1. What problem do you solve?
While the act of gifting should be an expression of love and a joyful act, its process in many cases can be stressful, time-consuming and sometimes even a failure. IMOSHEN is an app that brings back fun and ease into gift-shopping and delivery of special gifts to our loved ones. We scour the Earth looking for gift ideas and items, we help our users create their own wish lists so that they get the right gift at the right time with a tap of a button. At the same time we felt the need to integrate a full-fledged social network where users can engage with family and friends in a more intimate and private manner avoiding the noise of other social platforms that hardly allow for any privacy.
2. Who are you competing with and what makes your solution better?
We are the first App to combine two of the most powerful aspects of human interaction: The desire to connect through a private social network with the ability to create social circles and decide who sees what; And the joy of giving through a fun and seamless gifting platform that enables our users to surprise their loved ones with thoughtful gifts right to their doorsteps.
3. What were the biggest hurdles you faced early on and how did you overcome them?
During the conception phase, the challenge was to find angel investors willing to come onboard. The concept was far-fetched for many that we then decided to fund the project ourselves which is a testament to our full faith in it and its success. Once we had reached the close beta, we succeeded in getting interest and secured an initial investment that we used to fund part of our operations while building our fast-growing community of gift vendors.
4. What is your biggest barrier to future success?
We plan to be successful and intend to tackle every barrier as it comes through proper planning and a proactive approach to problem-solving! However, we have had and continue to have challenges of course.
We just launched our first version of Imoshen on the App Store and we are quite thrilled about it. However, while we continuously work on future tweaks and improvements, which is a normal process whenever one is aiming at improving their App, our costs continue to rise during this early stage while we stretch ourselves quite thin doing all the work ourselves including: App design; interacting with our users, listening to them and consolidating their feedback; identifying the right gift ideas that would appeal to a large and diversified audience and offer them a large variety coupled with cost-effectiveness; negotiating with potential vendors around the world and signing them up; and most importantly, marketing Imoshen to let people know that we are here!
5. How do you plan to make money?
We charge vendors a small commission on each sale they make via Imoshen. In the future, we will consider other revenue streams through special placements of gift products on the App.
6. What advice would you share with other start-ups?
Perseverance, never give up! Listen to your support network and incorporate feedback as early on in the development process as possible. Keep on improving your product and do not become complacent at any point in the future.
Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and a clear path to how to get there. Have a strategy and a plan from the outset, always revisit them and amend them to reflect the reality of the market and your own capabilities. Don’t be afraid to change your own course when you realise that it wasn’t the most optimal one to get you to your target.
In today’s connected world, one has the convenience of working remotely with like-minded talents around the globe, at a reasonable cost, overcoming geographic barriers and allowing access to a wide pool of talent. Do not limit yourself to nearby resources, look further than your own borders.
Finally, be disciplined.
7. Is there a particular service provider you would recommend to other start-ups?
Given the limited resources available for start-ups, we would recommend using young and talented freelancers and interns and leveraging their capabilities through proper communication and management. We have used nabbesh.com as well as fiverr.com to source some of ours. As far as the payment system is concerned, we would recommend Braintree (a Paypal company) who have been very helpful in facilitating the integration process.
8. Did you discover and use an online tool that is a “must-have” for start-ups?
We recommend Basecamp and Dropbox as collaborative tools to share files, designs and for project management.