Bangalore was the next stop for the iSPIRT product round-table around the theme of “Getting Traction for Software Products”. The goal of this round-table, hosted by Niraj Rout (Hiver/Grexit), Natwar Maheshwari (Around.io) Avinash Raghava and me, was to get peer feedback from a group of startups at a similar stage.
In this format, around ten participants meet and each one gets around twenty minutes to showcase their product and share their challenges. Everyone then gives feedback based on their experience. We met at the Hiver office at HSR Layout.
We have observed that most Indian product startups are not very comfortable with the self-service model, where the goal is to reduce frictionto product adoption and hence drive traction. With this format we get to talk about topics like automated sign-ups, on-boarding, customer success, content marketing, positioning and quality and nudge the participants towards this model. Most other round-tables talk about how sales can drive growth. Here, we focus on how products drive growth.
We have earlier done this format at Pune, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai before coming to Bangalore. Being an outsider, it was fascinating to see how the city of Bangalore was rapidly expanding. This magnet for migration has become a mess of concrete blocks, narrow lanes, traffic jams and angry cab drivers. But this is also where the startup ecosystem is thriving. The number of technology startups is astounding and there are many strong companies being built. At the round-table, we had a bunch of really amazing and diverse product companies.
The amount of startup literature available is almost unlimited, and every third person is self-qualified to dispense gyaan. At the round-table, we avoidgyaan by discussing specific problems. Some of the problems we discussed were:
- Entering new markets (like the United States or Europe)
- Content marketing (how to get blogs to write for you)
- Increasing growth (how do we go beyond the early adopters)
- Launching new products (or pivoting)
- Moving towards SAAS (from an on-premise model)
- Competition (getting even with YC funded, slickly branded competitors)
At the end each one of us went back with at least one or two things we could work on.
What really stood out about this group was that this was a bunch of seasoned entrepreneurs. Almost everyone had real products. Their feet were firmly on the ground and were motivated to scale their companies to the next level.