well as helps you build the block that ends up being your product.
Manish Sood: Not the problems, but the problem that you want to solve. That is a part of our vision. That’s the problem that you can solve as a service as a starting point with the intent of converting it to a product.