“Inqu“ is a free polling service that allows you to find out what the majority of people think and do.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mrs. ‘Kummer’ regarding her internet start-up “Inqu”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Inqu” is all about?
Inqu is a free polling service that allows you to find out what the majority thinks and does. Inqu’s goal is in 2 years from now have millions of people using it in a similar way they use Google or Wikipedia. They will use it to find information: information on what the majority of people think or do.
I am the President of Inqu Inc. – a Social Polling company.
2. When has “Inqu” been founded? And what stage is “Inqu” currently at?
Inqu was founded in September 2011. We are in BETA mode, meaning the website is in development – a work in progress with more to come. What is interesting though is that even if we are in BETA mode, we have more than 35.000 page views on our site already – a clear indicator that there is a strong interest in our product. On June 14, we launched our web application. It can now be accessed on desktop as well as on mobile. Everyone can now create a free account on www.inqu.me.
3. What is “Inqu”‘s business model and how does it work?
Internet startups typically have 2 goals: One is mass adoption and the other one is revenue generation. Our primary goal at this stage is mass adoption. We want to offer our users the best possible value of visiting our site. Our operations costs are low which allows us to purely focus on adding value to our users without charging them for our services.
At the point where our operating costs will increase, we can provide our users with user-tailored advertisement. Inqu allows us to understand what our users like and don’t like, and thus offering them tailored advertisement brings value to both users and advertisers.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
We’ve met in 2011 in the Alpine Inn in Portola Valley, California. The Alpine Inn is a known place among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and many startup ideas have been discussed here. The Inqu core team consists out of myself, Renata, Alex, and Daniel and all of us have served as leads in various startups and software companies like Google.
I am responsible for the day-to-day management of Inqu, Daniel is the CTO, Renata is the Front End Developer, and Alex the product visionary behind Inqu.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
What makes us different from other social media sites and polling applications is that we
• Offer our users questions and answers they are interested in. We do not show our users the most recent questions that come in, but really the one that are liked by other users;
• Offer our users free detailed reports. Often, polling apps charge you for detailed reports. Inqu offers all demographic reports for free;
• Offer our users a place where their opinions count. Opinions in the internet do not always get the attention it deserves. Inqu counts every opinion and makes sure it will always stay relevant.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Inqu” achieved so far?
We can report a strong growth within the first few days being live. To be exact, we have 35.000 page views on our website so far. We just accomplished three of our milestones:
• We went live with a web application that is fast, stable, and enjoyable to use
• We went live with a mobile optimized applications that allows people to use Inqu on the go
• We finalized our go-to market plan
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “Inqu”‘s competitive advantage over them?
We consider Thumb and GoPollGo (which was recently acquired by Yahoo!) as some of our top competitors. Both companies are doing a fantastic job and we wish them success. What Thumb, GoPollGo, and Inqu have in common is – they offer a polling application, however, our goals are different.
Our goal is to become a Wikipedia or a Google for specific information: Information on what the majority does or thinks. We allow users to see voting results in details by age, gender, and country; if you want Inqu gives you the option to comment on the questions; share the question via other social media sites like Facebook or Twitter; or go on and vote on the most popular questions or on the categories you selected. You can search for specific questions and you can post your own questions and let others vote.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Like all startups, we were running into many obstacles. Without the mistakes we have made, we would not be where we are today. The key is to learn from them.
One of the challenges we faced was that we focused too much on building a web application – at a time where the focus shifted towards mobile. We overcame this challenge by investing our efforts into building the best possible mobile app.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
“Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away”. This quote, from the French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is what we have in mind when we have built Inqu. Outsiders do not understand the complexity of the algorithms we use behind the scenes. These algorithms allow our users to be exposed to the questions that are relevant to them.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We are going to succeed because we will never give up. We are in for the long run. We sometimes joke and compare our attitude to a dog with a bone in its mouth. Inqu is our bone – and we won’t ever drop it until we make sure our idea materializes in its full potential. Our entire team is aligned behind one clear vision: We want to offer our users a product that allows them to find out what the majority thinks – within the blink of an eye.
11. If “Inqu” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
When Inqu succeeds, we can expand into a number of different areas. We have a clear vision where we see Inqu in 2 years from now. However, as a startup it helps to be agile, pragmatic and adjustable. We have a plan to enter 11 different markets, however, these are the details we’d rather reveal at a later point.
The only thing that I can say upfront that there are studies that proof that people who share the same opinions are much likelier to stay together than people who don’t.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Inqu” based on?
The original idea for Inqu was born several years ago, when Alex was a 25 year-old expat from Germany working in England, trying to explain what he thought would be right. The experience of living abroad and understanding cultural differences and rules – what’s good in one country can be wrong in another country – made him wish for one place where he can find out what the majority of people think and do.
But when you ask a question online, you only get unstructured responses. Without quantifying these responses, you will never see what the majorities of people think or do.
This is the foundation that inspired us to create Inqu.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We have received an enormous amount of positive feedback and also constructive feedback on how to make the product better. We see it as a nice confirmation that other startups are trying to acquire us: it confirms that our idea is backed up by a team of warriors and a rock solid technology. We also learned that having a great product is important but so is having a great marketing.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
That’s an interesting question. If the trend continues, then we can expect fast growth in our user base. Supporting this user base in the best possible might be a challenge that we will need to address accordingly. We learned that challenges get us out of the comfort zone and we all know: that is where the magic happens.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The internet is the most advanced way to find answers. But you still cannot figure out what the majority of people think or do. We created Inqu to change that. Inqu allows our users to find out what the majority of people say in a fast and fun way.
What’s great about Inqu is that if you want to check how many people like their body, there’s an answer to that. If you want to check how many people think education should be free, there’s an answer to that, and if you want to know how many people wear underwear, there’s even an answer to that. There’s an answer for just about any question. And if not, ask the question, and get the answer.
Think of Inqu as the intersection of social media and Election Day, where thousands of people come together to vote for topics that are important to them.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Users found out about us via different channels. One channel is google search – all Inqu questions are indexed and thus can easily be found via a google search. Another channel is word of mouth and we do attract users via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Inqu was also covered on several startup websites and that drove additional people to our site.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
The site is targeted at early adopters, influencers, bloggers, and everyone who is interested in finding out what the majority of people think and do.
Our current users are coming mainly from the U.S. and other English speaking countries such as Australia and England. The typical user is between 18 and 34 years old. To get the best possible results on Inqu, we target users from all over the world.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
We are about to launch a bigger marketing campaign to inform potential users about Inqu. To ensure that potential users know what they can get before signing up on Inqu, we allow them to use some parts of the application without being signed up – such as seeing all existing questions and seeing the results of up to 3 questions.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They love it. We created an online survey to allow our users to provide anonymous feedback. The feedback we received was very encouraging –especially the fact that 91% of our users say that they would recommend our app to their friends. The best thing is that we can post a question on Inqu and have our users vote with yes or no – for instance on a question like: Do you think that Inqu is a good product name. 92% voted with Yes!
20. How are you going to scale?
As mentioned earlier, building a product is one step, scaling it in the market is another one. We built our platforms on one of the biggest cloud infrastructure and so we can scale up to thousands of users. To scale in the market, we will be talking to the press in the upcoming weeks. In addition to that, we believe that good products attract users. If a user is satisfied with Inqu, it is easy for her to share Inqu with the friends: Inqu is deeply integrated with Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and it is just one click away to share it or leave a comment!
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
So far, we have collected 42 feature suggestions. The one that has been asked most for is to allow users to follow other users and with that make it possible to always see what someone who you follow asks on Inqu. This is a pretty common feature in social media applications and we are considering right now whether we should implement it or not. One other feature would be adding an activity feed.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
It is not among our top priorities to internationalize. While it is crucial for to quality of Inqu results to have people from all over the world vote on questions, there is no plan that we open offices in different countries. Our team comes from 3 different countries, and has lived in 8 different ones. That experience allows us to tap into old networks, and make Inqu known in other countries.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
Inqu has the potential to grow to a size of Twitter. And this is where we want to get. We want to grow Inqu into a product that will be used like Wikipedia or Google: a place where people go to when they look for specific answers. Creating revenue with Inqu will be easy and thus we can grow Inqu further without major investment. Still, we believe that being in the Silicon Valley and working with investors would allow us reach our ultimate goal: reaching millions of people within 1 year from now.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are always interested in exceptional people who have the desire and persistency to accomplish something big.
If you are interested in joining a young, fun, and trendy startup then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why you want to join us. To us, not only your resume is important but really your attitude.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
Our business is self-sustainable, however, the goals we have could be faster accomplished with funding. In regards to partnerships, several companies offered to partner with us and while we have not met the perfect match yet, we are interested in talking to you. You can reach us at email@example.com or call us at (650) 308-8655.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
If young entrepreneurs like to have advice they can call me any time at (650) 308-8655 and I am happy to talk with them. After all, I am a true believer in sharing the knowledge. Other than that I recommend to: Know what you want; do what you love; find a mentor; surround yourself with the right people.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
Yes, I would like to use this opportunity to invite you to our site www.Inqu.me/vote I truly believe that you will enjoy using it and if not, I am really just a phone call away to listen to your feedback!
Thank you “Start-ups” team for this opportunity to share more about our product! Looking forward to our next interview when we reached 1 million users.