Before starting an app, is it essential you go beyond what you think will work. Pitch the idea to as many people as possible. Find where your app is placed in it’s evolution. The idea is born, but it is not ready for it’s debut until you can ensure it will not fall flat.

As part of my series about the “5 Lessons I Learned When I Created My App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rohan Le Page, COO of ShareRing. A highly competent business manager, Rohan’s experience in online analytics spans many years. He is highly sought after in this sphere with a renowned reputation which speaks for itself. With a strong background in major automotive, plant equipment and e-commerce brands, Rohan’s knowledge of the rental (sharing) space is exemplary. His keen interest in blockchain technology lead him to become an expert in this field, from which he has derived a great deal of experience in crypto mining farms and various blockchain consensus models. Rohan is COO and co-founder of ShareRing, a blockchain-powered sharing and rental economy marketplace that services the travel industry.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My backstory is one of blended opportunities. I came from the automotive space. I spent many years on the tools, working on cars, ultimately finding myself in the automotive aftermarket. This is where I cut my teeth on product introduction, data, business and finance. I was good with data and loved tech that could utilise the data I was immersed in. I became an expert in databases and analytics.

This blend of skills had me filling a niche at the largest classifieds business in Australia. Carsales.com. There I was in my element, I was able to run several programs in the reporting industry across many verticals.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

The “Aha Moment” was very defined, and the ball started rolling quickly once I was able to focus all my energy on it. My Co-Founder, Tim Bos and I had been throwing around the idea of melding blockchain and the sharing economy. I was mining Bitcoin and raving about it to anyone who would listen. He was skeptical on the trading side of crypto to start with, but once we defined that this was not about creating a cryptocurrency, it was about immutable databases and the things we could do with the distributed ledger, he was all-in (Tim had already been researching distributed ledgers, and how to scale out a platform for the sharing economy, so my blockchain knowledge, linked with his skills made the perfect fit). A week later, we met with our other Co-Founders and made it official. With some seed money, I picked my family up and moved to HCMC where I stood up the development team.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I would say the whole undertaking is challenging. There are hard things, mostly funding, or time (lack of it), development of new products or features are all the hardest when you are starting out. You are on a tight budget (time and money). Our investors and supporters all want the product “right now”. Pressure is always there and birthing a business is rarely easy. I have never considered giving up though. The sharing economy is my passion, and I’m living my dream at the moment. Our platform is poised to change the way everyone uses things. Drive is something I don’t lack. To me, my business is a journey. I enjoy being on this venture and I want others to enjoy the spoils.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

Things are going extremely well. In a climate where we operate in not only the traditional business market, but the crypto space as well, we proved our business is sound by surviving and thriving in the “crypto winter”. This was no small feat. When the bottom falls out of your funding, things become very challenging, very quickly.

With that said, our products speak for themselves and having the strong foundation of technology and business allowed us to push through and have our product suite deployed into many large automotive OEMs (mobility management/access control & asset sharing), government (identity management, Whitelabel marketplace solutions, blockchain consensus solutions, evisa), Hoteliers, (Whitelabel marketplace solutions, mobile app) and much more.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

It’s funny now, but at the time, it was awful. I had just done presentations in 5 countries, in 5 days. Very hectic promotional schedule through starting in HCMC and ending in Tokyo. I was in Seoul with my colleagues and I had not slept in 40 hours and had to run an interview with a local TV crew. My sleep deprivation had me hit a cognitive wall about 4 mins into the interview, I could not string a sentence together, embarrassing, to say the least. Funny thinking about it now as I am pretty sure the interviewer thought I was drunk. The take away from that is to reassess your 20-year-old self telling you in your 40s that you can stay up for days and be of any value to a TV crew.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The key to our success is what we bring to the table. We are not looking to disrupt the industries we operate in, we are here to innovate and change the way people operate and behave in those industries. Our products change the way people interact with the status quo. The processes that are used in many industries are often from legacy systems from the last century.

Most people can tell you what they dislike about a system. The reason these issues remain are due to an unwillingness to change, often predicated by cost blockers, inherent management styles, or simply the unwillingness to see the long term benefits (and growth opportunities) of simplifying, securing, and economising a system or process.

That is what ShareRing is. Cutting edge, world-class innovation for the sharing and rental economy.

For example, we are providing our OneID product for Thailand e-VOA (Visa On Arrival) that allows 5 Million + travellers from 20 countries including China and India to complete the visa process on their mobile through our app. This provides a streamlined immigration process that negates the need for an expensive and time-consuming process when you get off the plane. Additionally, fraud is mitigated with several extra layers of security in the back end including our blockchain (ShareLedger) consensus model that makes all data immutable and all but impossible to hack. Whilst we haven’t been able to announce it, we’re working with over 30 partners across various industries, including insurance, car rental, hotels, activities and so on. This is a testament to the benefits that we can provide across various industries.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I avoid burnout with time management and a genuine passion for what we are doing. Enjoying what you do is paramount to enjoying the spoils of one’s hard work. Everyone has a limit to how much you burn the candle at both ends though. Take the time to identify when you are at the edge of burning out. If you can do this, taking the time out to dial things back, even for just a day can make a huge difference and will allow you to push on in a far more clear state of mind and without resenting the end game. I also recommend that you find a hobby that can be a healthy distraction to help you ‘reset’ when you’re stuck on some tasks.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My partner Carli provides me with constant support while I do the long days, and trips away. My sanity simply would not be possible without her.

Tim Bos, our illustrious CEO and my friend of more than 25 years. We form the perfect sounding board for each other and is the reason we have been able to get ShareRing to where it is.

A successful business is constructed of materials, not unlike a building. The birth of ShareRing came from Tim and I discussing his love for startups and innovation, and my love of blockchain data analytics. Both of us having business management experience and a passion for innovation led from a conversation about how we could improve the way people share assets, to a meeting in San Diego with our now Board Members to the creation of ShareRing. The rest is history. I am very thankful to have these people in the ShareRing family.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Our app is still in the early stages and is only a small part of our business with 10000 registered users.

From our existing partnerships, we have forecast that our B2B products will be used by more than 5 million people every year. This will obviously grow as we form new partnerships and expand our product base.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

We have a multifaceted monetisation model. Our blockchain-powered back end (ShareLedger) changes microtransactions. Small fees are applied to every transaction on the ShareLedger.

We have traditional monetisation models such as commissions charged on purchases on our app. Subscriptions for end-users and business service providers. Revenue sharing with integrated partners. We also offer marketing campaigns on our platform with consulting fees.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know before one wants to start an app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.

Before starting an app, is it essential you go beyond what you think will work. Pitch the idea to as many people as possible. Find where your app is placed in it’s evolution. The idea is born, but it is not ready for it’s debut until you can ensure it will not fall flat.

Look for reactions in your potential user. Get them excited about your product idea and have them use it, test it and provide feedback.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be prepared to change direction (pivot) if what you’re doing isn’t working

Make sure you have a way to measure success. It might not just be about revenue, maybe it’s about user numbers, feedback, etc

This crosses over to SaaS also. You have a little more time to explain it to a stakeholder, but you need to be able to show you can solve an issue quickly if possible, and show an improvement for your client. This does not have to be about money. It can be time, company culture, public perception, organic growth etc etc, the list is virtually endless.

Removing entry blockers with SaaS is also key to your success. The questions at the end of the conversation with your customer can be nothing less than, “why wouldn’t you take this product on” and “how quickly can we get this in place?”

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Actually, we are already doing it. ShareRing Foundation. A percentage of our profits from every sale on our app go back to the region. For example, if you book a trip on the ShareRing app to Thailand, the ShareRing foundation will donate to a worthy tourist-related issue in that country. For instance, there are issues with over-tourism in some areas, so our donations can provide awareness to locals and to tourists that there are many other things to see, and better ways to visit that cause far less harm while still supporting the local community and economy.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://twitter.com/ShareRingGlobal

https://twitter.com/RohanLePage

https://www.facebook.com/ShareRing.Network/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/sharering-network/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rohan-le-page-72384aa/

https://www.instagram.com/shareringglobal/

https://t.me/ShareRing

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

About the author:

Mitch Russo started a software company in his garage, sold it for 8 figures and then went on to work directly with Tony Robbins and Chet Holmes to build a $25M business together. Mitch wrote a book called “The Invisible Organization — How Ingenious CEOs are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies” and now his 2nd book called Power Tribes — “How Certification Can Explode Your Business.” Mitch helps SaaS company founders scale their own companies using his proprietary system. You can reach Mitch Directly via mitch@mitchrusso.com


“5 Lessons I Learned When I Created My SAAS”, with Rohan Le Page & Mitch Russo was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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