Hey guys! Startup Radius interviewed WebSatchel – a service that allows people to make their browsing experience more personal and secure. WebSatchel is a browser extension that makes it easy to save whole web pages and store them on cloud in just a few clicks. This is a next level of bookmarking the information on the web, and having a secure and quick access to it. How awesome is that?
Learn how a strong tech makes a perfect product, how to get first 500 users in just a month, why Product Hunt is a great and free marketing channel, how to compete with such a giant as Evernote, why building credibility really matters, and much more. Enjoy and read below!
Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is WebSatchel?
WebSatchel is a browser extension that allows users to save whole web pages and store them on googles cloud. Similar to bookmarking and web clipping with added features like highlighting and saving all your open tabs into a collection, then searching for them and opening them back up whenever you’re ready to get back to work. The point of WebSatchel is to save tons of pages and make the web a little more personal while also being able to access valuable information quickly and easily.
WebSatchel combines all the useful elements of a web clipper and bookmarker and makes it easy to search for valuable information in the future. We aim to develop a tool that allows users to create a more personal web where they can save their search results and access them quickly without having to wade through tons of clunky bookmarks, save pages that might get taken down, and make doing research significantly easier by letting users close all those open tabs into “Collections” and open them all back up at once whenever they need to. Additionally, we index every word on the page you save (Even if it’s only the link and not the entire page) which means while searching for a particular page or link, users don’t even have to remember the title. All they need is to type in a string of words that would have shown up in the page they’re looking for and we will bring up the correct save. We are also constantly working on updating the service and making it easier for users to save the information that matters the most. Feedback is appreciated.
Why are you building this? Was there a particular source of inspiration or money-making idea?
Back in 2015 Nikita Kuzmin (the main developer of WebSatchel) wanted a way to quickly save the pages that he found useful while also being able to find them easily in the future. Thus, he developed a browser app for personal use that let him save hundreds of pages. He loved his little program and called it “Googlito” because for him it was like building his own personal mini google. A place he could search through the pages he had been to before and get more relevant results versus having to search for the same information again using regular google.
In Nikita’s eyes it was difficult to find the same page twice especially when searching for particularly niche page or obscure website after a significant period of time. And so, after creating “Googlito” and using it for well over a year he decided that other people should be able to enjoy the peace of mind the service offered and so he assembled his team and got to work. During the naming process the team eventually settled on “WebSatchel” because the process of saving pages was akin to storing useful items in a place you hold close to your person (in this case a satchel) and have easy access to the contents inside. Thus WebSatchel was born and officially launched on October 15th 2018 on Firefox and November 7th on Chrome and Edge (recently added support for Opera as well).
Time for bragging! How big you are – traffic, users, anything else?
WebSatchel is brand new and gaining momentum quickly. In the first month and a half after launching we had over 500 users across various platforms. We had multiple articles and blogs written about us by people all over the world as fans raved over the idea of being able to have such an easy and convenient place to search for information they know they’ve had access to before.
After being featured on Product Hunt our numbers skyrocketed as we gained significant recognition and finally announced to the world that we are here and happy to help. We’ve reached out to numerous outlets trying to help spread the word about our service and what we can offer internet users in terms of peace of mind and easy access to information.
Who are your main competitors, and how good/bad they are?
We have a number of competitors some of which are incredibly popular such as “Evernote Web clipper” which also allows users to save pages, indexes them, has a gorgeous UI and makes it easy to find pages as well. However, one thing that people tend to miss is that saving pages is not the main goal of WebSatchel. Saving a page is easy and you could do it a million ways (easiest way is to right click on the desired page and select “Save as” and you are done) or you could just bookmark it. We seek to expand upon that concept and add a robust search engine into the mix along with multiple other features and functions that make surfing the web a lot more convenient and personal.
Highlighting is especially useful when you’re interested in only a small segment of a particular saved article such as a recipe (Something no other web clipper lets you do). And saving multiple tabs into a collection and quickly opening them back up is a god send to students and researchers that spend hours on the web looking for credible information (A feature not many programs allow you to do, much less a web clipper like Evernote). In one use case we allow students to not have to instantly annotate their research papers since they know that they can get back to the page they’re quoting whenever they need to. And we are constantly looking for more features to add to our service that will help make researching and simple browsing more convenient. Again, being as young as we are we are happy to accept feedback and will sincerely attempt to add the most pressing issues that our users might want (unlike larger companies who don’t always listen to feedback).
Who uses WebSatchel? What is your perfect buyer persona?
Theoretically everybody and anybody could/should use WebSatchel. Building a personal web is something anyone who uses the internet on a regular basis should want. It’s not necessarily just about uncluttering your bookmarks or saving a page its about making browsing personal and asserting some level of control over the chaotic realm that we call the internet. Things change all the time. Pages go offline, information is constantly lost. Sites you visited by chance aren’t there the second time you shake the magic 8 ball and look. So why not take a picture and add the power of a search engine the next time you go looking?
Our perfect buyer is anyone who is serious about building their own web. Someone who saves liberally not necessarily entire pages but links as well. They visit a page while looking for something and think “Hey it sure would be nice if I always had access to this” or someone who has 100’s of tabs open slowing down their computer because it doesn’t have 32 gigs of ram and when their friend sits down at their computer and asks “Why do you have so many pages open?” they sweat a little and tell them “Don’t close any tabs I might need them later.” Those are people who would likely become true enthusiasts of our service but it doesn’t take a tech head to want to have access to information at any time. Even though we are only a browser extension we aren’t relegated to only allowing our users to view their saved pages on desktops. You can easily access your satchel on a mobile platform and pull up the relevant save.
Were there any early growth-hacks& or tactics that have contributed to your current success?
The only real “growth hack” that seemed to work especially well is getting yourself featured on a popular website such as Product Hunt. There you get access to tons of exposure which makes it more likely that people will take notice of you (especially people who write articles on tech for a living) and if you just get a handful of people to start using your service and its actually a good service then they are much more likely to start spreading the word around. Having articles written about you definitely helps with publicity but more importantly establishes a level of legitimacy and credibility to an otherwise unheard of no name service. Having some sort of social media presence is important as well along with answering peoples questions and critiques. But honestly the biggest likelihood of your success depends on how good your product/service really is. Either you nail it and people like it or you don’t, and no one uses it. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of gray area though because you don’t necessarily need millions of downloads to consider yourself a success. Just so long as you give it your honest best and care about making a good product that actually helps people should take you a long way.
What were some of the biggest challenges while building WebSatchel early on and how did you
By far the biggest challenge of getting a new start up off the ground is getting the team on the same page. Everyone had their own objectives and agenda. But since they all couldn’t be met we had to settle on the most pressing ones. Consumers never realize how much effort and work goes on behind the scenes of a product/service. To them its like one day something is popular and they have no idea why that is and its because hard working individuals put in the time and effort that was necessary to get their team to where they needed to be. Small things like settling on a logo and having it designed can take weeks of hot debates.
Deciding where to stop building your service and going public is another hard challenge. Developers often view their creations as something they can keep adding to and making better. No one wants to release something that’s half done but the truth is its never done. Thus it’s important to set a line in the sand where you are comfortable in saying “Its not perfect but its pretty damn good” and reveal it to the world. And while mistakes are almost certain to be made and in hindsight you might wish you did certain things differently at least at the time you gave it your best shot and its something we are very proud of no matter how things go.
If you could give a marketing advice to other companies, what could it be based on your
I am a financial economist who graduated from UMBC in May of 2017 with a dream of becoming an entrepreneur. I have very little marketing experience, but I’ve created a number of startups that require marketing and I tend to run into the same issues. Typically, a startup has to overcome it’s lack of credibility, a less than stellar presentation of an otherwise phenomenal idea, and a lack of dedication to getting your product/service out there. When you’re trying to sell something new to someone you’ve got to get them to share your vision. That’s extremely hard to do especially when you’re new and unheard of. But you have to keep trying to get people to listen, share the vision, and use what you worked hard to create. Take chances that you normally would shy away from. Be the first to believe in your product otherwise no one else will. Eventually people will start to take notice of you and you might find yourself more successful than you initially thought you ever could be.
Which marketing channels you prefer and why?
We are a tech company, so it makes sense for us to market ourselves on the web. Online blogs and articles are very helpful in building legitimacy and credibility. Reviews are also very helpful. One potential avenue for marketing WebSatchel is by reaching out to popular YouTubers and having them give us a shout out. Again, it’s all about building credibility. Showing the world your serious. Sites like product hunt and betabound are also extremely helpful in gaining exposure which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you are finally getting attention on your product/service but a curse because if you haven’t properly prepared for such exposure, you’ll start discovering issues with your product that everyone is going to see and your first big impression on them will turn into a dud.
Is WebSatchel monetized? Why did you choose the current monetization method?
WebSatchel is in early access mode but we have set up a monetized system to allow fans to support the startup if they happen to find it useful. Again, the main point of WebSatchel is to allow users to save tons of pages and that means we require tons of storage. We have leased storage on googles cloud which is our only real expense. We offer new users a free gigabyte of storage which is enough for users to save a couple of hundred pages (Depends on the site they are trying to save so mileage may vary) along with access to all the premium features like highlighting and saving tabs into collections. After a 1 month trial new users are reverted to a free account which limits the number of pages they can save and the features they can use.
What are the top 5-10 products/services you use in your company and why do you like them?
We use an incredible number of products to get this off the ground. In terms of marketing we used Product Hunt to spread the word, Sony Vegas for editing our videos and commercials (coming soon) computers for writing and developing the application, emails for getting in touch with people and receiving feedback. We like Product Hunt because its mainly free and gets you out in front of a lot of people. Sony Vegas is a phenomenal editor which allows relatively unskilled editors to create some incredible videos. Computers and emails you cant get by without if your creating something for the tech world so that goes without saying. In summation WebSatchel was born because of a vision where the web was more personal and facilitated by the tech that we all know and love.