Learnings from the Failed Startup – FundApeer

FundApeer Journey

It all started with a bang! Every idea is huge if nourished and sculpted properly.

This is the story about a startup idea born back in 2013. It was FundApeer.

It was a crowdfunding platform to raise funds for a project or to contribute to bringing someone’s ideas to life.

It was a stage provided to pitch various small and innovative ideas and receive funds from friends, families, acquaintances and become a reality. This was a step to encourage and support creative ideas in India. Crowdfunding was an existing theory in a lot of countries, but FundApeer was brand new information for India.

People were unaware of this concept and expecting them to be curious about innovation and creative ideas, was the reason that it was dreamt to be a straight drive. But, everything doesn’t go as expected and conventional as it sounds.

How it all started!

Let me back you up with the whole story, the people behind it and their journey. Three childhood friends, with full-time jobs in multinational companies as software engineers, were well settled in their comfort zones with good salary and stability.

But, their goal was to become entrepreneurs. They wanted to come out and do something out of the box and make a difference. A lot of ideas came in and obstacles as well. Getting a proper platform, the ability to make people hear your voice was the most important thing.

This gave a ray of light to them and the idea of crowdfunding originated. They knew and experienced that a lot of great ideas land up in the trash because of lack of funds or proper gateway. So, they wanted to make that possible with FundApeer.

This mission and belief were not to become a millionaire but to utilize the growing technology into something which brings a change, encourages the youth of the country to do something which they really want to do.

If early men can make fire with 2 stones, then just imagine what our fully developed homo sapiens can do or create if given the proper tools and platform. There are so many indigenous creations happening every day, which no one knows of. Hence, FundApeer was a step toward giving them a nudge to make it a concrete reality. But, this was not a cake walk.

Article on Indian Newspaper

Implementation is difficult!

They kicked off the company as part-time work. The most important components for development were Investment, Budget and Time, which was not properly dealt.

As none of them was working full time on this idea, they decided to outsource the development and concentrate on marketing by themselves. Their aim was to get the whole thing developed and ready in the first iteration only, which gave the developer a lot of work in his plate.

Promising them 3 months, the developer took almost 8 months to deliver the final product. Despite that, they decided to move to the next step of finding a payment gateway. They approached a lot of companies but were denied the service.

This made them think about the reason for their rejection. Digging deeper into it, they found that a certain RBI rule suggests that crowdfunding won’t be eligible for most of the payment gateways. They were almost losing all hopes then Mobikwik gave the green signal for a payment gateway.

Step 3 was marketing the product and website which is the most important aspect of a new product. If you remember from before, they were all software engineers, with no knowledge and background of marketing and Public Relations. They didn’t know where to start. Using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as a marketing strategy, they went live with their website.

Was it a success or a failure?

Very soon they got a couple of projects which were small ideas requiring crowdfunding to build their product. They were happy. It was obviously a good start for them.

Slowly and painfully consequences hit them. They were not getting funds from people. The projects were failing to reach their goal. This continued for more than a year and nothing changed. The founders were out of money, they couldn’t invest anymore.

They tried talking it out with a lot of investors, but no one was ready to trust the crowdfunding idea just yet. They were not getting any new projects and the existing ones were not receiving the support that was expected. There was no reason left for them to keep trying. I would not say that it was a failure, I would rather say that it was a beginning.

Lessons Learned!

If you don’t fall in life, you wouldn’t know what’s wrong and what’s right.

They say you learn from your mistakes, and that’s what exactly happened with FundApeer buddies. This journey made them realize a lot of things that they wouldn’t have known unless they try.

I would appreciate their courage and will of getting out of monotony and taking a step. As said earlier, this was just the starting point of them achieving something great in the future. Assumptions are not healthy, this is the one thing they learned for sure. Always keep a Plan B ready, coz life’s unpredictable.

  • They also learned to take an agile approach towards building something. Go iterative, put in small chunks of work and deploy it. If people like it, then start enhancing it. Less is more. Trying to overachieve can sometimes make you tired and loose.
  • The next important thing they learned was that if you want to become something, give your 100% to it. Founding the company doing part-time was not at all a good start. You must be fully involved in it and focus on one thing at a time.
  • Also, the internet is vast. You could get all the information you need if you really want to research something. So, do it. Research as much as you can. Think about the relevant possibilities and scenarios and mitigate the risks and challenges.

Beginning of a new venture!

Lessons learned doesn’t mean that they became perfectionists, it means that they became more confident of starting off a new endeavour. Considering their interest in animation and creative designs, they started an animation video company. It was called StudioTale. As promised, they started off slow, took the right marketing steps and began their journey in the entrepreneur world.

Steve is a business analyst and researcher having experience of over 7 years in scaling up the businesses from Startups to Entreprises. He works for The Startup INC as a Senior Editor. Steve lives in Bristol, UK, with his wife & he likes traveling on weekends.

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