After more than 1.5 years of trying, we have decided to shut down the payroll product from Carrom.
TL;DR: Reasons: Amount of operational work involved and failure to find a “start small” version.The traction was hard to come without the funds. As novice founders, fundraising was hard without the traction. Honest take: We want to pivot, but not sure to what.
We were persistent enough to find out all the nuances, find local partnerships in multiple countries and build a software around it. But the amount of operational work involved was a bit too much for us to handle without raising funds. It would need a lot of money upfront to execute this ideally — setting up legal entities, hiring experts in different countries, etc.
We are just two ordinary people sitting in a room with a laptop. We faced a chicken and egg problem with traction and fundraising. The traction was hard to come without the funds. As novice founders, fundraising was hard without the traction. We made it to the final round of Ycombinator interviews, but they also sighted the same reason. We were also lucky to connect with some wonderful investors, a few top names in the industry too.
The vision was there, we still believe that this needs to be done. And flexible work will be the future of tech companies, and a product like this would enable a world without boundaries, at least when it comes to employment.
We failed to find a “start small” version which we could bootstrap. In the end, the money we make would be in direct exchange for the time we spend doing the operational work. We also couldn’t put everything into the software, as we initially thought. Having spent a lot of time and not being able to make significant progress was starting to take a toll on our personal lives.
What’s next: The brand Carrom will stay. Being brutally honest, we want to pivot, but not sure to what. Once we find a compelling and original problem, we will start building again — hopefully in the space of remote work. We will keep looking actively for problems to solve.
If you want to bounce back on ideas or talk about remote work or anything else in general, feel free to hit me up on Twitter or email me at email@example.com. If you already have contacted me and didn’t receive a reply, apologies for that — the past few weeks have been a bit tough. I’ll soon get to it.
Endnotes: It was fun. Connected with some wonderful people in the industry. It’s ok to fail, after all, it’s not the first time. Will keep failing until we eventually succeed :) Thanks to everyone who advised and helped us.