The Origin of Writee AI - My First Startup

January 01, 2023

The highs, lows and lessons of building my first startup, Writee AI - an AI copywriting tool empowering people worldwide. From incorporating to launch, read my story now!

Writee AI, legally incorporated as Whixic Technologies Private Limited, is an AI-based copywriting platform built for marketers, founders and freelancers. Writee was incorporated on 9th March 2022 and is my first start-up.

What is Writee AI?

Writee AI is an AI-based copywriting platform that helps people write more performant content faster. In a world that is increasingly becoming digital, words are more important than ever. They are the foundation of communication, of connection, and of understanding. They have the power to build bridges and to break down barriers. They can inspire and they can ignite. Yet, very few people have barely enough power over words to convey their messages let alone persuade others to follow them.

With this thought in mind, Writee AI was born. Writee is your assistant. It’s a friend always at your disposal to help you write better, bolder and faster.

The Beginning of Writee

On 30th January 2022, 3 students from Jadavpur University were on a call at midnight discussing ideas that could revolutionise the world. It was apparent that they had an intense desire of starting-up. This was the third continuous day of discussion. Ideas from Neobanking and AI-powered investing to a social media for food bloggers, they had discussed it all.

Having had the experience of building things in the past, we knew better than to jump in head first into an idea without doing our due diligence. There was a detailed process followed in selecting an idea. The process was as follows:

  1. Try and estimate the barrier-to-entry in the market - moderate barrier-to-entry is the sweet spot
  2. Check out the competitors - if there is a clear monopoly avoid it, zero competition isn’t what we were looking for too
  3. Come up with potential business models - any high burn model wasn’t suitable
  4. Evaluate if you could make it yourself - it is important to come up with a Minimum Viable Product with the founding team itself, so was it something we could build ourselves?

We used this framework to sift through business ideas all night for 3 consecutive nights. On the third night we came across the idea for an AI-content writer. Having an AI researcher in the team, we were intrigued with the concept of an AI writing content for you. Here’s what we found when we went through our framework for selecting an idea:

  1. There were multiple competitors in the industry but there wasn’t a clear monopoly
  2. It was a relatively lower barrier-to-entry market with the quality of product increasing with the number of users
  3. There was a clear subscription model visible with a possibility of revenue led growth
  4. We had the technical expertise to build the initial versions of the product in the team itself

An AI-Copywriter passed all our test parameters. This sealed the deal for Writee AI. It was now time to incorporate our company. Little did we know, this is a tedious process with little to no information on the internet. While the government has simplified a lot of the archaic processes, ease of doing business is still far from reality in India. There are a number of formalities to be done, from getting digital signatures for the directors to drafting a memorandum of association, it is next to impossible to do it yourselves. This is when we started scouting for agencies. We had meetings with 5 chartered accountants, and after being given outrageous quotations, we fixed our agency and the process began. After a quick 3 week process, Whixic Technologies Private Limited was officially registered with the government of India on 9th March 2022.

The Initial Development

With the incorporation out of the way, we quickly drafted the required Board Resolution to begin business and get to developing our MVP. Having had some experience in building products, we knew better than to get deep into development before talking to people and performing preliminary tests such as the Mom’s Test. To accomplish this well, we developed a one-page, free-to-use website demonstrating our product. It was as simple as you could get but helped us validate the maturity of our idea.

Having performed all the required inceptive tests, we started working on our Minimal Viable Product (MVP). After weeks of meetings, potential client calls and research, we narrowed down our MVP to a simple tool which would let users generate blogs, captions and quotes. Our research showed that long-form content such as blogs are what most users struggle with while captions are things users need on a day-to-day basis for social media posts.

There was a secondary objective of our MVP - training our artificial intelligence model to perform better. AI becomes better as more data is feeded into it. With this in mind, we needed relevant and real life content to train and optimise our model to be more performant and accurate. With the beta running for 3+ months, Writee wrote more than 1,72,000 words for 100+ users. This gave us enough data to come up with accurate insights into the needs of our users and to train our model.

Team Building

It is important for multiple different streams of work to function at the same time in a company. While the development and testing of the MVP was underway it was important for us to start working on branding and marketing the company at the same time. For a start-up the primary ways to start getting the word out is through social media content. As a bootstrapped company, we had no money to hire an agency but we had a willing student crowd we could access and hire as interns. Writee had a hiring drive where we hired interns for 4 different roles -

We hired through multiple different channels - students of Jadavpur University, LinkedIn hiring and referral hiring (through our networks). In our experience, it is impossible to hire the greatest of talents without paying them and hence we had to take in people with the right attitude and train them ourselves.

It is with a lot of pride I can claim that all the interns that worked with Writee have gone on to do incredible internships and work after their experience at Writee. I had personally trained each of the interns in their respective roles. From explaining and emulating the sales process for the CEO’s office intern to teaching the golden rules of content marketing to the Digital Marketing intern I had hand holding sessions with each team member.

It is a common saying that - “there are no free lunches”. If I choose to get untrained interns, I must invest my time in training them and teaching them. It is through this process I learnt the core principles of building a team. There are two key concepts to remember:

  1. Your team needs the chance to do things that upskills them and helps them grow. Team members leave when they feel that there isn’t anything left for them to learn.
  2. Attitude is more important than skills. Someone with the right attitude and lesser skills will upskill as and when necessary to perform for the company. In contrast, someone with all the required skills but a toxic attitude will refrain from utilising the skills they already have too.

While these are things that everyone says, it hits differently when you try them out and see the results yourself. This stands for most things entrepreneurship.

Understanding the Market

In a moderately competitive market there is just 1 thing that differentiates companies - Understanding of the market. There is a common saying that if a market is crowded it means that it’s a market ripe for disruption. There is no product out there that solves all of the user’s problems, hence there is no clear winner in the user’s eyes. This was the case with the AI Copywriting industry. We spent about 2 months talking to users, going through product reviews on websites like G2 and trustpilot, and going through trends in the marketing industry. This built our philosophy for our final release. We had the necessary knowledge to finally bring our clients the product they were looking for.

The Launch

After a detailed market research, we got down to planning the product for our final release. Having learnt what the users needed we set out to build the mightiest and juiciest product ever. We failed miserably in the first 2 weeks itself! We had set out to build a product which needed the might of an engineering team working full-time for 4+ months. Ambition is something which start-up founders are not bereft of. We curtailed our plans, and chalked out an ambitious but achievable plan. It did take more than 2 months to develop but we ended up with a product we could ship.

Looking back at the journey so far, I'm filled with a deep sense of gratitude. As a first-time founder, I've learned so much about starting and running a company. There were many sleepless nights and moments of doubt, but the satisfaction of seeing our product come to life has made it all worthwhile.

I'll be writing about my journey semi-regularly on my LinkedIn and on this blog. Stay tuned for more!

Sign-up to my newsletter

I talk about start-up, investing, tech and everything around it. Sign-Up for my weekly newsletter to never miss an update