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[Startup Watchlist] Tackling obstacles: The fear of becoming irrelevant or getting hacked

Jubin Mehta
1st Dec 2014
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3 startups to lift your Monday
3 startups to lift your Monday

December 1st. Yes, we're again in the last month of a year. Some times, it feels like do we need really need to build a time machine? Aren't we in one already? Anyways, we're here and it has been a frantic year for the Indian startup ecosystem. Huge valuations, investments, acquisitions, companies going global, signing big customers, shut downs and more! I've been curating the Startup Watchlist every week from July and mapped it last week (60 exciting startups on a map).

The idea is to be mindful and also keep of a track of the companies that have been featured on these lists. This time around, we look at the challenges two companies showcased previously are facing and what they're doing to overcome them.

1. Flynx is fighting a battle against becoming irrelevant

Flynx is a floating mobile browser for Android. It makes multi tasking easy since the links load in the background while the user continues to browse.

Typical use case is when you are on Facebook or Twitter or other apps including search) and come across interesting links, you can click on them and continue browsing, the links will open on the floating browser in the background.

The problem: Flynx is a lovely app and gives great functionality but Facebook and Twitter both open links inside the app now. Flynx has to do something to make users prefer Flynx over any thing else.

The solution: There is an obstacle but Flynx seems to have an answer:

Facebook and twitter have both come out with inbuilt browsers, yes. Nearly 25% of the daily links opened in Flynx are from Facebook, which came down to nearly 14% the day they released this functionality. Soon we released a blog update for our users regarding reverting the option to open links inside inbuilt browser here. This resulted in a bounce back and we are again getting nearly same usage metrics from facebook app.

One can disable this functionality in the same manner in Twitter also. We are also going to release a blog update soon regarding how to disable the inbuilt browser and open it with an external browser. You can disable it inside: Settings->General->Quick-read-mode in twitter app. Since most of our users love the user experience of Flynx we havent seen significant drop as of now in the links being opened using Flynx.

Our key value prop i.e. multitasking, ease of use and background loading, and are still not solved through this functionality. And our latest reader is at par with other readers out there about which you can read more here.

2. Browserstack got hacked

Browserstack lets one carry out live, web-based browser testing. It gives instant access to all desktop and mobile browsers so that there is no need of setting up virtual machines.

The problem: Browserstack became a victim of a DDoS attack on November 9th. Yes, a lot of big companies have suffered from this in the past but in case of an upcoming startup, it becomes critical to fire fight a situation where a hacker manages to send a mail to some of the suers saying that the product is shutting down! How can the situation be handled? Browsetstack did a good job with the explanation.

The answer: A detailed email went out to all the 800,000 plus users even though the hacker had sent the mail to a small fraction. In hindsight, the founders believe that reasoning alongside the developments would have been an even better way of tackling the issue but the indepth apology more or less salvaged the situation. also, the fact that none of the payment information was compromised was a positive.

The key is to be absolutely honest with the users and state the situation as it is. If the product has value, and solves a problem, users would understand.

Do you have any other such experiences to share? Do drop in a line to jubin@yourstory.com. And also write in if you've unearthed some hidden gems from the Indian Startup Ecosystem. 

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