Yobongo Co-Founder Caleb Elston Aims To Reinvent Customer Feedback With New Startup Delighted

Early last year, the team behind mobile chat app Yobongo was acquired by calendar- and photobook-printing company Mixbook, where it led development efforts for Mixbook’s iPhone app Mosaic. Now Yobongo co-founder Caleb Elston is announcing that he, along with two other members of the Mosaic team, is working on a new startup called Delighted.

Elston said Delighted is trying to solve a big problem — the fact that businesses don’t get any feedback from most of their customers. Usually, they’ll interact with the 5 to 10 percent who need customer support, or who post complaints and questions on Facebook and Twitter, but from everyone else there’s silence.

As an example, Elston said that if you visited a restaurant and the food was a little too salty, you’re probably not going to say anything. Instead, you’ll just leave slightly disappointed. Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant wants to know you felt that way, and the chef probably wants to know, too. So Delighted is developing new ways to collect that kind of feedback from customers.

“The huge latent opportunity point is that so many people don’t interact, but they’re the super majority of your business, and when they leave, they won’t tell you why they’re not coming back, they just silently disappear and go to a competitor,” Elston says. He added that as more and more businesses move online, the landscape is going to divide between high-end, customer-focused companies that focus on low margins. “Those companies in the middle are going to get squeezed. … We’re selfish, because we like using high-quality products, and we want to help in the demise of companies that are not customer-focused.”

He didn’t provide too many details about Delighted’s actual product, since it’s still in development, but he said the general approach is to design something customers actually want to interact with, to constrain what’s being asked so they don’t have to fill out a giant survey, and to be “really humble with where customers are going to want to interact with you.”

Delighted was founded by Mark Dodwell (a senior engineer on the Mosaic team), Mike Gowen (Mosaic designer as well as product designer at Yobongo), and Elston, who said they’re approaching this as an opportunity to take a different approach to building a company. They don’t want to raise a lot of money and make a big splash with the press, he said, because it puts you in a position where you have to “grow extremely quickly or die.” Instead, Elston wants to be smarter about growth.

“Our goal for this is to grow the team very, very slowly and to have a great deal of leverage per person, so that we can ensure that the company stays focused,” Elston said. “Hyper growth is not the important bit; building great things is. It’s so exciting to be able to focus on that instead of all the other stuff.”

If that’s the approach, you may be wondering why Elston is bothering to talk to TechCrunch at all. He said it’s because he was tired of keeping things secret — once there’s a post, he can talk more openly about what the company has been up to.