Commit 466ffdb2 authored by Jaisen Mathai's avatar Jaisen Mathai
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parent 901e20a9
......@@ -37,7 +37,7 @@ links:
- title: Home
url: /
external: false
- title: Start-up
- title: Startup Journey
url: /openphoto-trovebox/
external: false
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<link rel="shortcut icon" href="{{ site.url }}/favicon.ico">
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<link rel="shortcut icon" href="{{ site.url }}/favicon.png">
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---
layout: post
title: "In The Beginning..."
title: "In The Beginning"
description: "Filled with naivety and excitement I dove in head first."
category: openphoto-trovebox
logo: skip
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......@@ -23,9 +23,9 @@ So many times it felt like everything was falling in around us. I can recall the
When they say your chances of success increase if you have a great co-founder this is what they must have been talking about. On my worst days it felt like Patrick was the only one who could pull me out of the depths. Those days were plentiful.
Despite the consuming nature of doing a startup my first commitment was always to my wife, Rachel, and our 2 kids. Rachel didn't know what she was signing up for on that day when I asked her what she thought about me leaving my job and decent health insurance along with it. Life threw us many curve balls but I had her unflinching support at every turn.
Despite the consuming nature of doing a startup my first commitment was always to Rachel and our 2 kids. Rachel didn't know what she was signing up for on that day when I asked her what she thought about me leaving my job and decent health insurance along with it. Life threw us many curveballs but I had her unflinching support at every turn.
Speaking of family; my parents think I'm crazy. That gets reinforced each time I chase a startup idea. They want nothing more than for me to get a job at a big stable company and be a loyal employee until I retire. Nonetheless they supported me as they have in the past when I was being foolish.
Speaking of family; my parents think I'm crazy. That gets reinforced each time I chase a startup idea. This is the second time I left a job to start something. They want nothing more than for me to get a job at a big stable company and be a loyal employee until I retire. Nonetheless they supported me as they have in the past despite thinking I was being foolish.
Then there's the [Shuttleworth Foundation](https://shuttleworthfoundation.org/). I wrote in more detail about [my experience as a Shuttleworth fellow](../shuttleworth/) if you wanted to read it. But to make a long post short they've been the best partner I could ask for. Not only did they provide nearly $1M in funding but they provided a network of the brightest and most ambitious people I've met. All working on something that makes the world a better place. There's nothing else quite like it.
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---
layout: post
title: "Timeline"
description: "A timeline of my 3 year startup journey."
category: openphoto-trovebox
logo: skip
tags: [trovebox]
image:
feature: main-watch.jpg
credit: Jaisen Mathai
creditlink: http://photos.jaisenmathai.com
comments: true
share: true
---
Over the 3 years we spent building Trovebox there were countless successes and failures. All of which helped shape the company, product and founders.
Below is a timeline view of events that makes it possible to quickly consume most of the ups and downs we had.
## May 2011 - December 2011 (before funding)
The first months were some of the most exciting. We built a product from scratch and gained a following.
* **May** - I left my job to start OpenPhoto. The first milestone was [a successful Kickstarter campaign](https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jmathai/openphoto-a-photo-service-for-your-s3-or-dropbox-a).
* **Aug** - [OpenPhoto was accepted into Mozilla WebFWD](http://blog.webfwd.org/post/9300091721/webfwd-welcomes-the-first-fellows)
* **Sep** - OpenPhoto was a standby for TechCrunch Disrupt. We didn't get to participate in the contest but were offered the chance to have a table in Startup Alley.
* **Sep** - Pitched to Kapoor Foundation by way of intro from Marco DeMiroz. Did not get past first meeting.
* **Oct** - Version 1.2 of OpenPhoto was released (7 contributors).
* **Oct** - Initial beta version of iPhone app via TestFlight.
* **Oct** - Pitched to Khosla Ventures. I met Vinod Khosla at TC Disrupt who asked that I contact him afterwards. Did not get past first meeting.
* **Nov** - Version 1.3 of OpenPhoto was released (4 contributors).
## January 2012 - July 2012 (before funding)
The first half of 2012 was largly focused on securing funding.
* **Feb** - Was invited to interview with IO Ventures. This is a selective process and they receive 700 applications of which 40 get asked to interview. We did not get accepted.
* **Feb** - Was invited to pitch to Band of Angels. This is a selective process and we were 3 of 50 companies selected to pitch. Did not get past the pitch.
* **Apr** - OpenPhoto iPhone app released in the App Store.
* **May** - Released "Import from Flickr".
* **Jun** - Released "Import from PicPlz". This was our first initiative at providing an option for users of sites that were shutting down or making terms of use changes.
* **Jul** - Version 3.0 of OpenPhoto was released (18 contributors).
## August 2012 - December 2012 (after funding)
After receiving funding we got back to focusing on the product.
* **Aug** - Received Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship.
* **Nov** - Support 5 cloud storage providers.
* **Dec** - OpenPhoto Android app released in the Google Play store.
## 2013 (after funding)
As we entered 2013 we focused almost entirely on sales and marketing to fuel growth. We decided in May to [pivot to targeting businesses](../the-pivot/).
* **Jan** - OpenPhoto relaunched as Trovebox (6 contributors).
* **Apr** - Archive.org support added.
* **May** - iPad support added to iOS app. source
* **May** - Realized that growth with consumers was too low and that we needed to find an alternative.
* **May** - Partnered with Insight Sales Dynamics (Brian).
* **May** - (ISD) Meeting with CEO from Topia Software. Had 3 calls but did not close.
* **Jun** - (ISD) Meeting with VP at Sony. Met in person 4 times over 8 months but did not close.
* **Jul** - Group support added to Trovebox.
* **Jul** - Received 2nd year Shuttleworth Foundation fellowship.
* **Aug** - (ISD) Meeting with Directors initiated by EVP at Western Digital. This would result in numerous meetings finalizing in an acquisition a year later.
* **Sep** - (ISD) Meeting with VP at Roku. Had 2 calls but did not close.
* **Oct** - Switched Trovebox from consumers to businesses.
* **Dec** - Released Trovebox Collect.
#2014 (after funding)
This was an important year for us as we focused on growing our customer base by targeting businesses. We tried everything from cold calling companies to exhibiting at trade shows.
* **Jan** - Began cold calling group travel vacation companies. This lasted a month and the results were terrible.
* **Feb** - Launched beta of video support.
* **Mar** - Exhibited at 3 expos. This was sort of a last ditch effort to try and figure out a strategy or market which would provide significant growth for us with businesses. This wound up not working out and we decided that we couldn't get the growth we needed.
* **Mar** - Considered Kickstarting a TroveboxHome project which would be a physical network attached storage device that ran Trovebox software or otherwise communicated intelligently with Trovebox in the cloud. After speaking with Dr. Song we decided not to pursue this idea.
* **Mar** - Reached out to prior ISD contacts about opportunities and Western Digital was interested. This resulted in a meeting with about 15 key people from Western Digital's Branded Products group.
* **Apr** - Prototyped Trovebox running on a Western Digital MyCloud device. Demo'ed to Western Digital.
* **May** - Prototyped Trovebox running on a Netgear ReadyNAS device. Demo'ed to Netgear.
* **Jun** - Signed Letter of Intent from Western Digital to be acquired.
---
layout: post
title: "Reaching the Promise Land"
description: "The final chapter of our startup journey."
category: openphoto-trovebox
logo: skip
tags: [trovebox]
image:
feature: main-tavin-at-turkey-trot.jpg
credit: Jaisen Mathai
creditlink: http://photos.jaisenmathai.com
comments: true
share: true
---
We set out to build a sustainable business around selling subscription services. Our initial hypothesis of being able to do this in the consumer photo space [turned out to be wrong](https://medium.com/@jmathai/hello-2014-goodbye-consumer-photo-internet-service-b1234eaf75b). That led to us to [pivot Trovebox into a business product](../the-pivot/).
> I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying. -- Jeff Bezos
6 months after the pivot we reached a crossroad. It was March of 2014 and we were failing to grow our product with businesses like we hoped. The graphs on our internal dashboard proved it in an uncomfortable and striking manner. Our choices were to figure out what was wrong, reimagine the product yet again or begin shutting the company down.
We understood some of what was causing our growth to be linear (we needed it to be exponential). The sales cycles were longer than we had hoped for our smaller accounts which ranged from $29 to $149 per month. Customers we reached out to that were interested took 6-12 weeks to make a buying decision for a $69 purchase, our middle tier. Our efforts on inbound marketing were going okay but we didn't see how we could drastically change that; those things take time. Our focus from November had been 100% on sales and marketing and it wasn't panning out to meet our projections.
Reimagining a product once can be easy but each subsequent time it gets harder. There's more baggage both in terms of product and how it shapes your view of the market. That didn't stop us. A conversation with a friend about physical devices gave birth to the idea of Trovebox running on an external hard drive or network attached storage. In the end we decided not to pursue building a physical device - largly inspired by a conversation with [Steve Song of Village Telco fame](http://villagetelco.org/).
Turns out that excercise wasn't all wasted. We found interest from some of the largest NAS makers in running Trovebox on the devices they sold. It ranged from licensing interest to acquisition interest. After comparing the opportunities we knew that an acquisition made the most sense.
It took 6 months of discussions before arriving at the end of this journey and we agreed to be acquired by Western Digital.
There were too many lessons learned during this time to remember at once. I'll continue to add to this series as memories surface in my mind.
> Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing. -- Warren Buffett
The end.
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