June 20, 2014
From Bloomberg in New York to launching a Startup in New Delhi, with Cheenu Madan, founder of ClinchPad
Cheenu, please introduce yourself…
I’m Cheenu Madan. I am from and currently reside in New Delhi, India. I have a Masters degree from University of Florida and have worked at Bloomberg in New York City.
What’s the story behind creating ClinchPad and can you explain how it works?
I was working in New York City with a comfortable job and earning six figures. Inspite of this I was getting restless at my job as I always wanted to start something of my own. I finally quit my job and moved back to India where I started experimenting with various ideas.
The idea for ClinchPad came when we were tracking business leads for another product. We struggled to track leads using spreadsheets since they aren’t really designed for it and we could not find any application catering to the needs of business owners with small teams as all the CRMs in the market are targeted at enterprises.
ClinchPad is a modern CRM application which unlike traditional CRMs focuses on deals rather than contacts. Its main focus is on managing your sales pipeline through a visual interface as can be seen in this screenshot http://goo.gl/6gsdYX. It is targeted at small teams who need something simple to manage their business leads rather than large sales teams.
How’s traction working out so far?
ClinchPad was launched in July 2013. We are getting tremendous traction from businesses across the world. Our users are from all parts of the world and the major traffic comes from US, UK and other European countries.
Our conversion rates are running in double digits and our growth rate is in healthy double digits as well. Many of our users have left their existing popular CRMs such as Zoho & Salesforce to use ClinchPad.
What strategies are you using to market ClinchPad?
We mainly use content marketing to market ClinchPad. We have a very active blog where we write about growing businesses.
These articles are shared on social media and a percentage of visitors to these articles end up visiting our website and trying out our service.
If you were to start over again, what would you do differently, and why?
We spent a lot of money on online ad campaigns such as those on Google, Linkedin and Facebook. These weren’t very successful and they had a negative ROI. We’ve had much better success with other strategies such as content marketing, product reviews and word of mouth.
How does being based in New Delhi impact the business?
New Delhi is definitely a great location to build a startup. It is one of the biggest IT hubs in the country, along with Bangalore.
We are also seeing the first wave of product startups coming out of India and also investors are taking notice of Indian startups, setting up India specific funds and putting money in Indian startups.
The main disadvantage is that there is a dearth of mentorship capital. There are very few people in India who have built successful product startups, especially in the SaaS space.
It can also be harder to convince people to take the risk to join a startup since people prefer working for bigger IT companies, but that mindset is slowly changing.
How do you see the startup and investment ecosystem developing in New Delhi?
The startup ecosystem is growing tremendously in New Delhi. It’s already home to some global brands and there are now several accelerators and seed investors based out of New Delhi.
Along with Bangalore, I see New Delhi becoming a preferred destination for starting a startup.
What’s next for you and ClinchPad?
Our aim is to build ClinchPad into a global product company. Our user base is growing in double digits every week and we hope to sustain this growth rate going forward.
We still focus a lot on getting feedback from our active users and use that to improve the product.