Vinay: Hello and Welcome to YourFirstInvestor.com interviews. Today I’m talking with Mili, CIO of Loyagram. Mili is from Kerala, India and Loyagram was part of the S Factory generation 2. Hi Mili! Welcome and thank you for coming on our show to share your The S Factory experience.
Mili: Hello Vinay! Thanks for having me
Vinay: So What is Loyagram? What do you guys do?
Mili: Loyagram is a customer experience management and analytics platform that helps businesses to collect actionable customer feedback across multiple touchpoints through a kiosk, email, mobile app, website, QR code by using short surveys or customer satisfaction metrics. In short, we measure customer happiness wherever the customers are.
Vinay: Thats a good tagline! Tell me a bit about your team.
Mili: We are a team of 7 right now, 3 cofounders and 4 employees. Two of the cofounders are childhood friends and colleagues. I joined them later as an employee first and then a cofounder.
Vinay: That's interesting. So how did you come to know about The S Factory from Start-Up Chile?
Mili: We came to know about the Start-Up Chile (http://www.startupchile.org/) through a friend and then we followed them closely on social media. That's when we came across this new program called the S factory on Facebook. Loyagram was in a very early stage then with a very basic MVP. We checked it out and seemed like a perfect thing for me as it was particularly focused on female entrepreneurs in the early stage. They were offering support, networks and an equity free grant. All of these in 3 months! We believe it was a really good start!
Vinay: Did you consider any other accelerators at the same time?
Mili: We did consider many other accelerators, but most of them were equity based. Since we were in a very early stage, giving up an equity didn’t make much sense. Also, being in Latin America, the program proved to be an ideal market to validate our idea to build something valuable. Considering all this, the S factory was hands down the best program we found!
Vinay: That's nice to hear. So, did you have to relocate from India?
Mili: Yes, We had to relocate from Kerala in India to Santiago
Vinay: How was that experience, especially in a new city?
Mili: After selection, we started our Visa processing and later moved to Chile for a period of 4 months. The Start-Up Chile(SUP) team takes effort in ensuring a soft landing for all of us and helped us in the initial process of visa registration, ID card procedure and opening bank accounts. All the process were time consuming but thanks to the team, they were ready to help us with whatever we needed.
Coming from India, Chile was an entirely new experience. New place, new people, new language. We had issues with the language in the beginning, but as I said the SUP team was always there to help us! We started learning some operational spanish words and started exploring the city. As I always tell others, Santiago is a magical place, the more you discover, the more you fall in love with it! It’s just a matter of time and this my home now!
Vinay: So, Let’s talk a bit about the application process itself. How many steps were there?
Mili: The application process was fairly straight forward that included filling up a questionnaire related to the idea you want to work on, founders details, and recommendation letters and a 2 minute video pitch of the team! We had one stage of evaluation and were selected as one among the 23 startups from around 500 applications worldwide.
Vinay: What was the program’s impact on your company and the team?
Mili: Initially loyagram was intended to be reward platform. But during the program, we met a lot of people, attended conferences, events, workshops, talked to our potential customers, took hours of mentorship and then realised there was a huge scope for the feedback collection, which actually was a just one of the feature of our initial product. This proved to be a turning point with our startup and we pivoted from a reward platform into a customer experience platform which actually gained us a lot of traction!
Vinay: If I have to ask you, on a scale of 1 to 5, How would you rate your overall experience at the S Factory?
Mili: I would rate my experience a four because we were part of generation 2 and it was the beginning of the S Factory Program, so I felt the program was not so much organized but now I have heard a lot of feedback that the program is being much organized and it is really helping many female entrepreneurs
Vinay: Oh! That's good. Do you have any tips for women entrepreneurs planning to apply to the program?
Mili: Yes, I do. For all the upcoming participants, I would suggest to take enough time to prepare your application instead of the last minute hassle. Video pitch normally takes longer than you would imagine and remember to inform the people giving recommendations way before the deadline in order to ensure a complete application. Also I would like to ask you to Be ready for an adventure! It is an exciting journey. And worth too! You get to meet entrepreneurs from all over the world, share experiences and most importantly learn from them!
Vinay: Yeah! I think that was a good tip Mili! and that was a great chat overall, thanks a lot for your time. Where can the listeners go to find out more about your company and connect with you?
Mili: You can visit our website and follow me at twitter @miliabr
Vinay: There you go folks, That was Mili, CIO of Loyagram. You can go to loyagram.com that is L O Y A G R A M .com or follow Mili on twitter @ M I L I A B R .
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