Posted: 23 Apr 2013 06:36 AM PDT
Oh well, how the time passes. I distinctly remember the first day I decided to do "something" in the online marketing space and hence begun hunting for the perfect name. After numerous variations and tweaks, I finally settled down on a domain that sounded just fine and inspired joy and enthusiasm. The name was Wingify and the date it was registered on was 9th November, 2008.
I was 21 years old then. Fresh out of college, I was naive and had very little savings. What I had instead was an insuppressible itch to do "something of my own". With many startup attempts during college, I had tried curing that itch, but with each failure, the itch only grew stronger. So when I was thrown out in the real world, Wingify came into existence as a boilerplate "project" to cure that itch.
Wingify – early days (June, 2011)
Fast-forward to the present day
I and the whole Wingify family are ecstatic about this achievement because (believe it or not!) we never set out to do any of this. With Wingify, my initial humble goal was to see if I'm able to finally make a product that someone out there in the world would be ready to pay for and really to make an equivalent of my market salary, which was Rs. 50,000/month (USD 1000). I would have been the happiest person if that had happened and to much of my surprise, with the launch of first paid plans for Visual Website Optimizer in 2010, on the first day itself, I signed up 10+ customers and earned USD 1000+.
Starting with the launch of VWO 3 years ago, my good friend Sparsh Gupta joined as a partner and CTO, we sought and convinced 20+ smart souls to join us and together all of us unknowingly created the Wingify culture and a very successful A/B testing product.
Sparsh (second from left) meets some of our 2500+ customers (June, 2012)
My bootstrapped journey: from ZERO to millions without raising any funding
I believe our journey is interesting because we became a company almost by accident. Like I said, we never started out to become a typical "Silicon-valley" style company that raises millions of dollars in funding, grows really fast (sometimes at the expense of a business model or profitability), in hopes of one day getting an "exit" which in most cases is an acquisition by some larger player. Of course, that model works for a lot of startups and entrepreneurs, but we started out because a 21 year old (me, back then) wanted to see if he can make money by himself. At 25, now he is very happy that his experiment turned out to be successful and that along the way, he's been able to build a successful business as a byproduct.
I reflected back on our 3 year journey and made a small presentation that talks about why Wingify was founded, how Visual Website Optimizer was built and the lessons we learned along the way. Here's the presentation:
Download the presentation: The Wingify Story – From ZERO to millions in revenue without raising any funding [PDF, 8mb].
If you relate to our story and philosophy, please feel free to tweet it, share it on Facebook or simply embed on your blog :) I'm excited to hear your comments and thoughts on our journey!
The way ahead for Wingify
Even though one may argue that 2500 customers figure is an arbitrary number, it is an important milestone for us because it forced us to reflect on who we are and what we want to become. In the mad rush of the startup world that demands ever-faster growth, it allowed us to stay put for a moment and see the values we relate to and the philosophy that guides us. It allowed us to answer the "why" of Wingify.
Reflecting on what drives Wingify, I have come to realize that three aspects are most important to us as an organization: Freedom, Joy and Quality. What we mean by these terms?
We love the spirit of entrepreneurship!
These values aren't just theoretical. We breathe them everyday at Wingify. We haven't raised any funding so far because unless it's absolutely required, external funding does curtail freedom of a company to some extent. Even though we're growing crazily (we have added 1000+ customers in the last 9 months alone), we're not obsessed about growth. Instead, we're obsessed about our team's and our customers' happiness and that happens through stable, usable, affordable products. Plus, even though we could release features and products in a hurry, we want to make sure whatever we release becomes a symbol of quality so we're very careful of what goes out in the world and we always try it to be of the highest beauty possible.
Since Visual Website Optimizer is growing really fast and we're adding many new customers every day, we're expanding our team and adding more thrust to the product. In the last month itself, 5 new people have joined us to make our team a total of 20 right now. We also have a total of 100K+ A/B tests created on our platform so far!
We're hiring aggressively in Delhi, India for many roles: marketing, sales, iOS/Android engineering, frontend engineering, backend engineering, customer happiness and UI / UX / visual design. So if you're interested or know anyone who relates to our culture, drop a mail to email@example.com.
So, how are we celebrating?
Thousands of customers and no celebration? That can't possibly happen! Last Friday, our whole team celebrated in the office and later went out for a crazy party. Here's a picture that shows why joy is so important for us :)
We're happy like ducks (Last Friday, 19 April, 2013)
As for you, dear blog reader and a potential Visual Website Optimizer customer, we thought that an initial hefty discount may help in your decision to try out our product and see if it is really as great as our 2500+ customers claim it to be. So, signup for a free trial (if you don't have a VWO account already) and use the 'VWO2500′ coupon at the checkout page while upgrading to get 75% discount for first month (second month onwards, standard rates will be charged). This discount is applicable for new accounts or upgrades for all our pricing plans (including enterprise plans).
I hope you liked our story, our values, our future and the discount! As a reminder, in case you want to download the presentation, you can do so here: The Wingify Story: From ZERO to millions in revenue without raising any funding [PDF, 8mb].
Please leave a comment here if you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions. YOU are the reason we exist!
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