Interview with Cem Hurturk (Sendloop)
Sendloop is a full-featured, easy-to-use email marketing service.
I interviewed Cem Hurturk, Sendloop co-founder to find out more. This is the hundred and twenty first in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Cem!
Describe Sendloop in under 40 words.
Sendloop is a do-it-yourself, easy-to-use email marketing and list management service, designed for individuals and small to medium sized businesses.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
I like creating…
You co-founded Octeth with your brother Mert in 1999 and went on to develop Sendloop and also Oempro (email marketing software), SenderSuite (a transaction email delivery gateway), PreviewMyEmail (an email design preview service), Wridea (an online idea management and collaboration service), DeliveryIpMonitor (a delivery IP health monitoring service and Cockpito (a metrics measuring and monitoring software). How did you find the time to develop all these products?!
Well, it took almost 10 years to build all those services and software. It wasn’t so easy and took considerable time. At Octeth, we have a key solution in every sub-market of email industry. From email marketing to transaction email delivery, from email design testing to inbox delivery monitoring, we have a professional solution for everyone in the email market.
What made you decide to start working on Sendloop?
Oempro was doing great at that time but it’s difficult building server-side software which runs on the customer’s server platform, which is beyond our control. Therefore, having an online service which will generate recurring income and having full control of the server infrastructure made us quite excited and motivated. And we weren’t wrong…
Who came up with the name?
We came up with the name during a brainstorming session, it was inspired by a t-shirt with the words “killer loop” :)
What is it like working with your brother, Mert? What roles do you each take?
It’s fantastic. Mert is the person I trust fully and walking towards our goals with a person you trust 100% should be called “luck” itself.
Which of all your products was the most challenging to develop?
The most challenging was PreviewMyEmail. 50+ email client integrations, .net development (unlucky us!), screen shot processing and delivering 50+ email screen shots in just a minute was the most challenging part.
With Sendloop, the most challenging part is the load on the system. Millions of emails are delivered through our platform every single day and keeping servers up crucial for our business. We need to deliver emails, track responses, etc. All these operations should be done instantly.
What technologies have you used to build Sendloop?
Personally, I’m in love with PHP, MySQL but we select the right technology/platform whenever needed. We are using PHP, Python, Nodejs, Ruby, .net programming languages and MySQL, Mongodb database systems mainly.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Sendloop?
We haven’t have any challenges worth mentioning when developing Sendloop, we are quite experienced on developing professional email marketing systems; thanks go to Oempro. But the most challenging part of Sendloop is deliverability, keeping on top of it.
How long did it take to put together Sendloop?
It took 3 months to develop and launch Sendloop. But we are always in “development mode”.
What’s the startup scene like in Istanbul?
Turkey is growing quite fast, faster than almost any country in the world right now. Tens of new start-ups are being founded every week, mostly focused on the e-commerce industry. I guess we are one of the few start-ups who are focused on the international SaaS market right now, but we are doing our best to spread the word out and inspire other young Turkish entrepreneurs to build their own international SaaS start-ups.
Do you have any new products in the pipeline?
Well, like I said, I love creating. Therefore, we may release a new product at any time :)
You call yourself a ‘Micropreneur’. How do you manage to maintain a balanced work-life balance?
I am not sure if I am good at keeping work and personal life separated. But I can confidently say that I am able to dedicate enough private time to my wonderful wife and my amazing two kids. Other than this, business is in my mind any time, even on vacation. I am not complaining at all :)
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
I don’t like sentences starting with “I wish I’d have…”. I did the right thing always. Even some of my decisions were a mistake, it was the right move at that time. So, I prefer taking lessons from my mistakes and move on. If I do the same mistake again, then it’s the right time to say “I wish I’d have…”. Luckily, I haven’t said it so far.
Where do you see Sendloop in 5 years time?
Sendloop is doing great and on its way. Growing stable and organically. We will speed up the growth in following years. In 5 years time, I see that Sendloop will be the most popular ESP in Turkish small-business market. Regarding the EU and US markets, I see that Sendloop will be one of the most popular ESP, not #1 but probably one of the top 5 ESPs focusing on small businesses.
Has Sendloop got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
Yes, since day 1. Sendloop is quite scalable and profitable. We are able to provide service to thousands of users with a very small team. We have loyal, engaged user base and we like being in contact with our customers directly.
How many users do you currently have?
I prefer not to share an exact number but all I can say that we will reach 10,000 users in a few months. This will be the tipping point for Sendloop.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
Our biggest competitor is MailChimp. They are doing great over there.
What advantage does Sendloop have over its competitors?
Simplicity and being more focused on the target user segment. Also, we are smaller compared to our biggest competitors which forces us to work more on making our customers happier.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced?
The biggest hurdle I have faced in business is to generate the required momentum on business to bring stability. A business may start making profit from day 1 but without creating the momentum, it will not last too long. Sustainability is the key to the success in business.
In my opinion, everything is momentum in business. When you create enough momentum, things will get easier to focus on level 2 and start growing your business more. Momentum means, visitors coming to your site, sign-ups, plan activations, feedbacks received, revenue, profit, etc.
Name 2 trends that excite you.
Email and SaaS.
Which entrepreneurs do you most admire?
MailChimp’s founder Ben Chestnut, CampaignMonitor’s co-founder Dave Greiner, EuroMsg.com founder Altug Inci are three entrepreneurs I like most. They do their job very well. I haven’t have a chance to meet with Ben Chestnut yet, but luckily I met with Dave Greiner at one of the conferences in San Francisco. He’s a great guy. Also, I admire a Turkish ESP owner Altug Inci, he’s another great guy dedicated to grow his business.
What one piece of advice would you give to recent startup founders out there?
Don’t waste time on adding more features than are needed. Just build the required “must-have” features and open your business. Focus on acquiring customers, “developing” customers. Be sure that someone in another place in the world is working on the same thing, but be faster than them to win.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
I am excited about upcoming features on both Sendloop and Oempro. We will have some cool new features on both products and I believe we will start growing a lot faster with the help of these features.
Can you convince the reader to start using Sendloop in under 50 words?
Sendloop will allow you to contact your customers quickly. Simply build your email campaign, send and track reports. Grow your business with email marketing. Try Sendloop for free.
Finished reading? Check out Sendloop!