11 Oct

KillerStartupsDesigns features ONE startup daily that meets strict aesthetic standards and that is reviewed by a highly experienced Web/Graphic designer.

We had an in-depth and lengthy interview with Mr. “Esrar Razvi”; Founder of the US (New York)-based start-up about his Company “KillerStartupsDesigns”. Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. Razvi regarding his start-up “KillerStartupsDesigns.com”;

1. What is it exactly that you do and what “KillerStartupsDesigns” is all about?

We feature ONE startup daily that meets our strict aesthetic standards. All startup website submissions are carefully reviewed by a highly experienced Web/Graphic designer. We look for a fit in both aesthetic quality and taste with other work showcased on our site. Visitors can vote a startup using our killer voting system, share it on their social network and leave comment. User can also see the Social Stream Board which shows social feed in pinterest style. Stream board shows the live feed of startups getting blasted to different social networks.

2. When has “KillerStartupsDesigns” been founded? And what stage is “KillerStartupsDesigns” currently at?

Sometime around November of 2011, I had just finished reading Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug and soon after I was given an assignment for a startup project where I was responsible for the complete UI.

Trying to find some inspiration for my new project I started to search the web but after a lot of frustration, an idea came to me and KSD was soon born. So it was around December 2011 that I started this project with help of my wife (thnx Affu) and was able to launch KillerStartupsDesigns.com on April 1st 2012.

3. What is “KillerStartupsDesigns” business model and how does it work?

I carefully handpick startup website solely based on design, visual hierarchy, typography, layout and its aesthetic quality because my philosophy is a well engineered design will produce a well engineered startup. Currently we are not thinking a lot about how to make money. We first want to know if our visitors are satisfied with what we are offering them and then we will seriously think about monetizing. All submissions are free now and we plan to keep it same in the future. We started to mildly test out the advertising model but with out creating any distractions for our visitors.

4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?

Mostly I hand pick startup websites as I come across several sources and bookmark them. Once I have enough I have my teammate (my wife actually) creates the full screenshots and saves it as a post and a then I will check it and write about the startup in about 15 words. I am planning to add design review for each startup soon. Then I optimize the each post and blast it at the right time. Each new startup is set to feature at 12AM every day. Then a our subscribers will receive a daily inspiration in their email in the morning so they can start their day by looking at a nice website design.

5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?

Good question. This is the exact question that actually lead to the creation of KSD. We believe in quality and not quantity so we like to feature ONE startup that was carefully crafted in every way specially design. Because we strongly believe a good design lead to a good successful product or a startup. So our niche is killer startups web/app design and its a small niche but definitely has a greater value. Every two weeks we do roundups by taking the last 15 featured startups and creating a “15 Killer Startup Designs Inspiration” Post and its easier to drive more traffic to those inspirations post than one featured startup.

6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “KillerStartupsDesigns” achieved so far?

We are growing fast. In just less than two months we have a over 1000 awesome followers on twitter. Our feed subscribers are also growing rapidly. We come on 1st page for our niche “startups designs”. We added “Social Stream Board” which display the social feed for the recently featured startups. We getting a lot of submission for review and we are quite happy with the response. We have also redesigned our logo. Recently we started give feedback to users whose submission are rejected. We also started to include three examples of sites that were accepted on KSD and user can get inspiration for his particular site.

7. Who are your competitors? And what is “KillerStartupsDesigns”’s competitive advantage over them?

Well we don’t really have a lot of competitors but if I have to pick I will say KillerStartups.com and Sprouter.com is where I would like KSD to be. They been around for a long time and have a substantial amount of readership and followers. Another big player I regularly follow is Onstartups by Dharmesh Shah and he is really an authority on startups. If you have not already visited Dharmesh Shah’s blog then you are already missing on a lot of good stuff. So like I said there are not a lot of competitors for our niche or I yet have to discover.

8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?

Writing content is the biggest challenge but as I decided to keep feature one startup daily and try not exceed 15 words limit it has been mostly easy. Another challenge was to grab the full screenshot of each website. I was able to solve the issue with Pixlr Grabber, a firefox plugin. Last but not the least was driving traffic to KSD. Which I have managed to get some through social network, referrals and content aggregator. I am working on adding more categories such Tips were I plan to give good tips on web design.

9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?

Startups might underestimate the website/app design importance. They have to understand the first impression is at least a long lasting one even if it’s not the last one. So when you are developing a great website or app, spend some thing decent to compliment your product with a great design and the result will be not less than success a successful product.

10. Why are you going to succeed?

I believe inspiring and educating people with something you earned through experience will always make you better and an authority in your field. One idea will lead to another and it will be a matter of time that you will be on the other side where you are looked upon as a leader and a successful man.

11. If “KillerStartupsDesigns” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?

I would like to expand to different startup niche like a startup jobs, startup feedback system and so on. I might consider giving away free Startup Themes or might end up creating a marketplace for that niche or a coupon site for startups. Even a deals site for startups like startups.com will not be a bad idea.

12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “KillerStartupsDesigns” based on?

I was given an assignment for a startup project where I was responsible for the complete UI.

To get started I wanted to do a little brain storming for some inspiration to nurture my design instinct. I found a lot of sites that featured startups and with 6 years of experience in web design industry, I couldn’t buy the design concepts most of these sites were showcasing. Don’t get me wrong, there are few good once like Sprouter.com which features startups weekly and most of the time the startup designs are great. But I was looking for a website that featured only startup website solely based on design, visual hierarchy, typography, layout and its aesthetic quality because my philosophy is a well engineered design will produce a well engineered startup.

13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?

What I really learned so far from launching my idea is that every thing takes time. So be patient and be consistent no matter how small you are. There is a tomorrow and the odds are it can be better than yesterday. Try to understand your audience and make quick decisions if you think something is not working out.

14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?

Six months from now my biggest problem will be handling the amount of submissions we will have to review daily is something I will have to be prepared a head of time. May be even bigger concern will be that I might run out of ideas to create new blog posts. Let me tell you my biggest fear, which is that one day i will have no startup to feature.

15. What’s the benefit for the user?

User can visit us daily for inspiration or subscribe to our daily newsletter to receive a killer startup design in their email. User can also see the Social Stream Board which shows social feed in pinterest style. Stream board shows the live feed of startups getting blasted to different social networks.

16. How did customers and/or users find out about you?

Customers and/or users find out about you mostly from social network and specially from twitter. Now my pinterest followers are also growing so I hope I will have better result that twitter. Design-Newz and other design community news sites bring decent amount of traffic. I am trying to expand my channels to bring in more traffic and will let you know if I find something better.

17. Who are your current users? Who are your target users?

Our current users are people who are looking for design inspiration for their next big idea. Specially Startup CEOs & Founders, UI Designers, Entrepreneurs and Startup Lovers. Also other users are who simply love great website design. People who are interested to improve there sense of design and understand the highest aesthetic standards on web.

18. Where do new users come from and what makes new users try you?

New users come from everywhere. Socialnetworks, google’s organic results, content aggregator sites and so on.
Design community news sites bring decent amount of traffic. 

Here is a list of the Top 10 sites that bring traffic to my startup.


19. What do your users say about your product and/or service?

Our user love that we find the best designs for them and not over load them every day. One inspiration a day is a our key to success. They also love to rate using our killer rating system and the fact that we carefully hand pick all our featured startups. Hopefully we will have more stuff to brag about in the near future.

20. How are you going to scale?

I plan to scale by diving in to different areas such as print design, app designs, startup themes marketplace and so on. I am thinking of launching KillerBusinessCardsDesigns.com in the next few months. There are a lot of niche still that are not been touched in certain angle so need to find out the demand first.

21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers keep asking for?

What’s the biggest missing feature? Well, I believe I have yet to discover the biggest missing feature. Improving on our review and rating system will be a good start. I really like to hear from you what you think about KSD and what’s the biggest missing feature. Please leave a comment below or contact us via support [at] killerstartupsdesigns.com

22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?

Are you going to internationalize? 

We accept submission from around the world. So may be we are already international.

And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly

We might consider finding moderator around the world to cut down on the cost. We still have to work on this one.

23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?

How big do you think you can get? 

Ofcourse we can’t be the next facebook but we definitely look up to Sprouter and KillerStartups. 

Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals

We want to be the authority when it comes to startup designs. A little bit of hardwork and commitment might one day help us achieve our goals.

24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?

We are not looking to hire new workforce at the moment. As soon as things start getting out of control we definitely want awesome people on board and will post it on our website and other job portals and even on linkedin. We will start with moderators who understand great design and aesthetic standards.

25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?

Even though our business is self-sustainable at this point, we are always open for partnership opportunities. We will also consider funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources if need arises. All potential partners / investors can contact us at
support [at] killerstartupsdesigns.com

26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?

I would like to share something that I always tell myself.

Any sincere effort towards success can never be a failure. Every failure will bring you one step closer to success.

27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?

Never underestimate the importance of your startup website/app design. For CEOs and Founders, if you don’t really know the difference between good and bad design then please find someone to design the web/app UI and give them full control over the design. You can always stop by at KSD for inspiration and to find the good designs that might suite your business and you can point it out to the designer to guide him in the right direction.

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