From starting their first venture in their bedroom to growing their company from 3 to 120 employees, Spiraldesk weaves a story of grit and hard work. Founders Samjad, Vipin and Sandeep believe their product can be really big in the next five years.
Give a brief info about your startup?
Spiraldesk was created with the vision of easing flow of customer communication in any company big or small, with no restrictions on the sector or industry it belongs to.
Spiraldesk is an enterprise communication management platform, intended for organizations which operates on the concept of entities, which are independent.
The entity here could mean differently for different industries. For eg : In a travel industry, it is cities in which their offices operate, for banks, it is branches, for a product marketing company , it is their products. For a conglomerate like Lulu, it is their individual companies and for a managed service provider, it could even be their Clients.
The idea is to give a unique URL for their customers for each brand (as we call in Spiraldesk) and enable all communication for that entity to be routed through the URL . This will enable the communication from all entities to come to a single central platform, enabling the top management to see and control the communication paths.
The USP of spiraldesk is in the way its designed. We have created a better mousetrap than our competitors in terms of technology , scalability and features.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We started our entrepreneurial journey as a managed service provider with the brand name Activelobby , with over 70+ clients across the globe . Our team had to login to 70 different help desks and address 1000+ tickets each day, with no control over the end customer communication .
Unfortunately there was no solution available in the market which could allow us to monitor what’s happening between our engineers and the end customer , unless the top management logs in to 70 + helpdesks on a regular basis.
We gave it a thought and found that this problem existed in every industry , but in different forms, where the top management finds it difficult to monitor customer communication and intervene when situation demands.
This problem exists in every industry where the operations are executed through entities which are mutually exclusive and we are solving this specific problem by bringing communication to a single central platform.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
Me along with Sandeep and Vipin Venu started our first venture Activelobby in “My bedroom” 12 years back . We grew from a 3 employee company to a 120 employee enterprise in 12 years.
In this period, we started an office in Muscat and also established partners in UAE, Malaysia and Oman.
In this period of 12 years , we came up with multiple products including an ERP for the ME market (Offamata), an open source content management system and an open source password management Software (LoginSuite). Some took off, some did not !!!.
We also started a Software development services company in 2008, which we merged with Spiraldesk to focus more on product development when we started with the product development in 2014.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are currently based out of Cochin, Kerala.
Cochin is always home and the comfort level is really high. Kerala is a state with abundance of talent and it is definitely the best place to be when it comes to a loyal and dedicated workforce. However in the growth phase, we would be expanding to different geo locations , which cannot be avoided when scaling the product to the global market.
Some markets we cannot ignore in the course of our growth would be US, UK , Australia and a surprise market is the whole of Africa.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
User acquisition is the greatest challenge and that’s the key in product growth.
However what keeps me paranoid is giving the best after sales service to the existing customers and there are multiple factors in it.
The most important being the uptime of the product itself and constantly improving the infrastructure , so that the product can be scaled to accommodate more customers . The second factor is coming up with innovations that can help spiraldesk rise above its competitors.
I sometimes call my product architect in the middle of the night , just to inform him about a feature that would be an interesting add-on to spiraldesk
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
There are lot of competitions in the market . The most successful of the lot are Zendesk, Freshdesk , ServiceNow Etc.
During the phase of development, we reviewed and listed out features from over 20 platforms in the market and we made sure we incorporated each of them in our product and even bettered it.
The USP of spiraldesk is in the way its designed. The architecture of the products allows each entity to be separated from each other in a single instance even at the integration level. The product is scalable both horizontally and vertically with the entire infrastructure hosted on AWS over docker technology.
We have created a better mousetrap than our competitors in terms of technology , scalability and features.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
I have been in the industry for around 14 years and the “time” has taught me to manage time effectively. 10 – 6 is always office and sometimes it requires additional time based on customers from different parts of the globe, which is pre-scheduled.
I try to keep work away on weekends as much as possible unless an emergency crops up. Holidays and timeouts are always part of the agenda and that helps in recharging for another span on job.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you’re looking to raise?
We have not raised any external money till date. However we are looking for seed funding for Spiraldesk.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
People feel that I am “unapproachable”.
In the initial days of entrepreneurship , I was a part of the daily operations team . And, we as a team had a lot to teach our team members the way in which things need to be handled. Some of them became good managers, and some did not.
However, the reality is that I am a very approachable person to the people whom I work very closely with and always open to positive and value adding suggestions .
What gets you excited about this company?
The fact that the product we are working on can be really big in the coming 5 years, with the right set of investors and a highly productive team .
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day starts at around 6 am with newspaper, a bed coffee and may be a game of cricket with friends . As soon as my little boy goes to school, the preparations for office starts with quick checking of emails and going through the daily schedule.
Once I reach office by 10:30 , its usually a day with meetings, work updates , vendor meetings , product demos and client calls over zoom. And never to forget the power nap on the work desk .
Once I reach home by 6 , its quick finishing calls from office and then watch a movie and finally crash to bed by 10.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Myself Samjad, Sandeep and Vipin worked together with our previous employer, from where we decided to start our journey together. The 4th founder is my dad Ali Mooppan, who retired as the executive Vice president of major oil service company , and decided to fuel the journey with Spiraldesk .
We handle different sections of the company, with me heading the Sales and Marketing, Vipin , being a hard core techie, heads the Technical Department and Sandeep being the administration man, deals with Finance and Administration.
We have a wonderful team of infrastructure architects and developers who share our vision for the company and stayed with us in our ups and downs.
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