It was almost an year ago when we had written about DoesAnyone, a social help network where people could share what they needed and the community would come to rescue. Kranthi Kiran Pulluru, Gourav Agarwal, and Jayasri Nagrale had founded the company back then, and after some perilous but learning-filled months, they realized that DoesAnyone wasn't really kicking butt. Over time they had some realizations in building a consumer product and using them, have now come up with Enabli. The intention to 'get people to help each other' remains the same but the approach has changed. We get in a conversation with Kranthi to learn from their experience:
What was the intention behind starting DoesAnyone?
The vision of our company, and all the products that we build is common - 'To get people to help each other'.
We believe that there is immense potential of making social networks more useful in our everyday life. We started with DoesAnyone and have pivoted to Enabli to make it engaging and scalable.
When did you realize and accept that it isn't working out?
As an entrepreneur, each milestone in your startup is a small experiment with some assumptions and expected outcomes. You try something with a conviction that it would work, but still need to be disciplined enough to measure if your current plan is good enough to take you to your goals and then adapt the model accordingly.
With our initial users, we learnt that a web platform can only be viral if its users are convinced of the following:
1. Does it make me happy to use this?
2. Why should I come back again and again?
3. Why should I invite my friends here?
Enabli answers these much better than DoesAnyone.
Key learnings as a founder
A few things I have learnt over the last year is the importance of 'why' over 'how' and 'what'. The founder needs to be absolutely clear of ‘why is he building the startup'. Once the team is aligned with the vision, any initiative gets more than 100% effort from the whole team. Companies that focus on the 'how' and 'what' before aligning all the stakeholders on the 'why' tend to go astray during a period of rapid change.
Pivot or a new venture
Enabli is a new product from the same venture. Enabli is a pivot of how we deliver value to users. If you look at any problem is solved in the society, you'll see -
Seekers - who need something
Providers - who provide a solution
Enablers - who connect Seekers to the Providers
DoesAnyone was a platform for the Seekers, whereas Enabli is a tool for becoming an enabler.
So, what is Enabli all about?
Enabli empowers you to help friends and strangers by showing what they recently asked on Facebook, and suggesting ways to help them.
If you think of the most amazing people you know personally, you'd notice that they have one thing in common - They say 'How can I help you?' before thinking 'Whats in it for me?'. These are the real Enablers. Enabli is a fun way for each of us to become an awesome enabler.
When you go to Facebook, you see thoughts, opinions and promotions. The visibility of a post is proportional to its likes and comments. Sometimes, important requests like your friend looking for a job referral, or a neighbour looking for a blood donor get missed out because of this information overload. Enabli filters out these important requests, keeps you informed, and suggests ways to help them.
We believe true value is created in a system where people are not driven by 'Likes', 'Views' or 'Followers', but by 'Thank Yous'.
Anything else that you'd like to add from your experience?
Have clear understanding of the value you provide. Know the metrics you need to track to see if you are going closer to your goals. Focus on one short term goal at a time.
Keep learning constantly. Being an entrepreneur, you get to face new challenges everyday. Take these challenges as an opportunity to reach out to mentors. Keep reading good books. Some of the books that have helped me shape my thought process are 'The Lean startup,' 'Business model Generation,' and 'The Go Giver.'
Check out Enabli.