Sramana Mitra: When you started the company, that was 2011?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: 2012.
Sramana Mitra: How did you get it off the ground? What did you start with?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: Very early on, we made sure we had the right people. You can’t build everything yourself. I was getting my co-founders in place. The three of us met a few times. We’ve worked together in the past.
Sramana Mitra: Where did you work together?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: At NexTag. We realized soon enough that the three of us had gone to Stanford at different points in time. We had that in common. We worked together at NexTag. That was also a common thread. We understood that because of the culture that we’ve worked in, we could get along very well, and we appreciated that. Making sure that those things came together was really important.
The second piece was making sure we understood what the customers actually wanted. We had an idea. We had a thesis. We wanted to make sure that we understood the customer problem really well. We had access to these customers because of our work at NexTag. We had to figure out what that problem set looked like. Also, we made sure we tested that thesis.
We built the MVP. Then we started refining that until we could get it right. After we had the MVP though, it was an entirely new challenge which I have a greater appreciation for today. Being a technical co-founder, I didn’t have that much appreciation for the marketing and sales part. That was something that was entirely new. That was the biggest opportunity of growth for me and something I’m continuing to learn.
Sramana Mitra: The three of you bootstrapped building the MVP?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: Six months.
Sramana Mitra: We’re talking mid-2012 when you got the MVP out?
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: Towards the end of 2012 was when we got the MVP out. We started working on the MVP in the middle of 2012. The idea for QuanticMind came in the beginning of 2012. We worked on it for about six to eight months, bootstrapped it, had the MVP, and raised the seed funding from friends and family in 2012. I don’t know if you’re familiar with TiE.
Sramana Mitra: Sure.
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: I was connected to that. Every Thursday, there’s a forum called the TiE angels.
Sramana Mitra: It’s still there.
Chaitanya Chandrasekhar: I presented. I first applied to get in and had a bunch of interviews. I did present. It’s essentially a forum where there’re a lot of angels in the audience. You get up on a stage and you talk about your idea. We had the MVP. We were just starting to develop some revenue. We talked about the problem. That resonated. We went through the whole process of raising from TiE angels.
It was very atypical. Now the concept of angel or seed investing exists. At that point, it didn’t. We had to string together a bunch of people to put that round together. That’s what we did. We raised about half a million at that point in time, which was a lot of money. This was in the December 2012 timeframe. We had our first set of beta customers in February 2013.