CollateBox: Cloud-Based Software Simplifies Small Biz Collaboration
Editor’s note: Small businesses with growing lists of data are the ideal customer for U.S.-incorporated CollateBox, a software product of India-based WOLF Frameworks. Sunny Ghosh, co-founder and CEO, describes CollateBox’s value proposition and the factors that influenced its development. This article is brought to SandHill readers in partnership with ProductNation.
SandHill.com: Please describe your product and how it provides business value for your customers.
Sunny Ghosh: Companies collaborate on lists of data with a lot of people, internally and externally, for different projects. But organizing and keeping track of these growing lists is a nightmare — from scouting mailboxes to finding the latest spreadsheet version to collect validated data.
CollateBox is a simpler way to collaborate on a list without creating and emailing multiple copies of spreadsheets. It lets users collect data from multiple sources, organize and securely share parts of a growing list with team members. And there’s no software to install; everything works online in a secure cloud environment and can be used for any business process.
CollateBox also helps companies set up processes to maintain a workflow and keep data organized, saving precious time and money. Users can also view instant notifications and summaries on every record of their data with the added ability to comment and add attachments.
SandHill.com: Please describe your market and typical users of CollateBox.
Sunny Ghosh: CollateBox is best suitable for companies and teams with 100 people or less. It is suitable to any business scenario that involves growing lists of data. HR managers use it to work together with HR executives to qualify a list of new recruits. Companies can use it for sales leads, automatically assigning prospects to the sales team as a new lead is qualified. A marketing coordinator can use CollateBox to maintain a single list to coordinate email campaign dates with the marketing team.
Other examples of how small companies use our product include: tracking production updates and sharing it with top management, allocating service requests to support agents and visualize a summary of service statuses, and an operations manager can use it to recruit new partners using online forms and automatically collate all data in their CollateBox account.
SandHill.com: How did your company and CollateBox originate?
Sunny Ghosh: We founded WOLF Frameworks in 2006 with an aim to democratize computing by introducing savings of more than 60 percent in time and cost and with zero technical coding skill for developing and delivering new business software.
Our first WOLF product was an Online Database Application Platform. Launched in 2008, it helps database architects and application developers to rapidly configure and run all sorts of online applications without writing a single line of technical code — even for firing complex business logic. We netted over 40,000 end users during out first 30 months of business.
A year later, our Platform as a Service product was being used in more than 20 business applications. In 2010 WOLF bagged the Information Week Silver Edge Awards at INTEROP and was named GARTNER Cool Vendor Award for Platform as a Service worldwide.
In 2011, we ideated on DBMonk, which was incubated by VertExperts LLP for early validation.
DBMonk renamed to CollateBox Inc. and was incorporated in October 2011, in the state of Delaware, USA. We released the minimum viable product for selected users in 2012 and subsequently had more than 10,000 user registrations. In 2013 we signed up our first set of paid customers for CollateBox and released version 2.2 for more than 1,000 users.
SandHill.com: You’ve been clipping right along. What have you planned for the next 12 months?
Sunny Ghosh: We are going through the most exciting times of our journey and currently spend most of our time in discovering newer and innovative customer use cases and enabling them actively. We see this process as a continuous process as different versions of our product evolve.
SandHill.com: Did you change direction for CollateBox after getting feedback from the initial group of selected users?
Sunny Ghosh: Many times we tested our hypothesis and changed our product development strategy. Our UX has gone for more than four formal iterations even while working with professional UX agencies.
SandHill.com: If you could go back and do it all over again, from the time you first began your position with your company, what would you do differently the second time around?
Sunny Ghosh: We would have started actual customer iteration a lot earlier. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to iterate with a larger audience and focus almost everything on usability.
SandHill.com: How did you get your first investor?
Sunny Ghosh: Our first investor happens to be a co-founder and we always thought that to be the best way forward.
SandHill.com: What book have you read during the past three years that most influenced you?
Sunny Ghosh: “The Lean Startup,” by Eric Reis has been the single most influencing factor in our business. We used the Lean methods to expedite our idea and make CollateBox available for thousands of people.
SandHill.com: What is the most recent success that you and your employees celebrated together?
Sunny Ghosh: First 10 paid customers.
SandHill.com: You co-authored the book, “NetChakra — 15 Years of Internet in India.” India is, of course, one of the world’s largest Internet markets, and Indian outsourcing providers have certainly capitalized on the Internet for many years. What do you think will be the most significant impact of the Internet on businesses in the next three to five years?
Sunny Ghosh: The Internet is percolating beyond enterprise-type business process scenarios and back-office functions, and it’s touching millions of businesses and consumers in many different ways. By far the biggest impact of the Internet for business will be the penetration of the mobile Internet over the next three to five years.
SandHill.com: What is the most interesting way you have used the Internet and social media to acquire CollateBox customers?
Sunny Ghosh: We started addressing issues related to Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs in Twitter. This attracted a huge number of early beta registrations for CollateBox. But our most successful campaigns have been influencing the early user community in Quora.
Sunny Ghosh is co-founder and CEO of CollateBox Inc. A seasoned startup specialist, he has played a key role in the evolution of Internet-driven Web applications for businesses in the United States, Scandinavia and India. He is also a co-author of “Netchakra – 15 years of Internet in India.” He enjoys strategy, marketing, sales and customer development. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor of SandHill.com.