Inspite of this success the startup has had an interesting journey and Tint was not their first product.
After staring up, Tint Co-founder, Nikhil Aitharaju and his team had developed a social bookmarking tool called Hypemarks. The toll bookmarked curated pages as collections and users could share it among their followers on social media users.
Hustling for Funding
With only 1000 users, the startup managed to raise $350,000 in angel funding by hustling their angel investors says Nikhil. They managed to convince them that their distribution strategy. the strategy involved creating automatic curated pages for celebrity and influencers tweet and emailing them directly to the celebrities and influence to be shared with their followers. The strategy worked. The team mailed investor and NBA team Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban and he tweeted about the product out to his followers, who numbered at 1 million. This strategy helped them secure their angel funding round.
Inspite of the angel funding after 2 months of launch the tool managed to only get 3000 users and was soon about to run out of money. The team were in a dilemma about what next, when a San Francisco based celebrity agency liked the technology and asked if they could use it to power websites. Their first customer was American R&B singer Toni Braxton, her official website was made dynamic using their technology. The tool aggregated all her content from social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and fed it to her website giving it a dynamic look.
This website adoption of the technology was soon to become their current product Tint. As soon as they realised the idea, the team began shifting the code base from Hypemarks to Tint. But the product was slow in traction.
At that time, website building service, Wix.com announced the launch of their app market and was on the lookout for developers for their app store. Tint caught up on this opportunity and built an app for the app market and in 2 months it ranked among the top 2 apps in the store. The product now has good traction.
The team decided to start charging their customers for their product and things were now beginning to stabilise for the team. Now they had to scale. In the process they soon realised that large corporations treat higher priced product with better respect than lower priced ones and hence decided to increase their product pricing by 10 times and it worked.
They soon started marketing their product by writing about it and also about their startup journey on their blog. This started getting then a lot of inbound leads and they began to get better traction. As a team the company also decided that the best way to make every single employee motivated is by making all aspects of the company extremely transparent.
Transparent to a fault?
Nikhil says “All our employees know our bank balance, individual equity shares, financial projections and every other aspect of the company and this transparency helps keep them motivated.”
Today two of India’s biggest celebrities of A R Rahman and Sachin Tendulkar use Tint, adds Nikhil.
At the recently held UnPluggd Nikhil Aitharaju spoke about their startup journey and the lessons learned. Watch the video below.
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