After a few months of “downtime”, I am opening up. All over again!
When I finished my engineering in 2005, I had a dream – a small one. I wanted to learn how to run a large scale “website” end-to-end. It was a good enough dream to give me the much needed push to join a lesser known startup (Onyomo, IIT-D incubation center).
When I joined Burrp in 2006 as the first employee, I had another dream – a slightly bigger one. I wanted to build an amazing consumer product and a kickass engineering team. While the former was a no-brainer, the latter had a hidden agenda. I was sick of the so-called “engineering talent pool” that this country has to offer. Finding the right team, was a HUGE challenge.
When I and Ankit (my co-founder) started sowing the seeds of WebEngage in 2011, we dreamt once more – this one was BIG. We wanted to build a global brand. More importantly, we wanted to create a space – a market that didn’t exist. We wanted to democratize how on-site marketing is done. Look how far we have come – with a little over $500K in funding and 30 months since launch, we have achieved a feat which is definitely not ordinary. From far east to far west, we have over 21,000 websites using us – everyday, every minute. We influence close to 20% of all online sales on the e-commerce sites we work with. That’s our impact!
Yesterday, I received a call from a senior during college days. Of the 15 minutes that we spoke, a large part was dedicated to WebEngage and how he thought I was smart to make certain moves. When he hung up, I went into contemplation mode. I realized that the world’s perception of who you are is primarily based on what they see today. And then, people connect those dots by themselves to weave a story. This post stems from that thought, because I want to tell you our story. The real story.
How it began?
Simply put, from our past experiences of building consumer products as engineers. We realized how difficult it was for marketing teams to push promotional messages on their own website and measure the impact. Development teams and deployment cycles were always the bottleneck. This made us think that the problem is huge. We thought it was time someone democratized on-site communication. So we did.
How it evolved?
Well, in the last 30 months, we have evolved from being a “for the engineer, by the engineer” product to a super sophisticated realtime customer engagement engine for thousands of our customers globally. How? Simple – we never gave up our focus on the product; also, we didn’t cease to grow – be it countless number of rejections or our ability to walk past cynics. Our head and heart has always been in the right place. Underneath is a quick timeline of what we have achieved so far:
|Oct, 2011||First version launch (team of 3)||wp.me/p20VHj-4P|
|Mar, 2012||1000 websites were actively using WebEngage||wp.me/p20VHj-80|
|Jun, 2012||Notification product launched (team of 5)||wp.me/p20VHj-e2|
|Jul, 2012||We raised our seed round of capital||bit.ly/O80PES|
|Dec, 2012||Custom Targeting introduced – our innovative solution towards handling issues like cart abandonment||wp.me/p20VHj-j1|
|Dec, 2012||5000 websites were actively using WebEngage||wp.me/p20VHj-jR|
|Mar, 2013||WebEngage goes Enterprise, introduces Custom Data to facilitate deeper enterprise integrations||wp.me/p20VHj-lY|
|Jun, 2013||Our first BIG milestone – 10,000 websites were actively using WebEngage!||wp.me/p20VHj-s6|
|Jul, 2013||Our pricing model revised, we become 3 times expensive||wp.me/p20VHj-tV|
|Aug, 2013||We go beyond e-commerce; find customers in BFSI, Brands, Education etc||wp.me/p20VHj-wd|
|Oct, 2013||WebEngage turns 2!||wp.me/p20VHj-Ac|
|Nov, 2013||Leave Intent Targeting introduced||wp.me/p20VHj-xq|
|Feb, 2014||17,000 websites were actively using WebEngage; integrations for all major platforms||bit.ly/1hSodOz|
|Apr, 2014||WebEngage is now a team of 18. We’ll be 40+ by end of July, 14!||bit.ly/1m1TCFh|
Looking back …
- If not for the skills acquired while fulfilling my first dream, nothing like WebEngage would have ever taken shape – technology is this company’s core DNA and strength.
- If not for the team built while building Burrp, WebEngage would have never seen light of the day – a bulk of our team today comprises folks that we hired and loved at Burrp.
- If not for the obsession of building a brand, we wouldn’t have come this far – powering customer engagement on 21K websites globally (and counting) without any paid marketing is NO joke.
What’s happening right now?
Wish I could summarize! 🙂 .. there’s so much happening, on all fronts – product, team, growth, sales etc. In the last 3/4 months, we received a flurry of inbound interests from VC’s. We pursued with the one’s we liked. And hold your breath, we got two soft offers too! But, the valuation at which money was offered became a deal-breaker. We had to let go. As they say, the common wisdom in fundraise is “take money when its available“. Given the idiots we are, we chose not to follow common wisdom. Why? Well, if I had chosen common wisdom, you’d have never experienced WebEngage in the first place. I have great regards for most of these VC’s, and I am sure, soon they’ll understand why we were rigid on a few things, including valuation. We have believed in creating more value for our customers and stakeholders. We have believed in building an enviable product. Everything else is secondary.
As the team continues to grow, retaining this company’s culture code while keeping its growth engine intact is one of the bigger lessons that I am learning on the job. In short, right now is THE time to be a part of this onslaught called WebEngage. If you have ever had a hidden desire to work for this company, talk to us.
We created a market for “on-site customer engagement”. We are now defining the rules for it. In another 3/4 weeks, WebEngage will become your de-facto analytics and conversion engine for all things real-time on your website. We are building GOALS into our product. Your goals could be reducing cart abandonment, increasing sales in certain categories, increasing the number of registrations on your site, generating more leads, increasing the count of your Twitter/FB followers, optimizing conversion funnel for SEM spends etc. Each of these goals will have a set of solutions that you can use out of the box. Each solution will then generate real-time stats on how we helped you achieve your goal. Basically, we’ll demonstrate where you were without WebEngage and how we impacted your conversions on each of these goals! Sounds cool? We are taking beta customers for this pilot. If you are keen to try this out, lemme know – avlesh[at]webengage]dot[com.
This is it for now. I won’t write this story the next year. Why? Because I believe it would be compelling enough that you’d love to tell it instead, rather than hear from me 🙂 We are unstoppable, because for each one us here at WebEngage, growth is a mindset.