Part two: An interview with Donorbox founder Charles Zhang: Why hitting the niche might determine the success of your product

Interview

Authors

Mario Stipetic

Watch part two of the interview with Charles Zhang the founder of Donorbox or read the snippets below. Find out how Donorbox succeeded, whether they got any investments and some general advice.

“Work on something that’s exceedingly interesting to you, that what fascinates you. People like to say idea doesn’t matter, the execution will pivot to the idea that works. I don’t believe that.”

— Charles Zhang, Donorbox

How to get your first users

Donorbox applied SEO strategy to get the first users, very specific blogs and explanations about what is different with Donorbox from the other donation forms were written. It would be very difficult to get users if the blogs were general because there was strong competition doing similar work. It had to be explained why Donorbox was different. Donorbox is in a sense of very niche product in the world of donation forms.

How did it get from zero to initial earnings?

“We had quite a bit of user after two or three months. We didn't actually charge them until a year later because we're still working on it. But I wouldn't recommend that for all cases. It depends on how confident you feel about your product. If you feel like your product is already pretty complex and you put up a lot of ingenuity and expertise in your product it's good to charge from day one because you're the customers feel money investing your product and they give you better feedback.

We had zero investment. We did it with our own money doing consulting but we had a lot of experience from our previous projects. We were super scrappy and very frugal.  But after so many failures to have a product that people are actually got me pretty excited, I didn't care about having a higher income.”

Why hitting the niche means everything

“If you're building a niche product, which I highly recommend, you should just get a lot of enthusiasts that are relevant to you. The more niche you get into a sector, first of all, their business customer is willing to pay. Also, you're not competing against all the college startups doing “food deliveries” or “photo sharing”. I think that it’s a smarter route to do niche than to do a consumer larger startup.”

What is next for Donorbox

There are many new things Charles is thinking about when advancing Donorbox and they include more payment integration, resolving data issues that NGO often have like a monthly and weekly quarterly reoccurring donation, cryptocurrencies and more analytic tools.

A talk with Charles Zhang,
founder at Donorbox.org

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