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Chris Cardell

Interview with Florin Cornianu (123ContactForm)

123ContactForm is an online website form builder.

I interviewed Florin Cornianu, 123ContactForm co-founder to find out more. This is the hundred and twenty eighth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Florin!

How would you describe 123ContactForm in under 50 words?

123ContactForm is an online web form and survey builder. Anyone can create simple contact forms for their websites, event registration forms for their special events, secure order forms or complex online surveys without having any technical knowledge. Our forms can be published on any website, blog or Facebook page.

Give us some examples of how it might be used?

I like to say that 123ContactForm is a “Swiss army knife” for web forms. The majority of our users are small businesses and use our forms to collect leads or to receive feedback. Some are trainers, represent educational institutions or are event organizers and build event registration forms. We have discounts and promotions for non profit organizations, so we have our fair share of NPO users, too. But our most enthusiastic users are web designers and web development agencies; they take 123ContactForm to the limit because they utilize the whole feature list through a huge number of forms.

How did you manage to attract angel-investor Adrian Gheara’s attention at the 2010 How to Web conference?

Through charm and a lot of beer :) On a serious note, we talked for about an hour and I think he got a pretty good idea about our product and about the fact that there was room for improvement. Getting him on board was a very good decision. We improved our product, we hired 6 more people, we moved to a bigger office, everything changed.

What was technically the most challenging part of developing 123ContactForm?

I think the most challenging part was to push 123ContactForm towards a WYSIWYG form builder. When we started, it was just a basic script where you could add 5-6 types of fields to your form. After the investment, we decided it was time to evolve. We switched to Javascript & Ajax, we developed a custom framework and brought 123ContactForm to a whole new level. Another difficult part was to integrate so many different third party apps with our web forms. Of course, each of them has some sort of an API, but you can imagine that there are a lot of differences between SalesForce API, MailChimp API and ConstantContact API, for instance.

Do you have any new features in the pipeline?

We plan to increase the number of payment processors for our order forms. At this point, users can sell through their forms if they have a PayPal or a Google Checkout account. We plan to add 5 more popular payment gateways. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. We have a list of about 70 features that we periodically review during our strategy meetings.

What do you wish you’d have known 3 years ago that you know now?

A lot of things. But I believe in bootstrapping a product, so I feel it’s normal to gain experience over time. My life philosophy is centered around taking decisions that I won’t regret later, so I am confident I would take the same road again.

Who would you say is your biggest competitor?

It depends on the market segment. In terms of web forms, our biggest competitor is Wufoo. The event registration segment is an already crowded place because of Amiando and Eventbrite. Finally, the online surveys market segment has a monkey on top of the food chain, because of SurveyMonkey. By the way, they acquired Wufoo last year.

What advantage does 123ContactForm have over its competitors?

First of all, it’s our “build any web form as easy as 1-2-3″ philosophy. We believe form building should be very easy, so our product was rebuilt with that in mind. If we get into details, nobody has our multi-language approach: you can create multilingual forms and, furthermore, you can fully customize those language packs depending on your needs. Another big advantage is the “white label forms” feature. Using a combination of domain aliasing, private user admin area and CSS customization you can create web forms that will look like your own, without having any connection to 123ContactForm. And last, but not least, the flexibility of our editor: you can build any complex form, even if it has 10 fields of different dimensions on the same line.

What one piece of advice would you give to startup founders out there?

Get the right people around you. From your co-founders to the rest of the team or investors, make sure there is synergy between you and them. Everyday work is a pleasant activity when you also have fun and enjoy yourself.

Can you convince the reader to start using 123ContactForm in under 50 words?

It doesn’t matter what type of online form you need, 123ContactForm can help you. Feedback forms, lead generation forms, surveys, order forms, you can build them yourself without having any technical experience. We have a lot of templates and an enthusiastic team on live chat that will assist you.

Finished reading? Check out 123ContactForm!

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 at 11:07 pm GMT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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