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Messaging is already the marketing topic of 2016.
Hero is a new app designed to allow consumers to message businesses. We caught up with its founder, Adam Levene.
In one sentence, what is your product/service?
Our mission is to make communicating with businesses as easy as messaging a friend.
What problem(s) does it solve?
Waiting on hold to a company is a horrible experience. Messaging has changed how we all communicate and the logical evolution is to use messaging to redefine how we interact with businesses.
The idea was hit upon after I left a pair of glasses on a flight to Italy. I stepped off the flight and realised I had left them in the seat pocket in front of me.
In a bid to retrieve the glasses, I spent weeks waiting on hold to airlines and insurers. That’s when the eureka moment came - ‘what if I could message them instead’?
What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or growing your team?
The biggest challenge when building our technology is having focus. We’re one of the few companies in the world pioneering ‘conversational commerce’, so there is no blueprint to follow.
By adding new features gradually, we’re able to learn fast and move from there.
Like many early stage companies, hiring and expansion of the team is a priority. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some fantastic people at my previous company, Grapple - many of whom work with Hero today.
We look for three distinct areas of competency when hiring talent; integrity, resilience and skills.
In a bid to grow quickly, it’s tempting to make hires without a proper hiring process - but we subscribe to the Google philosophy, whereby we’d rather have “holes” than “A-holes”.
How will the company make money?
We’re giving businesses the tools to make interacting with their customers effortless - so much so that it increases footfall or conversion - and ultimately repeat custom.
If it becomes effortless for a customer to chat and transact with a business, why would that customer go elsewhere?
Since launching in Beta in Christmas 2015, Hero has been used thousands of times to book restaurants, make appointments and locate hard-to-find items in stores, such as an £18,000 Daum vase.
By sitting at the intersection of commerce and messaging - two huge growth areas for businesses - we’re able to monetise our service through partners.
We’re fortunate enough to have forward-thinking partners such as MADE.COM already working with us.
Who is in your team?
Our team is a blend of developers, designers, customer experience leads and sales & marketing.
The joy of doing something that nobody has done before means we have entrepreneurial DNA in our company that attracts those who want to positively disrupt an industry.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five years' time?
For the next few months we’re focused on as many people in London having their first 'Hero moment’.
Whether it’s booking a restaurant or reserving something in-store, we want people to experience how easy it is to get things done via messaging.
In the longer term, we fully expect that consumers won’t have the patience to wait on hold, email companies or browse badly optimised websites.
They want fast, personalised responses on-the-go, when it suits them. Just like how people now ‘Uber a taxi’, we want ‘Hero-ing’ a business to become the norm.
Other than your own, what are your favourite websites/apps/tools?
We love getting feedback from our users and also seeing how people are using Hero - so social is hugely important to us. We're also big fans of Sketch and Marvel to help bring our design ideas to life.
Lastly, coffee from Pact helps keep us all nicely fuelled!