Building startups is magical. It is an indescribable joy. For spectators, it seems mystical and mysterious. The hardwork that goes into making it possible is something which only an entrepreneur knows. While I’ve followed the startup spectacle for the past many years and tried documenting startup experiences in third person as a spectator, I’m now living it first hand doing startup hubs.
When someone shares their journey with me now, I can not only relate to those experiences but have an increased respect for these special breed of humans.
Here is the voyage of Kranthi Kumar Renamala (@kranthikumar) of Migrera, the dreamy eyed entrepreneur for whom challenges are opportunities and struggles are just stepping stones to a successful startup.
You don’t have to look far. Entrepreneurs like him make the perfect role models in India.[hero heading=”Startups.in: the magical frontier”]These are the voyages of the startup entrepreneurs. Its forever mission: to explore starry eyed startups, to seek out new entrepreneurs and new startups, to boldly do what no one has done before.
I was doing my B.Tech in IIT Delhi. Abhishek, one of the co-founders and my childhood friend got a job and had to move to Delhi. He used to visit IIT campus regularly. Startups used to be a part of our discussions and I remember how analyzing the technology and differentiating traits in a company became an obsession. The discussions continued even after I graduated and moved to Mumbai to join my first job. We realized we would start something but didn’t have any concrete idea. We just thought that the product we conceive should be equipped with latest technology and should ease the mind of the consumer/customer.
It so happened I had to move to Hyderabad and hired a local mover after a lot of struggle (calling them, home visits etc) for INR 13,000. But on the day of the move I have observed the change in the attitude of the mover. While he was polite during the booking, he was exhibiting a “don’t care” attitude on the day of the move. Worse still, sensing my desperateness to move urgently, there were further demands of money in the form of road taxes, additional items etc. The initial cost of 13k went shot to 17k. That was the moment I have realized this area is ripe for disruption in view of the in-expertise and lack of business proficiency in this industry. Equipped with Technology, I thought it would be a viable product with potential. I shared it with my friend, Abhishek and he concurred with my opinion in an excited manner.
We started our ground research, done few surveys and realized the untapped potential. Immediately, we worked out the finances and started making wire-frames and researched the technologies that could help us solve this problem.
The Team, Support & ExecutionThings were moving pretty slow as we both (Abhishek and I) were working full time at that time. So, we decided at least one of us should quit and work full time on the idea. I decided to quit as I was already in Hyderabad by then (moved to another company based in Hyderabad as Business Development Manager after 1 year in Mumbai as Java Developer). Though the financial strength of my family was not good, I found support in my family. My elder brother (IIT KGP graduate and an aspiring author) who was already working encouraged me to follow my dreams as he decided to take care of the family financial needs.
Thus, the first floor of my home became the office and slowly things began to pace. We prepared the wire-frames by first week of Feb 2014. As we needed more funds to move ahead, I presented my idea along with the wire-frames to bunch of my friends and asked if anyone was willing to invest and come on-board with the idea.
Later that night, I got a call from one of my close friends Sandeep. He said he believed in the idea and wanted to be part of the team but without quitting his present job. He committed to work part time and invest the required funds. Once Sandeep was on board I requested another friend, Pradeep to join. He is a very good friend of mine and convinced him that if we can make it he will be in a very good position in a few years and even if it doesn’t, it will still be an added asset as he will have a great experience and it won’t be difficult for him to find a new job with that valuable experience under his belt. Pradeep was onboard the next day.
Problems, Pitfalls & Beta
As someone said “the path to success is often paved with a few missteps”, which was apt for us. At a point, we were taken down by two freelance designers, lost money and vital 6 months of time. All we had was two pages in hand and depleted budget.
We first hired a designer from Pakistan who looked very promising and we had a contract with him through Odesk to deliver the project in 45 days. He did not honor the contractual agreement and finally we had to give up on him as we were losing time. Determined not to repeat the mistake, we hired a designer from Hyderabad. Though he worked really well in the beginning, he stopped showing up eventually and the project had come to an abrupt end.
With more than 3/4th project pending, we went back to the drawing board, rebuilt our new strategy and decided to build it on our own. This time however, luckily having interacted with a lot of designers, we got some insights in designing UI/UX of an application. We undertook the job of designing it ourselves and subsequently developed the complete application.
After some initial testing, we launched our application as beta version on Jan 23rd of 2015.
Huge Loss, Comeback & Launch
As many say “Life is not what we think” – the sudden demise of my father left me, my family and friends in trauma. It was not easy to get back to Migrera. A strong support and push from my family made me come back to work. We tested the application out in the open, showed it to vendors, customers, had feedback, made some tweaks and finally launched the application on March 5th.
From then, we have seen a few positives come our way and till date we have completed more than 100 moves with 90% customer satisfaction. An interesting insight is that 20% of customers we now get are referrals from our previous customers.
[Edited for clarity]
While I wish Kranthi and his team the very best, I’m sure you can do it too. Go to your magical frontier, with Migrera if needed.[label variation=”label-inverse”]Inspiration for magical frontier[/label]
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