Satyaveer Paul, Founder & CEO, Woobly Media Pvt. Ltd.
“Satya, what do you think, are Entrepreneurs Born or Made?” Paul, affirmatively replies “True entrepreneurs are born – not made.” He shared with team ABT, his journey and how he gradually started to gain clarity since his first job in India bulls that he is not going to continue working for a conventional corporate set-up, but rather build a dream of his own. Having failed several times & losing a lot of time and money, Satyaveer always strived for big and gave his 100% in his career and the spirits kept him going. He had to join his family businesses as his dad was keeping unwell, which he built into many diversified businesses and was doing pretty well unless he realized something was missing in his life.
Eventually, Satya decided to leave the establishment and move towards his passion; the stand, indeed, required an enormous amount of courage. The life changing event happened after meeting Arvind as he encouragingly pulled Satyaveer into his dream journey and invested into him, at a time when several investors turned him down.
Satyaveer enjoys reading books, learning through Mentors, following Great Leaders, and cannot keep away from work for more than 6-7 hours. Passionate about building enterprises; Satyaveer founded Woobly – an ios and android based mobile application platform which aims to provide Millennials an astounding ease in booking the place which suits their mood, taste of music and palate for Drinking & Eating. Here are some more insights shared with team ABT.
What led to founding Woobly, what is the idea all about?
The biggest problems that the Entrepreneurs were solving were their problem – Guy Kawasaki, that’s how Woobly founded.” He further explained “As a young guy, I have had a great affinity in going out with friends for food, Hangout & Nightlife. But, unfortunately, I always faced the problem for right discovery as per my mood, music or palate, and relevant discovery seemed a herculean task which simply drained a lot of our time and money. Resultantly, we use to keep hopping places for great experiences, most of the time we lost our high by the time we found the right one. That is when I got stuck with the problem and started researching to understand if it is just me or is it that there are many more people like me who have been experiencing similar difficulties since years.
You see, behaviour patterns of Millennials are highly unique, and entrepreneurs across the world have to be considerate of this profitable unpredictability, especially in India where 65% of the population is a youth with high Aspirations. I was out taking surveys in the industry and problem interviews for market validation. The results were astounding: People were looking for solutions, the opportunity was as huge as $50Bn market and growing at 15%, there is always room for 2-3 good players, and that’s how we conceptualized Woobly.
Why do you think it’s a unique value proposition?
Woobly has a multisided business model which is intelligently engineered to serve a unique value proposition to both outlet owners & our application users. We do sense Millennial’s discomfort caused by excessive wondering when it comes to deciding the best place to hangout with their family and friends. Which is why, we invested our time and creative energy in building Woobly, a platform which you could count on to effortlessly book the place which suits your mood, taste of music and palate for Drinking & Eating.
In the growing socio – economic urban lifestyle the B2B outlets have a lot of distress inventory, and the outlets want customers, many times their offerings are not reaching customers at all. The outlet numbers have been rising from 37k in 2014 to 55k in current scenario and soon will be 80k by 2018 in top 20 cities. The Industry is growing at 15-20% Y-o-Y in various segments and will keep on its pace in the time to come. Woobly is a platform to convert transaction between them for the customer to get delightful experience and for the outlet to get exciting business opportunities.
Woobly is coming with such new innovative and interesting features that very soon you will see the Industry scanners turning into photocopiers. By Constant innovation and keeping a hawk view on the market scenarios we will be dominating the larger part of the market considering our long-term plan for the industry.
Also, there are humongous problems in the Industry at both the end, and going as the last mover’s advantage we will create immense value for the multisided business model. As we want to evolve the Industry building environment that best fit for our consumers with the help of B2B outlets.
Have you raised any funding? How did you manage to fund the venture?
Our journey started with the selection in Copper Mobile Incubators, an Indo – Dallas-based US Incubation program led by Mr. Arvind Sarin, CEO of the organization. They work with a different model of strategic partnership with companies which have a scalable Idea and a great team. They provided us the technical team to develop product along with Office space, Mentoring, Networking, IPR rights which he valued a cost of $100k in kind against a small chunk of equity. We further raised $60k from our friends/family and again undertook a raise of $40k for the Traction Strategy, Product Launch, and support.
Following the lean model, we have a secured runway and capacity to do experiments for traction. We have poured the most important investment, i.e., our highly dedicated time. The journey continued, and we kept on adding valuable associate partners who gave us unconditional support to make Woobly a success.
Our associate partners are Copper Mobile Inc. – Incubation Partners, Linchpin Technologies – Technology Partners, SPN Legal – Legal & Accounting Partners & Startup CFO – Financial Consultants. Woobly is also setting up its advisory board to overcome any roadblocks after the launch in Dec 1st Week.
Where did you meet your co-founders?
Teamwork makes a dream works. That’s why we have reached here, the commitment and dedication that all the co-founders have shown is what makes us strong enough to take any challenges. There they are:-
Prakash – Co-founder and my childhood friend, from sharing the same bus to meals, we have been best buddies, and he is a living example of true friendship. We love each other’s company because we try harness each other’s knowledge and understand the importance of companionship with a common vision for a long-term journey. He is my first mentor who guided me with the importance of spending time in life to be successful. We share a vintage of more than 22 years.
Adit – My little young millennial friend whom I know for the past two decades, he is a diehard Industry fan and the first person I shared the problem statement with. The idea sounded so convincing to him that he immediately decided to join me and Prakash in building Woobly. He is a power pact, energetic, passionate Industry specialist who just knows what & how to solve B2B problems. He has got a network of Millennials to be leveraged as and when needed.
Pranav –My wife’s best friend and one of my dearest friends, he has an amazing ability to creatively thinking out of the box and do the same things differently every time with expected amount of excellence. His impressive ten years of experience in operations has helped us structurally planning Woobly. He is the only Co-founder who has got skills and patience to learn all the technical structuring as and when we need for the product.
What were the first 90 days like?
Our initial 90 days, were both challenging and interesting. We started with conducting inquisitive problem interviews with Millennials, followed by B2B Interviews, and surveys, along with product development. We use to conduct every week showcases and learning as the audience was present on a common platform together to understand each others problem. In fact, to be involved in a US based Incubator, there was a day when we started feeling Silicon Valley from our office itself.
Books, Videos, Articles, Presentations, Case Studies, Industry Analysis, Competitive Analysis, Data Mining, Business Model Forecast all was happening at one time. We had lost the calculation of time, days, week, and months. We knew only one thing i.e. Build – Measure – Learn-Validate and the cycle kept going on till date.
What’s’ your philosophy when it comes to doing business?
Our philosophy is simple; make “Happy Customer” – We do not focus on making a customer happy rather we concentrate on creating the happy customers. We are here to develop a sustainable business model with constant innovation to build value for our customers and clients with Traction as the Goal. We value time more than money, and that’s how we differentiate our self from most of the overlapping and “me-too products” in the market. Time is the resource that Woobly saves and help Millennials in their customer journey.
Tell us about some of the challenges that you faced & how did you overcome them?
The journey was very challenging because it had to focus on two things – Developing ourselves & Developing our business. Our families supported us the reason we had our focused straight on the Bull’s eye. We had to make sure from structuring the company to following world’s best process it was never easy as we had to acquire skills and learning to overcome these challenges. Pricing the startup, Unique value proposition, sales, accelerating, achieving goals, building the product, customers interview, business model forecast, raising fund, validating our process and now creating traction strategy it was not possible without the guidance by our mentors.
We overcame most of the roadblocks by learning from our mentors including Ash Maurya – Author for Running Lean & Scaling Lean & creator for The Lean Canvas.; Dan Martell – Founder for Clarity; Tomasz Tunguz – Venture Capitalist at Red Point Ventures; Guy Kawasaki – Silicon Valley Evangelist. We read their books. I was one of the early adopters for Ash Maurya top selling Wall Street Journal for business strategy and developing a sustainable business model Scaling Lean. Ash use to answer all our queries over webinars, emails and helped us getting clarity in the entire strategy. I am very thankful to him for the guidance. Though it is difficult to single out anyone, the entire journey has been challenging; we knew the pleasure is in hunting (enjoying the journey) fighting and moving forward.
What would you like to achieve in the next three years?
It can be better answered as for where we see our self in 3 years from now. We want to be one of the Most Valuable Startups in Indian history where young Millennials share their experience while working and a culture of learning in our value system, some of the benchmarks that we would love to achieve are: 1. A happy customer base of over 2 Million users is making their hangout into experience 2. Creating immense value proposition among users & outlet owners 3. Building a sustainable business model 4. Breakeven in existing markets 5. Raising Series – B & C. The plan is to cover top 5 cities in India by early 2018 and then start taking the product to another part of the world capturing some of the value created, the process goes on…………And yes there is a secret we now know that will keep us ahead in the Industry as we #LoveTheProblem and not the solution!