Socedo co-founder Aseem Badshah came up with the idea for his startup after helping big brands like Microsoft and Guess boost their presence on Twitter and Facebook.
Badshah realized that businesses were doing a good job of broadcasting their messages and responding to customer inquiries, but not taking advantage of driving new sales leads via social media.
Now, with Socedo, Badshah says they are trying to assist businesses by identifying “the right individuals to build relationships with and to help make that connection via the social web.
The 9-month-old startup is a recent graduate of Microsoft Windows Azure accelerator, an incubator program supported by TechStars. We caught up with the 24-year-old Badshah for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We help sales and business development professionals identify relevant leads based on social media data.”
Inspiration hit us when: “Inspiration hit us when we executed a social media campaign that relied on building personal one-to-one relationships with potential customers through a sales pipeline methodology rather than just posting content to social networks. The results of this campaign far exceeded our expectations and we knew we were on to something. We quickly realized that the technology to identify and engage with potential customers on social media did not yet exist and Socedo was born!”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We have bootstrapped until now and are currently looking for angel funding. There has been a lot of excitement and uptake of our very early private beta and we have only built out a very small piece of our overall product vision. Angel funding will help us to accelerate and take advantage of the huge opportunity in front of us.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our cloud infrastructure that allows us to process large amounts of social media data in real time at low cost; our algorithms that find relevancy in the unstructured nature of social media content; and our deep experience in the social media space.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Thinking about Socedo as a completely separate business from our marketing agency. Building a product for your own team is great way to get started but it can be dangerous in the long run. Using customer development methods we learned that the market for Socedo has slightly different needs than our own agency and we were able to pivot quickly rather than wasting time and money moving in the wrong direction.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “In a lean startup, it’s the little mistakes that can add up to be fatal. We are constantly trying to test different hypothesis by building the minimum amount of functionality possible. However, if you build too little then you may not be getting the right data from customers to really make actionable decisions. We’re still working to find the right sweet spot every time we prioritize our product roadmap to take as much waste out of the equation as possible.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Jobs. It’s inspiring to think about the way that Jobs viewed the world. The fact that he transformed six industries is absolutely incredible! This is a guy that knows how to think big and I’m confident he would encourage us to do the same. Jobs also know what it is like to lose everything and come back from a situation where the whole world is rooting against him. To have that level of determination and vision in our corner would be a dream come true.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “When hundreds of thousands of businesses are using Socedo to develop deep relationships on social media that directly affect their bottom line. Social media is still in the caveman days where we post things on a wall and friends walk by to say they ‘like’ it. It won’t be long until social media allows us to create profound relationships with new people in an effective way. Socedo will be at the center of facilitating this transformation!”
Rivals should fear us because: “We grew up in a world dominated by social media. For us, social media has always been at the center of business operations and human culture. Our team knows this space extremely well and we are determined to change the world.”
We are truly unique because: “We focus on the individuals using social media. Instead of taking the 10,000 foot approach to social monitoring and analytics, we believe that true value comes from people connecting with other people.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Finding the right way to position our vision in the market. We spent a lot of time trying to identify who our end user would be. Was it someone in marketing, in sales, the existing social media manager? Our initial thought was that the person managing the social media presence for a brand would be our early adopter. We soon realized that sales teams had a more acute need for developing one-to-one relationships with potential customers. This learning changed everything as we worked to build our private beta.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Get into a habit of talking to your customers all the time. Understand their needs and get into their head. You’ll have lots of voices influencing your product direction. Just remember that the voice of the customer should always be heard first.”
More from Badshah via Started In Seattle: