Hello there, my name is Sandeep Kashyap, and I am the founder and CEO of ProofHub. We run a project management software platform that is designed specifically to increase productivity and help you organize everything according to your exact needs.
I designed and created ProofHub with a mission to bring teams together so that everyone can easily get on the same page and share information in the most seamless way possible.
With a focus on team building and working together efficiently, my team and I designed ProofHub to be a versatile tool that could help everyone from the project managers, task assignees, to the clients.
Our collaboration tool has been a go-to choice for organizations like NASA, Netflix, Taco Bell, Google, Nike, and more.
I think the most satisfying part about my role is that I get to see how our creation is helping so many people, so many teams around the world. We religiously use ProofHub to streamline our work processes, this gives us quite the window into the functioning of our tool.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I think entrepreneurship always felt like home to me. No matter how many jobs I undertook and how many hats I put on, I always knew that this is where I would end up. However, I did not want to pursue it until I had a definite idea in my head.
I had an interest in coding, designers, and computers in general for as long as I can recall. I started taking my IT interests seriously in 1990 when I was sure that I wanted to convert my passions into a career.
As a designer, I loved creating applications and software platforms. Even when I was working for various organizations that allowed me to do the same, I always loved working with a certain passion project. I always had ideas and prototypes on the back burner that I kept tinkering with. And, that is exactly how ProofHub came to be.
ProofHub started as an application to help designers get clear feedback from clients, stakeholders, and managers. It used annotation as well as mark-up features that helped everyone in the team understand where and how the improvements we needed.
With a mission to bridge the communication gap between the team and clients and to facilitate unhindered collaboration, ProofHub grew from a simple annotation tool for designers to a project management tool for teams of all industries and sizes.
Entrepreneurship is intimidating, but all you need to do is just start and do not stop.
The tool took off in 2007 and gained steam in 2008. ProofHub was free and available to all for a long while at the time. And I found out that we had a remarkable user base running already.
All that was needed was to monetize the product, streamline the processes, and we were good to go for a 2011 launch.
Take us through the process of building the MVP.
Since I was working with design teams from the very beginning of my career, I knew the ins and outs of what the challenges were. I quickly realized that coordinating and collaborating effectively is a hardship for most teams.
The idea behind our efforts in creating the tool was that everything should be online, everything should be accessible, and everyone on the team should be on the same page.
The proofing tool - ProofMini came to be when I started with PEditior. Now PEditor was a picture editing tool that could be used by multiple people in real-time. Pictures and documents could be edited and annotated all while things were kept in the cloud. No file transfers—just a clean advanced interface that allows people to work together in harmony with everyone in the loop.
One thing led to another, PEditor became a proofing tool which then, as you know, evolved into a project management software that stands as big and tall as ever before.
Our process leading up to where we are today consisted of finding people who were as invested in the idea of collaboration and shared spaces as I.
However, ProofHub was not an instant success. Providing an all-in-one solution to teams for managing all moving parts of a project required in-depth analysis. We had to catch up with the needs of the different types of teams that can be found in different industries and different parts of the world.
Through many trials and errors, we have a resulting product that is scalable, clean, and efficient. ProofHub offers more valuable and helpful features as compared to the shiny bells and whistles that add to its ornamental value.
We try to keep the approach as organic as it gets. And, with that, we make sure to be accessible to our customers and potential customers when they feel the need.
Describe the process of launching the business.
As I might have mentioned before, ProofHub existed as a free tool for a long time, and when I logged in one day to make some changes and make some improvements, I found out that we had some big-name companies such as Taco Bell, Zomato, Netflix, and more as our active customers.
Therefore, our launch as a paid tool had to be exceptionally spectacular. Our process to seek out our user base was simple. There’s an idea to “be where your customers are”, now this is an idea we* *did not abide by.
We wanted to do things a bit differently. We made ProofHub accessible to all. We didn’t define a particular industry, a particular country for the launch. We made sure to make it available for use everywhere.
We did not want to define a demographic for our sales because we knew that ProofHub will find its use in every workplace and every entrepreneurial venture. Like I always say, “who doesn’t like to have their stuff all sorted out?”
Our launch was all about reaching out to people with the approach that teams, entrepreneurs, and even teachers can benefit a lot from using ProofHub.
We wanted to reach our demographic in a very engaging way - the approach had to be both credible and impactful. Therefore, we started our launch journey using platforms like LinkedIn, Medium.com, and yourstory.com. We wrote relatable and engaging workplace stories so that customers could build a rapport with us and the product.
We pitched our product in the way that we had always intended, we told the customers that there are problems that need to be addressed, and how we had the best solution to solve them all.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Our best strategy, from the very beginning, has been, to be honest. We try to stay as transparent about our product’s performance as possible. We make it clear to our potential customers all that we can help them with and all that ProofHub can help them achieve.
Some of the best mediums through which we can always make sure that the user is happy with the product is through drip emails and our articles. Where drip emails help you give quick feedback on the functionality of ProofHub, articles help you understand how you can implement the tool at your offices to achieve more and achieve fast.
We make sure that if we are promising value, we deliver on it. I think that overpromising and underpromising, both are strategies that lead to no victory. While overpromising will lead to a situation where you and your product are simply letting them down, leaving them frustrated, underpromising will only help you make sure that no one will be excited to use your product in the first place.
We have an amazing customer support team that is always at the beck and call of all of our customers. This team helps onboard new customers by displaying the tool’s ease of use and the exceptional feature-set that ProofHub offers.
To retain customers, we keep working on the tool to improve its performance. We keep on working to clear up the clutter, upgrade the interface and take steps to improve the user experience.
Another thing that we make sure to take extra care of is to improve and not redesign so that people get what they signed up for, but better. We keep the interface simple, subtle, welcoming, and easy to navigate, which is something that has worked very well for us all this time.
All in all, here at ProofHub, we make sure to present to the market the things that we can offer. This way we get to deliver on the promised value and sound humble in the process.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Back in the 90s, Myspace was the biggest thing, a social networking platform that helped you broadcast your interests to the whole world. If we skip back to the time right now, the biggest priority is security and privacy, which displays a sharp contrast between the needs of the time.
I mentioned this example to show you how the needs and wants of the people keep changing. And that is what we are currently following; we are riding the waves and doing whatever it takes to give the people what they want.
This remote work era has brought in a new wave of customers—entrepreneurs and teams (big and small) added to the traction and the revenue manifold.
We understand that collaboration will be a crucial requirement for all teams, no matter if you are working out of an office, remotely, or as a hybrid workforce. Therefore, right now, all our resources are concentrated on catering to the needs of the public and staying relevant in the marketplace.
We have, thankfully, gotten many awards for our efforts as well. Here’s a short list:
- Great User Experience Award - CompareCamp
- Rising Star of 2018 Award - CompareCamp
- 2017 Rising Star Award - FinancesOnline
- Summer’s High Performer Award, 2021 - g2
- Best Support Award, 2021 - Software Suggest
- Best Usability Award 2021 - Software Suggest
- One of the Top Three Project Management Systems in 2021 - GetApp
- Great User Experience Award for best collaboration tools - FinancesOnline
- The Pioneer Team Collaboration Tools in 2021 - BestApp
Out of all the feathers we have in our cap until now and believe me, there are many, my favorite one was when we got added to the Forbes List Of America’s Best Startup Employers in 2021.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
The best lesson I’ve learned is not through failures but successes. I have learned that if you invest your time and resources in the right people, the right team, success is final.
I have learned through so many instances that to build a great team, one needs to work hard on creating a culture. Maintaining a good company culture gives people a reason to come to work every day, and gives them the tools and the resources they need to bring out the best in them. And, most importantly, maintain transparency within the team. Which by the way, ProofHub helps us out with quite a lot.
The other most important thing, I think, would be to perfect what you offer and then add more to the tool. Therefore, we keep providing finishing touches to the existing features so that our users can get more out of the product with every passing day.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We like to use the standard design and coding tools like Sublime Text, Eclipse, Visual Studio Code, Notepad ++, Affinity Designer. For marketing and content distribution we use tools like Ahref, WordPress, Grammarly, Hunter.io, Buffer, Canva, and Biteable.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I never really sat down to look into books and podcasts for inspiration. However, it would be wrong if I said that I don’t have idols that I look up to.
I love to read about businessmen and entrepreneurs who wrote their destinies and changed the face of history for the time to come.
I love to follow the work of people like Richard Branson, Lee Iaccoca, and more influential people who made an impact on the various industries around the world.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
I think the biggest mistake one can make in this journey is to undermine your ideas. If you believe in something, don’t hide it, don’t shy away from it, own it, and bring it to the world.
Entrepreneurship is intimidating, but all you need to do is just start, start, and then do not stop.
Work on things that solve problems—problems either you or the people around you have been facing. Work on ideas you truly believe in and build something on your own, bootstrap if you can because It will add to the responsibility and accountability that you feel about your ideas and creations.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We are not currently looking to hire full-time professionals, however, we are always on the lookout for a community manager and some good videographers who can help us put out unique and persuasive content for branding and promotion.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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