How a problem led to a new mailing tool… and offers for a joint venture



At all-desk we always thought that a client should be contacted after certain specific events: When he makes a reservation (naturally), when he contacts a space (obvious), but also after we see him doing a lot of searches and comparisons but never committing to an action. Contacting a customer at that moment would allow us to understand why he never committed and potentially improve our product.

I’ve looked around for e-mail automation tools that would allow me to do this and to be honest, didn’t find any tool that made what I wanted. So we built our own. It’s called Kissfollowup and it make what I was looking for: send email to customers when they do a certain event (specified by me).

Why did we build a separate tool instead of coding it into our own code? To be honest, because I thought that if I was looking for a SaaS tool to solve this, more people would probably have the same problem. So why be greedy and keep the solution all to myself?

So, instead of us spending time in developing just for ourselves, I took it as a side project and coded it on my “free time”. This was fun for several reasons: one, I haven’t code in several years, so going back to it was really a hobby. Two, although my goal was to build it to use in all-desk, it really felt like a fresh project, thus it brought the exciting prospects of a new project (I wonder what will happen when it launches kind of thing).

So, now the tool is up and running for less than a week now and this is what I have to show for it:

  • I got real customers feedback showing me that it’s a valuable tool but still too “techie” to configure
  • phone calls of people wanting to use it (this was really cool)
  • a proposal from a big Silicon Valley company for a joint venture (I’m still open mouthed about this one)

So, a small piece of code, that most startups everywhere in the word do inside their companies has show to have a bit of potential of becoming a bit bigger then I anticipated. I wonder what other things we all code away in our companies that can become full products by themselves?

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About the author

Gairifo

Pedro Santos is the CEO and co-founder of All-desk.com, a startup that provides a marketplace for professionals who wish to share and book temporary workspaces. He is also a director at Beta-i, an NGO whose mission it is to promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Also the author of European Founders at Work, Santos is a regular public speaker on entrepreneurship and innovation. You can follow him on Twitter.

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