We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Sachet Gagwani”, Founder/CEO of the Ashburn – USA based start-up “Pear-U”
Below is the interview we conducted with him:
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Pear-U is a social networking application available on iPhone and Android. It combines the ease of use of a Tinder style interface with a sophisticated personality matching algorithm similar to OKCupid. It’s meant for making friends as well as making long lasting relationships.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
Pear-U LLC. was founded on November 26th, 2015. We are currently used all over the United States, parts of Canada, parts of the UK,
and parts of Australia.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
Although we’re similar to Hot Or Not and Tinder in many different ways, we use a B2B revenue model instead of a B2C revenue model. While Tinder charges $10 a month to college students who want more than 20 swipes, we give our users free unlimited swipes and charge them no fees. Instead, we charge companies to advertise their businesses on our platform, who typically target young consumers, mostly in colleges.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
Sachet Gagwani (CEO/Co-Founder) met Nakul Kurane (CFO) in 6th grade. After graduating from Broad Run High School, the two became extremely interested in start ups and technology, and decided to work on their own product. Sachet Gagwani met Ben Thompson (CTO/Co-Founder) during his first semester at Radford University. The two lived in the same residence hall.
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?
Pear-U combines the ease of use of apps like Hot Or Not, and Tinder by incorporating a similar GUI for users, but also combines the very well researched personality algorithm, which in tern matches all of our users to their perfect options in a given radius. Pear-U is the best of both worlds.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
After launching in November, Pear-U has been getting more than 10,000 downloads a month since March. We’re expanding so quickly with a steady increase in growth rate every month. Our growth rate is greater than any of our start up competitors, including Friendsy from Princeton, and Pear, from UVA.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Our competitors include Tinder, Friendsy, Hot Or Not, Bumble, and Hinge. None of these apps have our competitive advantage, which is combining the ease of swiping through users in a given area as well as displaying a personality match percentage.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
Funding was horrible in the early stages. We were all broke. As a result, we wrote a lot of the code ourselves and outsourced the front end development of the app.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
How difficult yet rewarding it is to start your own company. For us, starting our company came from not wanting to have a boss, and at the same time doing what we love.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We are the best. We took the great qualities of the best apps in our niche market, and incinerated the bad ones. That’s what makes our growth so amazing. That’s how we get over 2,000 downloads on some days.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Our start up is on its way to massive success, since we are projecting 250,000 downloads by the end of 2016. We are looking to expand Pear-U into internet based audio/video communication, anonymous democratic information boards for particular locations, anonymous picture sharing, and location based news services.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
There was nothing like this out there, so we decided to build it! There is no app that combines our ease of use with our efficiency. Pear-U will dominate the market of location based social networking technology.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
It’s hard to know where to start, but once you get the hang of it, keep pushing and you’ll see success. Those who give up don’t deserve to be entrepreneurs. It’s not just a business. It’s an art. It’s impossible to describe your vision to anyone.The only way they’ll see it is if you execute your ideas accurately.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
We’re getting so much traffic that we will have to spend most of our revenue on a new server. I guess it’s a good problem to have, but VC’s could definitely help if they’re looking for a great ROI and are good at negotiating equity.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
You don’t have to pay for swipes anymore on Tinder, since you can get unlimited swipes for free on Pear-U, and numerous other amazing features! Our product beats literally everything else in the market, so we don’t even have to spend much time on marketing our app. That’s a very rare thing.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Word of mouth. The app had spread, and is still spreading like wildfire! If we keep improving the product as much as we have been, I’m sure that Pear-U will eventually become a household name. That’s the day we’re really looking forward to.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current users are college students all over every English speaking country. Our target users are every college student on every campus in the world.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
New users come from trying our competitors’ apps, and wanting something better. That’s exactly why our growth is so quick! We have
literally not invested a cent in marketing. I think that’s what VC’s look for, and what they should see in our company when they decided to valuate our worth 5 years from now.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They love the concept over our competitors. Despite our lack of funding, we’re able to utilize our resources very well to sustain our massive growth rate.
20. How are you going to scale?
Exactly like we’ve been doing this whole time! It’s all about supply and demand. Our potential to scale is huge, as we’ve already proven with our massive growth rate in such a short period of time. We plan on doing to Friendsy and Tinder what Facebook did to Myspace.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
We need to improve load times by acquiring a bigger server, which is why we’ve been negotiating with several VC firms. We’re open to negotiation to any VC’s or angel investors who read this. Just go to our website, pearuapp.com, download our app, go to settings, and press the contact button.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Yes. We already have. Tinder users all over the world are switching to Pear-U due to their obsolete revenue model. Broke college students can’t afford to pay for swipes. It’s common sense!
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
I think we will be one of the biggest location based social networking apps in the world within the next 4 years. We’re just going to do
what we’ve been doing. Getting better, and better everyday and learning from our mistakes.
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?
If we receive funding, we are looking to hire new employees. These will be project managers, iOS developers, Android developers, and PHP developers. Depending on how much funding we get, we may also hire a few database administrators to manage our SQL servers.
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, funding will catalyze it dramatically. You don’t need much capital to start a profitable internet company, but you definitely need it to scale.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Stay hungry. Stay foolish. Don’t let people tell you what’s right and wrong. Make your own judgement based on your own experiences. Others’ inexperienced arrogance should not come in the way off innovation. Do what you have to do to make the world a better place.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I hacked Radford University’s horrible network. I visited recently, and they still haven’t fixed their flaws.