Some creative Silicon Valley professionals branch off on their own to become entrepreneurs by starting their own tech venture. Aditya Kothadiya did exactly that, twice.
As a founder of Shopalize and JustRemindIt, Aditya is riding entrepreneurial journey twice. This enterprising individual’s newest venture JustRemindIt has created a simple and yet brilliant application: a service that sends automatic reminders via Phone call and SMS to others. It also provides recurring reminders, contact lists, templates, an iPhone app and lot more functionalities.
If your interest is piqued – our readers have a special coupon code “BRAJ20OFF” to get 20% off on the first three months of billing periods. The coupon will expire on Tuesday 20th December 2011.I recently got the opportunity to talk with Aditya about his newest venture and the difficulties of being an entrepreneur:
Can you give me the quick elevator pitch for JustRemindIt?
JustRemindIt is a Web- and iPhone-based application that sends Voice Call and SMS reminders to anyone – automatically, easily and affordably. Professionals & service providers use it to send appointment reminders to their clients, whereas Individual Consumers can use it also, to send personal reminders to their friends or themselves. Using JustRemindIt is super easy – you simply need to enter your message in simple text format and our service takes care of converting your text-based message into a Voice Call or SMS.
Who was your system ideally designed for?
JustRemindIt is ideal for professionals & service providers, but it is also widely used by individual consumers.
Professional and personal-service businesses like massage therapy, salons, dentist offices, law firms, and many more could use JustRemindIt to send reminders to their clients about their appointments–automatically. This way they save their time, reduce no-show occurrences and provide their customers with exceptional customer service, thus increasing their revenue.
Individual consumers can also use it, to remind themselves about paying Credit Card bills on time or to remind their elderly parents to take medications on time.
What is your educational and work background?
I completed my Masters in Electrical Engineering, and then was working with a semiconductor company as a Chip Design Engineer. But, as a consumer of lots of mobile and web applications I became passionate about the benefits of these applications: their user interfaces, technologies supporting them and the entire industry in general. And eventually I started learning both Web and iPhone application development on my own in my spare time and started building JustRemindIt.
What was your inspiration for creating JustRemindIt?
There were two specific incidents that happened that led to me creating JustRemindIt.
First, a year ago I learned about a new technology company Twilio, which enables developers to easily build interesting voice and SMS applications. Immediately after learning about them, I kept jotting down various day-to-day problems that could be solved using this technology.
Second, at the same time, my wife was studying for her MS and she had taken an iPhone application programming class. During that class she had an assignment project to develop an iPhone application. So we brainstormed quite a few ideas, and realized that we could use the Twilio service to send Voice Call reminders in the most effective way, from iPhones. Then we searched in the Apple App Store and didn’t find any application that was solving this problem in an easy and elegant manner, so we decided to solve this problem the way we wanted to use the application.
What are your biggest challenges as a young entrepreneur?
As a first time entrepreneur, I think the most challenging part is to spread the word about your company and product i.e. the sales and marketing part of the company. Since it’s your first time–no one knows you–so you need to create your identity from scratch, but in a meaningful way such that other people start noticing you and what you are doing. And for online businesses, sales and marketing doesn’t happen overnight, especially when you’re bootstrapping a company. You need to be scrappy and relentless in building your brand and relationships, with both your customers and the community. Building an awesome product is essential, but building scalable marketing and sales channels is even more critical to building a profitable company.
What are your plans and hopes for JustRemindIt in the future?
We have thousands of customers and they’re actively requesting new features and improvements to our existing services. So we’ll continue supporting and improving the experience for our existing customers. Another important plan is to expand JustRemindIt internationally. We currently support only US customers, but there have been quite a few requests to make this service available in Canada and Europe. We also plan to support more mobile platforms like Android and Blackberry, to cover all our bases. We want JustRemindIt to be the easiest and most-effective reminder application; we want it to be available across any platform at any given time.
If you were a user of JustRemindIt, what would be the first feature that you request?
JustRemindIt is an effective and useful tool for sending appointment reminders. But, as a user, when I receive an appointment reminder from my dentist for example it would be great if I could confirm or reschedule via the same method the reminder came–so we’re working on this feature and plan to add it soon.
How do you see JustRemindIt growing in the future, do you have a specific marketing goal in mind?
We’re currently bootstrapping JustRemindIt so our first goal is to grow to the point that it’s profitable and self-sustaining. But, we definitely want to expand even further and hope to get it hands of lot more people. Since we’re currently on a shoe-string budget, we have to think about marketing more creatively and more efficiently than just relying on paid advertising. So on the customer side we’ll continue to invest our energy in building the best product and services and on providing the best customer service to our customers–in order to gain their referrals. Apart from that, we also plan to build our thought leadership by guiding people with various productivity tips and tricks.