Sramana Mitra: Any other businesses that you want to talk about?
Bhavin Turakhia: After that, I started two more — Flock and Zeta. Flock is in the enterprise and team messaging space, and Zeta is in the payment space. I started Zeta with a co-founder in India, and the business is currently largely managed by him. My main attention is on Flock.
Sramana Mitra: What is the thesis of Flock?
Bhavin Turakhia: At a macro level, if you look at communication and collaboration between teams within organizations or teams who manage projects, a large chunk of that has only been email. Email as a tool for communication was invented 30 years ago and hasn’t changed much. Our communication needs, however,have changed substantially. Work has become more collaborative. The types of collaborative tools that we use have increased substantially.
Take for instance any software development team. They’ll be using GitHub for source code management, Trello for project management, and a separate tool to issue tracking. Flock is an instant messenger that’s built ground up to make communication within teams significantly more efficient. We’ve done some surveys among our existing users.
Teams that adopt Flock have seen productivity increase by up to 60% because of increased transparency, quicker communication, quicker status updates, and integration into all the other tools that you use during your work days. Flock integrates into your Google Drive, integrates into your Dropbox, and other tools. It’s available on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
If you have a team of 10 people, you all will be on it. You would have a team on it. You would be able to create channels for sharing knowledge and be able to engage in a one-on-one chat with each other. You can share files. You can engage in video calling. You can create to do’s and tasks, and you can integrate updates from all your tools that you use into Flock so that whenever any event takes place, everybody in your team gets notified.
Sramana Mitra: Are you selling this to enterprises or is it the same strategy as Slack which became a viral hit.
Bhavin Turakhia: It is a similar strategy in terms of target audience. We focus on fast-moving teams within startups and technology companies that have collaborative needs. It’s a self-service solution. You can sign up on flock.co and start using this for your team. The basic service is completely free for life. There is the premium version with enhanced version which is sold at $3 per user per month.
Sramana Mitra: How long ago did you launch this?
Bhavin Turakhia: The first launch was somewhere around two years ago in early beta. Some of the more aggressive final launches happened in the last six months. Six months ago, we started our aggressive marketing campaigns and marketing processes.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of adoption are you seeing?
Bhavin Turakhia: Roughly about 1,500 new teams are created on Flock every week. We’re now close to 1,800. We have about 40,000 to 50,000 active users.
Sramana Mitra: What kind of conversion rate?
Bhavin Turakhia: It’s pretty much 98% free because we haven’t started the monetization piece. The goal is to get to a million users in terms of our base. Then subsequently, we’re expecting to get to a point where 20% of our base would be much like any other freemium service. The remaining 80% would be free at that point.
Sramana Mitra: Freemium conversation rates are usually less than 4%.
Bhavin Turakhia: Not in the B2B SaaS space though where they tend to be higher.
Sramana Mitra: Not really. You seem to be a very big bootstrapper. You got all these exits with bootstrapping. Are you following the same kinds of principles in launching and building these later businesses or are you putting in a lot of money that you have got out of these exits into these new ventures?
Bhavin Turakhia: It’s fortunate that we’ve consistently started businesses that have become profitable in a fairly short window of time. I’m not saying that’s the only way. It’s worked for us. I’m not averse to taking capital.