In today’s world where almost everything has gone digital, it is important to make sure you have the right tools to make your life easier. Business meetings are now done online and it isn’t easy to keep track of your schedule or hop from platform to platform to attend your meetings. NextCall is a browser extension that helps you effectively manage your meetings. It helps you navigate your calendars in one place, you can then join meetings in one click. In conversation with Karthik, Co-founder of NextCall, we learn more about this extension and how it can help you attend meetings without all the hassle!
What is the startup/product about? Give us a brief description of it.
NextCall is a browser extension that lets you connect your Google and Outlook calendars to see upcoming events and automatically open popular conferencing solutions like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams to join meetings in one click.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
If there are multiple co-founders, please mention how did you meet one another
We are currently two co-founders. My co-founder is Charles Scheuer, who is an undergraduate student at Washington University in St.Louis.
I am Karthik Kalyanaraman and I currently work as a full stack engineer at Stilt Inc., a YC startup based out of SFO.
Charles and I met a year and a half ago remotely through Product Hunt. The two of us hit off quickly because of our shared interests in building products and tinkering on ideas on weekends. Our first product was imfree.fyi which is a one to one meeting scheduling app that did decently well on Product Hunt.
Charles is a Frontend engineer and a designer. I specialize on the backend but, I can also dabble with Frontend. Our complimenting skill set that spans across the entire stack is our greatest strength. Earlier this summer, Charles also interned at my current company, Stilt as a Designer and we built the mobile app of Stilt together.
How big is the entire team currently?
Just the two of us
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
We are very passionate about the productivity space specifically around scheduling. We felt a personal problem in our daily job where meetings were scheduled across different platforms like zoom, google meet and tandem. And we constantly found it difficult to find the meeting details from the calendar. We knew there’s got to be a better way to do this and ended up building NextCall.
What is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to?
Our target market is sales, marketing and recruiting staff at SMBs where meetings predominantly happen with outsiders and external organizations and as a result the tools used for scheduling varies.
Our product solves a core problem for these folks by creating a simple one click solution for joining meetings that is agnostic of the underlying scheduling software on which the meeting is scheduled. This is attractive as it removes all the friction involved in joining meetings.
What are the marketing plans apart from the product hunt/beta list launch? How are you planning to acquire new users?
Currently we are focusing on retention and in the process of interviewing our existing users and understanding their use cases and workflows on a deeper level so that we can consistently iterate and make their experience better.
For growth, we have a few ideas focused on marketing this product to different cohorts through multiple channels.
Do you have a separate dedicated team to take care of marketing (digital marketing/traditional marketing)? Which digital platforms are you focusing more on?
No. Right now it’s just the two of us holding the entire ship. We are primary focused on Email and Twitter right now.
What according to you is the biggest challenge that you faced? Is it product development or marketing or scaling or … ?
Both of us are engineers by profession so product development has never been a challenge. We are newbies when it comes to marketing and growth. This is where we have struggled for the most part. But, we are learning from our mistakes and getting better at it by the day by doing various experiments and also learning from some experts in the industry.
Who are your competitors/alternatives? What sets you apart from them?
Right now, Meeter is a strong competitor. But, what really sets us apart from them is the fact that we are a browser extension(which is high touch) and we let users connect both google and outlook calendars which gives us the ability to add more useful features going forward.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
We have a lot of features on the roadmap. Scheduling right from the extension is on top of the priority list for now.
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