Introduce yourself and provide us with some insight into your business, JotForm?
My name is Aytekin Tank, and I’m the founder & CEO of JotForm. JotForm is an online form building tool that empowers anyone to create custom forms for all of their business needs, including payment forms, lead collection forms, contact forms, registration forms and more.
What ignited the spark in you to start this business?
When I was working as as a software developer, one of my tasks was to develop forms. At the time, there was nothing available to help with the time-consuming and tedious process of creating forms from scratch. I thought that we’ve got to do better. JotForm solves the problem of having to pay expensive developers to code custom forms. With JotForm, anyone can easily create forms and store their data with our simple drag-and-drop interface.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did?
It’s been almost 10 years since I first started JotForm, and I get more excited about it every year. My passion for computer science, technology, and solving problems for people has been a constant motivator for me. While in college, I started a project for fun, and when I experienced demand from classmates and others, it fueled a fire in me to keep working at it. After my first taste of entrepreneurship, I was hooked to keep creating. The first thing I did to jump-start JotForm was come up with my concept. JotForm was the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) form builder.
How long were you running the business before you started paying yourself? How did you live through those first few months / years?
I strongly believe in the bootstrapped foundation that JotForm was built on. JotForm started as a side project, and as its user base and their needs continued to grow, I made the decision to focus solely on JotForm to take it to new heights.
What was the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
We have many customers in Europe. 20% of our revenue comes from Europe. So, when the European high court decided to invalidate the Safe Harbor agreement between US and Europe, I knew I had to make a tough decision. I have decided that we would move and keep European user data only in our European servers. It has been hard work for us but it has paid off. We are ready to serve our European users safely under the new legal conditions. We were the first company that has done that publicly. The team worked so hard, and now we’re able to celebrate making the news together. We were featured on The Wall Street Journal which was pretty cool for us.
If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give, what advice would you give them in terms of starting a business?
Focus on what you’re good at, and don’t get distracted. My team has worked on JotForm for almost a decade now, and we’ve focused on the core product the whole time. We’ve improved and refined it, built new features, and expanded on what we can deliver. We’ve played to our strengths and have gone full throttle ahead without becoming wrapped up in other projects.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors? What is your competitive edge?
JotForm is the easiest way to create online forms. Anybody should be able to sign in for free and start creating the form that they need. JotForm also offers the most advanced form designer available, that allows you to point and click your way to a beautiful and mobile-ready online form. You can use ready-made styles, fonts, color schemes, and any photo or image that you want to make your forms exactly as you imagined.
JotForm has more advanced form fields (we call them widgets) than any of our competitors. You can integrate with the tools that you already use, like SalesForce, MailChimp, DropBox and more.
What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
In the beginning you make many sacrifices. You do not have a secure paycheck so you have to be very careful with money. When you are an entrepreneur you do not have a boss, you have thousands of bosses and they are called customers. So, it is a lot of hard work, but seeing something you create grow and flourish is a great feeling.
What is your future goal for the company?
Our goal at JotForm is to be the Excel of online forms. Nobody should be toiling away, unnecessarily building forms from scratch or doling out large sums of cash to someone to do the same. With several minutes of time on JotForm’s website, all of your form needs should be met. Easily, cheaply, and perhaps with a side of fun.
What have been your most satisfying moments in business?
Once in a blue moon, I will tell someone I meet about our product, JotForm, and the other person will be surprised and will say they know about JotForm, they use it and they love it. That’s just a very proud moment to meet someone who received value from something you have created.
Founder Name: Aytekin Tank
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+JotformTeam/
JotForm: The Easiest Form Builder