“What Business Are You In” – that’s the toughest question for any company to answer and in the same context, I shared a story of Hammer, Nail (and Startups). Well, the story was partly a result of my discussion with TrackEveryCoin team [read our coverage : Track Personal Finance with TrackEveryCoin and the review].
TrackEveryCoin (TEC), as the name suggests helps you to track each and every expense (not yet integrated with bank accounts) and also categorize them under right category. At launch, the startup had a device (price during launch was Rs. 1,799/) as well as mobile apps that integrates well with the web app, to enable syncing.
In my review, one of the basic question I had for the team was:
..and that makes me think whether the company is into personal finance space or device selling space.
the bigger question for the team is whether they are in a hardware device play or personal finance game? Selling personal finance gadget is a different ballgame (the team had earlier built a usb charger for iPod), while building personal finance tracker needs a different sales pitch.
The Bangalore based startup has now pivoted to phasing out the device and focus solely on mobile apps. Founder of TEC, Vikram shared a few learning
Only way we could address the problem was to have a small gadget to note down expenses. The idea seemed good and when we spoke to many people, they liked the idea of being able to note down expenses then and there.
Unfortunately it took us too much time to get the product manufactured in India. The manufacturing industry was not that great back then. Even till date we don’t have the best plastic mould makers in India! This delay in production caused us a lot of damage.
When building a hardware product, it is important to understand the life of the product in the market. Understand how other technologies can affect your product and adapt accordingly.
I’d call it blessing in disguise.
The device concept works only if it comes for a cheaper price (and is wildly available), but if you are in personal finance business – you just need to be present in the most omnipresent device for Indians, i.e. mobile phone. In fact, you don’t even need a hardware device to help people take control of their personal finance! [unless you are obsessed with hardware].
Do you think SMS based app works better in a personal finance space, as opposed to a downloadable app? Is that the next level of evolution?
Recommended Read: 5 personal finance mistakes that first time entrepreneurs must avoid
PS: If you are a startup who has a similar story of pivoting business model/product direction, get in touch with us.