Sarim Haque (MBET '15) hacks growth at Caspy

Sarim Haque

Undergraduate degree: Mechanical Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan

Pre-MBET: Engineer at Honda

Post-MBET: Growth Hacker, Caspy 

Favourite MBET class: BET 602 Marketing Strategies for New Technology-based Ventures, with Professor Harvir Bansal

Favourite event in MBET: Roboworx, a day-long, hands-on event in Professor Doug Sparkes' innovation management course, which uses Lego to simulate the requests-for-proposal process.

Sarim Haque wants to ease your inbox woes. As employee #2 at Caspy, he's helping to build an AI assistant to tackle the email onslaught that characterizes modern office life. 

In the time you’re reading this article, your focus will probably be interrupted by one, if not more, email notifications. According to recent reports, the average person receives 121 emails per day—but not all email is equal in terms of importance and urgency. That's where Caspy comes in. Caspy’s AI analyzes your inbox to figure out which contacts are important to you and what kind of emails you usually reply to. Once it has learned your preferences, it helps you manage your relationship with your contacts by notifying you of their un-replied emails and reminding you to reconnect with them.

The free Chrome extension is already being used daily by over 500 people, and an enterprise version with CRM integration is currently in the works. The Team edition will gather the metrics and intelligence around your team's communications with external contacts and provide advice on the most effective ways of moving a lead down the sales funnel. Last month, the Caspy team was accepted to the Communitech Edge accelerator program (formerly Google for Entrepreneurs).

'Engineering as marketing' drives growth

Sarim, who heads up product and marketing, joined the Caspy team after striking up a conversation with the co-founder at a local tech meetup event not long after completing the Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) program. As growth hacker at Caspy, he has successfully wielded an approach called 'engineering as marketing' — using engineering resources to develop complementary products or services that provide value to the target audience and demonstrate the main product — to catapult Caspy onto the radar of tech enthusiasts in advance of their launch.

The first was a meme-ified guide to machine learning called 'What the F is Machine Learning,' which was a hit on Product Hunt. The second, the Donald Test, used the Capsy machine learning technology to provide Twitter users with a quick, clever tool to gauge whether their tweets sounded more like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Capitalizing on the pre-election social media fever, the Donald Test attracted a landslide response of 350+ hits per second and caught the attention of Business Insider.

The Donald Test screenshot

Read more about how Sarim created the Donald Test

On top of that, Sarim created a spinoff tool which is gaining some traction of its own. Originally developed to make it easier to manage the Caspy Twitter account, Tweet of the hour is a slackbot that helps social media users find trending content in their area and prompts them to share before it goes viral. Users of the tool have seen an 87% increase in social media engagement and 60% increase in traffic from social from using the slackbot.

The payoff of these growth marketing endeavours has been impressive. Sarim's efforts resulted in over 40,000 page views without any paid advertising, a successful launch on Product Hunt, over 7500 leads using the growth products, and even a Twitter shout-out from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. 

Try, Test, Refine

Sarim’s knack for bringing ingenious ideas into the hands of users was fostered in the MBET program. The intensity of the program cultivated his resourcefulness, giving him a problem-solving orientation that has allowed him to quickly learn and apply new skills. Meanwhile, the structure of BET 604 Venture Creation course gave him the push to take his ideas to customers and test his hypotheses.  

“When I was working as an engineer, I had a lot of ideas. MBET taught me to get out and test them. Every week, you have that accountability to show that you have made progress."

Whether building a tool to tell you how Trumpishly you tweet or shaping the strategic direction of the Caspy product, Sarim has applied this crucial combination of ideas and execution to make a big impact on a small startup in a short time. 

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