How One Phone Call Gave a Bootstrapped Startup Its AHA Moment
Ryan McKay-Fleming is the co-founder and CTO of Chalk.com, a SaaS product that helps teachers with lesson planning, grading, assessment and attendance. Over 100,000 teachers worldwide is using Chalk.com. The company is based in Toronto, Canada. It was founded in 2012 and to date has raised $500K in its initial seed round.
This is a story about two college friends from the University of Waterloo in Canada, who decided to build a startup. They had an idea for a product that would make teachers more productive. They didn't do validation or talk to teachers, they just went ahead and built the product on a hunch.
As you can imagine, things didn't go quite to plan when they launched. And we talk about the lessons they learned and how got over 100,000 teachers worldwide using their product and also raised $500,000 in their initial seed round.
We also talk about how they were discouraged because nobody was buying their product. And then one phone call changed all that and created that AHA moment, where they figured out how to get teachers (who don't have a lot of money) using their product and still create a business model where they can make money.
There are some interesting lessons in this episode and I think you'll get value whatever industry you're in.
Links, Resources & People Mentioned
- “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by Ashlee Vance
- Ryan McKay-Fleming – @rmckayfleming | ryan [at] chalk [dot] com
- Omer Khan – @omerkhan