Our Startup Story

How a Hospital Room Paved the Way for Creating GlobalPatron

By Riaz Lalehzari | July 28, 2020

For years I’d always wished to start up a business so that I could have more flexible time to be a better dad, and to have more financial capacity to be able to better contribute to the needs of wider society and make a positive difference in the world, but for various reasons and despite my wish for it, this hadn’t happened yet. However a series of events in 2016 changed that.

It was October 2016 and my expectant wife and I were at the hospital for a routine pregnancy checkup for our second son when our doctor gave us the bad news that the pregnancy was at high risk of very premature birth and that my wife must not leave the hospital. She was to stay in hospital on strict bed-rest with minimal movement for three months.

Photo of the hospital in Sydney which became our regular home for some months

This really un-ideal situation we were in, where we were so time-poor, unclear about the future, and so dependent on my employers flexibility and graciousness (which they were thankfully), was really a massive reminder and motivator for me to put the pedal to the metal and try as hard as possible to get things moving and start up an independent business, despite the odds.

I immediately started working on concepts for a product, till the early hours of the morning, even bringing my notepad of ideas with me to the hospital to scribble screen designs and ideas on whenever the opportunity allowed. Having a notepad or piece of paper available became a necessary travel item and I’d always have one nearby to write down notes whenever ideas would come to me.

This carried on for a very long time, our son was thankfully born into the world at a healthy 37 weeks, and despite the regular exhaustion and lack of free time, I kept chipping away at the goal in the early hours of the morning, very late in the evenings, the bus commute to work in the morning, and the bus commute back home.

"I would always hope to get a spot in the left or right corner of the back seat of the bus so there would be enough space to use the laptop without constantly bumping my elbow into the person on my right whenever I needed to use my mouse."

In the meantime, as an attempt at service to wider society I was working with some friends to provide them with employment and the freelance project I’d assigned to them was coming to an end. I was basically running out of ideas and work for them to do but wanted them to still have work opportunities and a source of income.

The idea simply occurred to me that forms systems are notoriously complex and never-ending, and that if I’d ask them to work on a forms system I’d never have the problem of running out of things for people to do!

There was no commercial reasoning behind it really, but the more I thought about it though, the better the idea seemed! I did serious market research into the idea and the industry, and thought of all the times I myself as a software engineer at work had personally attempted to find a forms system strong enough to replace our own forms at work without being excessively expensive and it was non-existent. I ended up dumping the ideas of my original product altogether and went all-in for forms.

Having been working for large companies most of my life and having 20 years hands-on experience in software engineering and secure online systems I felt confident that with a team I could help make something world-class that really anyone could afford, and the quest to produce a Universal, Secure, Enterprise-grade forms solution at affordable prices began.

Finally I must add that thankfully I also had my dear wife's support all the way through, otherwise this could never have transitioned from a series of ideas and paper notes, into reality.

Where did the name Global Patron come from?

The domain name was registered more than 18 years ago back in 2002. Around that time I’d quietly decided to start a website to help the family. It had over 700 registered users (free users), but for various reasons including lack of funds I had to sadly abandon it.

The name is associated with having a global vision, and being of service.

It took many years to create this platform. What motivated you to keep going for so long?

A big motivator and source of energy for me to keep persisting even when very fatigued was being regularly aware of the unjust and difficult circumstances that many others live under. It was especially close to home for me because I also personally knew some relatives and friends who were (and still are) under severe economic pressure and injustice in their home countries.

In an increasingly interconnected world, more light is being cast on the social conditions of every people, giving greater visibility to their circumstances. While there are developments that give hope, there is much that should weigh heavy on the conscience of the human race, and we must redouble our efforts to use our skills, whatever they may be, to make tangible improvements in the well being of our societies.

In the words of Bahá’u’lláh:

Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind

Why not a minimal form builder, but rather an enterprise-grade forms solution?

There are already numerous minimal form builders in the market. What appeared to be lacking in the industry though was Enterprise-Grade functionality that was affordable, as well as an outward-looking service focus beyond "supplying an I.T service".

A major goal of GlobalPatron is to contribute to a new mindset towards business and wealth, where wealth is used for the progress of society, and not accumulated unnecessarily by individuals. We could not reach this goal by being a minimal platform. We were obliged to be a strong platform from the get-go so that this mindset would be taken seriously by others in the industry. For example if the executives at wealthy large companies like TypeForm, SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics are to notice what GlobalPatron is attempting to do, and to do the same in their own organisations.

What pain points does this software platform solve?

  • A universal platform to replace all data capture needs of an organization:
    From drag-and-drop conversational survey needs of the marketers, to complex code-exportable application forms for the technical teams, the platform acts as a one-stop solution for the data collection needs of every department of the organization.
  • Access Enterprise-grade forms at the most affordable rates:
    Now you don’t have to pay top dollar for enterprise-grade form systems. Existing users of competing enterprise forms systems can also have massive cost savings by switching over to our platform instead.
  • Contribution to Social Causes:
    A primary underlying goal of the business is contributing to social projects that benefit wider society. For this reason from the very beginning my wife and I told ourselves that if this venture succeeds we would use its revenues for the greater good, and not simply wealth accumulation.
"The world has no real need for more millionaires, what it needs at the moment is personal sacrifice for the greater good."

How does your team operate?

Photo of my remote "office". The 617x commute

The entire team is spread out across the globe and we all work from home, which besides lowering our operating costs is also much better for work-life balance and raising a family.

I couldn't afford to leave my day job for the many years it took to create this platform, and did not want to get outside funding otherwise the investors would be able to have a say and prevent the amount the organisation contributes to various causes, so the workplace for me was crazy late hours at home when the kids were asleep, weekends and holidays (when I could), and the bus trip to work in the morning, and the bus trip back home.

Here's a photo of my remote "office". The good old 617x commute. The prized seat for getting work done on my laptop was the far left or right space on the back-seat.

A Final Note...

Our platform provides clients with an enterprise-grade ‘universal’ data capture solution that is powerful enough to build anything they please as far as data capture is concerned.

And what it lacks is just one thing - an enterprise price tag.

Play around with our enterprise-grade forms platform. Be it a sophisticated or simple form, you can effortlessly create the complete range of data collection forms, all from a single platform with minimal or no coding knowledge required.

You don’t have to take our word for it. You can see it for yourselves: www.globalpatron.com/

We have just started on our journey. There’s a long way to go and more prospects to be covered at every stage of growth. At this juncture, we would love to hear your genuine feedback on our product, so that we can keep improving it and serve you better.