We just got in touch with John from Dasheroo, a great new venture focusing on helping businesses with their amazing business dashboards. John tells us more about where the idea came from, where they’re headed and what they’ve learned getting to where they are now – as well as a few great tips on others looking to make their mark! Be sure to check them out!
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to Dasheroo!
We’re a small, scrappy team developing Dasheroo, Free Business Dashboards. We’re out to create the easiest and most powerful way to access, make sense of and act on all your important business information, all in one place, accessible from any device, anywhere you are. We have 2 co-founders, John Hingley (me) and James Ryan. James is a rock star and handles all things development related and I focus on the business side. Plus, we have a couple awesome advisors that help us out a lot!
StartupCatchup: How diid you come up with the idea?
I think it had been bubbling up over the years. I mean, back in the day there were only a handful of apps and metrics to base decisions on. But we all know that’s changed; there’s now more than 10,000 business apps out there, and tens of millions of users. A typical SMB uses 15 or more apps! So that can turn ‘big data’ against you if you don’t have an efficient way for the business to access it.
But a couple years ago, I hopped back into a tech company I started with my wife several years ago, to help boost sales and marketing. I started a meeting called ‘SSS’ (Sell Some Shit!) and focused the team on the key metrics driving the biz. Everyone entered their metrics and reports into a shared Google Doc so we could all work off it. It worked! But soon I realized it still wasn’t efficient enough – it was taking too long for folks to create their charts and update the doc, there wasn’t enough transparency behind the numbers, and ‘why should we have to wait until the weekly Tuesday meeting to view and act on this stuff?!
So I looked around for a solution and when I couldn’t find one I liked, created my own. And I think and hope it can be a great solution for companies around the world.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
Well, I’ve never been known as a risk-averse person! This will be my 3rd go-around as a founder or co-founder at a tech startup. Each time, I know there’s things I learned from previous experience that could help me do better the next time. Better for my team, our investors, and our customers. Plus I have a real passion for Dasheroo – it solves a problem that just about every business in the world needs a solution for!
StartupCatchup: How many people are currently working on the project and who are they?
Like I said, we’re lean & mean! Right now it’s me & my co-founder James, and some part-time help from a few really sharp advisors. But we just hired a senior developer that starts in a few weeks, we have an excellent outsourced development shop that is ramping up very quickly as we speak, and looking for 3 more key team members soon as well. We’ll probably have 8 folks by mid-year and 15 or so by the end of 2015. It is amazing and rewarding how fast you can move and adjust when there is no red tape!
StartupCatchup: How are you funding the project?
We’ve self funded to date (meaning we’re not getting paid!), but we’re starting to talk with some very interesting, very smart VCs that understand our space, the business freemium model and are super well connected. When we do close a round, it’ll probably be a combination of 1-2 VCs along with ‘friends and family’. In my past startups, I’ve always kept funding very lean, raising no more than $1MM or so, but with the excellent market timing and size of this market opportunity we’re thinking about going bigger and executing faster to take a leadership position in business dashboards.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
We want to make millions of SMBs lives happier and more profitable! Seriously, I’m convinced every business in the world needs a business dashboard, and we want them to choose Dasheroo! And we’re convinced that business freemium – offering a very robust offering for free, with one or two value-add paid tiers – is the way to reach and acquire this global market.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding/positive experience so far on the journey?
Accomplishing a lot with a little; little $, little resources, etc. Listening to our users and iterating quickly on their needs. Also, getting a great review from Matt at Small Business Trends, It’s so fun. And as we grow we will always keep that culture and mindset.
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
Well, we’re still early on, so ask me again in a few months! But seriously, I could go on and on if I reflected back on previous companies. I think the biggest thing is always wishing you’d have moved faster, so ramping up with more developers & resources sooner may have been a good move.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
I hear this all the time. “I just don’t know where to start!” First, do some research and make sure there’s a problem for your great solution. If so, see if there is a niche you think you can own. Third, do you have the passion…do you love this idea so much you’ll sacrifice more than you could have ever guessed? Then ask yourself the tough question ‘Do I have the skills, and can I attract people with the necessary skills?
If the answer to those are ALL ‘yes’ then…Go! Socialize it with some friends and family and peers. Seek the advice of others that have started their own biz. And don’t be afraid of being afraid, it happens to al of us, but I at least think it’s worth it.
StartupCatchup: Can you give us a quote that motivates and inspires you to keep going?
Hmmm, I guess ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” would be easy but everybody uses that Gretzky quote. It’s true! A successful entrepreneur I’ve worked with several times always liked to say “Aim low, Go low”, meaning don’t think small; shoot for the stars, you might at least get to Saturn!