Interview with Siddharth Batra (Mine)
Mine is a directory of people and purchases.
I interviewed Siddharth Batra, Mine founder to find out more. This is the hundred and ninety first in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Siddharth!
How would you describe Mine in under 50 words?
Mine is a directory of people and what they buy. On the web and iPhone.
People do three things on Mine:
They import their purchase history by connecting an email address
They browse and follow other people and their purchases
They discover and buy new products through other people
What in particular prompted the idea for Mine?
The inspiration really came from empirically analyzing the Twitter and Instagram public streams.
Search for “just bought” right now on Twitter, and you’ll see an incredible volume of tweets from people just telling the world they’ve bought something.
It’s the same on Instagram. Search for “instagr.am” right now on Twitter — nothing specific to shopping — and you’ll see that a ton again are about products! And the overarching context for talking about products tends to be ownership, what you’ve just bought.
So there’s a gigantic product revealing itself here:
It’s one that’s completely focused on ownership
It’s one that improves on the current situation by including
– a catalog picture of the item
– the store where it was bought
– a link to more info, where the item can be bought
and by cataloging all this over time so that you build up a profile of what you’ve bought.
How did you meet co-founders Pierre Legrain and Deepak Rao?
Deepak and I went to the same undergrad college back home in Delhi. We had a blast working on a project together and haven’t looked back since.
Pierre and I met at Stanford where I was doing my CS Master’s and he was doing an MBA right down the street. We co-founded a video advertising startup while at Stanford and have been friends since.
The three of us got together in early 2012 after Deepak’s graduation from Stanford and started working on Mine.
How long did you spent developing Mine before launching?
The excruciating period of grinding that happens before a startup succeeds (or appears to) is the most overlooked part of startup stories. Startups appear to be overnight successes but all of them go through the trough of sorrow when they’re figuring things out.
We spent a little over a year grinding it out with early users before we officially launched Mine.
How did you manage to raise $600,000 in initial funding?
We were really fortunate during fundraising. Early on in the process we met Michael Dearing of Harrison Metal and he decided to invest.
Working with Michael Dearing is an enriching experience. He’s a remarkably supportive investor who likes to stay under the radar. If you’re contemplating raising a round of angel funding, go see him at Harrison Metal.
Through Mine, can you see what anyone in the world is buying or just friends?
The concept of getting inspiration from other people’s purchases works phenomenally across any influence relationship – be it a friend of yours of someone you follow on Twitter.
On Mine you can lookup what anyone in the world is buying – the new shoes your best friend bought, the latest book J. K. Rowling is reading or the cookware Gordon Ramsay is using in his kitchen.
Are there any new features coming up you can tell us about?
Once you connect to enough people you care about on Mine, it becomes an incredible destination to start your purchasing decisions. We’re beta testing a feature to search the purchases of all your connections.
So, if you’re looking to buy headphones or the next iPhone app to download you can enter queries like “headphones my friends have bought” or “popular games from my friends of friends” and get relevant results from the people you care about.
What advice would you offer to any soon to be startup founders out there?
If you’re solving a problem that you deeply care about nothing else will matter.
Can you convince the reader to start using Mine in under 50 words?
Mine gives you a superpower. There’s never been a directory of ownership where you could see what others you know have bought. Mine gives you super power eyes, and once you’ve seen with these eyes, you don’t want to stop.
Finished reading? Check out Mine!