Chide.it co-CEOs Eli Fathi and Aydin Mirzaee aren’t under any illusions about what kind of marketplace their company operates within –- crowded, competitive and, for the most part, expensive.
The team at Chide.it. (Photo by Mark Holleron)
And it’s for that very reason that their first product, FluidSurveys, has done so well. Mr. Mirzaee explained the functionality afforded by Chide.it’s technology is typically found in enterprise software with a price tag of tens of thousands.
With around a $600 per year cost for its “ultra” service, he says the bootstrapped company’s survey offering differentiates on cost alone.
“Everyone ends up finding us because we have the functionality that other offerings of the same price lack,” he said. The cloud service counts some of the biggest names in the university solar system as clients including Yale University, Michigan University, UCLA, McGill University, MIT’s Sloan School of Management and, closer to home, the University of Ottawa. It also lists Scotiabank and other international firms as clients.
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But even if the online survey marketplace is a little crammed – Mr. Fathi, founder of Telexis, the company that would eventually become March Networks, said FluidSurveys has more than 500 competitors – the firm’s other product lies in a universe exactly the opposite.
ReviewRoom, an online tool used by organizations to accept and review applications, is in a relatively new market. “You have to explain to clients why they need it,” said Mr. Mirazee.
In fact, Mr. Mirzaee said FluidSurveys was simply one aspect of the firm’s main product, ReviewRoom, which it spun out to create an early revenue stream.
“As we were working on ReviewRoom we needed to create a polling component,” he explained. “And we began to realize (ReviewRoom) would take a long time to complete. So we said, ‘what is the fastest path to revenue?’
We’re giving smaller organizations the ability to do it themselves. And that’s powerful, because before this the only solution was to build something in-house or buy an enterprise solution for $20,000 or more. Co-CEO Aydin Mirzaee
“And we just made the forms its own product. It was more of an established market, and it ended up doing much better than we had expected.”
Now that the firm has developed its technology, the founders of Chide.it, which incubated for its first year or so at Algonquin College and received assistance from the Ontario Centres of Excellence, say 2011 will be all about scaling. Mr. Fathi said that for the first time, it will begin to make small investments in marketing and advertising.
Year founded: 2008
Local head count: 10
Funding to date: None
Product: Web-based feedback and data analysis software