Sameer Ahmed Khan is the Co-Founder and CEO at Social Champ and has had a very interesting entrepreneurial journey.
When faced with failure it is essentially up to you how you respond to it – do you let it deter you & define you or do you move on from it? Sameer chose the latter and here’s how his story goes. So upon graduating from Karachi University Sameer knew he wanted to start a venture with his two best friends Shakir & Zohaib. With a degree in Computer Science under their belt they knew that they wanted to do something using technology. Two years after graduating the team founded their first startup which was a gaming platform. On this platform people could play games together or create their own games. However, this was not meant to be their breakthrough idea and they had to pull the plug on their product after a few months. According to Sameer there was a very important learning there – that you have to launch your product faster. They had spent months tweaking and perfecting their product yet the need at that time was having a basic product which they could launch and slowly altering it over time. Sameer and his Co-Founders did not let this failure deter them and instead used this experience as motivation to keep at it.
Shortly after, Sameer launched another startup with his friends in tow and to their dismay this one did not take off either. Yet again, Sameer recalls that despite their idea failing they found another important lesson through this experience – he felt the validation process for the product that they wanted to launch was flawed. They asked people they knew about the product they wanted to launch instead of actually developing a process to target their product audience. This meant that when the actual launch happened there was not a lot of uptake to their product.
Still determined, Sameer & Co. came up with another idea they were experimenting with. This time however, they took a different approach and got incubated at The Nest IO. The Nest IO was the first of its kind leading startup incubator at the time. RemindZapp was a platform that provided the latest social media news and web tips to users. Their time at The Nest proved to be a Segway for Social Champ because while working with the team at The Nest Sameer was able to realize that while RemindZapp was a promising idea there needed to be something more that users could derive from their platform. This became a weekend project for the team – they would get together on weekends and brainstorm to see how they could essentially improve the product they were offering. During one of these weekend sessions they were looking for marketing strategies to put RemindZapp on the map when they experienced a lightbulb moment. It was at that moment that Social Champ was born as a social media automation tool. Applying the learnings from their earlier experiences they got to work quickly to work on a basic model for the platform. Unlike the first time they didn’t waste any time waiting for perfection and shared their idea with TechJuice. They didn’t buy a domain but got a URL to put their product to the test. Fortunately, it worked. Now that the idea had gotten the green light they got to work with buying a domain, coming up with a logo and deciding what social media handles they wanted to start with.
Fast forward to 2021, Social Champ has posted around 61 million social media posts, they have around 10,000 users, they work with both local and foreign corporate organizations and have had a lot of traffic. They are also going to be raising another round of investment soon.
There are so many things that stand out in Sameer’s story – the most important being that if you have the right team you can get through anything. Sameer, Shakir & Zohaib have been working together as Co-Founders since 2013 and their camaraderie & commitment is commendable. Sameer mentioned that within a startup there are so many highs and lows that having a Co-Founder who firstly understands the business and secondly, feels just as passionately about it really helps. Furthermore, the fact that when faced with setbacks it is entirely up to the individual how they respond to it. The Founders of Social Champ could have chosen to just opt out at some point and pursue a different career path however, they chose to stick to it and eventually made it work.
Towards the end of our conversation i asked Sameer for a piece of advice that he would give to other aspiring entrepreneurs to which his response was “Do not let your ego deter you from asking for help”
Sameer’s journey has been extremely interesting to learn from and we hope that Social Champ touches new heights in the coming year – Onwards & Upwards!