Startup Success, a new feature of the Dingman Center Blog, will feature interviews with regional entrepreneurs who received funding from the Dingman Center Angels investor network. In 2011, members invested in eight regional companies, making it the network’s most active year since its founding in 2004. Investments included Brazen Careerist, CirrusWorks, Nexercise, SevaCall, Spinnakr, Spotflux, Veenome, and YouEye. Click HERE to see the rest of the Dingman Center Angels portfolio companies.
Seva Call is the next-generation request aggregator and filtering search engine. It goes beyond traditional search engines by eliminating the inefficiency caused by the “guess and check” method of matching consumers to service providers.
Seva Call received funding through the Dingman Center Angels in 2011. This interview in our “Startup Success” series features Seva Call President & COO and UMD alum Manpreet Singh.
As a startup, what are some of the greatest challenges you face?
The sheer volume and breadth of tasks can feel very overwhelming. You have to be a jack of all trades.
How did you get the idea for your business?
Seva Call comes from my brother Gurpreet’s experiences advertising his IT consulting firm, Geeks On-Site. He spent almost $1 million in advertising over the last 7 years but was bogged down by upfront fees, many contracts, and the inability to track the return on investment each on advertising form. We want to build an efficient marketplace for businesses and consumers that gives flexible pricing options to businesses so that they can choose how much to spend and the ability to measure ROI. For the consumer we wanted to allow them to find a local service professional quickly without spending countless hours researching and playing phone tag with companies.
What is your best networking tool?
I use Facebook and Linkedin extensively.
What advice would you give student entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Just do it!
What piece of advice/information have you received that has added the most value to your business?
As a consumer to business local search service, we took to heart the advice that stressed quality. Consumers care about the quality of the professionals that we find, and we had to develop a system of finding the best quality professionals.
What was the Dingman Center Angels review process like?
The review process had simple and well-defined steps. We received great advice from the mentors that we were able to use to do a successful pitch.
Have you had to pivot with your current business plan?
Yes. One challenge we encountered was signing up companies for our service. Our solution was to use a lazy login system to decrease friction and make it easier for companies to interact with our consumers.
Manpreet spent many years as technology investor, at a Washington DC based investment management firm with over $2 billion in assets. Manpreet is one of the youngest CFA charterholders in the world. Manpreet has been quoted numerous times by Bloomberg, TheStreet.com and other media for various technology pieces. He is a director of the LK Foundation, a philanthropic organization, and is active in the Sikh Council on Religion and Education and the Sikh Caucus. He is also a charter member of TiE DC, Washington DC area’s top network of Entrepreneurs. Manpreet has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and holds a B.S. Cum Laude in Finance with a citation in Entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland at College Park.