Interview with Alexander Adam, CEO at Gravit

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We have seen a lot of new design apps making an entry into the market in the last couple of years. These apps offer a plethora of tools and features to make your life as a designer a little better. One such app that is offering some pretty unique and useful features is a cloud based design tool called Gravit. It is a tool that lets you create designs, logos, advertisements, documents, illustrations, etc. within your browser.

The app which was created by Alexander Adam is a free to use web based design tool which has been custom built from scratch with an emphasis on versatility, fluidity and elegance. It offers all the features of a full scale design tool and that too on the web in a highly responsive smart work environment. It is an easy to use, yet powerful, tool that works on all modern browsers including Safari on iOS.

Here is an interview with the creator of the app, Alexander Adam.

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

Gravit is a professional web-based design tool for designers and non-designers. It offers all professional features a designer needs and has an easy-to-use interface that guides non-designers to create designs. Unlike other software in the market, Gravit runs on the web. Design from anywhere and any device without the need to install a software or an app.

The project started as an accident. I went out with some friends one day where we discussed the future of web and how every app will one day be on the web. Few friends disagreed and provided an example that Design apps will never be on the web. To prove them wrong, I went in search to find one for supporting my argument. When I failed to find a pure web based (non-flash) design tool, I took it upon myself to create one. Few weeks later, I proved them wrong by creating Gravit. After the bet, I continued to improve the software; added more features to it and fixed the bugs. When I realized that the internet agreed with me, I decided to create a business out of it; hired some staff and got some funding to realize this idea.

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Can you tell us a bit about your partners who are part of your core team?

We are a small team, so everyone is part of the core. The Gravit team members are good in their fields, which is why Gravit is already an amazing tool and continues to improve every week. But the software behind Gravit is really complex, as a result my developing team is the heart of the product. They are just irreplaceable to me.

What is the current Team Size?

We are currently a team of 8 people.

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How did you hire your initial team?

I found some of the team members on Angellist and our developers I’ve known for years now as we’ve been working on other projects together. Some of the members I’ve discovered based on the recommendations from design communities and current employees. Being a CEO is great, but I like to get my hands on the code too.

Which recruiting channels work best for you. Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

At first it started out with just AngelList. But later I started getting recommendations from the team members and design communities whenever we seemed to lack a certain role in our team.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

Paper is just a paper. It can have text on it, but doesn’t explain a person’s skillset. Therefore, I first look for experience and knowledge. A person’s portfolio is worth quite a lot to me. If I think their portfolio is good, then I talk to them to test their communication skills. We are a close team located all around the world and we have to communicate with each other on a daily basis to stay up-to-date and work more efficiently. And during this phase, I also try and see if they are suitable for a fast paced SaaS-startup environment where we face a lot of challenges.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

Gravit is one of a kind tool. There Are other design tools for professional designers, but most of them are not web-based and don’t offer any form of collaboration. And those who do claim that they offer collaboration, involve too many steps. Those tools that are purely web-based are lacking. The existing ones either lack professional features that most people need to design, does not provide enough space for creativity or does not have a community where non-designers can learn from professionals and professionals can get feedback from others.

What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

We want to build a tool that everyone speak of and invite their friends. That is why we focus a lot on the product and the community. We talk to our users and invite people personally. There are few beta testers who help us by providing feedback and suggestions, all handpicked from the Gravit community and the design industry. We inform them of upcoming updates and ask them to try it out before the release and to share their thoughts. Then we go back to fix the bugs and then finally release for the public. After the release we respect the comments and criticism aspect with the rest of the community and go back to fix more bugs or for adding more features. We are a close community just like our team and majority of our users register based on recommendations from their friends, coworkers and even family. Apart from that, we also target marketers, managers and designers through personal invitation. Moreover, we reach out to websites and magazines to share Gravit with their users. Twitter has also been one of the marketing tools for us. It has helped us spread the word and build a community.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

Depending on the country, Facebook is working well for getting traffic and new users on a lower budget. We did find that advertising through Twitter was not effective for us. We received lots of views per post, but not enough clicks through it. It works organically though.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?

The challenge is to understand your users and know your audience. To know what they need and want is one of the most difficult things to do in any business and to implement that to your marketing and your product is even more so. People often follow the trend. There’s a new product that has been in the news quite often and raised lots of money. Let’s sign up for that. While in the meantime there are already products out there doing that and more. The difference there being that they don’t have the connections or help that these “popular” products are getting.

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What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

We have over 100,000 users registered. Full Gravit tool is currently a free to use product with premium features coming soon. Our focus at the moment is to make it as stable as possible with the best possible features. We have no revenues at the moment but do have requests from our users for a premium plan and pay-for-item marketplace.

Based on your experience would you have any advice to new Entrepreneur / Startups?

Find out what your user wants and get to know them as much as possible. They are the people you should develop for. Ask them which feature they want or need and why and what they would do with that. Get insights about their workflows and build your product keeping that in mind. Find a good investor who believes not only in your product but also in you and your team. Those are the investors who will let you make the decisions and that means you can develop for the users and not the investor.

 

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