My big idea: product management platform Zeda.io
Hi! What's your elevator pitch?
Zeda.io is a product crafted by product managers, for product teams to streamline and smarten up product management. It is an AI-powered product discovery and strategy software solution that helps product teams uncover problems that matter to customers, decide what to build next, and create strategies to drive outcomes. We’re making product management simpler, and smarter, and we’re demonstrably helping Product Managers to build the best possible quality products to delight their customers.
Why does the market need it?
Many Product Managers are unsure if they are building the right products because they can’t collect the right data and feedback. Even when they have the right data, they often struggle to translate it into clear and actionable insights to help them understand their customer’s needs and preferences so that they know they are building products that matter. Beyond that, they may be dealing with a discovery process that is biassed and not customer-centric. In developing Zeda.io, we wanted to create a solution to help businesses enable customer-led product innovation and one that would transform product development to shift from a feature factory mindset to one based on innovation.
Where is the business today?
Today we have around 25 employees, with teams in both India and the US. In 2021, we launched and raised a pre seed round of $550K and had a valuation of $5.3M. In 2022, we launched our product publicly and secured our first paid customer and raised a further $1.2M. Following this, our most recent fundraise was $2.1 million, reflecting growing investor confidence in our platform. We’ve been steadily adding customers since then, and plan to hit profitability in the next year.
What made you think there was money in this?
I have been a Product Manager for ten great companies across India, the USA, Indonesia, and Japan - two of these are public, multi billion dollar companies. Across these roles I realized that we were wasting a lot of time: smart Product Managers are spending a lot of time updating Excel sheets - it just doesn't make sense. Beyond this, there are 10 million Product Managers globally and that number continues to fill with new courses by Harvard, Stanford and various other institutions. It's definitely a growing market.
How did you research the niche?
We talked to a lot of product managers in our network as well as our mentors and we discovered that 99% of product leaders are not happy. We analyzed 20,000 pieces of feedback, generated 10,000 product insights across 300+ businesses, and paired with insights from top product leaders to validate the problem and test our hypothesis before beginning to build the product in beta.
What's wrong with your competitors?
None of the other Product Management tools in this space are interconnected. Many of the solutions are designed to collect feedback, but don’t have a mechanism for Product Managers to take action. From an operational point of view, many Product Managers are using Excel sheets as well as other tools and point solutions that don’t speak to each other. They go back and forth between these to conduct product discovery, and to plan, and build roadmap dependencies, amongst other tasks.
What's your biggest strength?
Zeda.io aims to complete the entire picture so that Product Managers can be more productive and deliver more value for customers. It is also the only solution that leverages AI to translate data analysis into opportunities. We’re also the only company that caters specifically for the B2B first-to-market company, who are looking to differentiate what they produce by moving beyond typical end point solutions.
What is the secret to making the business work?
The biggest secret is learning how to align everyone in the business: as an entrepreneur, you’re always ‘selling’ to someone - your investors, your team, your customers. You’ve got to be able to communicate your vision to all of those stakeholders so that they will understand the bigger bigger picture, and give you feedback along the way. If you can get buy-in from all these groups, you can achieve great things as an entrepreneur.
Patience is also key. There are going to be ups and downs, and sometimes people will be thrilled, whereas other times, people will focus on telling you why it won’t work, or why your product sucks. There will be new competition, and constant market changes. You have to be patient and expect change in both the good times and the bad.
How do you market the company?
Our marketing is based on the foundational fact that we are very proud of our product. I believe that if you have a great product and no one knows about it, it’s a useless product. We have a LinkedIn company page and we invest in SEO, a newsletter, podcasts, and many strategic partnerships. Partnering with people who can help tell your story is in itself a huge advantage.
Tell us about the business model
Our model is that we charge per Product Manager. Or, we have a rate for ‘editors’ who are people who can edit the product roadmap and see the test editor and release notes. Editor rates are $99 per month, or $1000 per year. Zeda.io is actually free for ‘collaborators’ which are roles such as Sales Support Engineers, who can submit requests, etc. We also have an enterprise grade of pricing which includes dedicated CSM support for certain integrations. We are planning on platform pricing for those who want to integrate various AI and automation.
What is the future vision?
My future vision is that people should be able to innovate easily, and Product Managers in particular should have accelerated innovation at their fingertips to create new products. In the future, Product Managers will have AI co-pilots to help them do things faster and better, and they should have all the easily accessible information they need to build better products and avoid costly mistakes like faulty product features. We want to make sure that there are fewer wasteful products built, and that the new products we do see begin to solve more problems in the world.