Pranaya Ghimire is the founder of StartUpLift. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Pranaya currently lives in New York City. He is the product of Ithaca College and holds degrees in Computer Information Systems and Business Administration.
Pranaya previously founded CareerSquared that catered to the unique needs of job-seekers and provided an innovative platform for job-seekers and career-experts to work together. After realizing the need for a service that easily allowed Startups get exposure and solicit much needed direct feedback, he created StartUpLift. Launched recently on 1/1/11, StartUpLift has already featured over 300 startups and received submissions from over 2000 feedback providers to help startups improve.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently spending most of my time on building and expanding StartUpLift. We have created a simple, yet very effective model where startups do not have to go through the traditional feedback-gathering and user-testing processes that are complicated and time-consuming. Our goal is to turn StartUpLift into a must-use platform for every company where you can effortlessly get feedback for any project in an easy, fast and cost-effective manner.
We have two sets of customers – startups who come to receive feedback and the feedback providers. It is very important for me to constantly know what is working and what is not so that we can create a better experience for everyone involved. I currently spend 40% of my time on customer service and 60% on development.
3 trends that excite you?
I am really excited about the recent “shift” of everything to mobile. This has opened up a whole new world of opportunities and has made easier than ever to reach a potential customer.
I am also excited about how the internet has brought everyone together – such that, instead of a geographical locale, the whole online world is your marketplace. You could call it globalization in some way. Now, when you build a product, you have to think from cross-cultural perspective, otherwise you will be leaving out a huge chunk of potential customers. Another, sub-trend, if you will, as a direct result people’s presence online is Crowdsourcing. You are suddenly able to tap into this invaluable resource that can help resolve many things immediately. StartUpLift was built upon this very foundation. When companies come to us for feedback, we notify our user- base, who then immediately jump in to participate.
Another trend that I find exciting is the change in the notion of work-environment. In a few years, I believe, we will be so mobile that cubicle culture will be limited to the most conservative of organizations.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Until a few years ago, whenever I had a new idea, I used to be in such a rush to get it implemented that I would block everything else out, start coding/developing right away and end up wasting a lot of time. Now, I like to sleep on an idea first and let the initial infatuation subside. After a week or so, if I still find the idea compelling enough to pursue, I like to throw something together quickly (in Php or Ruby) so that it can be visualized and I can get some feedback. Everything else usually depends on the reactions I get and whether there was any initial interest/traction.
What inspires you?
Knowing that what I (my startup) am doing is actually helping others in a meaningful way is very inspiring to me. Like any founder, I go through up and downs a lot. This roller-coaster ride is especially worse if you are bootstrapped. During the down times, there is nothing that motivates me more than an email/call from a customer thanking me for our service and explaining how it has actually helped them in a meaningful way. I think this feeling is mutually shared by the startup community.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
It’s probably not just one mistake, but in general, jumping from one idea to another without thinking properly with my head and not doing my due diligence has cost me a lot in the past in terms of time and money. Now I like to do my research. And, I think Paul Graham mentions this in one of his essays, if, after a few days, if I am still strongly feeling about the idea in the shower, I move forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
“App”Lift. App market is exploding, and so is the need to get the apps evaluated.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
“Purple Cow” by Seth Godin always helps me think outside the box. As far as software is concerned, I do everything in Notepad++ (not the windows notepad).
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
I am a big fan of Seth Godin. Have you interviewed him yet? (yes we have, we love that guy)