Read. Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate.
Kabir Daswani is the founder and CEO of Grabb Mobile Inc. Loving all things tech and all things business, Kabir decided to launch Grabb, an app allowing people to save time by pre-ordering and pre-paying for meals. He incorporated the company from his university library, and has now grown Grabb to a team of seven, with over 25 restaurant partners, and thousands of users.
Where did the idea for Grabb come from?
The idea of Grabb came out of a pain I experienced while at University. We had one café in the business building at Queen’s University, and getting a simple drip coffee took about 10 minutes because of the size of the line. As a tech enthusiast, I use my phone to book hotels, buy concert tickets, and hail cabs. But despite the plethora of advancements in business and technology, I still had to waste around 20 to 30 minutes in a day waiting in line, just to get my coffee fix. I wanted to change that. A few months later the first draft of Grabb was created.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Mornings often involve working with our development team, testing and tweaking the app to ensure it is bug free, and iterating on our product to add new features.
The afternoon is usually filled with sales meeting with restaurants, setting up new locations, or executing marketing initiatives to get more customers using Grabb.
There is always something to be done from answering customer emails to hiring new talent to brainstorming new ideas. Luckily, the Grabb team and myself are very self-motivated and driven; our attitudes coupled with our passion for our app keep us productive.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I think the most important part of bringing ideas to life is being excited and passionate about them. Next is studying all facets of what it takes to execute the idea. The easy route might be hiring an outside specialist, but seeing your idea come to life will mean more if you have created it. As a business owner, it is vital to understand every component of your company.
When I first had the idea for Grabb, I did not have any formal development skills as my academic background and experience was in finance. I didn’t have a more tech savvy colleague to pass work off to. Being the founder of a technology company, I knew that it was imperative to learn. I learned to code using YouTube videos and online courses, and became proficient in Android and iOS development. All this was necessary to bring my idea to life. After all, Henry Ford didn’t just sell the engine, but built his baby himself.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Convenience. Convenience seems to be the driving force behind a lot of recent technology. Grabb, and many others such as Uber, Timeful, or Slack are incredible because they give us choice. We can spend less time doing what we don’t want to do (waiting, walking, scheduling, or sending emails) and more time doing what we want to do (spending time with family, working on a project, or enjoying a delicious meal).
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I leverage the tech tools at my disposable to increase productivity, such as slack to ensure clear communication within the whole team, asana to keep track of tasks, and github to keep our development efforts synced.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
When I was fifteen, I worked at a carnival blowing up balloons for the balloon dart game. Nothing comes easy, and sometimes you have to do crappy things that you don’t want to.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have brought the product to market faster, by making our MVP leaner with fewer bells and whistles.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Read. Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Early on I made the decision to put a fair amount of time and energy into signing one big chain, as opposed to several individually owned restaurants. The strategy worked out because the first chain, Hero Certified Burgers, helped with our credibility and acted as a snowball effect to signing many others. Rapid growth is important in the competitive landscape; often startups are low on manpower so it is imperative to put thought into where time and energy is going to ensure maximum efficiency.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We initially partnered with another company to help with some software development, as we did not have the capacity to do all the development work ourselves. Ultimately, I was not satisfied with the quality. No third party has the same standards of the founding team, so we had to redo most of the work. This ended up costing even more time and money, which I consider a failure. We now keep everything in house to ensure the quality of our product.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An app that shows you the nearest public washrooms in the city, with ratings for cleanliness!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
$100 on dinner at a cozy English pub with my girlfriend!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Uber at least once a day, Slack for team communication, Spotify and SoundCloud for my daily music dose, Netflix to fuel my TV addiction, and Instagram.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. Nothing comes easy, so it is important to understand the struggles that lie ahead.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Elon Musk. He is a visionary and game changer, and definitely one of my influencers.
Kabir Daswani on Twitter: @kabirdaswani
Kabir Daswani on LinkedIn:
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.