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How Our Brilliant Word-of-Mouth Strategy Took Us Past $2MN ARR
Episode 5725th March 2024 • B2B SaaS Podcast • Upendra Varma
00:00:00 00:27:59

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In this episode, Amit RG, CEO of RichPanel, discusses their journey from inception to surpassing $2MN ARR.

Here are the talking points,

Understanding RichPanel's Value Proposition

  • RichPanel's mission: Seamless customer service experience, eliminating the need for frequent contacts.
  • Comparison with industry giants like Amazon and Uber, focusing on proactive support and streamlined operations.

Target Market and Product Differentiation

  • Primary focus: E-commerce companies; also serving SaaS companies.
  • Unique approach: Analyzing reasons for customer contacts to proactively address issues.
  • Differentiation from traditional help desks: Integration of self-service features akin to Amazon's My Account section.

Metrics and Growth Trajectory

  • Over 2000 paying customers, predominantly in the US, with an average deal size of $10,000.
  • Achieved over $2M ARR, doubling revenue annually since inception.
  • Initial growth driven by personal contacts; scalable channels include word-of-mouth, organic search, and SEO.

Conversion Strategy and Sales Cycle

  • Inside sales model with a swift conversion cycle of 3-4 weeks.
  • Conversion driven by trial usage and ensuring value realization; personalized support during the trial phase.

Churn, Retention, and Expansion

  • Churn rate reduced to near 0%, with occasional downgrades and expansions.
  • Limited expansion opportunities due to generous initial plans; focus on making the product more accessible.

Early-stage Growth and Funding

  • Initial growth from personal contacts; later scaled through interviews and customer feedback.
  • Raised $2M in funding from Sequoia with initial selection from Y Combinator.

Team Composition and Future Goals

  • 30-member team with a product-focused approach, including engineers, customer support, sales, and HR.
  • Next milestone: Exploring new applications and integrations to enhance product offerings and market reach.

Transcripts

Upendra Varma:

Hello everyone.

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Welcome to the B2B SaaS podcast.

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I'm your host, Upendra Verma.

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And today we have Amit Arji with us.

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Amit here is the CEO of a

company called RichPanel.

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Hey Amit, welcome to the show.

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Amit: Thank you, Bender.

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Thanks for having me.

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Upendra Varma: All right, Amit,

let's, let's try to understand, right?

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What RichPanel does, right?

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And why customers are

willing to pay you money.

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Amit: Sure, sure, absolutely.

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Uh, see, we, we at Driftpanel, uh,

you know, we believe the best kind

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of customer service is the one,

uh, where you don't have to contact

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customer service in the first place.

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Uh, so, so, it, it sounds,

uh, uh, contradictory.

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But if you look at the apps you

use on a day to day basis, right?

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Look at, look at apps like

Amazon or look at apps like Uber.

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Uh, I've gone and used these apps

for many years without having

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to contact them even once or

contacting them like once every year.

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Uh, because the way that these

guys think about customer services,

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they think, Uh, any edge case that

the product hasn't solved, uh,

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is what creates a support ticket.

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So if you could, uh, analyze all

of them and make it a part of the

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product, you wouldn't need to,

uh, contact these people anymore.

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Uh, without naming any specific brands,

I've had some very horrific experiences.

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Uh, horrific is a very strong word

to use, but frustrating experiences,

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uh, buying from Uh, brands where, you

know, the return process, the exchange

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process, or something like just editing

an order, uh, after hours, because

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you know, the brand is, uh, doesn't

have like a customer support team,

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uh, on a weekend is, is really painful

because they don't have any staff.

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And even though, uh, you know, I tried

to change something or add items to my

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cart within five minutes of making a

purchase, I couldn't really do that.

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Uh, so that's, that's what we're

hoping to change with rich panel.

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Uh, we want to enable.

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e commerce brands to have like the

same kind of experiences or be able to

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deliver the same kind of experiences.

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The ones that you see on apps like

Amazon, like productize everything

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that people don't need to contact you.

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Upendra Varma: that makes a lot of sense.

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So I just want to understand

this customer base a bit, right?

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So you talked about you serving

e commerce companies, right?

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So are they your primary focus today?

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Amit: Correct.

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We, we, we, uh, are expanding into

other, uh, verticals, uh, uh, without

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promoting ourselves to other verticals.

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We have a ton of like software

companies that already use us like

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SAS companies or the SAS company,

including rich panel, uh, that uses rich

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panel for its, uh, customer support.

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Uh, As of now, the platform is very geared

and we've, you know, promoted ourselves

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to e commerce market, in the e commerce

market, but practically the product could

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be used for other verticals as well.

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Upendra Varma: So, so I'm gonna talk about

the product differentiation here, right?

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So I mean, customer service,

customer support, these are age

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old industries and products, right?

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I mean, I could, I see tons of like,

every, every company has like, has

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gotta have some sort of product that

they've, they've been using, right?

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So, so how do you position

yourself here, right?

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So is do you believe that you're

bringing your product has got something

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that nobody has sort of done so far?

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Are you trying to revolutionize

something or do you believe there's

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already an existing market out there?

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Right?

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So how are you looking at this

whole, you know, product in space?

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Amit: Uh, the way that we are

thinking about this is firstly,

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yeah, the product is unique.

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There is nothing like this that exists.

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In the market, uh, there are

parts that are overlapping

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with, with existing solutions.

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Like if you use like a Zen desk or a fresh

desk, yes, that's a help desk or that's

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a ticketing system, but we have a very

unique way of looking at customer support.

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So if you go to Amazon, uh,

you know, traditionally, what's

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the definition of help desk?

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Somebody who does a phone call,

somebody who emails you, somebody

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who texts you, uh, or, you know,

contacts you on social media, the

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customer support bid starts from there.

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That's the, uh, uh, you know, width

of a customer support help desk today.

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We are going a few.

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What caused them to contact

customer support, right?

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So we analyze the reasons why you're

getting a call, why you're getting an

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email, and then we create an interface.

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So think of rich panel as everything

that a Zendesk kind of rest is dusk plus

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plus the my account section of Amazon.

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Right.

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Or, or the my account

section of, uh, like queries.

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So people are able to see their

orders, do returns, exchanges, manage

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their orders, manage their profile.

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All of those bring, um, and the

way the analytics force more and

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more operations to be front loaded.

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Because that's a seamless, effortless

experience with a customer, and it works

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out in the favor of the business as well.

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Upendra Varma: Makes sense.

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So, so I'm going to talk about the

talk about your customers today, right?

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So how many paying customers do you

have on your platform as of today?

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Amit: As of today, we have

like over:

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Um,

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Upendra Varma: And how

big are these customers?

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Right?

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So what, what sort of customers

are we talking about rates?

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How much do they pay you on average?

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Is it a hundred dollar deal, a

thousand dollar deal per year?

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Right.

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So what sort of deal range

are we talking about?

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I know there's going to be a spread,

but give me a sense of, you know,

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how big your customers are today.

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Amit: around $10,000 is what a, uh, you

know, average customer pays on a basis.

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80% of our revenues are in the US and

20% are, uh, you know, in, in, uh,

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Europe, Australia, uh, and, and uh, uk.

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Upendra Varma: Okay.

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And have you hit that 1

million ARR marks today?

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Amit: Yeah.

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Yeah.

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Upendra Varma: Okay.

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And is that where you are

approximately in terms of revenue?

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Amit: Uh, no.

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So, uh, yeah, we've, we've

crossed 2 million in ARR, uh,

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and, uh, yeah, that's where we

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Upendra Varma: That's, that's fantastic.

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Right.

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So just, just help me understand.

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Right.

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So 12 months before, right.

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So where were you as a

company in terms of revenue?

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Right.

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So I just want to get a sense of

how you're growing before we deep

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dive into your growth journey.

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Amit: Sure.

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So, so, you know, we started in like,

we started billing our customers in

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like 2020, uh, you know, it took like

three to four months to sort of bill.

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And then every year that we've,

we've stayed in existence,

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we've sort of like doubled.

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Uh, that's that's where we've gone.

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So not like hyper explosive

growth, but but uh, decent growth.

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Upendra Varma: Got it.

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Right.

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So, so, so I'm assuming that you've grown

from over, let's say a million dollars

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to 2 million over the past 12 months.

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Right.

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So, right.

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So just help me understand, right.

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So where are you getting all

of these leads from, right?

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So where are they discovering you just

purely from a top of funnel perspective?

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Right.

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So where are they discovering you?

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What channels have been

working for you so far?

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Amit: Oh, that's an interesting

question because we have like Uh many

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channels, uh that that is sort of

work for us Uh, and the composition

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kept changing but I can give you like

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Upendra Varma: So I, I'm going

to focus on the past 12 months.

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I know it's going to be hard.

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Right.

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So just stick to the past 12 months.

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Right.

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So what's been

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Amit: word of mouth, uh, is

one word of mouth is one.

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Uh, second is, uh, you know, reference.

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So every company that uses rich

panel will have the branding

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like powered by rich panel.

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So if you go to like built with today

and you look at the top help desk

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solutions or ticketing systems, I

think we are already like number.

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or 14th in the entire

ticketing category, right?

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Uh, so that's the number

of implementations because

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we also have a free plan.

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So people tend to install it.

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And once you open the widget, you

see, Oh, this is very abnormal.

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Like this is something that

you've never seen before.

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It's not a live chat.

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It's not chat bot.

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I'm able to see my orders.

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I'm able to see like all

my conversation histories.

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I'm able to like troubleshoot, take

actions right inside that widget.

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So it sort of leaves an impression.

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And then every once in a while, uh,

out of the millions and millions of

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customers that are interfacing with

the rich panel widget, few of them

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will be business owners themselves.

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So they will get to us that I

bought something from this company

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and I liked the, uh, support

experience that I received.

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So I'm reaching out to you.

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So that's the second source.

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One is a direct word of mouth

saying that, Hey, I'm using it.

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You also use it.

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The second one is somebody

discovering us through that link.

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Third would be organic.

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What else?

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What else?

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Uh, we did a lot of paid ads

as well, which we stopped, uh,

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recently, uh, or, you know, we've

been like on and off experimenting.

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It's not like directly attributable,

but on several calls, I've

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heard people finding us.

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Through those keywords.

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So, so

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Upendra Varma: so, yeah, I'm

going to ask you a tough question.

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Right.

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So help me quantify this.

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Right.

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So let's say like thousand

customers that you've sort of

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acquired over the past 12 months.

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Right.

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So which one of them might have sort of

attributed to most of these projects?

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Can you just give me, give

me an approximate split here?

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So,

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Amit: top two channels that I said,

like, which is word of mouth and

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powered by rich panel, each would be

like, I think 15 percent and the 15%.

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Then search would be around,

like SEO is another one.

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SEO is also big.

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Uh, would be like 30% in

terms of number of leads.

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Uh, now it SEO maybe 30%, but it doesn't

necessarily mean that revenue, uh, is 30%.

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The most of the revenue comes

from that word of mouth.

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And that, uh, referral thing,

that's, that's the most, uh,

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powerful for us in terms of revenue.

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Upendra Varma: so talk

about this word of mouth.

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Right.

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So like, How do you even quantify this?

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Right?

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So like, how do you even

know like something like that

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is even happening, right?

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How do you sort of, sort of

incentivize your existing customers

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to go and spread the word about you?

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I know they like your product.

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They love the experience.

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They want to spread the word, but how,

how, how are you incentivizing them?

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And how are you sort of attributing

this new growth to that?

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Amit: We not, we should be like, you

know, doing some campaigns or we don't

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even have like a referral program,

which we ought to have, uh, but, but

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generally like, you know, I was doing

some customer support myself yesterday.

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I received a ticket from

a founder of a D2C brand.

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And then, uh, uh, when I received the

ticket one hour before that, uh, one of

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the account execs said that there's a

lead that came from the founder of so

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and so company, you know, uh, and then I

receive a ticket from that same person,

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Sam later on, you know, he had some issue.

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So I'm talking to him and then at

the end, I'm like, Hey, somebody

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reached out to us saying that

it was a reference through you.

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Uh, so thank you for

that and I appreciate it.

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Then I went on his Twitter.

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He's quite popular.

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He's covered many of these podcasts

and then he has done a few tweets,

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uh, you know, talking about his stack,

how he's upgraded and, uh, he has

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mentioned Richpanel there, so some

of it is like directly his friends.

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Some of it is like people who are

following him that could have clicked it.

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So that's just one of the many people

that they're just talking normally.

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Like this is what I use.

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This is what I do.

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And then people hear

it and then they adopt.

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And sometimes it's like competitors.

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Like they are keeping a track of what

the other people are using, what's their

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stack looking like, what's the upgrade.

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So they find us there.

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Some tech savvy, uh, entrepreneurs

will also go on like built with, or

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like, you know, they will look at

their competitor websites and they're

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like, Oh, they're using this app.

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They're using that app.

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And I want, I want to

implement the same thing.

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So that's how they go.

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And they say it.

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Every account exec has to capture,

how did you hear about us?

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Upendra Varma: Got it.

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So, and that's how you're getting

all of these numbers from, right?

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So I'm just, yeah.

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And just talk about this

powered by branding, right?

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So, I mean, these days I'm hearing

like every, like every SaaS founder

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who's got a product, which sort

of, you know, where they can sort

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of, which has this UI, right?

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They have this powered by element and

then it just drives on this viral growth.

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And all of a sudden you're seeing

tons of top of funnel leads, right?

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And let's just talk about

your experience here.

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Right?

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So, and, uh, like, I don't even see a

free plan on your, on your pricing page.

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Right?

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So like, how do I, like, how,

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Amit: It's going to come back.

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Yeah, it's, it's going to come back.

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Uh, you know, the marketing team

keeps experimenting, like, let's

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remove this, let's, you know,

experiment with a different CD.

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Like, even if you look at all the

CDs on the website today, they're all

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like, uh, get a demo, get a demo and

stuff, you know, start a free trial.

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So they keep experimenting.

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Um, but yeah, uh, the free

plan will be added back.

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They must be running some,

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Upendra Varma: So, so, so,

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Amit: know,

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Upendra Varma: so, so basically this

free plan is what's driving a lot

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of, you know, lead, a lot of growth

to yard, a lot of new leads, right.

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That's coming to your website, right.

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Just because of this part

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Amit: That's, that's my feeling.

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That's my feeling.

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You know, I've not like, you

know, the analyze it or I've

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not gotten into the depth of it.

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Like, you know, just five days

back, we got a review on the

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Shopify app store saying that, you

know, I'm very happy with the app.

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I've been using it.

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This is like the Apple of help desk.

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Uh, and I'm still on the free plan.

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So, and, and I installed

this app in like:

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And I'm like, really?

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Like he's been using it

for two years for free.

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So it's, it's, it's reviews like

those that make me anecdotally feel

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like, Hey, you know, we need to have

like, uh, more such people, right?

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More such people.

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And sometimes the reason it's

not attributable, because

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I'll give you another example.

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This is one company, uh,

that is on the free plan.

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Okay.

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And, uh, and we would not

have even discovered this.

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If we hadn't asked them, like, you

know, how did you hear about us?

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So we get a lead from a, uh, you know,

a D2C VC, uh, not, not a VC, a PE form.

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They acquire a bunch of these e

commerce websites and then they

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sort of buy from that, right?

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So they had 30 or 35 such stores.

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It was a 100k plus deal.

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And then I asked them, like,

how did you hear about us?

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He's like, Well, we had this one

company that signed up with you

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in December, we acquired them and

they showed us their stack and they

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convinced us that all the 30 brands

that we have should move to Richpanel.

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So all the 29 brands were using other

helpdesk solutions, but this one free

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plan convinced them like, Hey, all

the others should be coming to me.

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So, so that lead has to be

added to the free plan, right?

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But you have to dig deeper.

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If, if it gets created as a separate

company, separate account, you wouldn't

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even know Uh, sort of no, right?

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So that was like, that

was like one example.

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Even, even the other one that

I just, uh, mentioned, right?

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The one that called us the Apple.

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I will also open that.

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I think he's not using the app now.

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Let me just open it once again.

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Uh, yeah, he, he pretty much came

to us saying like, I'm not using it.

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I have moved on.

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I am in another company.

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Uh, Yeah, I'm in another company, but

I want to take a moment to appreciate

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because I, I hate using, uh, I don't know

if it should be bashing our competitors,

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but I'm just quoting my customer.

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Uh, yeah.

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Okay.

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Check this out.

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So this is, this is something

that, uh, Mark, who's the,.

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So basically this is a, uh, head of

from the head of customer support.

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And this email came from Jose Rodriguez.

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He used to work with a

company called Lunchbox.

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So I'm just reading something that

has public, uh, because he posted a

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review today, but he sent an email

saying, you know, don't need any help.

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Hi team.

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Don't need any help.

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Just wanted to take the time

to let you know I enjoy RP.

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RP is short for Rich Panel.

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More than any other helpdesk I've used.

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I've used Gorgias in the past and

currently use Zendesk with my other job.

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I can't stand ZD, Zendesk.

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Looks awful clunky, not

intuitive in the slightest.

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To me, RP is like, you Apple versus

Android UX is more intuitive, looks

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much more cleaner, polished, workflow

is much more intuitive, et cetera.

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And then he went on to say, say that he's

like, I'm ramming now, but RP feels like

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Apple of the help desk world right now.

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I appreciate it.

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Upendra Varma: Yeah.

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Let, let's move on to your

conversion strategy here.

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Right.

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So, I mean, like, I know it's

going, it's going to take a lot

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of you to convert a 10, 000 deal.

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Right.

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So help me understand the sales process

that you typically go through, through

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one of the leads that you've generated.

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Right.

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So what does it take?

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How long is the sales cycle?

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What do you do during those days?

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Just help us understand the process.

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So

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Amit: Actually not.

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So in a 10, 000 deal, you

can't really afford to have a

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very long sales cycle, right?

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:

Uh, it has to be quick, ideally within

three to four weeks, which includes,

373

:

you know, either you're already on the

trial or, you know, the account exec is

374

:

going to create an account for you, let

you trial for two weeks and, uh, you

375

:

know, help you during that process, do

more calls with the other stakeholders,

376

:

like It could be like the founder sent

an email to the customer support person.

377

:

Go check this out, or the customer

support head or a customer support

378

:

agent is exploring this on their own.

379

:

So they pretty much will come on a call.

380

:

They may need to do one or two more calls.

381

:

Then they do a trial

and then they convert.

382

:

So typically it's three to four weeks.

383

:

It's all inside sales.

384

:

Upendra Varma: it's typically

somebody discovering your website,

385

:

starting a trial, and then you, you

ensuring that they adopt, use, use

386

:

the product and derive value out

of it and then just convert, right?

387

:

Amit: Yeah.

388

:

But, but it's not.

389

:

Yeah.

390

:

I think after they have contacted

or taken a trial, it's four weeks.

391

:

It could be that they've been hearing

about us for many months before

392

:

that, but they didn't take an action.

393

:

Uh, some people will come to us

after a year, they said, I evaluated

394

:

you, but I didn't go ahead with you.

395

:

I went with someone else.

396

:

Now I'm coming to you.

397

:

You know, so, so that also happens

398

:

Upendra Varma: You've nurtured

them for quite a while before

399

:

they actually sort of took that

400

:

Amit: Yeah.

401

:

Yeah.

402

:

There, there is many, many, I think

there's many touch points that are

403

:

not, not, I think, I know there's many

touch points could be like, you know,

404

:

they saw some, they saw some posts,

uh, they attended some webinar, they

405

:

attended some event, um, and then, you

know, they received emails from us.

406

:

Uh, and uh, they, they saw us like in

organic search or something, and then

407

:

they finally decided to talk to us.

408

:

Upendra Varma: So I'm going to talk

about your churn here today, right?

409

:

So like, how does that look

like for a business like yours?

410

:

Amit: Uh, thankfully in the

last three months it's been, uh,

411

:

good, like it's, it's close to

412

:

Upendra Varma: you help us?

413

:

Amit: but

414

:

Upendra Varma: Okay.

415

:

Amit: 0%, it's close to 0%, right?

416

:

And then before that, it was.

417

:

Uh, continuously around like

2%, uh, every month, right?

418

:

I'm including both like, you

know, chance and also downgrades.

419

:

People come into us and saying, yeah,

I know you've reduced your pricing,

420

:

I want to come on the new pricing.

421

:

So, uh, you know, that, that, that

also is considered to be a reduction.

422

:

Upendra Varma: Got it.

423

:

And then do you sort of do anything

actively to sort of expand an existing

424

:

account if yes, what do you do?

425

:

Amit: You don't have that too much, uh,

now because, uh, a lot of them have.

426

:

are on a limit that is a little

bit more than what they need.

427

:

A lot of those accounts like that.

428

:

Uh, and the limits that

we gave to the initial few

429

:

customers were pretty generous.

430

:

So they don't expect, you know,

there's no expansion, uh, opportunity

431

:

unless, you know, it's, it's like forms

like, Oh, I'm starting a new brand.

432

:

New company, go there, new brand, new one.

433

:

So the expansion is like very little.

434

:

Like I've seen, I've seen like other

accounts where, uh, let's say you

435

:

have like a hundred accounts, right?

436

:

20 of them will churn, like I'm talking

about an absolute number, right?

437

:

Uh, so if you, if you started with

a hundred dollars in the beginning

438

:

of the year, 20 are churned, you're

left with 80, but this 80 gives

439

:

you like additional 40 next year.

440

:

So you are, it becomes

441

:

Upendra Varma: is that

442

:

Amit: And then you report like,

443

:

Upendra Varma: so that's, that's my

question is how is that happening?

444

:

So are they moving on to

a different tire or are

445

:

Amit: No, it

446

:

Upendra Varma: hiring more

customer service steps within their

447

:

team or how has that happened?

448

:

Amit: So, so right now, if they hire more

customer support agents, because we've

449

:

changed the pricing recently, that's where

you saw the free plan is not available.

450

:

We moved to like an agent based pricing.

451

:

Before that it was based on conversations

and self service resolutions, but the

452

:

limits were a little too generous.

453

:

So there, the expansion

opportunities were only limited

454

:

to companies adding new brands.

455

:

Or, you know, starting or like, you

know, uh, starting new companies

456

:

and that's when they, that's

the only expansion opportunity.

457

:

Uh, and in that case, you know, we, we

would not see that we would see like

458

:

out of a hundred, if we start with a

hundred dollars in the beginning of

459

:

the year, we are left with like 85.

460

:

Um, and then we probably add 10

from extension, extension, uh,

461

:

expansion, uh, unlike others that are

getting 30, 40 more from this base.

462

:

Upendra Varma: So, and are

463

:

Amit: that's not,

464

:

Upendra Varma: so

465

:

Amit: our focus

466

:

Upendra Varma: so you move to a perceived

basis, perceived based pricing or

467

:

are you experimenting with it, right?

468

:

So how are the results

so far and what's, what's

469

:

Amit: both things, one is, one is, uh, I

think our customer, I need to reduce, I

470

:

want to make the product more affordable,

uh, because one of the reasons we are not

471

:

expanding that much is, uh, you know, we,

we charged a little bit more or, you know,

472

:

we sold a little bit more than needed.

473

:

Like the limits were set up in a

manner that you need some features

474

:

you need to take like a bigger plan.

475

:

Although you didn't need it.

476

:

So when you do that, yeah, you

book more revenue, but you know,

477

:

your expansion takes a hit, right?

478

:

And the number of, uh, the, the

top of the funnel also reduces

479

:

because you were able to, you drove

a lot of customers because of that.

480

:

Right.

481

:

So, so we need to prize ourselves to

make it accessible to more people.

482

:

That's going to be my focus.

483

:

And then the expansion

should naturally happen.

484

:

Well, for

485

:

Upendra Varma: So Amit, so I want

you to go back to:

486

:

When you, when it all just started, right?

487

:

So how did you get those

first five, 10 customers?

488

:

Just talk about that, you know,

zero to one journey of yours.

489

:

So

490

:

Amit: first, uh, honestly,

the first 10 customers came

491

:

from, uh, contacts, references.

492

:

I've been in the e commerce world.

493

:

Uh, for, for quite a while now, and our

revenues are a bit inflated because, you

494

:

know, the first month you're starting,

you're starting with like, you know,

495

:

10, 000 in MRR because these customers

are like, Oh, what are you building?

496

:

We'll take it.

497

:

Right.

498

:

And honestly, the product wasn't even.

499

:

What it is today, like it was, it was

like, okay, we will see what we're

500

:

building kind of thing, but it was more

like, uh, you know, like, Hey, we just

501

:

want to take a part in like your success.

502

:

We want to help you.

503

:

And I'm very thankful to those customers

because many of them are also friends.

504

:

Uh,

505

:

Upendra Varma: talk about

that 10 to a hundred, right?

506

:

So that first scalable channel that really

worked and, you know, started giving it,

507

:

Amit: Interviews.

508

:

Talk to a lot of people.

509

:

Okay.

510

:

Don't, don't get, uh, don't obsess

over the, uh, solution like, like most,

511

:

uh, founders would do, including me.

512

:

Like, you know, you, you feel like,

you know, you've, you're a genius.

513

:

You've created something

extraordinary, but instead focus

514

:

on that's the problems, right?

515

:

Like, Uh, you know, every day

when you wake up, like who's the

516

:

buyer, who's the ICP every day

when you wake up, what's, what's,

517

:

what's sort of keeping you up late?

518

:

What's the challenge?

519

:

What are the, what are the things

that you're thinking, where

520

:

are you spending your money?

521

:

Uh, and you got to be in that category.

522

:

You, you need to have that mindset

because you're always competing

523

:

for attention, not really with the

competitors, but everything else

524

:

that is going on with their lives.

525

:

So you got to like get to the very

depth of their business and then.

526

:

Uh, sort of, sort of made the entire,

527

:

Upendra Varma: Yeah.

528

:

But what exactly did you do to

get from that 10 to a hundred

529

:

customer sort of base, right?

530

:

So apart from your contacts, right?

531

:

What else really worked

532

:

Amit: Listening to conversations,

listening to conversations.

533

:

Yeah, listen, like doing

a lot of interviews,

534

:

Upendra Varma: what do you mean by that?

535

:

So

536

:

Amit: and digging

537

:

Upendra Varma: how did you, how,

like, what did you use to do?

538

:

Like, what do you mean by interviews?

539

:

Did you use to talk to

potential customers?

540

:

Like where did they find, like, where

did you like, what channel did you use?

541

:

Like just talk about that process,

542

:

Amit: Just reaching out to potential

customers, people that I already know,

543

:

even those 10 that signed up, they

signed up for a product, but ended up

544

:

with another product that was completely

different because after talking to them,

545

:

we were like, Oh, we have this problem, we

have this problem, we have that problem.

546

:

And then out of all those, we were

like, okay, that's one problem.

547

:

That's big enough for our

appetite, uh, could be used

548

:

by a massive number of people.

549

:

And I do see like a lot of current

technology and IP that could be applied

550

:

that could make a huge difference, like

in case of customer support, it was

551

:

like, Hey, If you look at articles,

uh, dating back to like:

552

:

Zomato is, Zomato had to let go of

540 employees, you can just Google it.

553

:

And, uh, this is despite growing so much.

554

:

So why did they have to do this?

555

:

Because they implemented this section,

this, uh, my account section, which

556

:

started to resolve all their chats.

557

:

And you're like, Hey, what if we

take this technology and apply it to?

558

:

What Peter just told me or

what, what me just told me.

559

:

Like they're also, you know,

telling me about these problems.

560

:

They're trying to create chatbots,

they're trying to do this.

561

:

And someone like ZA or an Uber is,

you know, thinking 10 steps ahead

562

:

and they've created this technology.

563

:

We're like, okay, what if we mix the two,

make that a product and give it to them?

564

:

And by the way, we did interview

people from all of these companies.

565

:

We interviewed people from

Uber, Amazon, uh, Zito,

566

:

Upendra Varma: but they

didn't become your customers.

567

:

Right.

568

:

So they would have helped you build your

569

:

Amit: they said, they said we did look

for, but they did all confirm that

570

:

we did look for a solution like this

before we decided to build it an house.

571

:

Now they have a team of like a

bunch of engineers that are just

572

:

focused on that one thing, right?

573

:

Upendra Varma: got it.

574

:

Right.

575

:

So talk about like, have you

raised any external funding

576

:

so far to build your company

577

:

Amit: Yeah, so we, we

raised money from Sequoia.

578

:

Uh, we also got selected from

Y Combinator in year one.

579

:

The only reason I didn't sign up

with Y Combinator is because we were

580

:

remote and the whole batch was remote.

581

:

I didn't think we will extract too

much value, uh, from, from the Zoom

582

:

Upendra Varma: how much did

you raise in total so far?

583

:

Amit: uh, 2 million.

584

:

Upendra Varma: Okay.

585

:

Makes sense.

586

:

And like, what's, what's like,

how, how much, how big of a team

587

:

have you, do you have today?

588

:

Amit: We have, uh, 30

members, a little less than 30

589

:

Upendra Varma: So how many

engineers and how many in the

590

:

Amit: 15, 15 are in the product team,

15 are product, 5 to 6 would be, 6

591

:

would be customer support and success.

592

:

We offer 24 by 7 support.

593

:

Uh, so even if like the volumes

are low, we, we will staff it.

594

:

Uh, so people always have help.

595

:

What else?

596

:

What else?

597

:

Then two co founders.

598

:

We pretty much do anything and everything.

599

:

Uh, one person is in HR.

600

:

What am I missing?

601

:

Three people in sales.

602

:

So that's the composition.

603

:

Upendra Varma: So Amit, one

last question here, right?

604

:

So what's that next big milestone

that you're aiming for as a company

605

:

and how do you intend to reach there?

606

:

Amit: Good question.

607

:

So we have.

608

:

A few applications, which, which were

only, uh, you know, imagined in our head.

609

:

Like if something could happen, then

we could do something like this.

610

:

If this could happen,

then we could do this.

611

:

And with, with, uh, the API is

made available by open AI, all

612

:

of that has now become possible.

613

:

So without revealing too much, uh, uh,

what you're about to launch in quarter

614

:

one, uh, we're all working tirelessly

towards that is going to be a very

615

:

game changing because, you know, it's

not about just, you know, having a

616

:

very thin layer over AI and claiming,

Oh, we are doing something with GPT.

617

:

It's about like, you know, really

re imagining the whole thing.

618

:

Like if, if you were to

create a company today.

619

:

Uh, to solve this problem with the

available technology, how would you do it?

620

:

Right.

621

:

And you have to like re imagine the

whole block, like, you know, take off

622

:

your entire, whatever you built with

your Legos, take, take it off and

623

:

build it from the ground up and you

will come with something beautiful.

624

:

So that's what we are doing.

625

:

And

626

:

Upendra Varma: So, so I'm at like,

why, like my question here, right?

627

:

So why do all of this, right?

628

:

I mean, you've got a wonderful product

that people are allowing to use, right?

629

:

So why not just keep on expanding, right?

630

:

Just acquire more customers, get

to a point where, I mean, why

631

:

rethink your product strategy

or why expand on those lines?

632

:

Like what's the vision here?

633

:

Amit: because this, this technology

is going to enable, uh, adoption

634

:

across multiple channels.

635

:

So as of today, all the benefit that

I'm telling you, all the things that

636

:

I'm telling you is only available

on the website or the brand's

637

:

website or the brand's mobile app.

638

:

Uh, but if you look at a market

like us where 55 percent of the

639

:

conversations happen via email, Right.

640

:

Uh, 30% happen through the websites

chat, and 15% is like, uh, phone calls

641

:

or, uh, you know, social media or SMS.

642

:

So our technology is only applicable

to that 30%, uh, percent of the people.

643

:

But with ai, we can take this

technology to the remaining 70%,

644

:

uh, which was not accessible to us.

645

:

Upendra Varma: Yeah, that

makes a lot of sense.

646

:

All right.

647

:

I mean, thanks for taking

time to talk to me.

648

:

Hope you scale rich funnel to

much, much greater heights.

649

:

Amit: Thank you, Pendra.

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