|Startup Name *||Helprace|
|What problem are you solving?||With over 500,000 businesses starting up in America every month (and rising), there’s no better time to help small companies grow in the right direction.The idea for Helprace came about due to a lack of an all-in-one, holistic support solution. |
Back in 2011 our founder and CEO Gregory Koldirkaev thought the customer service software market was fragmented and lacked cohesion.“Everyone had their blinders on, from help desk providers to knowledge base guys to community managers” he recalls. “But together, they presented value that was hard for me to ignore”.
|What is your solution?||Helprace is more than a help desk and a self-service portal.We offer a community that transcribes user activity into the company’s admin panel. Using 4 intuitive feedback categories, users can ask a question, share an idea, report a problem or give praise.Currently, there’s no app on the market that does the above, but well-known enterprises such as Zendesk and GetSatisfaction offer a help desk and a community, respectively.|
|Why is this a great opportunity?||Helprace fills the gap that exists between help desk vendors and community managers – allowing companies to better engage with their customers.Our software is a result of changes in user expectations and companies’ increasing preference of having a centralized support platform.|
|Target Market||We’re targeting enterprises, IT companies and startups who wish to centralize customer service without spending a fortune in the process.We are targeting small companies that have a growing customer base. Companies that are poised to grow in size and look to centralize their customer service process early on.|
|How will you make money?||When we roll out a pricing structure, we will generate revenue through out monthly or annual subscription plans. For now, our software remains free to use.|
|Founders Names||Gregory Koldirkaev|
|What type of funding has the company received||Bootstrapped/self funded|
Helprace is trying to insert itself into the junction between two very competitive markets, Helpdesk and Community Management.
However the one thing that is clear to me is that most of the Helpdesk vendors are aimed toward technical support solutions, they are not particularly user friendly to the average non technical team member or customer support person.
A lot of these are technical throwbacks from the old days only suitable for engineers to log and solve support calls. They don’t offer a blend of customer and crowd support via community pages.
CRM Vendors such as Salesforce offer community management extensions to their core CRM platform, but you know you are going to bleed from the eyes when you hit the pricing button and it asks you to signup to book a demo and get a pricing call from an account manager.
Likewise most of the CRM providers are aimed at Enterprise and a largely not great solutions for smaller businesses especially when you need to get them to do something which crosses the border between CRM, Helpdesk and Community Management. Making Saleforce or their partner applications fit your company can be a very expensive exercise.
If you were trying to build something like Helprace from Salesforce + Partner apps, you would not only be up for a very stiff monthly fee from both, you would no doubt have an upfront implementation/consulting fee that a small or medium business would struggle with.
Most of the community management packages I could find were standalone or had some form of API to your CRM.
A few issues I had with the product.
I really have trouble with the name, I keep pronouncing it Hel Prace not Help Race, maybe it might be better to capitalise (I know this is a bit trivial but they wouldnt be the first startup that screwed the business because of a difficult name).
The bigger issue is that it just wasn’t clear how I would integrate this with my existing CRM or Social Marketing systems or if this was in fact supposed to replace them which seemed unlikely.
Some of their competitors such as GetSatisfaction which are aimed at the Social Community Management space and Lithium which are aimed at the Social Media and Community space and Zendesk which is one of the leading helpdesk solutions seem to offer very good integrations with dozens of other CRM and Social Media/Marketing/Email solutions.
While the Helprace websites mention an API, it doesn’t sound like these are integrated or out of the box which means you are probably on your own or going to require expensive integration.
Its hard to imagine that a business who needs this solution, doesn’t have some form of CRM, Sales/Marketing and or billing solution that it needs to integrate this capability with.
I like the solution, it does seem to offer value for the business that needs to integrate both Community and Helpdesk, but without integration to sales, marketing and other parts of the business I think its going to find it difficult to build massive growth on its own.
My feedback to the founders is that I would be trying to find a small-medium market CRM provider who doesn’t have a Community and HelpDesk solution and do some form of joint marketing together, ie create an out of the box integration that provides value for both sides.
Ideally if you wanted to ride the coat tails of a major enterprise growth phenomena (check out this growth curve) I would be trying to integrate with Slack.com, I believe there is a place for a community/social/helpdesk integration within Slack as Slack doesn’t appear to cover this aspect, being particularly focused on internal communications and workflow and yet the provision of solutions to a customer probably have to come from within the Slack workflow, so it seems to me there is an opportunity to integrate meaningfully and create a Slackbot that routes customer support requests to the appropriate team.
On its own Helprace looks like a good solution, if I was the founders I would be putting all my focus on ensuring customer could integrate to existing or other cool apps that might displace existing point solutions.