Interview with Edward Junprung (Discobo)
Discobo is a Q&A platform to crowdsource the best products for daily problems.
I interviewed Edward Junprung, Discobo founder to find out more. This is the hundred and eighty third in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Edward!
How would you describe Discobo in under 50 words?
Discobo is a Q&A platform to find the best solutions to anything. Simply search/browse existing questions or ask the community to find the best of anything.
How did you meet your co-founders and what inspired you to work together on Discobo?
Discobo has 3 co-founders – Brian, Taehee and me.
Brian and I met at UC San Diego. I was a 4th year undergrad while he was a foreign student from South Korea. We always bumped into each other around campus and eventually started talking. One day, he told me he was going back to Korea. I thought he was going back forever and said my goodbyes. Two months later, I moved into a new apartment. As I was walking out, he was walking in. We had somehow moved into the same apartment without knowing it.
Taehee joined Brian and I about a year later. We were working on a different project together called Startup Heroes. We decided to continue working on new projects until we found something that worked.
We were inspired to work together because we had the same visions for the future. We were both passionate about start ups, we both hated corporate life and we both wanted to create a long lasting business.
On your Facebook it says Discobo is as if Google and Quora had a baby. Did these websites inspire your creation?
Google was the main inspiration for Discobo. Working on previous projects, we found it difficult to find solutions via Google. You would need to search without knowing exactly what you’re looking for, sift through several sites, read paragraphs of content and try out some products. We wanted to make it quick and easy to find relevant solutions. The Q&A approach turned out to be the best so that’s why we compared it to Quora.
Do you feel that you sufficiently differentiate Discobo from Google and Quora?
Yes, we are differentiated in many fronts. The first is focus. Discobo is focused solely on helping people find products and services. Search engines like Google are used to find anything in general while Q&As like Quora can be used for any type of knowledge.
The second is the structure of the site. We limit questions to “What is the best…of something”. The logic behind this is that this type of question can easily convey context. This helps companies easily judge a user’s pain/need, allowing them to post their solutions appropriately.
Finally, Discobo is heavily image based. We don’t like reading paragraphs of content to find out what is the best. Short reviews and knowing how many people like a particular product is enough incentive to try it out. We have cut out a lot of unnecessary text so users can judge a product based on only those 2 criteria.
Discobo is currently free and you don’t seem to have advertising on the site. What’s your revenue plan?
We have noticed that many start ups/businesses post their own solutions/questions to promote their own products. In terms of revenue, we want to be the ultimate platform for companies to promote their offerings.
Due to the nature of question based searches, we can get almost perfect targeting for advertisers. Every question is limited to “What is the best of something” so it’s easy to derive a user’s pain or need from the context of this question. So rather than targeting keywords on Google or demographics on Facebook, we can target specific pains users face based on context.
Say you offer a dashboard that helps businesses manage their social media efforts. You could simply promote your product within questions that directly or indirectly imply that need (ex. What is the best tool to actively manage social and professional networks). We can feature solutions and monetize on a pay per click or commission basis.
What time frame do you work on for providing answers to questions?
We’re aiming to have solutions to any questions within 48 hours.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Discobo?
Creating a search bar that finds relevant questions was challenging. We didn’t know how people would search for questions – either by keywords or by asking actual questions. Many times, we would search for something and nothing would come up even though we knew that relevant questions existed.
Who do you see as your main target audience? How are you reaching them?
Our target niche are start ups and small businesses. We’re using AngelList to find start ups and to reach out to them. This is done through email and word of mouth. In the future, our main target audience will be anyone looking for products/services that solve pains.
In 2012 you were a GEW Startup Open Finalist. How did this come about?
We were a finalist for a different idea called “Startup Heroes” which is a previous iteration of Discobo. We simply applied and were notified about a month later that we were a finalist.
For Discobo, we made it to round 1 of The Next Web Startup Rally. We were also selected to participate in the Rackspace Startup Program – we get $24K in cloud hosting for a year.
Is Discobo available for mobile?
Yes, the site is mobile optimized on the web but we currently don’t offer a native app.
Do you have any exciting developments to Discobo coming up that you could tell us about?
We’re trying to build a situation based search engine for products and services. For example, you would describe your situation by searching “Can’t find a taxi”. The results would show Uber, Lyft and other alternatives to get around. We hope this will replace our current search bar in the near future.
You’re a relatively new startup. What is your ambition for Discobo in the next 5 years?
We want to be the go to resource for finding products and services for any situation.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
The biggest hurdle is changing preconceived notions. Intuitively, most people would use a search engine like Google when searching for something (or the iOS/Android app store search when looking for apps). Challenging this perception is difficult and it’s a hurdle that we still face.
What advice would you offer to any soon to be startup founders out there?
Don’t listen to anyone except your own intuition and your customers – they are usually right. Listening to outside noise will ruin your product’s vision.
Can you convince the reader to start using Discobo in under 50 words?
Let’s say you’re short on cash and need more ways to pay for your girlfriend. Try Google’ing it. Do it in 10 minutes. Give up? Did the suggestion to work at McDonalds help? Use Discobo and find the best solutions in seconds.
Finished reading? Check out Discobo!