Dayson Pais: Entrepreneur²

Mumbai-based Dayson Pais is the founder of Webly, of Epicwhale, of The Womo — and now he is the founder (and janitor) of Textme. And all this has been in the past 5 years.

Dayson’s passion is incubating services and products for the web, brand identity, print, mobile & digital field — hence the creation of his digital agency and cybernated incubator, Webly. His understanding of the “Wild, Wild Web” as he calls it, has built a solid entrepreneurial base for his many endeavors. Finally, his many hats are beginning to pay off — with the success of many of his ventures, including his most recent, Textme.

We got the opportunity for a virtual ‘sit down’ with Dayson, and picked his brain about Textme, his entrepreneurial journey and what might be in the future for this serial entrepreneur:

Can you give me the quick, elevator pitch for Textme?

Textme is a free web-to-mobile sharing service. It allows you to send any text, images, videos, jokes, articles, news from your browser to any mobile phone in India. Get it ontextme.com

Why did you feel that there was a need for Textme? What need of the market is it serving?

Textme was a pain point waiting to get solved. We hit off on the idea, quite accidentally. I had to go to a meeting and wanted to send the address on the website to my phone. I wondered what if there could be a way to just select it from inside my browser and send it off to my phone. That’s when we started imagineering Textme. Textme installs in your web browser and stays with you while you’re browsing the web. If you find something interesting that you’d like to share, it’s as easy as right-click and send.

What benefits do users have by using Textme?

It’s free, fast and really simple to use. Users are delighted to discover new and unique ways to use Textme like sharing online news articles, videos from youtube, images from facebook, sending wikipedia pages, railway booking, ticket information, live stock quotes from moneycontrol and more. A lot of people also use Textme as a convenient way to quickly send messages to friends and family.

Are there any features or services you are planning on adding for your product roadmap?

We plan to make Textme the easiest way to share rich content from the web to any mobile. We just integrated Textme with Facebook to allow our users easier ways to share post from their Facebook Timeline. We are planning to roll this out on a larger scale over other websites if the initial trial goes well. 

What is your personal educational and work background that led to the creation of Textme?

We are a team of passionate developers and designers with varied work experiance and educational background. What bids us all together is the desire to create something special for Indians using the tech skills we have acquired over the years. I personally believe in the power of technology in changing lives for the better. 

What are your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?

I built and sold my first mobile app over 6 years back when there were no such things as smartphones. The biggest challenge for us was not the technology curve or the business strategy but the dynamic nature of the fledgling mobile and internet space. India is still coming to terms with this enormous growth and the TRAI regulations that we saw earlier this year were one of those much needed efforts to curb unsolicited calls and SMS. Unfortunately they also made it increasingly difficult to acquire users and we had to go through an enormous rework of our technology and user acquisition strategy to keep compliance. I expect the space to be difficult to navigate as everyone from the regulator to the end user is still figuring out what will happen next.

What are your plans, hopes and marketing ideas for the future of Textme?

We are all looking forward to the 6 million messages mark. But our overall goal is to acquire more users. We will also be rolling out an address book feature and few other improvements to help attract more users.

What are some of the mistakes and/or failures that you learned from while starting up?

Don’t waste time, optimize or perfect. Everything changes and you need to keep pace. Iteration is the key. We spent a lot of time on usability and it’s paid off but we overoptimised certain sections that have now been replaced completely.

How have you personally changed since you started?

Haha, I think everyone changes over time. It’s been a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to avoiding the same mistakes for our next venture.

What has been the biggest surprise been as an entrepreneur and business owner?

Connecting with your visitors and understanding their perspective has been a real learning experience. We have such a diverse audience spanning language, region and cultural backgrounds. 

How did you get the attention of your first customers?

The first Textme product was meant for website owners (http://ontextme.com/publisher/). The Textme publisher button was an easy integration for site owners and gave them the power to control, track and measure what content went mobile. Site visitors get to share content from that site to any mobile phone in the country and because we always attach the site link, website owners get returning visitors through an offline viral effect. Win Win. 

Till today the publisher button drives a large chunk of our traffic. 

You currently operate in India, do you have plans to expand to other countries?

Yes, but the model may not remain free if the cost of the message becomes prohibitively expensive. We are looking into the opportunities within our immediate neighborhood.

If your company tanked tomorrow, would the experience have been worth it?

100%. They can’t teach you this stuff in management school. 

What made you first think that starting a company is right for you?

It wasn’t so much of starting a company as creating a service. I have always had a passion for technology and the idea fit in very naturally. Building it eventually turned into something bigger. 

Was there anyone/anything who inspired your managerial style and defined the culture of your company?

I believe in the startup culture that started stateside, small nimble teams working together to create something amazing. We have something special here at Textme and I believe it reflects in the motivation and ideas that come out.