Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
With more than 20 years of business experience in the Digital & Tech industry, I have proudly been described as a passionate CEO focused on disruptive, internet-focused businesses and am no stranger to innovative ideas. Ranging from bootstrapped startups to multi-billion-dollar Fortune 100 Companies.
I am currently the Founder of Squadhelp: This innovative platform utilizes crowdsourcing to connect creatives globally with startups and large corporations for their branding related projects. Squadhelp now revels in being the leading crowdsourcing platform across the globe within the business naming category. To add to my professional experience, I used to run my own eCommerce consulting firm in Chicago (Leapmatrix), which provided technology consulting and digital marketing services to online retailers.
Every year, millions of startups are launched worldwide, and for many of them, the first step typically is to come up with a great name for their business or service. Naming your business plays a critical role in connecting your brand with your target customers, but can be extremely challenging, frustrating, and an easy task to forego.
Typically, most companies outsource naming services through branding agencies, but this process can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Squadhelp’s platform solves this problem directly by allowing companies to host Naming competitions on our platform and receive hundreds of high-quality suggestions from hundreds of naming experts within 2-3 days. A simple, affordable solution for consumers who are seeking high-quality names and suggestions without the marketplace price tag.
If you’re searching for a great name for your business or personal venture, you can host a naming contest on Squadhelp. Within minutes, you will start receiving thoughtful name ideas from our naming community of more than 100,000 ** ** creatives. Our system automatically checks for URL availability as well as Trademark availability. All you have to do is rate the entries as they come in. Based on the feedback, the submissions get better and better, and in the end, you pick one name as the winner. The winner receives the contest award prize.
The entire process is highly collaborative, quick and results in great name suggestions. A typical contest receives more than 600 name ideas within 2-3 days.
Our primary customers are startups across the globe. However, as the platform grows, we are now getting a plethora of customers who run local businesses and large companies who are launching a new product or service. Our platform is truly global, and we are finding that it works as a great resource for anyone looking to come up with a name for their company, brand, product or service.
Currently, Squadhelp is a 3 million dollar per year business that’s growing rapidly each day. We are dedicated to creating a smooth transition for businesses and individuals for any logo/tagline/name project they are seeking. We’ve proudly helped 25,000+ businesses with their specific logo/tagline/naming needs
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
Originally from New Delhi, my fascination with computers began at a young age. With only one available in my school, my fascination and curiosity for computers only grew stronger and followed me well into my college and adulthood; I was successfully accepted into an engineering college and soon after graduation received a computer consulting job from Tata Group. In addition to Tata Group, I applied for a job in Chicago at Xpedior, a startup company, where I was a consultant for numerous e-commerce and dotcom companies.
As silly as it sounds, failing is the only way to understand how to grow individually and professionally.
I launched Squadhelp as an experiment in 2011 when I was personally struggling to come up with a great name for another venture. In the beginning, I never assumed Squadhelp would grow to become a large business opportunity - the initial intention was for the platform to be used as a resource by other startups who were in similar situations. However, as the platform and creative community grew organically, Squadhelp began receiving of customers through word of mouth.
As Squadhelp received significant organic traction, Darpan became involved full time with the business and began investing in some interesting platform features to take the platform to the next level. We now have a community of 100,000+ creatives who have helped 20,000+ businesses and submitted over 4 Million names in our platform.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
With Squadhelp, the most important aspect is our focus on quality vs. quantity. We have built some advanced algorithms that determine the overall quality score of all creatives. These algorithms ensure that the creatives who consistently receive high ratings on their submissions can submit a lot more ideas in future contests. On the other hand, those creatives who do not submit thoughtful suggestions are limited in how many names they can submit in future contests.
As a result, all our contests receive a significantly high proportion of good quality, thoughtful and well-researched suggestions. This is one of the primary reasons for the significantly positive feedback we receive from our customers. We have also invested in a lot of “Gamification” features that make our platform extremely fun and collaborative.
Creatives not only receive monetary awards for winning contests, but they also receive badges and points for submitting good quality ideas. They also get featured in our monthly leaderboard, which is a coveted space for our top creatives who have won the most contests.
Describe the process of launching the business.
When creating a website, Squadhelp wanted the experience to convey a sense of ease where anyone can maneuver it. We give the simple choice when people first enter the website of “Starting a Contest” or “Explore Names For Sale.” People seeking names/logos/taglines for their business projects can greatly benefit from beginning a contest as well as exploring the names we currently sell on Squadhelp.
A few examples of the names created on Squadhelp.com:
Through crowdsourcing, Squadhelp has been able to cultivate and create unique and differentiating names that stand out for businesses within any industry.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Crowdsourcing and our branding consultants are the bread and butter of Squadhelp and our success. We have been able to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with contest holders as well as creatives through this process. Crowdsourcing has gone through an interesting evolution, and we are excited about the prospect of tapping into the collective intelligence of creative individuals across the globe to solve real business problems.
In a digitally connected world, there are no constraints on who can submit great ideas. If managed right, a crowdsourcing platform can create a “win-win” outcome for all constituents (customers, and creatives). However, it is extremely important for the platform to focus on quality to ensure that the customers do not get overwhelmed by lots of low-quality ideas. We are excited to have an awesome community of experts and are looking forward to taking our business to the next level.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Squadhelp is rapidly expanding every day; as stated before, we have helped more than 20,000+ businesses, large and small, and that number is quickly increasing. We run a smooth operation in Hoffman Estates with our Branding Consultants and our steady support associates who are online 24/7 to assist customers - existing and potential - with any questions or concerns that they may have.
We consistently meet every week with our Branding Consultants to discuss possible ventures to expand Squadhelp. Be on the lookout for new services soon!
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
At Squadhelp, we utilize several social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This allows us to connect with our customers, past and present, as well as potential clients who want to know what we’re about. We constantly post about current domains available on our website that could be a perfect fit for specific businesses or industries seeking a domain, logo, or tagline to complete their business profile.
Given our unique business model, the entire Squadhelp platform has been custom built to offer a unique combination of gamification, crowdsourcing and agency level features. In late 2017, we also included a Marketplace which allows customers to peruse through our collection of thousands of hand-curated domains and instantly purchase brand-able domain names at the click of a button. These tools have allowed us to stay up to date with our customers' needs and feedback and helps push us forward as a successful naming platform.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Advice Darpan would offer to potential and aspiring founders would be to take risks! Often times, we get caught up in our security nets of what we are comfortable with and what we know, but if we aren’t uncomfortable, we aren’t learning!
Everyone is hyper-focused on failing and the ‘what if’s’ of business, but that doesn’t push you or your business forward! “What if I fail?” “What if my idea flops?” If those are constantly running through your head and stopping you from taking a leap of faith regarding your business, rethink your strategy. Celebrate your success, but also celebrate the failures that come your way as well. As silly as it sounds, failing is the only way to understand how to grow individually and professionally.
Darpan aspired to be an entrepreneur himself and felt that he had accumulated a lot of learnings in the e-commerce space. From this experience, he wanted to apply that by starting his own venture in India. The whole e-commerce aspect was new there with retailing only being available via brick and mortar.
Being away from India for seven years, Darpan joined India Times as chief technology officer. They were looking at getting into e-commerce. But Indian customers weren’t yet open to paying online for products in 2006 and 2007. The infrastructure wasn’t where it needed to be. When you ordered something, you didn’t know if you’d get it in seven days or 30 days.
The most prominent piece of advice Darpan can offer is a willingness to think about the ‘big picture’, take risks, and ensure you have a keen interest in measuring what’s successful and working in your favor and what might need rethinking. The ability to wait and see a project come to fruition is critical in lieu of only hyper-focusing on immediate goals and instant gratification. While it is difficult not to tunnel vision your short term goals, long-term goals are essential key elements for Squadhelp’s success.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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