Helping Businesses To Be More Design Focused, 1st Main is bringing new dimensions in UI & UX

It is vital to understand the importance of UI/UX in mobile app & Web development as it offers several benefits in making them successful.
Efficient UI/UX design makes the experience more pleasurable for users and enable you to boost your customers satisfaction and sales.
Comprehending your business and end-users needs, UI/UX designers should consider all aspects necessary to engage and attract the target audience.
Nowadays, with attractive looks, app & web users prefer easy and quick app navigation that solves their purpose with minimal interactions.
It has therefore become a increasingly important for businesses to recognise the importance of UI/UX design the digital space.
Today we are presenting the interview of a design focused company 1st Main based out of Bangalore.
The company 1st main was started by a couple who after having worked for more than 6 years in New York started there own venture to cater to the Indian clientele.
Lets see how their venture 1st main is helping Indians in their business and explore their journey so far.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
1st Main
We wanted a name that was local and connected to Bangalore (postal mailing addresses in Bangalore have 1st main, 2nd main, etc.) but also simple enough that it could be easy to pronounce/understand for a global audience.
2.Who is your target Audience/clients?
Anyone who believes in a strong digital brand and want to stretch the limits of what we can do online.
This usually tends to be more retail and B2C brands, however, we have started to work on a couple of very interesting B2B projects as well.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
4.What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
We’re a design focused company building user cantered thinking to design and build websites and apps.
We are also experimenting with some interactive exhibits. We believe that design and function are not two disparate ideas but something that is developed together.
Working with clients is a collaborative process for us, and we start with understanding their business and user needs before talking about design or building anything.
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5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
The firm is co-founded by my wife Kinnari and I. We both worked and lived in New York from 2011 to 2017 and it’s something we’d been talking about ever since 2012.
We’ve both believed very strongly that a good design, UX and build quality can completely changed your experience of shopping or experiencing the web.
This is much more prevalent in the west and it’s not something you need to sell anymore. With the growth of internet usage in India and the further potential in the coming years, it was almost a no-brainer to move back to India start this business.
Also for me personally I had my limits on working at a corporate, the entrepreneurial spirit is almost engrained in me.
6.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Agencies that offer digital services such as website design and development are our competitors. There’s no shortage of low cost web solutions, but there are only a handful of agencies that produce high quality work, value process and design thinking, in my opinion.
We value both design and technology equally, and I believe that gives us an edge.
Most places produce great designs but have poor execution (also sometimes because it’s not up to them), or great tech with poor design. The confluence of the two is what puts us apart. We’re also small and plan to stay relatively small to ensure we’re able to control quality.
7.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
My co-founder is Kinnari Thakker, she’s a UX/UI designer who has worked at some of best digital agencies in the US. Having studied at Srishti School of Art Design & Technology and later at Carnegie Mellon, she’s certainly one of the best designers I know.
She’s also my wife, and being married to someone who has a similar beliefs as you do, also makes for a good partnership at work.
8.How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
Our first hire was developers. It was the skillset I thought we lacked the most to get started. I’m a software engineer myself, but haven’t worked in a web space much.
The most important trait we want people to have is potential.
Most languages and skill these days can be picked up on the job. With information available freely on the internet, and especially in the programming space, learning a new language isn’t hard. If you don’t have potential or the drive to learn, you’re not going to get too far.
We also want people to be self-motivated. Especially in startup with ups and downs, you need to be able to do much more than you are told.
9.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Building a strong core team is critical to us. We’d like to handle most aspects of design, tech and content in-house. To do this we’re going to have hire a range of people including copywriters, graphic designers and different types of software developers (iOS, Android, other web technologies).
The 2-5 year plan would be to have a strong base of all the various types of talent. Hopefully closer to the 5 year mark perhaps establish a small office in another major city in India.
10.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
A global firm with small fairly independent offices. Still hoping to keep the small size of offices and have trusted regional leads.
11.What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Establish our service business with a strong client base. We also plan to launch a product within the next 12 months.
12.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
No and no.
13.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Trying to register a company while still living outside India can prove to be tricky. While the process have been digitised to a large extent, the focus has been on local people starting businesses.
It’s important for the government to focus more on making India a startup friendly country. There’s a lot that’s already been done, but there’s a lot more to go. Certain rules are just archaic and need review, e.g. the first word in your companies name needs to be unique… this really makes no sense to me, our registered name is actually KKNT First Main Private Limited. And even this really depends on the person who’s looking at your application.
We had a good company secretary, so we managed to get through it eventually. It took more than 2 months, for a process that would otherwise take a week.
14.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Finding the right clients who appreciate and believe in digital strategy is tricky. Our target audience has really been SMEs some of whom have run established business in the analogue world for many years. Convincing them to invest in digital strategy has been tricky at times.
The market is still nascent, so there’s a long journey ahead. The maturity of the market is inevitable, the question is really time.
So far it’s been hit or miss, some are very invested. Others just want a “world class” site without the investment in time on their end.
15.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Yes, like I mentioned she’s also the co-founder.
16.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Between work and our 1 year old daughter, it pretty much takes up all our time. I do try to hit the gym occasionally.
17.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
Favourite food is generally south-east Asian (Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, their all probably on par).
Holiday destination, Carribean Islands.
18.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I’m not sure I have one, but if I had to choose it was probably my father.
19.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
It’s just different motivations. Some people thrive in uncertainty and others like a bit more structure. We really need a mix of both in this world, otherwise we end up with too much structure or too much chaos.
20.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I think I did exactly what I wanted.
21.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
We’ve actually just moved back to India about 6 months ago, so between setting up our home, a business and raising a baby girl, we’re still finding out footing.
22.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to try it out. The cost of entry in today’s market is significantly lower and in most cases affordable to do on your own. If you don’t try, you’ll always wonder what if.
23.Tell us something about your education & family background.
My school years were mostly in Bangalore and 4 years in Rishi Valley, a boarding school in Andhra Pradesh. I then went to the UK to do my under graduate degree at Imperial College London.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs and it was something I always wanted to get into myself. After 10 years in the corporate world, it was the perfect time for me to make the shift.
24.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
I think I covered this above, but we value both design and technology equally. Building a high quality product cannot compromise on either. I think the two of us make the perfect combination for this, Kinnari with a design background and I with a Technical background.
We also don’t compromise on quality even if it means we eat into our profits. We’re probably more concerned with the quality of our work than our clients who we deliver to.
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Being over ambitious? I think there’s a lot of buzz in India around startup and an equally large amount of people funding various startups. If you don’t control your growth your bound to end up in a bad situation later on.
Controlling your growth and ensuring quality is the only way to successfully run any business. It doesn’t mean you don’t take any funding, just that you should be ready for it when you do.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
It’s too early to tell, but the measure of our success would be the quality and how well our projects are received by our clients customers. And of course keeping the lights on.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
KKNT First Main Private Limited
#314 Raheja Arcade
Bangalore 560 095

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