What was before Piktochart?

Posted by on .

Hello readers!

Andrea and Ching (author) are co-founders in Piktochart. I noticed how lots of startups have a “what happened back in the days” story and just thought that piece was missing on Piktochart. (Please, could someone remind me to design an infographic for all of these!)

We founded a web design agency called Yet Another Studio in the beautiful island of Penang, north of Malaysia. Andrea had already been developing websites as a freelancer and as part of another leading agency in Kuala Lumpur. I was working for Procter & Gamble in Media and Advertising before I self-taught Photoshop and wanted to do web design. We both always knew we wanted to build a great product instead of staying in the service line. At that time, we had several ideas (maybe someday someone will make it big) and most of them were discarded whenever we did some research on the market.

Some discarded ideas:

  • Create an events listing to find the scrawniest and smallest events (even if it was just a house party at the backyard) – make tonnes of money
  • Start a tryvertising trend in South East Asia
  • Create an anti-GroupOn startup. That is the anti-thesis of GroupOn which is based on free trials and businesses do not pay a rip-off percentage. The model tries to get the customers a wonderful “user experience” instead of just getting tonnes of discounts minus the quality. However, this startup required a lot of network scaling in terms of reviews of local businesses ( for the rest of the world?). Something we did not feel could be achieved very well if we were based in either Malaysia or Italy.
  • Threadless in Malaysia. But it lacked originality. We loved design and t-shirts and still do! 🙂

While doing tonnes of research (and real work) at Yet Another Studio, we saw lots of infographics. So we wanted to get in the game and publish our infographic out there. Not only did we find that it was difficult to come up with the graphics/an idea on Photoshop, but it was also incredibly difficult to put data together. We asked around if people were interested to see more infographics (and yes they were). [Note to myself: At that time, there were still people asking what an infographic meant. Guess wide-spread adoption in Malaysia was going to be difficult….]

We asked if people would pay for a tool that would save them time and guide them to create infographics. Again, the answer was yes. The deeper we got into the survey (of 80+ participants), the more we knew that this was a market where people were likely to pay. To further validate the market, we started looking at other things, including Google Insights and Trends to see what sort of related keywords people were searching for when looking for infographics. “Infographics software” and “infographic application” did not do too bad.
To top the idea validation (which happened quickly in about 1 month), we went to Chinaccelerator to ask if they were accepting any more startups for mentorship and a great learning experience. I believe we were the last startup that got signed onto Chinaccelerator 2011!  All of these happened back in May-July 2011. Since then we have been building a kick-ass product, almost ready for the world to come see, taste and use.
[Coming soon: A behind the scenes of everyday work in Chinaccelerator]