The alarm buzzes at 720am. Shahriar quickly sneaks out of bed and heads upstairs to get online for his first meeting. He starts working on east-coast hours, but often stays working until 6pm PST. It’s a big month for him and Servicebot. Servicebot, his startup company, is co-owned by him and four other co-founders. The company specializes in providing billing solutions to service and software as a service (SaaS) companies, and is layered on top of Stripe. It’s almost a four-year-old startup which has become increasingly refined and focused as Shahriar and the team learned more about their niche.
This week is a soft-launch for the new version of Servicebot. Through this new update, Servicebot has become completely rebuilt and significantly more focused on user needs. In addition to preparing the software for the launch, Shahriar and one of the other co-founders have been enrolled in a marketing course. They’ve learned how to deeper understand and analyze the value they’re providing to their customers, how to grow that value, and how to explain that value publicly.
While we didn’t move here for a new job, being in the Bay Area is an opportunity for Servicebot. I asked Shahriar a couple of questions about his intentions and how he plans of growing this company.
What’s next after the Servicebot update is launched publicly?
We have our soft launch today, where we sent access to twenty selected software companies. August 1st we launch our new product publicly and notify over three thousand software companies that we’ve been in contact with over the past three years. Next we’ll be building a detailed marketing campaign and continue to market the new product for the rest of the year. December is a month of evaluating our performance. By the end of 2020 our goal is to help one thousand entrepreneurs build their software businesses online without a hassle around billing and payments.
Can you share a bit about your background and what drew you into this industry?
I started developing E-commerce websites during my last year in high school. I found something fascinating about online transactions and how they work in web platforms. In 2016 I decided to use Stripe, the most advanced online payment processing system, to build a web software that made it easier for people to make recurring revenue. I needed it for my own consulting firm. I initially allocated two weeks to complete the project, and we are now going to our fourth year. I wrote a little blog about the process last year.
What have you enjoyed most about working on Servicebot? And what has been the most challenging?
What I enjoy most is my team. Working with a group of friends who are all interested in building something and have the same vision has been the coolest part of this experience. Also talking to thousands of startup entrepreneurs and helping some of them build their businesses by making their billing easier has been very rewarding.
The toughest part of the journey has been managing the team. As a leader, there are a lot of responsibilities and expectations. Learning how to communicate with members of the team with respect, and to understand different perspectives during conflicts was a big challenge. Sustaining each team member’s motivation throughout the way was another challenge. There will always be highs and lows to navigate.
How does being in the Bay Area support Servicebot?
There are a couple of existing companies in San Francisco that we hope to build deeper relationships with. There are also numerous events and opportunities here to meet potential partners and investors. Even though we’re not currently interested in fundraising, it’s helpful to know people and build those relationships.
Any advice for people wanting to start their own tech startup?
Be ready for the time that you have to spend on your project, and make sure you love what you are doing. Be knowledgeable in the field. Chances are that someone else has tried building what you want to build. Learn about the mistakes other people made trying to do the same thing.
What do you hope to do after Servicebot?
I don’t have a definite answer for this. I would like to learn something new. Ideally a subject that overlaps with my technical skills without focusing completely on tech. I would like to continue working with a team on interesting projects. I’m also interested in helping/coaching entrepreneurs to follow their passion.
Wishing Shahriar and the team a successful non-buggy launch! If you have any more questions for him, leave them in the comments. Good luck Servicebot!