What is your startup and what does it do?
Handwrytten is a platform, currently for iPhone and Android apps, but a functional web site and other integrations coming soon, focused on easing handwritten communication and correspondence. Through our service, users can choose high quality greeting cards and note cards, and are able to type out their message and select a handwriting style. Our robotic handwriting machines will then use a real pen to write out the message. Users can now include gift cards along with their messages for a truly unique gift.
At whom is your startup aimed?
We have two core audiences:
- Salespeople and businesspeople looking to follow-up with important leads. Through our platform it is easy to automate handwritten correspondence and establish the personal connections that matter most with business contacts.
- Anyone who is looking to send a greeting card or note.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
There are many apps out there that send cards with your message printed on them, including Ink and JustWink. However only one other service sending actually has written cards, which is HelloBond. They currently don’t have an app but they do have a web site. Their cards are more like note cards, and not greeting cards. We work with artisans to supply high-quality cards, which they also do not. Furthermore, we include gift cards as an option, and they currently don’t. They do offer custom handwriting to match the user, which is expensive (several hundred dollars to set up) and we currently do not have that feature.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
The idea arose from my own need for a simple way to send thank you notes.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
Our biggest concern was whether or not people would adopt the idea of using an app to send personal notes. Also, starting a consumer-focused business has lots of requirements for marketing, which can be daunting.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
Prior to Handwrytten, I spent nine years in my last venture, Cellit, which focused on text message communication for large organizations. We provided the text messaging marketing for major brands and sent over a million messages a day. The company was acquired in 2012, and I worked for the new owners until the end of 2013. In February of 2014, I started Handwrytten. I like the idea of running my own show; being responsible for my own destiny. After working for myself for nine years, it would be very difficult to go back to working for someone else.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
I am self-funding Handwrytten.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
We are in the early stages so it is difficult to tell. However, our customers love us and are loyal users. I’d say our biggest achieve is having such loyal customers!
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
We are only a year old, and our product just launched in August! We’re working to keep our product relevant and new at all times. I think the new web site and new integrations will allow for that.
How long has your business been in making, and who is the team behind the business?
Handwrytten was formed in February of 2014, by myself. Currently, I work with a team of about five programmers out of Russia and a design team out of Colombia.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Gaining awareness by the press. We are on our second PR firm now and are hoping for the best.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
Our goal is 50,000 active users by the end of the year. We hope the new website will greatly speed our attainment of that goal.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
You can have the best product in the world, but it still needs to be marketed.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
There really is no better day to start a business than today. It will only get harder as you get older, make more money (the “golden handcuffs”), and have more responsibilities (spouse, children, etc).