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5 Questions to Vishalini Paliwal, founder and CEO, Zipy.ai

Excerpts from The Daily Tech Conversation, with insights on growth, products, innovation, challenges and lessons along the way

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Jan 11, 2023 05:00:02 PM IST
Updated: Jan 11, 2023 05:09:40 PM IST

5 Questions to Vishalini Paliwal, founder and CEO, Zipy.aiVishalini Paliwal, founder and CEO at Zipy.ai

Vishalini Paliwal is a painter, a trained Kathak dancer and a software products enthusiast, with a degree in electronics engineering from IIT Roorkee. Her career includes work at Motorola, Persistent Systems and MindTickle. At Zipy.ai, Paliwal is developing an observability platform to help software developers debug their code “in a jiffy” as she puts it. 
Q. Tell us about Zippy.ai and the problem that you want to tackle?
I started my career as a developer. I've worked very closely with large engineering teams and I still see them facing challenges trying to understand the customer experience issues. They have amazing products out there, a lot of data to be looked at, but somehow they're not able to connect the dots when it comes to solving these customer experience issues.

It struck me that they don't have a complete picture today to understand customer experience issues and they also don't have an idea of the business impact that these issues can cause. To give you an example, an ecommerce company where checkouts start failing for their end users, or a payment app where, just at the last minute, the payments are not happening to that payment application.

Now, the person who built the payment application is not aware as to how many people are facing that issue. What were they doing when those things were happening? What was the environment? Was it a low-network problem? Was it something in the code that caused a problem? It takes a lot of time to understand and debug this, especially because most of the development teams are somewhere else, your customers are somewhere else globally.
At Zippy, what we're trying to solve is to connect all the dots and give that complete picture to the software teams so that they are able to debug the experience issues literally in minutes. And proactively.

Q. What have you done so far, and why the name Zipy?
We started our minimum viable product in early 2021 and we got registered later on. We went live in 2022. We wanted to solve things really fast and zippy, therefore Zipy.ai made it sound right. We felt it brings a lot of energy.

When it comes to the coding world, is there a logical error in your code or is there a point where your Java script is failing in the front end, or is there something on the network side that you send a payment request and that failed from the server side, from the backend side? It actually goes all the way down to the coding level and bubbles that error up, while also stitching the user side context.
And all of this we tie up with the business impact, which means, say for example, if there's a big B2B company out there building a SaaS product, they have multi-million dollar customers. At the end of the day, they would not want their experience to be broken. Can we correlate the business impact that the customer is going to be impacted or say millions of ecommerce app users are being impacted because of this network error?
All of that gets bubbled up within Zipy. You get an end-to-end picture and you get very intelligent insights as to what's breaking, what's not working for your end users, literally in minutes. It's a completely automated self-serve product.

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Q. Walk us through one or two innovations you are proud of.
There are two sides of innovation that we are working on. One is the product itself. How do you solve any problem? How easy or simple do you make it for your end users to get started? That's on the user experience side itself. We’ve tried to make it simple.
Be it a single developer, or a large team in an enterprise, anybody can get started with it. The second part is the data that we are capturing and the way we are intelligently bubbling up the insights for an end user. The intelligence, the algorithm that goes behind the scenes to bubble up that information, that's the second side of innovation.

Q. Do you have paying customers? How are you growing?
We are very early in our journey. That said we have hundreds of customers already and that too around the globe. We were number one on Product Hunt (a popular products discovery platform), which was a very big success for us and that helped us create a brand value and a lot of product-led growth has happened since then.
We've customers from the US, South America, Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. Anybody who touches the customer experience side in the company finds Zipy useful today. It is a SaaS product, and we have people coming in, signing up, getting started on their own.
From a scale perspective, I think we are talking about a multibillion dollar market. It's not specific to a particular industry vertical either. It's applicable across industry verticals. It's a massive market opportunity for us.
We've so far had strong month-on-month adoption, organically. I come from a product background, so my belief has been that the product has to first provide value before you scale up. I'm inspired by the likes of Figma, Canva and Postman. Which means that when the product provides value, the scale and monetization will fall in place.
In terms of funding, we’ve raised $2.8 million so far. We are a 20-person team, and growing.

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Q. There’s a global recession looming. To your mind, what are some of your biggest challenges ahead?
As an entrepreneur, I would say it helps us focus on the right problems at hand. I've always been a believer that whenever you raise capital or even when you bring in something, you have to eventually think about providing the right value and also giving the right business outcomes.
You become laser focused on business outcomes and what is it that you want to spend on as an entrepreneur? The second thing is that Zipy itself as a product is going to be helping people, help them reduce their churn and increase the revenue.
It has a direct impact on the revenue, because not only do we save time for the software team, the developers, the support people and the product managers, but we also impact your customer experience directly, which impacts the revenue of the company.

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