On Wednesday January 22nd 2014, OLC attended the Lean Startup Circle’s event in San Francisco where Gagan Biyani talked about his story with Sprig.
H = Host
GB = Gagan Biyani
H - How did you get here?
GB - I grew up in the Bay area and always loved tech. When I was working at corporate companies and realized I wanted to work for startups. I met the founders of Udemy, and I eventually became the 3rd cofounder. Building a company from the ground up is a great experience.
I worked at Lyft for six months where I helped them grow their user base here in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
H - Tell us about Sprig.
GB- We wanted to create a platform where you could order good, cheap and healthy food. There are two parts to this - Can we do it and, what do our customers think and care about when they think about food?
We asked people: What does dinner mean to you? You know, we got really philosophical with that question.
H - What about competitors? Do you have any?
GB - Yes, we have a competitor that is focused on the East Bay, so while the were in the same space, we had different locations. We also tested their food and it tasted like airplane food. This was not acceptable.
The fact that Sprig had competitors really helped us. We had trouble with dealing with hot food that still tasted quality. So, we had this other company already testing things for us and able to learn from their current success and mistakes.
H - Different people define ‘healthy’ differently, how do you deal with that?
GB - We are working on defining what we think healthy is and letting people accept it.
On any given day, we have meals that are dairy free and gluten free, at least two days we have something paleo free. We know this is not very much at the moment, this should increase over time.
We don’t want to get into the area of calorie counting.
H - What channels do you use for communicating?
GB - A lot is from press. You can Google us and you’ll see a lot of what has been written. We also get a lot of word of mouth, which is great because that means the community is talking about you.
“Word of mouth is always the best press,” said Gagan Biyani
H - What is one of the first things you need to know before scaling your business?
GB - When you want to grow your company, you need to interview and research your prospective customers. People in different places do things differently and have different tastes?
When I was working for Lyft, I asked them to send me to Los Angeles to do research. What I found out was, people in Los Angeles call cabs on their phone, here in San Francisco, people walk out to the curb and raise their hand. If I didn’t go down there and figure that out, it would have made it harder to attract customers in that new market.
With that information we were able to create targeted informational ads to attract these users.
H - Name one thing you should not do AND do when growing your business?
GB - One thing you should do is: Start making something. Making something can help you kickstart your research project.
One thing you should not do: Don’t worry too much about competition or the fact that someone else is already doing what you want to do, just keep researching and creating.