March 12, 2015
It’s almost time for SXSW Interactive! Are you ready to meet some startups? On Sunday, March 15 Tech Cocktail’s Startup Celebration at SXSWi where more than two dozen startups will showcase their product and deliver their pitch in hopes of winning prizes, glory, and a spot at the Tech Cocktail Celebrate Conference as well. If you’re headed to the event, make sure to introduce yourself to the folks at YouRoam. Here’s their story:will once again present
If you want to make and receive calls to people anywhere around the world — you usually have to download an app, create a username and import your contacts. However, YouRoam is changing that process by eliminating the last two steps and making communication easier.
“YouRoam allows you to accept calls to your original number with no roaming charges. YouRoam also lets you call any phone in the world, even if the person you are calling doesn’t have the app or a smartphone,” reads and excerpt from the company’s site.
Unlike Skype or Viber, You Roam doesn’t require you to have a username. People can call you from a landline or mobile phone directly to your number.
“Your friends and clients don’t ever need to know you are abroad. There is no need for App to App calling with YouRoam. There are no long-term contracts and you can give us a try for free,” according to their site.
The app is also quickly growing in popularity – a sign that people want to have the ability to make calls without having to create a username.
“We have spent less than $5,000 in marketing and have over 117,000 users from 165 countries and are gaining over 1,000 users per day. I didn’t know those numbers were good but when I looked at WhatsApp’s first year, we may actually beat their first year downloads,” says Marco Cunha, the CEO of YouRoam.
YouRoam has the potential to disrupt the international calling market, but how has the founder been working to grow this startup so far? Here’s a little more about Cunha’s startup advice and philosophy for running a startup.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the Hardest Lesson You Learned Starting Up?
Marco Cunha: I started a company before YouRoam and it wasn’t working. Accepting that there was not a sufficient market for my product and deciding to shut it down was very difficult. But I learned to move on quickly and not think of it as a failure. Instead, I considered it a learning experience and did more research on the market before developing a new product.
TC: How Do you Keep Your Team Motivated?
MC: My team is very small and we work a lot of hours so sometimes motivation is difficult, especially when the business has a bad day. I keep my team motivated by keeping them focused on the future and the vision of the company. We have a strong vision about the growth of our company and no single day can or will derail that and I instill that understanding in my team. So a bad day for the company does not become a bad day for a team.
TC: What’s some Startup Advice you’ve heard but disagree with?
MC: I commonly get advice to not focus on revenue at this stage of my company. While I understand the value of increasing our user base, I started my own company to build a profitable business. I also think that building a company without an idea of how it is going to be profitable is risky and you run the risk of having more trouble later when you try to introduce revenue generation mechanisms.
TC: What personal weakness can get in the way of running your startup?
MC: I am a bad planner and not that organized. I make up for that by choosing a co-founder is the exact opposite – she keeps me and our company on task and our corporate books well organized.
TC:How do you stay motivated in the #startuplife?
MC: Nobody has a straight trajectory up without a little turbulence along the way. So on days when things aren’t going so well, it helps to look to see how successful companies got to where they are now and the difficulties they faced along the way. It’s nice to know that they made it out okay and gives me hope that I can do the same.
TC:What advice do you wish someone had told you before you started this?
MC: I knew that I wanted to start my own company so I saved a decent amount of money prior to leaving my 9-5 job. I always understood after quitting that I wouldn’t be receiving income and my savings would only be decreasing. Even though I knew that, I never thought about how it would actually feel to not receive a paycheck for two years, to risk my entire savings and also be judged by others (including my family) for it. It would have helped to have known that and mentally prepared for it.
TC: Which personality trait of yours best serves being an entrepreneur?
MC: My ability to tune out negativity. I have had a lot of people doubt me, my team and our company along the way and I have been able to generally tune them out and focus on my vision and making it come to life.
TC: What would you be doing if you weren’t building this startup?
MC: I have wanted to develop an app for shopping through image recognition. You would be able to scan a product on a magazine page and be able to find everywhere that is selling it and the best prices. I considered building the app on the side but since we launched there has been no spare time for side projects.
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