Bhavin Turakhia launched Flock in 2014, growing to reach businesses in the US, Spain, India, and now, the UK. The messaging and collaboration app is often pitted against heavyweight Slack, but Flock was the first messaging app to launch multilingual support and cut out “clunky” design for a lighter interface.
We speak to Turakhia on the company’s rapid growth and on breaking into the UK market as of January 2017.
What does your business do?
My company has developed Flock, a real-time messaging and collaboration app for teams that speeds up and simplifies communication and boosts productivity. Flock has proven to be a powerful solution for big enterprises, tech companies and startups seeking to boost workplace efficiency by ditching email and moving to a more collaborative communication model. It offers powerful features and a slick, easy to use interface, making it an ideal tool for organisations looking to move to a real-time communication model
We also offer a platform for developers, FlockOS – the world’s first chat operating system that lets one build customised apps, bots and integrations, on top of Flock. FlockOS is unique as it comes with a first-of-its-kind widgets feature, bringing a rich website-like experience to a team messenger. With FlockOS, developers can build apps that are more native, richer and much more powerful than in other team messengers. Apps built on top of FlockOS come with features such as widgets and attachment buttons, which allow users to access apps easily, and receive and respond to all notifications from within Flock.
How did you know there was a market for your business?
I’m driven by the idea that we can solve problems in our current ecosystem by leveraging technology. At some point, I realised that team communication as a category was largely becoming a stagnant space, with no changes in the way we communicate at work during the past 10 years. While email is an ubiquitous tool among teams, it hasn’t evolved during the past decade. On the other hand, our activities have become much more collaborative and we need to be able to respond quickly to many workplace challenges. As a result of that, here is clearly a need for tools that let users collaborate seamlessly and in real-time.
With this in mind, we developed and tested multiple chat applications. When we were assured and convinced of the results, we finally unveiled Flock.
Describe your business model in brief.
Flock is entirely self-funded or bootstrapped. We do not have any external investors.
We currently offer a free plan, and a pro plan at $3 per user per month where teams have the option of upgrading select users only. We also have an enterprise plan, which includes everything in the pro plan plus a one-time cost for setting up on-premise deployment.
We offer significant benefits to users when it comes to the pro plan. Our competitors, with their subscriptions and paid options, require organisations to pay for all users on the platform. However, to ensure user benefit, we charge organisations only for users for whom premium features have been activated, and not for everyone.
What was your first big milestone and when did you cross it?
We are still at a nascent stage in our journey, with an ever evolving product that’s becoming stronger each day. That said, our international expansion, with the official launch of Flock in multiple countries such as USA, the UK, and a few other countries in Europe, has been a milestone we are very proud of. There is so much more to come.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
If there is a single piece of advice that I would give to anyone, I would say never compromise on the quality of talent that you hire. This is a principle that we follow diligently at Flock and at all my other companies. At Flock, we are able to innovate and launch unique products and features at an unimaginable pace because we hire only the best and make no compromise when it comes to the right talent.
Another key principle is that the fundamental definition of a successful business should be one where you create more value for your consumer than the value that you seek from them. Such a business model is sustainable and is what you should focus on as an entrepreneur.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
The next five years are going to be crucial for the adoption of team messaging apps across the globe. Newer ways of communication and collaboration are going to become an indispensable part of our lives and I see Flock as one of the leaders in this category. We want to gain not just a large chunk of the global market share, but also offer to our users the most competitive, innovative and efficient solution for their communication needs.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…
I set my mind to becoming an entrepreneur very early in life. During my college days, I devoured hundreds of biographies of famous people and businessmen and they influenced me significantly. I always knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur in the field of technology.
What is your philosophy on business or life, in a nutshell?
I live by one fundamental belief that we as human beings share a moral obligation to make an impact on humanity that is proportionate to our potential. It is our duty to use our lives to make as much an impact as we can. Everything I do is governed by this principle.