This week we meet Susan Kabani of Ugenie.
Some of you may already know Susan as she runs an awesome pitch event but this week we’re here to talk about her start-up Ugenie. the Ugenie platform allows organisations to create their own private communities. A bit like a Facebook group but without all the noise. These hubs are a direct contrast to concerns that people have around the major platforms and are a great way to connect users in a safe environment. Susan has been a member of our start-up community for a while and we were super happy she agreed to be interviewed.
Susan founded Ugenie alongside her co-founder and husband back in 2016. As newlyweds they were dividing up household tasks and hit upon the idea of a platform that could do that for them. The first iteration was designed to be a better version of a Whats App group, connecting neighbours to share day to day tasks. They designed and launch their app over the coming months. Over the next few years and led by their pursuit of product market fit they arrived at the current product iteration. Traction has been steady with uptake growing month on month since. Businesses and communities love Ugenie because it’s everything a Facebook group isn’t. Content isn’t drowned out and security is assured, users and the businesses aren’t at the mercy of an algorithm. Most importantly Ugenie don’t take ownership of the user data at all, their subscription model ensures their revenue isn’t determined by the data they own. Their growth has attracted a number of corporates to their platform as well, seeking a better way of managing and interacting with their communities.
Last month they launched their web based version which allows customers to integrate the platform with their websites and authenticate login via Ugenie connecting the community with the web property directly.
To date Ugenie has been funded by angels via SEIS and latterly EIS but the team are gearing for a larger raise in the next few months. They have big ambitions to really push the platform and it’s capabilities with the launch of an updated app a revamped website and new hires to deliver on their growth aspirations.
The Covid question
It had to be asked! Like a lot of start-up founders Susan doesn’t draw a salary from the company and their team are all contractors. This has put virtually all government assistance out of reach. Although their corporate clients have gone on pause, interestingly they’ve seen an increase in uptake on the platform during lockdown amongst smaller businesses and communities. The last three months have seen faster growth then the first quarter of 2020. With more people relying on digital communications Ugenie has been well placed to help power fledgling communities across the country.
As well as a raise the team are gearing up for a big marketing push. It’s hard to gauge where the market is right now but I certainly feel a product like Ugenie is well positioned to take advantage of the new normal as this takes hold through the remainder of 2020.
The reality is that so many different kinds of communities and businesses can use Ugenie especially to test and validate ideas that their scope for growth is huge.
Ugenie the details
You can check out Ugenie here and grab a free trial.