I was using this other tool that I needed to gather data for the SEO Summit 2014. It was a tool that I’ve used before – perhaps a year ago. It’s a microsurvey that beautifully pops-up on the lower-right section of the screen. However, upon checking back, the tool was charging an insane amount for its functionality. This ticked me off.
I still signed up though because it was the only one of its kind. No competition. I thought signing up would soothe my thoughts on their pricing.
Sad to say, it did not. I was extremely disappointed on how the owners were handling this great SaaS product.
So I scratched my own itch.
I figured that a tool like that shouldn’t be that expensive. After all, the functionality isn’t that complicated. We could create one of our own, make it extremely basic and sell it far cheaper.
A few weeks after that, Qeryz was born.
The phone was ringing. I was waiting for my good friend, Richmond “Mon” Ibasco to pick up.
“Mon! I have an awesome idea for a product.”
“Yeah? What is it?”
“It’s an extremely simple information gathering tool that people can use. I’m sure you can do it in a month or two.”
“Really? Lemme see.”
“I’ll send you the link over Facebook.”
A minute went by. All I heard were mouse clicks at the other end of the line.
“Hmmmm… Looks simple enough to me.”
“I know right?! And you know what? They’re charging an insane amount for this!”
I continued to show Mon the pricing page of the tool.
“I know, right? Such a simple tool and they’re charging this much.”
“Yeah but you bought it.”
“That’s because there’s no other alternative. There’s no competition for them. Know what that means?”
“It means that it’s time for us to enter into the SaaS business and this is our first concept.”
A few days later, I went to Mon’s house to meet up with them about the tool.
“Okay, here’s what will happen. I’ll be the investor, business development, marketing and front-end development. All you have to do is take care of the product development side of the tool.”
I continued to show them the charts, the revenue, the monetization model, the technology we need to use and scale to make this work smoothly, etc.
We shook hands. No paper contracts, no legal work, not even incorporation papers. It’s just a good old your ‘word against mine’ kind of deal.
Three Months In
Well, it’s the third month now (we used April for research and officially started May 1, 2014) and after two rounds of funding, Qeryz has launched for open beta. There’s still a lot of bugs on our end and we’re assuming that a lot of other bugs will come rolling in once signups start to pour. But as far as the basic functionality is concerned, it’s working.
We’re still developing how we’re going to monetize this and how the marketing will go. We’re also projecting the computing power it will consume as well as the bandwidth, etc. But we’ve grown and learned a lot along the way.
We’ve actually unlocked the key to running an app from a remote server and that’s a huge thing. If you signed up for Qeryz and tried to run your first microsurvey, you’ll see that you could simply copy paste the Qeryz code and it will run in a matter of minutes in your website – much like how you could copy paste the Google analytics code in your site and it will start tracking for you.
The ability to run an app from a remote server gives off huge possibilities to develop other apps besides. Qeryz is simply our starting point.
Believe it or not, the entire Qeryz team consists of 1 project manager, 1 senior developer, 2 back-end developers, 1 front-end developer and 1 business development / marketing head. It’s crazy how we can start out small but have a huge array of possibilities lined up for us in the near future.
Here’s the definition from Wikipedia:
1) In general, a query is a form of questioning, in a line of inquiry.
2) A precise request for information retrieval with database and information systems
And it’s exactly what our tool does! Plus, Qeryz.com, .net and .org is still available so… I went ahead and named it such.
Finding our Identity
It’s quite funny how we tried to play with logos. We wanted Qeryz to be out and running on the third month so we did everything agile – from the domain name, branding, even to the logo design!
The First Design
We went ahead and downloaded a front-end and back-end theme. It was beautiful and modern. BUT it wasn’t how I envisioned it to be.
“Scrap it. Scrap everything!”
It made too much noise and the CTAs were too spread out. So we put that down the drain and I asked our lead developer/designer to do another study and showed him the wireframe.
We came up with this:
And we’re keeping it that way – for now.
It speaks exactly what Qeryz does and demos it to visitors live – which is how we want it to be. Direct, blunt, and extremely easy to understand.
I know that we’re not ‘there’ yet. As I mentioned earlier, we’re still squishing a lot of bugs on the back-end. But we’ll get there. Hopefully by the end of this month.
So this is our first shot at SaaS. I sure hope it’s a good one.