Kevin speaking with Manav Monga, co-founder of Heymarket, a Launch // Code finalist for the $100,000 grand prize awarded by Clio. Manav previously co-founded Manymoon, a social productivity app acquired by SalesForce.com in 2011.
Kevin O’Keefe: Who am I talking to?
Manav Monga: I’m Manav Monga from Hey Market.
Kevin: Okay. And what does Hey Market do?
Manav: Hey Market is a business texting solution. Um, so most law firms today have a phone system that they use to communicate with the customers on, but there are a lot of issues with phone calls. Uh, Jack Newton was saying this morning, “60% of those calls go unanswered”. So what we do, we replaced that communication with texting. Where your clients or the attorney’s clients today would prefer to message the business, the law firm, and the entire team at the law firm could respond to that text. So there’s not just one person that text gets sent to.
Kevin: How’s does that integrate with the conflict system at the firm? Um, does it integrate, is there some fashion that integrates on the conflict? So it comes in on a text, is their identification as to who the person is, what their company is an all that?
Manav: (1:01) Absolutely. So, we integrate with Clio, which is the source of truth in the contact record itself. So as soon as the message comes in, we go back into the clear record and see which, um, customer or contact the client or matter code matches that phone number. And then we marry those two up and then show you.
Kevin: So it’s for existing customers, it’s not new customers coming in?
Manav: So the new customer comes in, you can immediately create a contact for that customer and it gets fed into Clio. So that way there’s a full record of the entire history of the conversation in a clear record, in a clear contact.
Kevin: What were you doing before? Are you the founder of a company or one of the founders of the company or co-founder?
Manav: Yeah, I’m one of the founders of the company yeah.
Kevin: What were you doing before?
Manav: So we were building, we’ve been building, uh, enterprise apps with now for the past 10 years. We had an app before this, um, called MiniMoon.com that was acquired by Salesforce. So we were at Salesforce for awhile. That app was pretty much taking a form of communication that was being used in consumer, which was feeds, and we took that and we pretty much made that so that it was enterprise grade. So instead of sharing your party photos and you know, throwing sheep at your friends, you were actually sharing documents and images and links and meetings and having discussions over them in a feed where the entire organization could be part of it. And there was total transparency around that. So that companies served over a 100,000 businesses. And then we joined Salesforce. We’re there for about, um, a few years, learned a lot from the big company, a lot of marketing, a lot of security and then we took some time off and started to travel as a team and we saw that outside of the United States, people just had left the desktop generation and had gone straight to mobile where they were communicating with businesses and their friends over messaging. So if you go to Spain, they’re ordering taxis over messenger. If you go to India, you can order drugs over messenger. So you do the entire transaction over messaging. But when we came back to the U S we saw that there was evidence of that happening in a lot of industries, but there were individuals that were bringing in their own cell phones and we’re doing the communication over their own personal device, which poses a lot of issues for the enterprise itself.
Kevin: (3:34) So does your product focus just on the law? Is it focused on other verticals?
Manav: So our product is the horizontal solution. We work through a lot of different verticals. Legal is a huge vertical for us.
Kevin: How did you identify legal as something you wanted to be in?
Manav: We initially started to get a few law firms and it started to grow by word of mouth. Um, and it really got viral with law firms. And what we heard from a lot of attorneys were that “our clients are not responding to us. And we send them emails or we do phone calls. But we send them a text message”. A text message has a 90% read rate on a 70% reply rate. So they were saying they could get payment reminders done. They could get people to attend court dates, they could get information off of them if they sent them a text message and vice versa. These clients have been messaging their attorneys and their attorneys have been doing this all on their personal devices and they have no record of that. So they can’t do any billing off of it. They can’t tie it back to their case. They have no one that can assist if they go on a holiday.
Kevin: (4:50) So, the ability then when you integrate with Clio and you’re saying, “okay, we’re going to send out the message that we need to get this back to the client signed or whatever”, could come directly through a, you know, a Clio organized interface, but basically saying, “okay, did it go out by email? Did it go out by text?” You’re integrating in along those lines?
Manav: Absolutely. So we’re the communication channel for messaging. We have an interface in Clio that allows you to do all the texting right from there. We also have a mobile app, a very powerful mobile app, that allows you to be on the road and just communicate as if you were communicating on an app that you’re very familiar with. The great thing is your entire team is on that app.
Kevin: Could it be used by any business but you’re not going out. I mean like my business.
Manav: Yeah. So we have thousands of businesses that use us today. You know it’s businesses, it’s teams of different sizes. It could be you and your assistant that is dealing with potential bloggers or potential companies that you want to bring onto your platform that you could simply just have that entire communication over text.
Kevin: Yeah, cause I don’t use a machine. I’m all iOS. So the only thing I’m using is probably 40% my phone and 60% my iPad. And and all communications with my family and close customers and business partners are all text. So if I’m communicating with Ed Walters, if it’s late at night on the East coast, I don’t want to bug him in a text past midnight, but any other time it’s a text.
Manav: (6:22) And even you and Walter can be on the same phone number and you both can look at the same communication that you’re having and you can even private mention him in the app saying, “Hey Walter, can you help me out with this?” And he can then go and jump into that conversation and continue that conversation. It ties all back into a CRM.
Kevin: So, me personally, it allows me to jump service and impress my clients and I’m trying to be more consumer-centric for them personally.
Manav: Yup, yeah.
Kevin: Well that’s cool.
Manav: Yeah. Your clients are looking for companies like you to be on the channels that they’re on.
Kevin: That’s right. Everybody’s got to be thinking that way. We can’t. And sometimes you know, you can say like, we’ll say in the company sometimes, “You know I think we need this”. “Oh we haven’t had the customers demanding that”. The customers don’t know what they want. I said “if we wait for those requests. We never would have started blogs”.
Manav: (7:12) Totally, I mean, think about it today. If you could text versus call, what would you do?
Kevin: Who wouldn’t text?
Manav: Exactly. And so you would say the clients are doing the same thing and they expect the business to be compliant with that.
Kevin: I mean I’ve had my new iPhone for I think, I don’t know, however long they’ve been out, but it wasn’t until today when I realized, “Oh shit, it was requiring me to go in and put a new password in for the voicemail. I wonder what’s in there for voicemail?”. And at first I was starting to get paranoid and I’m thinking, “there aint anything in there that’s important”. There may be, but you know, maybe it was a medical issue or something. But short of that, you know, I’d rather get a text. Emails are good too. So how long did you do in the company that got acquired by Salesforce? How long have you been running that?
Manav: (7:58) So that company went then for about two and a half years.
Kevin: What were you doing before that?
Manav: Before that I was working at another software company that I was one of the early engineers for. Um, and that was doing apps for old voice over IP phones. So, um, I’ve been in the telecom space for, uh, over 15 years.
Kevin: What do you like most about, you know, starting things that didn’t exist before?
Manav: Yeah, I think one, um, it has to be a problem that resonates with me. I have to think of users first. I need to understand the pains that it takes to actually use the application and find joy and delight with it. If I don’t find that, I don’t expect anyone else to. Um, so we use our own application to communicate with our customers. Um, and that’s really important for us. And the other thing is we want to solve, we think the business are just like consumers. They should not get tools that are that are a secondary thought or an afterthought. And you’ve got 15 things you’ve got to configure before you can actually start to use it. Um, companies like Dropbox, Apple, have made everyone equal in terms of how they consume technology. And I think business applications need to be the same thing. They’ve got to think about the user first, how they will interact with it, and then make every other thing invisible that matter to the business itself.
Kevin: How big is your team?
Manav: Um, we’re seven people and we’re growing.
Kevin: When you said that you guys “went and you traveled”? Was it all seven?
Manav: (9:36) No, that was the old team. Most of it we traveled as a team.
Kevin: Were you’re working on stuff or just enjoying life.
Manav: Enjoying. We actually, when we left Salesforce, we thought we were going to take three months off and that ended up being 14 months. A very good 14 months for us, we’d been working very hard and it was a good way to reset, to really look at everything from a different lens, to come back and see how things are being done in different countries.
Kevin: Where did you do learn to do that? I mean like who had the idea, where did you learn to say “we need to reset. We should go travel as a team. We can take at least three months”. And as three months went on said, “we should take more”. It’s not your average people that do that.
Manav: Yeah totally. I think we were having fun exploring and discovering new things. We’d all worked as a team very hard before that. So it was actually great to start to acknowledge other things like meeting friends and family or you know, looking at how things are done in Burma for instance, or in a remote part in Japan where still everyone is very technology focused. But the culturally, it’s a very different take on it.
Kevin: (10:50) It’s fascinating to hear that you did that. I mean, and then to come back and take a fresh look at things based on what you learned and being refreshed enough that you can look at things differently. Rather than the minute you’ve come out of that company.
Manav: Absolutely. Sometimes you’re very much entrenched into things that you forget to look at the bigger picture.
Kevin: So what’s your feeling as to the law vertical and what do you see?
Manav: I think there’s a transformation that’s happening. Legal always has been, you know, slower to move. But I think as a new generation of clients come in, as a new generation of attorneys come in, and they are recognizing the need of taking all of this data that they’re collecting from different sources and really using that to their advantage.
Kevin: And legal was always, you know, slow to move faster to close. So it goes to word processing. Very slow to adapt emails especially. “We’re not going to use email. It’s never going to happen. Nobody would ever communicate like that”. Boom. It’s closed. Fax machine. How could anybody send half financial communications across cell phone line so we couldn’t even see what was out there and they could get intercepted. Boom. You know, law closes fast once they see that thing. Size of law firms, I assume you can do, you’re doing the whole gamut?
Manav: (12:15) We’re doing the whole gamut. We start with teams. So we really start with people that have a need for outbound communication or inbound communication. So they’re coming in and saying, “we need the paralegal, we need the office assistant and we need the attorney on the same thread. They’re doing this today on their own cell phones and doing it through a Google voice number”. There’s just no integrations with other things and it’s just, that’s where we go in and we first streamline that process and then it grows within the organization where they can start to get another numbers with us and then it pretty much mushrooms from there. What we do have, we have seen, which is a great thing that we do, is we try and not disrupt your current workflow. If you have a number published out there, we’ll take that number and text enable it. Um, if you have all of that data in Clio, we’re gonna make sure that data stays in Clio.
Kevin: It’s very cool. I mean, you’ve been involved now two, three or more technology startups. What do you tell people out there that think about doing it?
Manav: Um, they should do it. I think we, you know, it’s daunting at first. There’s a lot of things that, a lot of uncertainties when you start to disrupt a market. Um, but, we need disruptors. We need people to go out and take that risk. Because it’s only those people that can actually cause a change, and that shift is really, really important. Otherwise, we’ll still be doing things in an archaic manner, or no one’s going to be satisfied.
Kevin: That’s pretty cool. Thanks much.
Manav: Yeah. Thank you. I really appreciate it.
Kevin: This was good.