Over 11 years of my work career, I have run businesses that are bootstrapped, revenue positive and profitable for the most part of it. Be it my online retail in 2002, offline in 2006-07 or the media business between 2009-2012, I never did a product that would acquire users and customers and rely on heavy investment before you see returns. However PriceBaba happened differently.
It was at a time when several people around me were cooking heavy product dreams and I learnt the difference between a lifestyle business and a growth business. That bug to solve a big problem got me. Most foolishly, I started with an engineer I met during a train journey from Bangalore to Mumbai and decided to solve a personal problem. Too many people asked me before buying a gadget, I had no time to help all of them. PriceBaba’s first version was only to show the best price for an available product. That was the biggest question my friends always asked me, a good bargain price to buy something at.
As it seems, that alone wasn’t enough to build a product that millions of users would use. As we demoed our offering to consumers, successful entrepreneurs and investors, we learnt that there is a lot more we need to do. While it is an entirely different story that we still feel the same way in many ways. Over the last 12 months we added offline stores, product specs, images, videos, price history, product comparison and launched in half dozen Indian cities.
We had no clue about the amount of work we would need to do, the kind of skills, manpower and money required to build this. We saw a problem and jumped. I left a profitable media business and decided to put my savings behind a problem, the scope of which we are still fully realising and had little clue on how to solve it.
We acquired users for our beta offering, took feedback from them and kept adding new things to PriceBaba. Overtime a group of 5 investors who were equally clueless on the business side as we were joined us and they placed their bet on the team and the problem. When we ran out of money, in came Geeks On A Plane and we went to Silicon Valley with 500 Startups to learn some more black magic.
We have been incredibly challenged during this period and we had incredible fun too (P.S. See our Android Kaju Katli Campaign). Today we are more confident than ever to achieve our year end goal of 1 Million users / month. And yet we think we are still realising the magnitude of the problem that we face. We have jumped from a plane, trying to assemble a parachute mid air!