Twenty million students study at academic institutes in the US each year. Out of those who graduate, seven million join the workforce every year. The option to expose these individuals to new technologies even before they join a company or start their own business can be an amazing opportunity for startups. And so, in August 2018 we decided to seize this opportunity and try and penetrate this market – which for us was completely unknown.
This decision made us step out of our comfort zone in two ways: first, we needed to understand how to penetrate a new, unconventional market, where we had zero operations beforehand. And second, working with students is a long-term investment: we understood that if we want to make them adopt the product in their future companies, we need to give them it today – for free. This is something we have never done before, as we originally assumed that everyone who should use our platform had the ability to pay.
So how is a first non-paying user different from the first paying user? What kind of questions do you need to ask before entering a new market? How to make people “fall in love” with the product and commit to using it even without paying for it? And how can you differentiate yourself from other companies that are also trying to enter the same market?
This week we are joined by Omry Sitner, Academic & Ecosystem Partnerships Manager at monday.com, who tells us how, in a little over a year, he managed to raise the number of subscribed students from 4K to almost 100K. Omry talks about how to make an unknown product into a brand, why it is important to meet with the market face to face, and in what tools you can use – if any – to measure the level of success in transitioning from a free account into a paid one.