Ever faced a problem where you had to do some heavy online research for personal and professional projects? Was learning anything on your own a very involved process? Being a student, I did face such problems, and so did Vivek Agarwal and Kapil Kumar who are co-founders of Surfmark. It is a tool that lets you manage your web-based research more effectively and share/collaborate on it easily.
According to Kapil, there are certain drawbacks with the traditional search-and-find method that people adopt online.
Surfmark lets you save pages that you find relevant on the Cloud. It also allows you to annotate the pages with in-context notes, highlights etc so that it is easy for you to refer to the page without going through its content all over again. Additionally, you can share your research with friends/colleagues and collaborate easily. You can download your entire research in pdf format for offline consumption. At present, they are in the beta stage and are testing it with an initial set of about 10,000 users. As of now, the startup is bootstrapped.
Hailing from Jamshedpur, Kapil is an IIT Kanpur graduate and had co-founded a startup with a bunch of batch mates soon after college in 2005 but it did not scale up. He went on to work at Yahoo in the advertisement product division. Kapil says that when he was planning to quit Yahoo he met his co-founder Vivek, an investment banker, who is now the CEO of Surfmark. More than anything else, value creation is what attracted both of them the most to the world of entrepreneurship.
Surfmark plans to cater to anyone who does in-depth research on the web. Their initial target market comprises of scholars and researchers.
According to Kapil, people use a lot of ad-hoc tools to save, manage and share their research. And to make this job easy, they use a host of bookmarked tools like pocket app, note-taking tools Evernote and others, while sharing platforms like Google docs/spreadsheet etc. are used to maintain workflow. Kapil is excited about their product’s USP and how it will make the research process more holistic.
Kapil also shares his top three attributes necessary for a startup’s success:
- Team - a team that has everyone complimenting each other's skill set is a must!
- Perseverance - A startup journey requires a lot of slogging - the team needs to be ready for that kind of commitment.
- Fail fast – It’s absolutely important to keep your eyes and ears open while you ‘persevere’ and be open to pivot/mould your idea to what fits best with the market!