TechStorey is a comprehensive technical resource directory based in India. They help businesses advance by providing technical and business advice. TechStorey mentors and invests in promising start-ups, their flagship being Startup Button.
I had the opportunity to interview the founder of TechStorey, Zaman Mecci:
How did the idea for TechStorey originate?
The roots of the idea go back in 2005 when the digital and e-commerce market was making inroads into the Indian market. As a fresh engineering graduate in the year 2005, my first effort to build a successful digital startup failed due to lack of experience and financial constraints to build the product.
We developed our first e-commerce software in 2005 but drained all our financial and human resources and the site was never launched. Moreover, seed funding was not popular in India during this time. The next few start-up efforts failed in the idea stage and never shaped into a real business entity. In 2014, TechStorey was launched with a business model that evolved from our own shortcomings. We not only train, consult and mentor small traditional businesses but invest in or acquire promising early-stage startups in media tech domain.
What do you look for in startups you want to acquire?
Product or feature innovation is the first checkmark. For example, In the Startup Button “SCRUM” live twitter updates are gathered from Twitter API. Users can post live updates about their projects on SCRUM via tweets. This shows the user has put considerable amount of work and skills. When we acquire a startup or a product we see the application feature and usability uniqueness that is not very easily available or replicable using customizable templates or software, for example, WordPress or Joomla. The user base metrics and revenue model is also important but not our primary focus. Most buyers you see on a marketplace like flippa make purchasing decisions solely based on current revenues and user base. This is not wrong, but we generally avoid this strategy.
In a case where we are not purchasing but investing in a startup, then the founding team becomes as or sometimes more important than the product itself. We love to invest in founders or creators who respond well, show eagerness in developing partnerships to grow. Good founding team value time and execute vigorously.
Your flagship, The Startup Button, was and is still thriving. After purchasing it, what improvements did you make to the site?
In earlier versions of startupbutton.com, only featured startups were listed on the home page. Every day, new startups were reviewed and hand-picked from the submission pool. These were then added on the home page. All the previous startups were archived in the database. The Startup Button version 3.0 contained Startup Button scrum- a platform for creators to share the things they are currently working on. When we took over the Startup Button, we made all the archived startups live on our home page. The featured startups are still at the top. This was a major 4.0 version upgrade. All startups will now have some visibility but the once that are featured at the top have more visibility. The Startup Button 4.0 release also has a marketplace- a platform built for selling online business or product. In addition, we are currently working to add news feature where startups will be able to submit their news links published elsewhere on sites like TechCrunch, Venture Beat, Business Insider or even Startup Hound.
What’s the biggest setback you’ve had with TechStorey?
One of the co-founders left TechStorey at initial stages and is no longer with TechStorey. I get some help from the other co-founder in administrative and some marketing tasks. This is the reason we give more importance to the founding team while we look in investing in startups. The product or application analysis is placed next.
And what do you hope TechStorey looks like in the future?
We were on a buying spree this year. Our strategy of acquiring web applications has worked very well so far with The Startup Button. Besides the StartupButton.com deal, we just signed a partnership agreement with a European based large media company specializing in video content. This partnership will allow TechStorey to set its foot in the content distribution business. Based on our past experience, our key to success is in content distribution and not content creation. One of our web interface ReportFlag.com is in the development stage. There are other 2 sites in BETA stage. 2017 was a good year for us but our expectations for 2018 are higher in terms of developing content partnerships and growing users. We are also on a hunt for a merger or willing to dilute equity in TechStorey for potential partners in media tech space.
To end, do you have any tips for success in entrepreneurship?
Avoid selecting co-founders solely based on friendships and comfort zones. A common tendency among founders is to look for a co-founder within their friend’s circle. The co-founding team should be formed based on skills, common goals, and financial contributions. Look out for potential co-founders in startup clubs, incubators, or seminars. You might find a better fit.
Learn more about TechStorey: