Founded in 2015 by Mirdas Ahammed, Vijay Chelakkat and Anvar TK, CYD Tech Lab produces premium WooCommerce plug-ins. What started as a three-man operation in a Bangalore apartment now employs 34 and services 50,000 customers around the world, making it one of the more successful startup stories in India. And the name? Well that’s an acronym for Chase your Dreams (CYD). We recently asked CYD product owner Anindo Chakraborty to share the company’s story.
The beginning of CYD Tech Lab
How did your business get started?
The company was started by three founders who came from different fields to set up an online business:
- Mirdas is a solutions architect by profession and has a deep understanding of technology, process and data flows which ensured smooth functioning of operations in his last organisation.
- Vijay was a senior developer in PayPal and has an acute analytical bent. He is also a technology geek.
- Anvar was the CEO of a reputed software company that did projects for Boeing in Dubai.
Initially all three of them came up with shipping plug-ins for UPS, FedEx, DHL, Canada Post and customer shipping solutions like Table Rate Shipping plug-in. And slowly, they expanded by creating estimated delivery and shipment tracking solutions for WooCommerce and a stamps solution for Magento.
Today we have more than 50,000 customers (and growing daily) who use our free and premium solutions. Our solutions are suitable throughout the world and are used in more than 50 countries. In the United States, we are the most popular source of shipping plug-ins for WooCommerce.
Tell your company story
Mirdas and Vijay were instrumental in developing the early products. Anvar mostly handled AdWords and product pages. We had eight plug-ins during the initial development.
Back then, the employee strength was six and we worked in a 100-square-foot room.
Our customer base started growing as a result of solid development and quick support. Sales grew by word of mouth alone and this resulted in liquid capital that would ultimately lead to a new office space and setup of office infrastructure.
As of now, we have 34 team members and 24 plug-ins in our marketplace. Of the 24, UPS, FedEx, Table Rate, Canada Post, Estimated Delivery, DHL, Product Import Export, Stamps, Australia Post and Order Import Export are market influencers and big revenue generators.
What sets you apart?
When it comes to shipping solutions, we are just behind WooCommerce. But we think our plug-ins perform better than WooCommerce.
Let us consider our UPS plug-in. While WooCommerce provides only the real-time rates calculation during checkout, our UPS plug-in has label generation, freight shipping, bulk shipment creation and a lot more features in addition to the real-time rates.
Judging from the reviews, our clients agree with us. Our UPS plug-in currently has 130 reviews and counting.
Tools for success
What digital tools do you use for business?
Our business website is set up under WordPress environment. Our XAdapter.com domain name is registered through GoDaddy. We host our website in Amazon Web Services and have our product repositories on it.
Our team uses Trello and follows the Scrum model of operations.
For analytics we rely heavily on Google Analytics. One can get deep insights about one’s customers and their behaviour using Google Analytics. As soon as we launch a product, we get the potential keywords and start an AdWords campaign.
During the early days, we started with shared hosting as that required the least capital. It was not that easy, with frequent outages and less capability for handling sudden spikes in traffic.
After that our team moved to dedicated hosting from another firm. This made our website stable, but even then the security aspect was not taken care of. We had many DDoS attacks in a span of a few months, which was discouraging. So we decided to opt for Amazon’s services. This required us to pay a little more than was comfortable. But since then, our website has not faced attacks and is very stable, with good load time.
Our code database is in Bitbucket and we use GitHub for the same.
Maintaining versions and tracing the code change can be a big headache. Since we started using Bitbucket, we haven’t had any problems in dealing with versioning and tracking code changes. This is a must-have tool for organisations — especially startups like us — that work in an ever-changing application framework.
We run our ad campaigns on Google AdWords, which is most needed when we are launching a product and need to target relevant keywords to attract an audience. Our sales have always picked up when we have used the tool to target customers, keeping budgetary factors in mind.
We use Ahrefs to judge our competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and to see the factors that can help us grow (SEO, backlinks, keyword strength, etc). These tools have made our lives quite easy.
Ahrefs helps us deep-dive into the competition and gauge our own strengths and weaknesses. We run target marketing campaigns effectively by making decisions based on this data.
In order to maintain a sync between the dev and support teams, it is very important that we maintain a log of the daily tasks that need to be done. Trello has a very neat interface that helps you to clearly define tasks that are:
- To do
- In progress
Until and unless there is a proper organisation of tasks and an automated way in dealing with them, there is no way a company can scale.
Startup stories: Parting words
Do you have any advice for startups?
Start small, use your resources and capital on only those services that offer a way to measure the success or failure of that service.
Plan from the start and think out ways as to how you can scale a particular set of operations for the future.
Last but not least, try to solve a real problem for your customers and make them succeed. Supporting them in times of need is the most important factor in building a business.
Sometimes the new upcoming technologies cloud the vision of an entrepreneur and he ends up using it to solve a problem that could have been solved with basic technologies.
It is important that we decide on the solution first and then try to integrate the technologies required for solving the problem.
Is there anything you would do differently?
We wish we’d done more social outreach in our initial days and knew more about the finer marketing aspects like SEO and backlinking. These can be instrumental in lead generation and to trigger sales. As we grow, our company is being exposed to such niche subjects and it is thrilling to use technology to reach our targets quicker than expected.
Image by: CYD Tech Lab