For Starters: How Rigor’s Hyde Found The Perfect Consumer For Its Product

(Image by Jackie Sizing)

Anil Chawla returned this week to host another inspiring episode of For Starters (sponsored by law firm Robinson Bradshaw) where he met with Atlanta-based entrepreneur, Craig Hyde, founder and former CEO of Rigor, to learn about how he found product-market fit.

To ease frustration with online experiences, Hyde founded Rigor to help customers tackle the issues that come with running a website that brings in a lot of customer traffic. In this episode, Hyde chats about how he went from just taking entrepreneurship and computer science classes to launching a startup to apply those skills to real life!

Here are some show highlights:

  • Hyde talks about how the idea for Rigor originated from him noticing that data centers were beginning to phase out due to technology emerging as a big player in information storage, giving him an “aha” moment: “And now all of a sudden, there’s a double tailwind of everything’s leaving this data center and going in the cloud, which just basically means that it’s not built here or operated here,” he said. “And then there’s a huge wave of people using technology to do more business-like ecommerce.” (6:06)
  • Rigor’s first customer story is one that Hyde can look back on and laugh at, because he realized how he did not think about all the processes necessary to turn a product into real revenue: “He was like ‘So I’d like to buy it, how much is it?’ and I said ‘Oh, it’s 50 bucks a month,’ and he goes ‘O.K., cool, how do I pay you?’ and I had never thought of that,” Hyde said. (16:21)
  • With the help from business students at Georgia Tech, Hyde was able to get a market assessment which helped Rigor find consumers who had the most monetarily valuable websites, enabling the startup to find product-market fit: “So they would segment them and then we’d start go calling these places, and next thing we know, we’re in front of execs at, and helping them deliver stuff and learning all kinds of crazy stories about how the news works,” he said. (25:27)
  • Hyde speaks about how over time Rigor’s product-market fit was subject to change after they realized where their product would gain the most benefit: “Within a year, we went from the SMB [small and medium-sized businesses] market all the way up to the large enterprises,” he said. “And we were dead set on going low-market and low-friction, but just the value that we provide to people just got so much greater going up-market.” (27:29)
  • Although finding the correct consumer is important, Hyde also talks about the importance of making sure the product being sold is top-notch: “You can get product-market fit, you can go sell your stuff, but in order to build a strong foundation, you’re gonna have to get serious about your product,” he said. “And that involves operational excellence in their patching all the bugs, building maintainable software. I think I wish we’d made that shift earlier.” (30:42)

To learn more about Hyde’s process of finding product-market in helping larger companies, listen to the full episode (and subscribe) below. And thanks again to Robinson Bradshaw for sponsoring!