Some of the best business ideas come from personal challenges entrepreneurs have faced. In an attempt to solve the issue, a great business is born.
Rohan Gupta and his co-founders serve as an example of how addressing problems can lead to a hyper growth startup. Today, their company Quillbot, an AI-based writing platform that includes tools such as a paraphraser, a text summarizer, and a grammar checker, has exploded in popularity, particularly with students and those learning English as a supplemental language.
Turning a shared weakness into a solution for a very common pain point
When talking about his origin story, Gupta explains, “My co-founders and I were computer science majors who, admittedly, were not gifted writers, so we thought, why not go bigger to solve our own problems? We could create an AI to do the heavy lifting during the writing process.”
In a quest to make writing painless, Gupta and his co-founders created a set of writing and research tools capable of refining language and generating new ideas for style, tone, and voice. The platform and its tools provide support for users as they write, to smooth and automate some of the more mundane aspects of the writing process. Their shared weakness became their greatest asset in this way.
Because QuillBot was conceived out of personal necessity, Gupta still uses it to better communicate his thoughts and improve his communication. “If I can’t find the right words to express what I’m thinking, I use our paraphrasing tool to help me with articulation.”
Focusing on the user
Much of QuillBot’s growth can be attributed to the fact that they save their users considerable time, while improving their writing.
“Our tools are game-changers for anyone needing to perfectly articulate ideas, find inspiration, bust writer’s block and procrastination, increase productivity, and find their ideal research and writing workflow,” Gupta observes. “Our viral growth has been due, in large part, to word of mouth because our tools yielded an average time savings of over 50% per writing project.”
The enhanced productivity and time-savings aspects of QuillBot’s tools weren’t entirely planned for in the beginning. However, these user benefits quickly become important for the Quillbot team to understand in terms of converting users, lowering churn, and increasing user retention rates. One of the earliest mistakes Gupta remembers making is putting too heavy of an emphasis on marketing, instead of concentrating on what truly mattered in the earliest growth stages, which was increasing user retention and engagement.
Learning the importance of specializing
Instead of building out a team of specialists from the get go, Gupta and his co-founders wore multiple hats at once to get their business off the ground. For over two years, the team did their best to learn different functions like growth hacking with the goal to drive adoption of their products.
According to Gupta though, this was a mistake. He confides that he should have hired his core team earlier. Once a team was assembled that could specialize in various areas, the company became much more proficient and versatile in their work.
As a result, Quillbot has been able to address the needs of all types of users. Attorneys, screenwriters, fiction authors, bloggers, content creators, and scientists have all used the platform’s tools, beyond what Gupta and his co-founders ever dreamed possible.
Elevating the educational playing field
For Gupta, entrepreneurship has become a way for him to make a difference in the educational system. QuillBot offers people all over the globe access to high-quality, supportive educational technology to help them succeed in both their school and professional lives.
Young, budding writers in underfunded school districts can get instant feedback from the platform’s tool to see how they could better the elements of their scholarship essay or short story. Non-native English-speaking students and professionals can learn how to enhance their English writing, figure out the meaning of idioms, and not agonize over how to express and articulate their ideas in English.
Providing users of all socioeconomic backgrounds access to quality solutions for these types of problems is a particular point of pride for everyone on the QuillBot team.
Turn your weakness into opportunity
Everyone has shortcomings, but not everyone takes the time to address them. By using their background in computer science to solve their challenges as writers, Gupta and his team have shown that weakness can be turned into massive opportunities.