WebEngage demo at Unplugged, Nov, 2011 – love and suggestions

WebEngage was one the 10 startups selected to demo at Unpluggd which was held in Pune (India) on the 19th of November, 2011. We had an excellent day demoing our product and getting a lot of attention. We started early morning for the 4 hour long drive, reached on time, spent the first half making sure we present and convey our point well and then the later half listening to some amazing people and startups. Team PluggdIn pulled it off very very well. I am writing this post to share my experiences. I also have a few suggestions which could make the event even better and easier for demoing companies.

A couple of days ago, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a communication from the PluggdIn team that WebEngage has been shortlisted from amongst 340 startups for a demo slot at Unpluggd. We were pretty excited to be one amongst the 10 privileged startups who would be getting some good attention on the D-day. Me and Ankit (co-founder and our CTO at WebEngage) decided to attend the event. We left for Pune on the 19th at 6am (yes, you read it right). On the way we picked up our friend and a WebEngage evangelist Sampad Swain who is a co-founder at DealsAndYou. We had an awesome 4 hour journey with a nice breakfast break in between. We reached the venue at 10am and were amazed to see the gathering. I briefly met Ashish and other organizers. We then headed to the auditorium.

Other than our business cards, we carried a nice collateral for the event – a single fold, 4 page brochure about the product. If you haven’t looked at our cute l’il brochure yet, here’s a preview for you –

Front page of the brochure

Inner left page – highlights the survey offering

Inner right page – highlights the survey offering

Back cover. Phone number, email et al.

In the tea break, we networked, spoke to as many as we could and distributed this brochure so that people have some context during our presentation. People were amused to see us come with a brochure for the event. It was heartening to see most of these people spending some time reading the stuff written inside. Bliss! Oh btw, if you want a free copy of this brochure for yourself, please write to me on avlesh{at}webklipper{dot}com with your address – I’ll have it mailed to you.

In the audience, we had 4 happy customers. Isn’t that a social proof of how well we have done :). Our turn for the demo came. We were prepared to do it in the stipulated time of 10 minutes. And we did. However, we were allowed only one question from the audience due to lack of time. Wish we could have fielded more. Anyways, we got excellent reception and the audience liked our product. I was almost held hostage by a few developers who were very curious to know how we had done certain things and by a few other who had some crazy ideas around our product. Trust me, some of those were real crazy!

We were also approached by two gentlemen, who introduced themselves as angel investors. We disappointed them when we disclosed that we are seed funded already. Oh, didn’t you know that? Well, now you do.

I am an ardent fan of Ashish and PI. I like their commitment and passion – these are the only virtues I live my life with. Organizing an event of such scale and getting so many people to be a part of it is no joke. They did it pretty well.

Amongst the startups, I loved the way Vikram of Jusbill presented. Other notable ones to me were Mailserved and Vaultize. I hated that accent from a couple of startup fellas. WTF!

Amongst the speakers, Anand Babu Periasamy of Gluster stole the show for me. For the uninitiated, Gluster is an open source distributed file system for storing large volumes of data. The Bangalore based startup was recently acquired by Red Hat. Anand was so passionate in his talk, I can only imagine his commitment at work. He has left a long lasting impression on me and will continue to inspire me in multiple ways.

The organizers were an awesome bunch. We had a smooth sailing, right from registration, to the actual presentation, to the final closure and everything in between. I’d like to thank the audience and congratulate team PI.

Thanks to the evening traffic, we reached home at 12 midnight. I woke up this morning to a blog post by a demoing company. The post was written in bad taste criticizing PI for an “unsuccessful” event. Immature stuff. I was in the audience when this guys presented. He failed to explain his product and for obvious reasons didn’t get any attention. Now, reacting in such fashion was of-course uncalled for.

That said, as a participant, I had a few pain points during this whole selection to presentation process. I am putting this down so that Team PI comes to know about it and if possible address those –

  1. Communication: We were intimated about our final selection on the 16th of November. If an event is really big, which I guess Unpluggd is, one needs a bit more time than 3 days to prepare for it. It is absolutely okay to set rigid timelines for your event. I guess the delay in this case was because PI extended the deadline for applications which would have left them with very little time to select and shortlist.
  2. Presentation: At WebEngage, I sell, market and acquire customers using a live demo. Yes, as live it gets. There was no reason why my Unpluggd demo would have been any different. And we could have definitely explained WebEngage better with a live demo but unreliable internet connectivity at the venue made it impossible for us to do so. Ashish suggested making a video. The idea was great but with just 3 days to go, and a company to run, it was practically impossible to create one in such as short span. So, as much as we hated doing it, we had to stick to the old school PPT. Also, 10 minutes for both presentation and QnA is not enough. I have raised this point multiple times before in different forums too. QnA should not have any pre-defined time limit. Presenters should be allowed to field as many questions as the audience wishes to ask. Needless to say, a good moderator is needed to make this work. But its something to seriously think about for a demo format like Unpluggd.
  3. Shortlists: Till date, the final list of companies who were shortlisted for the demo is not on the PI or Unpluggd site (I am sorry if I am unaware of a URL that has this list). I’ll always be in favor of publishing this online. I think this is one thing that can give a lot of mileage to companies coming for the demo. A lot many people would visit their corresponding sites, read about them etc. At the venue, you’ll then have an informed and engaged audience. And making this list public will also make the shortlisting process a bit more transparent.

Alright! This is it. I am about to complete an eventful weekend and I am also gearing myself up for a hectic week ahead of me. We have a choked product pipeline and prospective customer pipeline. Time to kick some major ass at WebEngage. If you wish, you can check out our Unpluggd presentation embedded below. You can take a cool WebEngage demo for your site. On a different note, we are looking to hire a few good men – you’ll be doing a huge favor by sharing this link with your friends and contacts who might be interested.

Thanks for reading. Coming soon with another boring post.

Latest Comments

  1. Abhishek Srivastava says:

    Going great Sir! As you know I am still working in SAP CRM space and SAP has exactly same Survey module (completely configurable and customizable surveys).

    One thing which I am sure you have already thought of (or not developed yet as I don’t see this feature in your presentation), “dynamic surveys”. Means, next set of questions (or possible answers) will be dependent on the answers selected from previous questions. This is something all SAP customers need today and unfortunately SAP std. doesn’t provide this functionality. We had to do SAP core enhancement for every customer now.

    Dynamic surveys will be great addition to Webengage tool! This is my value addition to your biZ; at least for today ๐Ÿ™‚ .

    • avlesh says:

      Point taken. And you’d be surprised to know that we are already working on it for quite some time now. We’ll have this in WebEngage soon. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views.

  2. Sampad Swain says:

    Happy to evangelize something which personally makes me feel WOW!

    Sampad Swain
    Unofficial evangelist – WebEngage

  3. Sameer says:

    3G data cards for the laptop used for the presentation not fast enough in India?

  4. raghavsethi says:

    I think you just got owned. http://www.jotform.com/blog/40-Wishbox-Released-An-Amazing-New-Way-to-Get-Feedback-from-Web-Site-Visitors

    I hope you’re doing something different though. Your product looks good.

  5. Vikram says:

    Hey Dude! Thanks for mentioning us and glad you liked the jusbill presentation. I must however confess that Webengage engaged people and audience much better beyond the 10 minute demo. There is much to learn from you and I am glad I made your acquaintance!

    Look forward to more engaging on and off the web.

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