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Textr : Group Messaging App

http://www.textrmessenger.com/index.php/

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We had an interesting chat with Mr. “Sam Getty”, Founder of the Atlanta, Georgia – USA based start-up “Textr”

Below is the interview we conducted with him:

1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?

Textr is a live group messaging app coming to IOS and Android. Textr lets users create groups or join groups with friends and people around the world. People can then message live in a continuous fashion with each other as events unfold.

2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?

Textr was founded October 2014, and we started developing the product the beginning of 2015. Our team consists of six individuals: two backend developers, two frontend developers, a graphic designer, and then a business manager.

3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?

Textr is a messaging app which means there are certain routes that can be taken to make a profit. One thing we are conscious about is protecting the privacy of our users which is why all groups are deleted within a 24 hour period of inactivity. Our model we are going with will include partnerships with companies as well as add-ons and a platform for developers.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

Our team has met through the grapevine :) we are a group of people that come from all walks of life but we are dedicated to the project and since we are all different we have great insight on different viewpoints for the project.

Sam – Founder – Business
Shaban – Frontend Android  
Douglas – Frontend IOS
Avery – Graphic Designs
Leo – Backend
Jignesh – Backend

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?

Textr takes the concept of commenting and lets people chat in a continuous fashion. No more refreshing the page to get new information or hopping between websites just to see what’s going on in the world and people’s opinions of it. Textr centralizes group communication for everything live.

6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?

We currently have a partnership that gives us access to carriers around the US/EU/Singapore with a potential 2-3 million users subject to exposure to our app. In addition we are building a social media presence as well as a beta list for our beta release which will be in the next weeks. One thing that is important to us is building a good product so that is currently taking up most of our time.

7. Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?

We are in the same building as companies such as Periscope, VIne, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. We provide live communication but our communication is group messaging focused instead of streams/videos/media/static posts.  Our advantage is we are focused on live group messaging which no other app has a focus on. In addition we have a backend built ground up on Erlang and our own semantic analytic algorithm.

8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

January when we started regularly coding the app, two of my developers left the same day. They had family or job related priorities and once things started happening they found it too hard. That was an extremely rough week and I thought of dropping the business. Instead my current employees stepped up to the plate and I found better replacements.

9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?

People like commenting, and people like watching others comment. There are people who spend all day browsing through Reddit or other forums/articles just to read the comments or comment themselves. Textr is a hub for people to express themselves on everything that is relevant to them.

10. Why are you going to succeed?

Intrinsic motivation has let us push further than if we were only focused on an hourly wage. In the end I have set the standards to push through anything and everything to reach my goals. What I have learned most is there will always be an obstacle, but understand everyone deals with things and move on from that obstacle.

11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?

We are looking to expand into live communication as a whole. If the presidential elections are happening we want Yahoo to use Textr for their analysists to communicate for people to see. If the superbowl is happening we want ESPN to use Textr for commenting and interacting with fans as the game unfolds.

12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?

We chose this idea since we believe there is not a great place for people to message friends and new people about things they care about. We wanted a community where we know there will be a group we can join that is relevant to us. 

13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?

Keep pushing until you reach your goals. If you do not help yourself then no one else will. Be the change you wish to see in yourself. The difference between a dream and a reality is the action taken.

14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?

Hopefully our biggest problem will be funding to support the user growth we are having. We are looking to be a top player in the messaging market and an ideal situation would lend us to being a top contender in the social media scene.

15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?

The benefit for the customer is having a place to create groups for friends or people to join without having to worry about inviting people. In addition once a conversation is over then the chat will be deleted. People can have a place to message about all things live and find new people who share the same interests as them and enjoy their company.

16. How did customers / users find out about you?

Users have found out about us through our social media, our website, and our word of mouth. In addition, PR will do wonders for us if we can catch on. Imagine Lebron James tweeting “I’ll be on Textr at 8pm tonight chat with me live”. Things like that would give us millions of users very quickly.

17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?

Our current customers include people ages 13-30, and we are looking to have a big impact on late teenagers/early adults. Our idea target would be a person in high school or college who is interested in sports, world news, TV shows, etc…

18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?

Gaining partnerships with networks will be big for new customers. Having ESPN promote our app to message live with analysts or view an analyst interview a sports player is something people would love to do. Or a new tv show being premiered and people using Textr to connect with fans of the show and chat real time as the show unfolds.

I think people will try us because we are different from the usual social media app in that we are all about the group communication.

19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?

Although we are not in an open beta just yet, our idea/MVP has gotten good reviews from people. I think people are excited by the idea of talking with new people about things that interest them. Whether that is having a group to talk with as a boxing match unfolds or a new TV show is premiered.

20. How are you going to scale?

Since we have built our backend ground up on Erlang we have a great framework for expanding and growing. We are looking to target communities and niche groups such as sports fan groups and universities.

21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?

Users kept on asking for a way to join new groups based on their interests – that is why we have now implemented a new randomization ability. A person can randomize and join a group based on their interests. This is a great way for people to meet new people who share their same interests.

22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?

Yes we are planning to go international. The obvious segment towards an international market seems to be the sports market. Soccer in particular is a great way to push our product to people. Imagine being a Real Madrid fan living in the US and being able to chat live with fans in Spain!

23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?

We think we can be as big as Groupme, and even Snapchat or Twitter. A big part will be getting people to see our product and choose
for themselves if they want to join our community. We feel our product is something that nobody else is working on yet has a valuable place in the app world – look at other live communication apps such as Periscope/Meerkat. We are doing live communication but focusing on messaging.

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 looking to add new people to our team. We are currently full with developers but are looking for marketers. You can contact us at sam@textrmessenger.com or business@textrmessenger.com

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?

We are definitely looking for partnerships, an ideal partnership would be a company that has a website with a forum or a group such as a sports group or entertainment network. We are also looking for funding. We have applied to accelerators as well and are waiting to hear back. All people can contact us at
sam@textrmessenger.com

26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS. This took me a long time to understand but other people are not going get you to where you want to be and you have to take charge with your life and pursue your goals. Also, it is okay to fail a few times before succeeding :)

27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this. I made things short since I understand you all are reading through hundreds of these. That being said if you have any questions please contact me and I hope you will see my app in the app store or on the front page of the web soon!

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