How I Developed A $10K/Month App That Helps Salespeople Sell More

$10K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
8
Employees
product
1Page
from Berkeley, CA, USA
started July 2019
$10,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
8
Employees
1.02M
alexa rank
4
followers
14
followers
market size
$11.6B
avg revenue (monthly)
$10K
starting costs
$15K
gross margin
90%
time to build
7 months
growth channels
Direct sales
best tools
1Page, Mailmodo, WordPress
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
39 Pros & Cons
tips
2 Tips
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello there! I am Pooran Prasad Rajanna, founder and CEO of 1Page. I have been in technology and sales for almost 20 years and the idea is based on a pet peeve, preparing for meetings and calls! Preparing for sales meetings is hard and tiresome.

The reason for every meeting or call with another person is to connect with them, build a good relationship, though the motive in many cases will be to sell an idea or product to them eventually.

1Page helps salespeople search less, and sell more, by delivering a customized one-page summary for every meeting and call, minutes before every meeting to take on every meeting confidently. 1Page is a mobile app (soon on desktop and wearables) that alerts you 5 minutes (configurable) before every meeting and provides a 1Page customized summary of everything you need to know about the person you are about to meet.

With data, you have access to, from all your business tools like Email, CRM, Storage, Support, etc., and data you usually search for like social information of the user, insights, company information, employee count, conversation starters from news, etc., you are not opening multiple tabs or searching. You are more confident with the data at hand.

Once the meeting or the call is over, you will get another alert to take notes and also automatically create a follow-up task a few days later!.

With more than 25 commonly used business applications and the capability to integrate any internal or external API-driven application in days, and customize in hours, the product strives to help salespeople with enough information to help them get the meeting towards closure.

Relevant industry and company information from data partners like Standard & Poor, Crunchbase, Owler, and InsideView will help you to sound informed and connect better with the prospect or customer.

Product is based on 1 granted and few pending patents on ML/AI. Users can get started in 30 mins max with near Zero IT involvement. User privacy and data security are of paramount importance. So every bit of data is encrypted at rest and in transit. Pproduct works in Multiple Languages, and we add new integrations in days and customize in hours.

how-i-developed-a-10k-month-app-that-helps-salespeople-sell-more

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

For the past 20 years, I have been involved in many products built from scratch and have re-architected many existing products for scale. One common thing across all of them was integrations with other products, devices, APIs, and more often we had to spend weeks to months either integrating in-house or outsourcing at exorbitant costs, especially to Salesforce consultants.

Only when I got myself into tech sales, pre-sales role, I realized the real pain of integrations, maintenance, and customization. Salespeople spend more time preparing for meetings, searching across Email, CRM, Storage, Notes, Tasks, LinkedIn, Crunchbase, Owler, Google for news, social media - sometimes it is very exhaustive and leaves one always in doubt that they are not prepared well.

In San Francisco in early 2013, I hacked a solution around this problem in a 24-hour hackathon and won a sponsor award. We filed a patent, we built an MVP, and showed around. Most of them requested an iPhone app, and the iOS didn’t have some of the features we needed at that time to build it out. We parked the idea for a while.

We always kept the money for development in the early days and avoided marketing for the longest possible time. There is never a good or bad time for marketing. Start from day zero. Start small, keep doing it regularly.

Fast forward a few years later, we got first office action for our patent and Apple had released one feature we were eagerly waiting for. I was the CTO of another company at that time. I met my first angel investor and pitched it and in no time we started building our first MVP, customer interviews, and pilots. A year later we had our first paying customer and we got our next investment from the then Salesforce India Director as we were solving one of the biggest problems for salespeople - data entry to CRMs to keep the deal updates alive.

We were part of Start-Up Chile and we did pilots with customers from Enterprises to 2 people startups. Then we got into Berkeley SkyDeck, an accelerator run by the University of California, Berkeley. Here we were able to do pilots with more customers in the US. This is where we incorporated and garnered good feedback.

We re-thought through our business model and realized product-led growth is right for us, and we started in that direction. After listening to many customers, prospects during the COVID pandemic, we pivoted and rebranded as 1Page. We opened our application for free with a lot of emphasis on self onboarding. Our daily signups and daily active users are growing steadily now.

Building a mobile app is always an iterative process and we need to constantly be aware of new version releases, changes to existing features, new features. We started mobile-first as the most common request was to get it on the phone. You can’t open your laptop when you are running to a meeting, but you can glance at a phone anytime.

Describe the process of launching the business.

We made some mistakes and learned from them.

1) We should do more customer interviews at the beginning

We did that late in the business, which really helped us to pivot and focus on specific customer segments. Always check for 3 things - do the perceived pain is too big? Are people willing to pay for it? Will they be willing to pay for it to see the day of light -- before you write your first line. If you can get money beforehand, that is the best.

2) We should not postpone marketing for later in the business

We always kept the money for development in the early days and avoided marketing for the longest possible time. There is never a good or bad time for marketing. Start from day zero. Start small, keep doing it regularly.

3) Release fast, fail fast, iterate fast

Initially, we postponed the launch for quite a long time. Only when we launched and got it into the hands of people, we realized that what we thought of and what is expected was a bit different. We soon adopted the new model of releasing often. With better feedback from early customers, we improved the product in regular cycles.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Since the beginning of our product journey, we have always looked at our network to reach out for trials, and get feedback. Through Start-Up Chile and Berkeley Skydeck network, we expanded our reach to more introductions to our target customers. Customers started referring their contacts to try out which was one steady stream of inbound leads that we relied on all along.

Find 100 probable customers and interview them if they really have the pain you are trying to solve, how they envision the solution, and how much would they be willing to pay for such a service.

Very recently we started outbound marketing and with the next round of funding, we want to double down on our marketing efforts to increase brand awareness and reach potential customers.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Since the launch of our freemium product, we are seeing a steady increase in daily signups and daily active users. We have quite a good number of them converted to paid subscriptions.

On the other hand, in our outbound outreach, we are attracting 100+ employee companies for product trials and helping their sales team to search less and sell more.

We plan to onboard 250 companies by 2022 and 20,000 free and paid daily active users. Currently, we have 25 major enterprise applications integrated. We want to double that number by the end of this year and keep adding every week then onwards.

We have a few patents on how to use AI and ML to build better insights and conversation starters and that is planned to go live by the end of this year.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

During our time at Berkeley, we went through a session where we learned about SBIR grants, and the requirement for the team to get the grant is to conduct 100 customer interviews to ascertain a good product requirement and validate the idea. Wish we had that insight before or when we started.

We went ahead and started the interview process with potential customers and we learned quite a good deal of things they would need and we realigned our product goals based on those interviews. The new pivot and the branding came from those customer interviews.

I would recommend this to any startup founder to do this diligently before starting up. Find 100 probable customers and interview them if they really have the pain you are trying to solve, how they envision the solution and how much would they be willing to pay for such a service.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Google Workspace, HubSpot, Freshdesk, Slack.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Crossing the Chasm

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

Solve one problem for a specific set of people for which they are willing to pay. You can generalize it later or expand scope or market, but focus on solving 1 problem to start with.

Do market research - conduct 100 interviews with prospective customers before starting a single line of code

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are looking for experienced B2B sales professionals and Growth hackers.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Pooran Prasad Rajanna,   Founder of 1Page
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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