Find like-minded fellows. It is important to have people with similar mindsets around you in the beginning. They saturate the ideas and speed up their implementation, working with them is a buzz.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dmitry Voronchuk, Product Owner for Yepy. Dmitry is the Product Owner for Yepy at Cashoff. Previously he worked as Head of Design and has experience in SaaS and e-commerce development. Yepy mobile app helps consumers receive up to 80% cashback from their regular grocery shopping.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started? What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
We started as white label analytics service for banks and had a team of 20 people. A few deals later, we thought why don’t we launch а B2C product of our own? The market faced an issue of smart purchases and we realized we could solve it. We researched the market, drafted a lean startup business plan, and discussed our vision of the product and the prototypes of new features. Two weeks after, we had a demo ready.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Honestly, I’ve never thought of giving it all up. Yes, at the beginning, there’s always a high degree of uncertainty and every failure makes you doubt if you are going in the right direction. This is normal. But it’s important to stay true to your idea and go through it with your eyes open. Every morning I wake up knowing what I’m going to do today, in a week, in a month and what I want to achieve by the end of the year. At the same time, I remain flexible in terms of planning. Thus, step by step, we achieve our goals. It’s the challenge that drives me on.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success? Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take-aways’ you learned from that?
As a company, CASHOFF encourages ideas, testing and for people to try new things. So there are many mistakes. That’s fine.
It’s how we learn, how we develop as individuals and how our products evolve. We accept that not everything will work. In fact, we have to accept that most new things fail. But it’s by being willing and having ideas that we progress as a company.
CASHOFF have a culture of encouraging everyone to try something new and if it doesn’t work, well then you hope it fails fast and without much cost. You never want a slow painful failure that costs a lot. I guess the ‘takeaway’ from this is the speed of execution. If you have an idea, work out what is the minimum you need to get it tested. How quickly you can test, and how soon you can find out a result.
So, get something working quickly, even if it is not perfect, you can make it perfect later.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Now all IT companies have a lot in common. We are all united by trends, frameworks, labour codes. What makes us stand out from the crowd are our people and their values. Focusing on the customer outcomes — this means we are always thinking what does the customer want? What do they need? How can we help solve a problem for them? This ensures our product is successful.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Burn-out is closely related to our mindset. I used to be a terrible idealist and I suffered from perfectionism. This influenced my work, my personal life as well. Once I got carried away with Buddhism, the worldview influenced my mindset a lot. Buddhism paradigm allowed me to see the world, the western capitalistic culture and my place in it differently. I’m now re-reading the book called Wabi Sabi: Japanese Wisdom for a Perfectly Imperfect Life by Beth Kempton. Beth describes the principles of the Japanese culture, which traces back to Zen Buddhism. I think this book will be a revelation for those who want to stop stressing and burning themselves out. And start developing really hot and useful products that will challenge conservative user experience.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?
Not three steps as such, but two important channels for CASHOFF.
As of now, our core audience is more than 2 million people. And those users have come from two routes to market.
The first is Business to Consumer (B2C) this is where our YEPY mobile app is downloaded from the Apple or Google store. It’s then used by consumers when they shop in supermarkets or stores. YEPY is an individually tailored cashback app, that learns what you purchase and provides bespoke discounts for items that you regularly purchase. Meaning you save money (up to 80%) just by carrying out your regular shopping.
Our other route to market is Business to Business (B2B), here’s where we work with large banks. Here we white-label our cashback solution directly into the bank’s mobile app. The style, fonts and colour mimic the banks completely. So to the end-user, the customer, they just see the service delivered by the bank. The bank themselves, they see higher engagement with their mobile app when including the cashback solution. They can also learn more about their customers spending habits and financial position. The customer, they get highly relevant discounts offers on items they are looking to purchase anyway. It’s a win for the banks and a win for their customers too.
What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?
We have three main modules: Cashback, Data Analytics and Data Import. These modules are marketed as white-label B2B products for banks. Yepy’s target audience is monetised with a premium subscription. Those B2B solutions are in high demand across the world right now, with open banking taking off, banks and consumers are really seeing the benefits that data sharing can bring. Yepy’s target audience is monetised with a premium subscription, for about $1 a month the customer can get additional smart advice to help them save more money. On average this is worth about $50 to each user, so that $1 per month investment is recouped many times over really quickly. I’m sure you can see the benefit this brings to our community.
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know before one wants to start an app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.
1. Find like-minded fellows. It is important to have people with similar mindsets around you in the beginning. They saturate the ideas and speed up their implementation, working with them is a buzz.
2. Hire a product designer. This person will make the product technology speak the user’s language.
3. Study and learn from IDEO’s design mindset methods. These frameworks do speed up creative processes and communication.
4. Identify the core of your target audience. They are your key customer. If they don’t see any point in your product, no-one will see it.
5. MVP is all you need. Use design sprints, they are great savers of resources and fast result suppliers. This will enable you to test many hypothesizes quite fast.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I tell you, someone else will do it. Just a small hint: it will have to do with cute kittens 🙂
Thank you for all of these great insights!