Startup brings a whiteboard to the World Wide Web
thinkRussia spoke with Andrey Khusid, CEO of startup RealtimeBoard, a cloud-based whiteboard that acts as an online visual collaboration tool. Below, Mr. Khusid discusses his experience launching a start-up in Russia and offers advice for new entrepreneurs.
1. How did the idea for RealtimeBoard begin?
RealtimeBoard is a product that appeared from our own needs. I run a design agency – Vitamin Group. When the business started to grow, we discovered that we have a lot of communication processes inside and outside the company. Sometimes it seemed that you should be in several places simultaneously and I thought that it would be great to have an online tool where people could communicate visually – team, clients etc.
Moreover, I saw a growing demand with creative companies like ours for a tool to visualize ideas and work on any visual content with a team – to discuss layouts, do mind mapping, have mini-chats and things like that. We couldn’t find a convenient visual collaboration tool – so we made it ourselves. That’s the beginning of the RealtimeBoard idea.
Now RealtimeBoard is used by tens of thousands people all over the world: educators, entrepreneurs, designers, developers and other creative teams.
2. What is unique about your offering?
We create whiteboards in the cloud and one of our main goals is to provide the ultimate collaboration experience for our users. So, RealtimeBoard is more than just an endless whiteboard with a friendly interface, convenient templates and lots of tools – we make a service that allows our users to collaborate easily and visually with the team or customers and see any changes in real time. We have a unique technology that originally stems from multiplayer gaming technology, so up to 100 000 users are able to collaborate online simultaneously. It’s really awesome!
3. What obstacles and successes has your startup faced so far?
When you entering a new market, the main issue is to find your customers and attract them. You should develop not only your product, you should also develop the market. That’s true for visual collaboration just like anything else.
As for successes, first of all I should say about our users, this number is continuously growing. As for other achievements, our team has won several significant contests, both Russian and international. TechCrunch Moscow (RealtimeBoard was one of the six best startups) and DEMO Europe are among them.
I’m sure that’s only the beginning!
4. What is the Russian marketplace like for startups and small businesses?
The Russian market is growing now and it means that there are a lot of opportunities for startups and small businesses. New market niches appear in different segments - e-commerce, education, SaaS and others. Moreover, it is safe to say that Russian market is a part of the global market, especially for tech startups. It means that the competition is not only between local companies - it's also global. Startups should take that into consideration.
5. What advice do you have for businesses or entrepreneurs seeking to enter the Russian market?
Don’t wait – start doing! As the market is growing, it’s a good time to start and find your customers. And one more thing – adapt your product to the market, this will be a huge help!