Originally posted by IT specialist. Thank you Josh for a great interview 🙂
As any enterprise IT specialist knows, company employees are increasingly going mobile. Traveling employees such as sales executives are just as likely to be using an iPad or iPhone as their main device as opposed to a PC. This mobility is generally a plus for an enterprise’s efficiency productivity, but it also means that the company’s employees expect the key apps that they use to be just as accessible on their mobile devices as on their traditional PCs. If this is not the case, employees’ are likely to become frustrated, and their productivity will suffer.
One area that has traditionally not been well optimized for mobile is the CRM system. Most CRM systems are designed for desktops at larger enterprises, as opposed to on-the-go employees, especially at smaller businesses. One startup that built a new CRM from the ground up that is specifically optimized for mobile is ONDiGO. Joining us today is Yoni Dariel, the co-founder and CEO of ONDiGO.
IT Specialist Thank you for joining us today Yoni. For starters, can you provide some brief background on ONDiGO, such as what year you were started and the background of the founders?
Yoni ONDiGO started on 2012 and launched its stealth beta on 2013 by founders: myself as co-founder and CEO, Ohad Oren as co-founder & CMO and Nir Keren as co-founder & CTO. I myself am a serial entrepreneur with a background in starting, managing and selling several businesses in the Entertainment & Hospitality sector. After serving in the Israeli Special Forces, I held a Business Development position at BIscience, an online startup, recruiting major clients such as Living Social, Zynga and Booking.com and building the company’s first client portfolio. I’ve graduated from Google’s ‘LaunchPad’ acceleration program as well as Upwest Labs, a Palo Alto based accelerator.
Our CTO Nir has a strong technology background and is a true technology evangelist. Starting out at Ceragon Networks as a real -time embedded software engineer, Nir focused mainly on deep Ethernet and mobile infrastructure. Following his time at Ceragon Networks, Nir founded Grepper, a social media player on Facebook. Later he founded Cloud Sync – a cloud music platform which is currently active in hundreds of fitness venues around Israel, such as the Holmes Place fitness centers chain. Nir has also graduated from Google’s ‘LaunchPad’ acceleration program as well as Upwest Labs.
Ohad meanwhile founded and served (for seven years) as the Administrative & Financial Officer at O.G.L. Ltd & Bliss, a multinational retail & wholesale company. After serving as a combat Officer in the Israeli Special Forces for five years, Ohad co-founded (and served as CFO) an online gaming platform, which he sold after two years of operation. Ohad offers a unique combination of financial & administrative capabilities with strong marketing skills – a nice combination of CMO and CMO.
Together, I feel we make a great team!
IT Specialist It sounds like you’re team have a variety of interesting backgrounds. One question that jumps out at me is to what extent the experience of Ohad and yourself during your time in the military in Israeli Special Ops may have prepared you to run a startup? I suppose after the pressures that come with being in a Special Ops role, running a startup must be easy?!
Yoni Having the specific military background we have helped A LOT (and I can’t stretch this point enough) with the mental challenges start-up life is throwing your way on a daily basis, especially the constant state of uncertainty you are in most of the time. It is less a technical matter. In fact, ONDiGO is a rebellious Mobile CRM product, it doesn’t accept old complicated, painful product paradigms as a fact. Instead it offers an alternative which is seamless, lean and simple-to-use. This approach is definitely something you pick up being in the military.
IT Specialist How would you describe the current overall state of the CRM market today?
Yoni Not much has changed in the traditional CRM market in the last 20 years. Most providers still offer mainly desktop-centric products with complicated interfaces & user-experiences. The major change mobile & smartphones have brought to our lives in so many aspects of our day-to-day is not yet reflected in the CRM industry.
IT Specialist Moving now to ONDiGO’s core focus, I understand you are very heavily targeted towards 1) small businesses; and 2) mobile – is that correct? What made you decide to target your products so heavily towards these niches?
Yoni We as founders all ran offline businesses earlier in our lives and bring firsthand experience running small businesses and understanding the pains of managing customers with no tools at hand. We are very close to the problem. Saw the opportunity and after searching for alternatives (which we couldn’t find) we decided to build it ourselves.
Running a small business means you are constantly on-the-go, meeting customers, suppliers, conducting sales and taking care of the administrative aspects of your business. You hardly get a chance to sit in front of a computer throughout your day and even if you had that chance not sure you would know what to do. Mobile on the other hand sits in the back of your pocket all the time and most of us have a very intimate relationship with that device – and that is the real opportunity.
IT Specialist Turning now to your product, could you highlight the ONDiGO CRM’s key features and capabilities? Can a travelling employee really efficiently use a CRM on his or her iPhone for example?
Yoni ONDiGO is a Mobile CRM for sales people and small businesses on-the-go. It truly adapts to the way people work by automatically building a customer database from day-to-day interactions conducted on mobile devices. Deeply integrated into the mobile device, ONDiGO eliminates manual data-entry by automatically capturing and logging all business interactions such as: calls, emails, calendar events, text messages, notes and tasks, etc.
Imagine yourself in the car on the way to a meeting with a customer. ONDiGO provides you with your complete activity history with that person. It is all stored on your phone and on the cloud. On the way back from that meeting you can record a quick meeting summary while driving back to the office which ONDiGO then transforms to text, set up a task or a follow up reminder in one tap or even send any document you want. The ONDiGO approach is about keeping a “clean desk” at all times and not worrying about forgetting. Below are a couple of screenshots of our product:
IT Specialist In terms of ONDiGO advantages, there are a couple of what seem to be key points on your site you highlight. Could you explain how these work in practice?
Yoni Sure, there are a couple of key points I’d highlight:
1. Have your most crucial, game changing data presented to you in real time
This is a very interesting feature we built after having discussions with over 700 small business owners and sales-people on-the-go. Basically, ONDiGO allows you to add a quick note or a meeting summary after any interaction you have with a business contact. Then –the next time you interact with that person, ONDiGO pops up and presents that note in real-time, showing you exactly where you left off, even if a couple of weeks or months went by. Keeping that personal touch with your customers is key for business success.
2. Say Goodbye To Data Entry
We believe that conducting sales or running a small business keeps you busy enough. You hardly have time to sit down , take notes and become organized overnight. And even if you would like to do so, doing it on a mobile device is not that comfortable with small keyboards. ONDiGO automatically captures all of your business interactions such as: calls, emails, calendar events, text messages, notes and tasks, etc..and allows you to focus on what you do best .
IT Specialist From the perspective of an IT specialist at a small business, how easy is ONDiGO’s CRM solution to implement, and how much ongoing support is required?
Yoni ONDiGO’s solution is super-easy to implement. The end-user simply goes to the Apple or Google marketplaces and downloads the app, and that’s it. It’s basically a 30 sec on-boarding process. If the sales-team is bigger and the company is already using Salesforce for example then the IT specialist enters the picture and again – the process is seamless. Users simply need to log in to the app with their existing Salesforce credentials and get access to all of their contacts. From that point- any interaction they conduct on-the-go is automatically inserted into their existing Salesfroce account with zero-data-entry. The IT specialist gets access to a management dashboard which reflects the activity of everyone within the organization who uses ONDiGO and he/she can switch them ON/OFF in a click.
IT Specialist Who are ONDiGO’s main competitors? Are there any other CRM platforms that are also doing mobile and how does ONDiGO’s CRM stack up in comparison?
Yoni Our biggest competitor are sticky notes, excel sheets and pen and paper.Our technology competitors are divided to 2 categories – other mobile CRMs out there (such as base crm), and large traditional CRMs which we do not consider as competitors rather than potential distribution partners as their core capabilities do not have “mobile” as a part of their DNA.
Building a mobile CRM is not about taking a traditional desktop product and squashing it into a smaller screen, it needs to be a part of your company’s DNA. Unlike traditional CRMs, mobile is a different game – it’s about narrowing down to 20% functionality to provide 80% value, while your constraint is that data-entry is limited to taps and swipes.
IT Specialist Turning now to ONDiGO at the corporate level, are there any particular customers or customer case studies you could share with us?How many total customers do you have?
Among ONDiGO’s users we have sales-people from sales-teams in almost every corporate you can think of. The thing is, once you get out of the office or out of your car you are facing the same challenges whether you work for company X or company Y. A funny anecdote is that historically our Salesforce integration was born out of a request from one of our corporate-sales users. They requested a backup feature (which ONDiGO didn’t have in the early days). Our Dev team was swamped with tasks and couldn’t provide a proper solution so we decided to go “lean” and provide a simple CSV backup file which is sent to your email inbox. This is hardly an elegant solution. However as we launched that feature we had sales-people telling us how this dramatically improved their work-flow as it allowed them to export that CSV file into Salesforce and eliminate manual-data-entry. That just proves that sales-professionals are the most resourceful individuals out there! Making a long story short – this is how the ONDiGO for Salesforce product was born.
IT Specialist How much funding has ONDiGO raised and who are your main investors?
Yoni ONDiGO bootstrapped since its early days and took on a very small investment (under $1M). We are now in the midst of raising a major round which will be used mainly for growth and global reach.
IT Specialist I noticed that ONDiGO just presented at the big Techcrunch Battlefield London event – how did that go?
Yoni We did indeed participate in TechCrunch Battlefield London where we officially launched ONDiGO on stage. This was a very exciting moment for us – releasing our “baby” out to the world after working on it “stealth” for 18 months. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback! After London, we had both new partners lining up, as well as many new users, who were very happy to discover that a solution was finally created to meet their exact needs.
IT Specialist Finally, for those who might want to trial your solution, what would be the best way to learn more? Is there a contact person with whom they should interface?
Yoni We’ve built ONDiGO bottom-up so it’s all about the personal connection. For anyone interested in learning more I say: shoot me an email! Even in the busiest time we find time to talk. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and I promise that either I or someone from our team will reply every email like we always do.
If you wish to try out the product you are welcome to download it directly from the Apple & Google marketplaces:
IT Specialist Thanks so much for your time Yoni, and best of luck going forward.