Shortly after yesterday morning’s #OpenCoffeeLou, Adam Fish and John Receveur of Roobiq fleshed out their San Francisco and AngelPad experience a bit more.
Not much changed about Roobiq’s business model during the course of AngelPad, they’ve simply “enlarged the pie,” says Fish.
Roobiq remains voice-based mobile CRM for Salesforce and their time at AngelPad reinforced how much demand there is for such a system. “Mobile CRM is totally unsolved,” says Fish. “Enterprise companies haven’t figured it out at all.”
He explained that Salesforce was created for desktop computing, and the software is still tied to that model.
There are programs, IVR or interactive voice response, that allow you to call with your phone, listen to prompts and dictate your customer information according to the prompts. Roobiq is way more dynamic than that. IVR has never been able to achieve much scale, says Fish. Salesforce itself, allows you to dictate, but it is one-way communication.
“Roobiq is a system,” says Receveur. It talks back to you. Ideally the program would be entirely hands-free. One of the most “neglected” time spaces for a salesperson is time traveling in the car, time you cannot safely used a laptop or a smartphone. There have been requests from companies that Roobiq bluetooth enable the program for safety reasons and to allow salespeople in states where texting while driving is outlawed to use Roobiq legally while driving.
See it at work here:
Roobiq will be hiring soon. Fish says, “Hiring never gets easier. If you hire the right person they will jumpstart your company. If you hire the wrong person and don’t fire them fast enough, they can sink you.”
While in Louisville, Roobiq’s pain was finding the niche tech talent that they needed, in San Francisco, the pain is paying what this niche tech talent demands and getting them to come to work for you. Hiring a tech talent away from a big company to a risky startup is tough. (As noted in the Wall Street Journal article about AngelPad opening a NYC class in the fall. It’s getting easier to find available tech talent in NYC than in the Valley).
Fish says that they’ve had some inbound interest from people on the Siri team, but they’re very expensive.
When Fish first started looking at accelerators, some in the business world warned him off them. It’s (in this case) three months of really intense time. You give up a fair amount of equity. But Fish says Chris Vermilion compares it to college– some people benefit just from going to college, some people need to have the cache that an Ivy League college conveys, and some people don’t need college at all.
And certainly AngelPad is in the “Ivy Leagues” of accelerator programs. Last year, Forbes ranked it number four in the U.S. Fish says that the talent in his class is likely to propel AngelPad into an interchangeable spot at the top with Y Combinator.
When asked for an example of a favorite classmate company, Fish cites Boxbee– a storage-on-demand concept. You order boxes, Boxbee delivers them to you, you take a picture of the contents and upload it, you fill the boxes and Boxbee takes them away.
When you need something in the box, you go onto your computer/smartphone/tablet, click the box you need, and Boxbee brings it back. It’s $6 a month to store a box. It’s $15 plus $2 per box for a delivery.
No more dusty, creepy storage spaces. No more wondering if Dexter is doing his slice and dice in the neighboring unit. No more schlepping things back and forth.
(Author’s note: I want this in Louisville… now.)
As Fish says, “it’s disrupting a traditional business model.”
When Ben Yoskovitz pitched his Entrepreneur Travel Fund, he said it’s best to wrap a trip to the Valley around an “event”– a conference, a class, an accelerator program– otherwise it’s going to be hard to get dialed in. Along those same lines Fish said he was inspired to join the accelerator in part because he’s seen companies leave Louisville and “get caught in the fluff.”
And so far, it looks like Roobiq has not gotten caught in the fluff. They’re going to be moving into a Series A raise over the next twelve months, sooner than expected because of the quality of investors that they’re meeting with. “We’re meeting with people that we want on our board of directors,” says Fish.
There’s still no revenue, but their 2,000 users on private beta are testing the heck out of it. Fish said, “We’re doing this Silicon Valley-style.” This means they’re striving to get the product right before they start worrying about early revenue.
They’re hoping to be in the app store in the fall and hope to roll Roobiq out big at Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce convention in San Francisco in November.
“As great as it is out in the Valley, we’ve developed a great appreciation for the people who got us there,” says Fish. He said that he and Vermilion repped Louisville and Kentucky while in AngelPad and that they did a lot to change people’s perceptions of Kentucky.
“There are certainly more bourbon fans than there were before.”