If I had to describe one key learning from my 18 month entrepreneurial journey, it would be – ‘Failure’ is overrated. I grew up understanding that failure is a negative word only to realise that while starting up you encounter failure very frequently. So much so, you start seeing the hidden beauty in it. You might wonder what’s so beautiful about it? The beauty lies in the fact that startups have the ability to fail fast and succeed faster. That’s why ‘pivot’ is one of the most popular words of the startups dictionary.
Over last 12 months of going live, we have experienced both the beauty and curse and here’s how Mutterfly failed, pivoted and rose over the last 1 year.
How it Started
8th August 2015, Mutterfly went live on google Play Store.
A social food-sharing app allowing foodies to request dishes from their neighbours and homechefs to display their culinary talent.
Being the first of it’s kind community food-sharing app, the idea got a great response from our Beta users. BBC featured us as one of the unique businesses of the future while Yahoo wrote how ‘Maa Ka Khana‘ was now possible everywhere. It was a great start and the response was much more than what I had anticipated. The orders started shipping; but few months down the line, we sensed that something is ‘fishy’ (no pun intended).
Preeti, 1 of our regular homechefs, made excellent Dum Biryani. Word quickly spread and each time pretty shared her dish on Mutterfly, it was sold out within an hour. That’s great isn’t it? But here’s the problem – As Preeti was serving from her own kitchen, she could prepare a maximum of 30 portions. In order words, supply was limited while demand kept rising. With this we came to realise that scalability was a (major) roadblock in our model.
The second issue, in my opinion, was a more serious one. Mutterfly started off as social food-sharing concept. As we spoke to our customers, we realised that we were a ‘Vitamin‘ rather than a Painkiller i.e. Mutterfly was more of a ‘good to have’ app rather than a must have app. There is nothing wrong with being a Vitamin,; Facebook started off as one and has grown to be a painkiller today. However in our case, if we had to become a painkiller we had to drop the social element and either become a central kitchen or food delivery service. None of which I was keen to do.
So that meant only 1 thing.
Back to the drawing Board
The more we spoke to our customers, more we realised that users loved the core of our model – Sharing. We don’t realise this, but we have been wired to share from childhood. From exam notes to cutting chai to Cinema popcorn, we share a lot more than we realise. So we asked ourselves, why limit sharing to just food? That was the start of the new us.
On our mission to be solve a ‘real problem’ and be a painkiller, this is what we discovered, analysed and reformed into. *Drum roll*
Meet the new Mutterfly
So here we are –
A peer to peer sharing network that lets users’ rent items they need from people nearby and helps users earn by renting out their unused items.
The New Look
We started the building the new identity for Mutterfly after a few months of testing our new model. When we started building this identity, I looked back at the past few months and asked myself just 1 question “What makes Mutterfly special?” The answer reflects in our new logo.
The three pillars of Mutterfly, not only reflect what we stand for but also the vision we are chasing i.e. own less and experience more. Today, what makes Mutterfly unique is that behind each transaction is a beautiful story between the borrower and lender.
One such story is of Vimal and Kritigya. Vimal, a software engineer at Oracle, always wanted to cycle through Mumbai streets but his busy corporate life made it pointless for him to own a bicycle. Mutterfly introduced him to Kritigya and her Firefox Mountain bike. The rest of the story can be captured by Vimal’s smile at Borivali National Park which not only shows the power of sharing but also explains how we can achieve more together.
Vimal and other members of Mutterfly gang come from varied backgrounds. But what unites all Mutterfliers is our desire to want more, experience more and more importantly share more. So together, with this new identity, I look forward to starting the next phase of the journey with the same principle we started off with- Sharing makes us achieve more.