Amit Sharma is the founder and CEO of Narvar, an intelligent customer experience platform that helps commerce companies simplify the everyday lives of consumers. The company has raised $64 million from Accel, Battery, Freestyle Capital, Scale Venture Partners, and Salesforce Ventures. Prior to this Amit was a senior executive at Walmart and Apple.
In this episode you will learn:
- Lessons learned from working with companies like Apple or Walmart
- The supply chain process
- End to end customer experiences
- Fundraising strategies
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
About Amit Sharma:
Amit Sharma is the founder and CEO of Narvar, an intelligent customer experience platform that helps commerce companies simplify the everyday lives of consumers.
Serving over 550 retailers globally including Sephora, Patagonia, Levis, Bose, Home Depot, LVMH, and LOréal, Narvar ensures every touch point along the consumer purchase journey engages consumers and enables emotional connectionsfrom pre-purchase to in-store experiences and beyond.
Amit has decades of experience across supply chain, tech and business analytics at companies including Apple, Walmart, and Williams-Sonoma.
Connect with Amit Sharma:
* * *
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:
Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello everyone and welcome to the DealMakers show. I’m actually very excited about the guest that we have today because I think we’re going to be able to learn a lot about e-commerce, and then also a lot about the challenges that e-commerce platforms are facing nowadays. So without further ado, I want to welcome Amit Sharma from Narvar. Welcome on board today.
Amit Sharma: Thank you so much for having me on your show.
Alejandro: Amit, let me ask you this. Originally, you’re from India. From where? From Mumbai?
Amit Sharma: Yes. I did my college, my undergrad from Mumbai in early ’90s, and I spent my childhood in India actually growing up.
Alejandro: At what point did you decide to come and do your MBA at Duke University?
Amit Sharma: I left India in late ’90s, and I came to the U.S. I was, back then, working as a data engineer in financial services actually. Then in early 2000, I wanted to move closer to the business and understanding how we can make an impact from the regular operations perspective. That led me to say, “I need to learn more about the fundamentals of business” which was the key reason for me to go to Duke for my MBA.
Alejandro: So, you were already for a couple of years. In which year did you actually go to Duke?
Amit Sharma: I was working almost for eight years before I went for MBA.
Alejandro: Got it. What year did you graduate?
Amit Sharma: I graduated in 2006.
Alejandro: 2006. You were working at Citi, and then you were also a consultant. It’s pretty diverse there, so why did you make the choices of going to Citi and then being a consultant from the data engineering side?
Amit Sharma: For me, not many people remember, back then a lot of investment was going in data and systems for making sure systems are compliant for 2000, for making sure the dates and infrastructure’s in place for changing of all those things that are needed. Working as a consultant gave me, fortunately, being independent, but also making sure you’re adding value to your customers that you’re serving. That was my early exposure to how as an independent consultant that you can work which is a company of one way back then.
Alejandro: I’m sure that you enjoyed the freedom rather than reporting to someone else. Did you find it difficult after getting your MBA to go and work for Williams-Sonoma?
Amit Sharma: No, actually, working for yourself also brings responsibilities. For me, Williams-Sonoma was helpful because now I was able to take the technology and data I was using in financial services and apply that to a supply chain in logistics which is also very metrics-driven, very process-driven function that I was never familiar with. But more importantly, being an engineer by education, having the problem-solving mindset, was actually compelling for me to see what is behind the scenes in the retail industry and how products move from Point A to Point B. That curiosity led me to joining Williams-Sonoma in their Supply Chain and Operations Group.
Alejandro: Really cool. For the people that are listening, how do you define supply chain?
Amit Sharma: Supply chain on the highest level is flow of goods and information from one point to the second point. To bring it closer, when you order something online or in a store, those goods have to move in some cases from warehouses to customers’ doorsteps, or in other cases from manufacturing with a plant to the warehouses or to the stores. Not only goods but information also has to move so that things are kept up to date. That’s how, on the highest level, I think about supply chain.
Alejandro: You actually worked for three companies getting your experience around the supply-chain world. Those were Williams-Sonoma, Walmart, and then also Apple. What did you learn from each one of those because we’re going to talk about your experience as a founder and the journey with Narvar, but before we do that, I’d like to dig in a little bit deeper into those three companies that you worked in, and what was the experience or the takeaway that you got from each one of them?
Amit Sharma: All these companies are very different and a lot of different learnings that I had in all of these places. Williams-Sonoma, I joined as a supply-chain analyst. What I was able to learn is that in my previous experience and as an education in data engineering, how do you apply to it all to get a different function. Not only apply that but drive some meaningful results. That was my first foray into supply chain and retail industry. A lot of the fundamentals. What are the implications on customer experiences? What are the ways that supply chain drives cost, or potential revenue for a business? A lot of my learnings and understanding the industry happened at Williams-Sonoma.
Alejandro: What about Walmart and Apple?
Amit Sharma: Walmart, as you know literally one of the largest companies on the planet with a massive supply-chain infrastructure. Whatever that you do, you do at massive scale. Having the initial learning and understanding of supply chain that I had at Williams-Sonoma, Walmart gave me the opportunity to apply that at scale and do that in a way that you can actually touch millions of consumers or shoppers. Especially for Walmart where they must have consumed large, where customers are buying online, shipping to their stores to get picked up, or you’re returning in your store. A lot of these things were really interesting to solving these problems at a massive scale.
Alejandro: Right. And your last stop before you actually went to do your own thing, that was Apple. So, here you are in probably one of the coolest companies to work for right now, definitely one of the most valuable companies in the world, and actually hit a trillion dollars in value not long ago, it’s a really big leap of faith to go from being at the top, the top company to starting your own. What were the insights and what did you see working at Apple that triggered that bridge into entrepreneurship?
Amit Sharma: For me, leaving Walmart and joining Apple was one of the difficult decisions that I made in my career and the same thing in leaving Apple and starting a company. To set the context, when I joined Walmart, iPhone didn’t even exist. Amazon Prime didn’t even exist. We’re talking about 2006 and ’07, and ’08. Back then, these were almost ten to 12 years ago a very different environment and ecosystem compared to what we have. So, a lot of focus in retail and commerce was how do you actually make it efficient, better, and cheaper? Thanks to how consumers see that now, experiences do matter and conveniences are important for consumers. What drew me towards Apple was, Apple always believed in building an ecosystem, not only the product but experiences around it. When I left Walmart and joined Apple, I joined Apple as a Product Manager. So, not as an operational leader, but as a Product Manager. That gave me, not working on the back-office, the logistics supply-chain operation, but closer to the consumer and how consumers are thinking about these experiences. For me, it was retooling myself, getting exposure to the customer, the e-commerce journey that I hadn’t done before was something new that I could learn, but also apply now myself and end-to-end customer touchpoints in the commerce world. That was my interest and draw towards Apple. The second part is that Apple is a truly global company. Their vision is how do we offer consistent and seamless experiences no matter how and where the consumers are whether they’re in the U.S. or in Europe or in [11:23]. So, understanding global consumer behavior and how do you serve the consumer needs into the regional market was something that I’ve never done before when I was at Williams-Sonoma and at Walmart. Those are the two key reasons for me to join Apple.
Alejandro: At Apple, you worked for just a couple of years. What was the process of incubation of the idea behind Narvar, and just walk us through that day until you get to the day where you’re like, “I’m going to give my notice? I’m going to take the leap of faith, and I’m going to make it happen.”
Amit Sharma: Absolutely. As you mentioned, and Apple is literally the important one company and known as one of the most admired company when it comes to product and customer needs. As big as Apple is, believe it or not, there are areas that they also partner in product ecosystem for new solutions and technology. One of the things that Apple was looking for and the rest is how do we offer different shared experiences for shoppers who are coming to Apple.com and places order? You can buy an amazing phone, whether it is on Apple.com or Apple retail stores, or to other providers whether AT&T or BestBuy. But why anyone would come and buy from Apple.com? In order to offer different shared or unique experiences, there has to be more than product that Apple is offering online. One of the areas that I was looking at was how do you offer end-to-end customer experience after they place an order? It means, “Once I’ve placed my order, where is my order? When can I get it? What are your return policies? Can I exchange it?” All of these instances were not completely seamless or readily available even at Apple. When we looked around, how do we make it happen, it was really difficult to building all those pieces. That was the moment for me that as a consumer, I can totally see the need. But even for a company like Apple, it was not easy to bring all that together and make that happen for their customers. When I looked around, we didn’t see any technical platform or a solution that would even see the need of a big corporation. That was the moment for me that if big companies can’t solve it, there must be a need for the rest of the retail industry to offer these experiences to the end-consumers. That was the moment that I decided, “Okay. This may be the place where I can bring my supply chain experience and product experience to build something that could be very fundamental.”
Alejandro: At this point where you make the decision that it’s time to make this happen, did you have a family? We’re talking about already you had stable jobs for quite a bit, and it was like getting into a serious uncomfortable zone based on what you had been used to. So, how was that for you?
Amit Sharma: You’re exactly right. There are multiple things that as an entrepreneur to think about. Apple is still an amazing place where you’re working on projects and initiatives in another way. That comes to light two to three years from now. You’re always working on long-term exciting initiatives. You’re leaving something that you believe in and starting something new is a big leap of faith. That’s for sure. Secondly, in my state and personal life, back then obviously I was married, and I had three kids, and you have family responsibility and unfortunately cost of leaving an exciting job and compensation and going from scratch. That was definitely a second big consideration, the risk that you can take. But the third part which is the most important part is not that you have a conviction, or you have an idea, making sure your family is fully supportive and behind you because if that is not there, then it might not be a long-term sustainable way of committing to an idea if you’re not able to bring everybody in the family along with me. I would say the third one was very important to me, and I’m very fortunate that my wife supported wholeheartedly on my decision of leaving Apple and starting the company when I had my youngest kid back then was six months old. That means having three kids at home and starting a whole new job that becomes a new baby support, support baby when you already have a busy and a lot of commitment and on the personal plan.
Alejandro: Absolutely. I think you are a superhero, Amit, for really going at it with rigor. As you will say, now you had four babies with Narvar, but the difference with the other ones is for example, with your kids is that there is no such thing as an exit, and you only break even literally when they let you sleep at night. That’s like the difference that I always say. So, Narvar. You, obviously, had some savings, but did you give yourself like six months to a year to see if this was going anywhere, or how did you think about starting this thing out? Was there any type of runway that you gave yourself?
Amit Sharma: Yes. You get that, and you as a father and fellow entrepreneur can resonate with this is that you have your entrepreneurship high. You believe in the ideas, and of course, everybody’s going to believe in the idea. Of course, this is going to work out amazingly well. So, yes. I thought, “Yeah, I’ll leave the company. What’s not to work? I have tremendous experience in the industry. I understand both the retail and operations and product and solutions. Yeah, within six months product will be in the market, and you’ll get funding right away.” Boy, I was wrong. It doesn’t work that way. You still start something new, and you have to build your credibility all over again by implementing the product and showing the results. To answer your question, yes, I thought everything would work in six months, but it turns out from leaving and starting the company to getting the first round of funding, it took me 18 months because was cycle, I did not get where I wanted.
Alejandro: Right. So, what was the founding team? What ended up being the founding team of Narvar? Who joined you early on?
Amit Sharma: Yeah, founding team. This is the other thing that as an entrepreneur if you have a vision, and if you have an idea, you have to now bring other people along with you. In my case, I was looking for a technical person who can be with me, and enable those experiences and building a product. The reason for me, that was important because I wanted to focus on the enterprise segment of the business. That requires building a whole platform. It takes longer than average, so building and investing in the team was important. Initially, I had four people with me the first year in terms of building the initial platform.
Alejandro: It’s interesting what you mentioned here because typically, you see more, I would say business people starting companies that really require technical people rather than technical people that are looking for business people. It’s like when you’re an engineer you’re literally getting bombarded with proposals, partnerships, to start a business, and stuff like that. Engineers are very hard to really enroll. What was that process of enrolling these folks with an engineering background?
Amit Sharma: That’s a really good question, and this is where I was fortunate to keep my relationships from the industry. Being in industry for almost now 15+ years after, and I’ve been working the industry, so keeping that relationship came quite handy for me. I was able to go back. In my case, believe it or not, I kept relationships for 15 years. One of the first engineers or architect joined worked with me back in 1996. So, that’s where I was fortunate to have a pool of connections, people who knew me and they were also excited about how I was thinking about solving the problem and where it would bring value for retail. I was able to use my network to bring the initial team together.
Alejandro: What ended up being the business model for Narvar, Amit?
Amit Sharma: That’s a good question. For Narvar’s business model is how can we help brands and retailers to provide convenient shopping experiences online? Today, as a platform, we work with Enterprise companies. Our business model is the SaaS platform B for brands and retailers to leverage some of those product capabilities that we offer that are incomes of how do we make customer communication better? How do we make the returns and exchanges easier? How do we provide more shipping options? Those are some of the services we offer through our SaaS model platform.
Alejandro: Then what were some of the early days? Once you got the team and you guys were starting to push things forward, what were some of the early days like?
Amit Sharma: Some of the early days are as a founder and entrepreneur, you’re doing obviously everything, but you’re keeping stakeholders in mind. One set of stakeholders are your prospective customers, all your customers making sure you’re talking about, who you are, and a product that you offer in the market, talking to them constantly, getting their feedback. Second set of stakeholders are your employees. Constantly talking to your employees, keeping them up to date where the business is headed, or recruiting a new team member. Then the third stakeholders are in terms of your investors, telling them how and what you are working on and how you’re making progress so that when the time is right, you are able to sit down and talk about investment. So, early days is that they are quite chaotic. You are thinking about all these stakeholders and making sure you’re telling them what the vision is and how much you’re making progress, and of course while balancing your personal life.
Alejandro: Talking about investors, Amit, I think it took you guys a little bit from the founding date which was about 2012 to really starting to get the institutional guys involved which was more like towards 2014, 2015. Can you walk us through what was the fundraising or the different financing cycles of the business? Let’s say like what you were required or what were you hearing from investors to accomplish in order to really get that funding in place?
Amit Sharma: Yes. Our first Series A round was in 2014. For investors, they would like to see not only an idea, but how actually it is being a proof point, and that proof points come in two areas. One is showing customers; how customers are using it. Customers are seeing the value of it, and how much of that value you can actually apply to your own business model. So customer value, customer attraction, business model that you can build on top of it. Then you can also talk about it’s not just you. The theme that is coming together because you can only do so much individually, so how you are able to attract and recruit is the second key area that they’re looking for. Third is what are the future milestones that the company has in mind because if you’re asking for a certain amount of money, how do you plan to use that money and what that unlock in your future milestone? These are the few areas that investors might like to see that entrepreneurs are able to succinctly walk them through and describe their vision.
Alejandro: In total, how much money have you guys raised to date?
Amit Sharma: To date, we have raised closer to 70 million dollars.
Alejandro: Closer to 70. I see you guys have really, really great investors. I see here Excel. I see Battery. Salesforce was a recent investor, Freestyle Capital, Crosscut Ventures, and quite a few more. But here you are, a foreigner, and I’m a foreigner too. So, I know how hard it is to build a network and the culture difference and stuff like that. Amit, how do you get these guys involved? How do you find them? How do you close them? Especially for people that are listening that maybe are just like you and I when we came here. We had no network and different cultures. How do you come about that?
Amit Sharma: My thought has been always keeping that learning mindset and keeping the curiosity going. That allows you to talk to people without hesitation. Then telling about your perspective, your take on a problem, the issue, or challenges, and how you are solving for it. When you are being authentic about things that you are looking to get back whether it’s advice, input, or feedback, or a connection, or a request, people are generally in Silicon Valley and in the Bay Area are open to helping you out. It starts with you being genuine and authentic about it. I am not an extrovert person. But if you go out there and don’t hesitate to fail and keep trying and just be yourself, it takes an effort, and it takes perseverance. Just like any entrepreneur, those are the things you need to build and scale a business while open to making some mistakes, knowing that you will learn from it. Keep that focus where you’re learning from every opportunity.
Alejandro: On your last day of round, Amit, you actually raised that in late 2018. I wanted to ask you, Amit, it’s interesting that you were really onboarding the traditional VC, but then all of the sudden Salesforce comes along. Why would someone like Salesforce want to invest in something like this?
Amit Sharma: Salesforce actually [28:25] SaaS business. Instead of buying a perpetual software licenses, Salesforce [28:34] SaaS subscription. They have a very vibrant ecosystems of hundreds of companies that have invested. For us, it’s not just how they have built one of the amazing industries and finance industry, but how can we learn from other companies that they have invested? So, same thing for us to be with other fellow entrepreneurs and other early-stage growth phase companies give us access to that network in a much more curated and a powerful fashion, that was one of the draws for us to have Salesforce Ventures as one of our investors. I’ll give you one specific example. A company started in the U.S. Roughly 90% of revenues still come to the U.S, but if we want to be a true Enterprise platform, that means we need to be a global company. For the last couple of years, we have expanded to Europe, and we have a couple of offices there, but we do not operate in [29:47] today. For us to understand the market, the behaviors, the nuances in [29:56] market is important for us to be successful. One of the ways we can do that is actually getting some feedback and guidance from Salesforce. In this particular case, as we are now launching our operations in Japan, Salesforce has been extremely helpful in giving us the broader understanding of the market, the place, the ecosystem, so that we can avoid making mistakes that other growth companies actually make mistakes when they enter into new markets. That is one of the good examples where it has nothing to do with their product. It has nothing to do with money, but the network and the help that we can get will be immensely helpful for us to be successful in Japan.
Alejandro: That’s great. For the people that are listening, can you share how big Narvar is today?
Amit Sharma: Of course. Narvar in terms of business, we are roughly 300 people. I would say 225 or so are based here in the U.S., headquartered in San Francisco. Then we have three offices in Europe, London, Munich, and Paris. Then we have now a team in India as well which is also helping us grow our product in engineering. That’s the number of people and team. In terms of business, we have roughly 600 Enterprise customers, and we continue to grow at roughly 70% growth rate year over year.
Alejandro: That’s really nice. As you’re thinking about the different offices and locations as you were saying, are there specific roles that you are having in each satellite office, or is it all over and spread across? How are you seeing about the roles on each one of these offices?
Amit Sharma: That’s a good question. Every business is different. For us, we serve Enterprise businesses. What that means is knowing and understanding Enterprise businesses in market. That means we have to have our sales, marketing, customer success teams, and implementation teams. All of the offices I mentioned if you are serving our customers there, then we need to be closer to our customers. So, a lot of our go to market teams are in these different offices. Then the second set of things to think about is product and engineering. Up until last year or 18 months, all of our product and engineers and designers are based in San Francisco. Now and the last couple of years, we have now scaled the second location from the R&D and from product perspective that is in India. So the two locations are acting as our product [32:56] and R&D work. The rest of the offices are our go to market offices.
Alejandro: You know, something really interesting as you were talking that I was really present to is that you mentioned that you have 600 brands. I believe you have clients like Levi’s or Sephora. If there’s someone that has a finger on the polls of e-commerce is you. So, what are the challenges that e-commerce brands are facing today?
Amit Sharma: It starts with consumers. Consumers now have a lot of choices of buying their favorite brands and products they want to buy whether it is online, through apps, or through in-stores. They have a lot of choices. What they’re expecting is conveniences. How do you actually as a brand or retailer offer conveniences and customers are living in the moment and need instant gratification? There are a lot of choices available. Their expectations are getting higher and higher, and they look for conveniences. So, for brands to survive, not only to survive but to thrive, they have to offer convenient experiences across all these different channels, and that’s where they need to invest and making those experiences meaningful and seamless.
Alejandro: One thing that I thought was really interesting isI’m here in New York City, and I can’t help but feel bad for all these retail stores that are shutting down. It’s unbelievable. You go around SoHo, for example, and it’s just like empty space after empty space. How are you seeing the world of retail as well evolving?
Amit Sharma: The retail world is fascinating. You’re right. You are seeing a lot of store closures, and that is impacting local communities. There you can get some of the personalized or different experiences in difficult space. Sometimes, you don’t get that online, so you see that store closure is actually impacting communities on one hand. On the other hand, we are seeing the web-native companies who started online. They’re also opening a lot of stores. So, if you look at Warby Parker in New York, Birchbox, or Nobles. These web-native companies are also opening stores. So brands and retailers have to figure out how do they actually have that immersive experience that they can offer online, but tactile and more personal experiences in-store as well. They have to get that mix right, and that will actually drive more interesting and immersive experiences in-stores. Although the stores are closing, we’ll see a company that will reinvent them while staying authentic to their brand in terms of offering physical locations for retails for consumers to actually come [36:19]. Another piece, Alejandro, I’ll mention to you, and you are in New York. Maybe a couple of weeks ago, the whole Hudson Yards is a multi-billion-dollar investment where using technologies and [36:38] very immersive fashion where you see the community and retail industries that are investing in the next generation of physical stores as well.
Alejandro: Yeah. I agree. The Hudson Yards Project is massive and also to what you were alluding, I think that it’s all about experiences because people are really all about convenience now days and whatever they can get online, they’re just going to get it online, but if you can provide some sort of experience that you cannot get in the online world, you’re definitely going to keep it offline. I think from a trend perspective, and the people that I’m speaking with, those that are able to really embrace the experience factor offline, those are the ones that are going to be able to really thrive. I want to ask you something here, Amit. From what you’re seeing and especially for the entrepreneurs that are listening to us, how would you say that shoppers are changing the way they relate to brands?
Amit Sharma: More than ever they are very demanding, and they expect not only in product as we mentioned, but in service and experiences as well. As you are building these new solutions and ideas, entrepreneurs have to keep that in mind. The other piece to keep in mind that not just to think about the shoppers, but as entrepreneurs are building these solutions, they have to think the same thing in mind for the businesses as well because then we are providing these new capabilities and solutions to enterprises. There are also individuals. They also have the same expectations in the B2B world as well. So, oftentimes, we think about the consumer, but may not offer the similar needs that businesses have, so I would say keeping both of those things are important in perspective and in offering next-generation technologies and solutions in the commerce space.
Alejandro: Going back to your experience and to your journey as an entrepreneur now Narvar is definitely a rocket ship. You guys are experiencing success, but I think that the journey of a founder, it’s not a straight line. You have the highs, and you have the lows. Now looking back, was there a moment where you didn’t know if there was going to be a tomorrow for Narvar?
Amit Sharma: Yeah. Going back to early days, you can only think six months out, and yes you have the conviction, and you have the passion, but you have to be very mindful of how you are building and scaling and sometimes you don’t have those. Although we are fortunate that we are able to scale to the stage we are? But hardest decision for entrepreneurs to keep in mind is that what is the time to actually acknowledge that business I not going to scale, is not a viable business. While you’re keeping the high points and highlights in mind, also knowing that if you are not able to meet some of the milestones and acknowledging that and saying this cannot be a viable business is also having that perspective. You oscillate in a given day between those highlights and lowlights and then making sure you persevere.
Alejandro: In your case, when you’re experiencing a low, and I guess that some people that are listening, perhaps they can take a page because there are serious dark days as an entrepreneur. Look. I’ve gone through them myself, and they’re not fun. But I guess what kind of take, or I would say guidance would you share with founders or perhaps something that you did that worked for you to deal with those days that maybe they can apply for themselves too and push forward?
Amit Sharma: A few things that I did. If things are not going the way that you were hoping or where you were planning, writing it out. Figuring out what are the things that are driving that result? Whether you were trying to find a few customers and they’re not coming on board. Are you pushing too hard? Are you getting an authentic and candid feedback? I learned that as well that sometimes, you talk to customers. They are very gracious to looking at your product but they do not give you a candid and honest feedback that you are looking for. We went through the same process. Finding people that can give you candid feedback whether they’re your customers or prospective customers, or your investors, or your employees, having this is important. In our case, having that early feedback, candid feedback from a customer, historically we can change to drive some results is important going back to a second time around, and driving the business value that you were planning on helped us. Again, every case might be different, but having that reflection and [42:15] learn and getting the feedback in candid fashion at least in my personal case was important. When you’re down and low to figure out what is not working and what are the things you need to go and address to make it happen?
Alejandro: I love it. What does a world where the vision of Narvar is fully realized look like?
Amit Sharma: Industry that we see from the software and technology perspective, there are various building blocks. Out there in building the next generation of farmers and ecosystem. Building blocks like for example, in an AWS, there you can use technologies in terms of building the next infrastructure. Looking at companies like Stripe they are building block where anything to do with [43:19] you can use Stripe. You have amazing companies like Filio for anything for messaging. You have a building block from Filio. Where we believe that Narvar is playing a role in that ecosystem and we are the building blocks in terms of offering customer experiences, engaging experiences and omnichannel world online and in-store world so that farmers companies and brands can leverage our platform without going and reinventing that all over again. In that world, what happens is that then we can democratize some of these things that we’re able to offer that lots of brands and people are able to leverage which drives the customer choice and convenience that all of us are looking for.
Alejandro: I want to ask you this question as well, Amit, because I ask this question typically to my guests. You’ve been at it now with Narvar for let’s say about seven years since you started, so it’s been quite a ride. With all the learnings that you’ve gotten, if you had the change to talk to your younger self, let’s say before you were to start Narvar, and you were able to give yourself one piece of advice before you launched the business, what would that piece of advice be and why?
Amit Sharma: For me, keep going back to the basics of understanding the business that you started and bringing people along with us. So, the people and the human factor, one thing that I would say not only keeping in mind but always being a center point. Those people, whether they are your customers, whether they’re investors or your employees. It’s easy to say that, but doing that on a daily basis is really, really hard. So, every day, even now, the business has grown and scaled, and that’s the area that I’ll always think about. How do you keep that human element in mind and the role that we play in the community in the business or the employee phase? How do we do it better? Given the part we start all again, whether it is in the hiring or having better communication with our customers or keeping our investors in a much more proactive fashion. All those things I could have done better and that’s why I try to do even better now as a company.
Alejandro: Digging in a little bit deeper on that, talking about the human element. When you’re looking at onboarding people, what are some of the must traits that you want to see on that individual when you’re keeping that human element really in mind?
Amit Sharma: A few things. First of all, telling a candidate who we are and what we do. Talking about our values for our company. Talking about our working culture is really important. Second, also asking and having a candid conversation. What does success look like for that individual, that person in the role? What are they looking for? And making sure it’s a fit. Having that opportunity is really important. For example, one of our values is embrace ambiguity. We are in a space which is changing and evolving. We are building technologies. We are in growth-stage companies. That means not all the processes that define. We have all the [47:06] in place to be our fluid and more ambiguous. If you are a fresh graduate and if you’re looking for strong mentorship, and you’re looking for more guidance, we may not be a perfect company for you at this stage, and we need to have that conversation that there may be a better fit in a more mature company. These are things that we think about in terms of hiring, onboarding, or even in the candidate process.
Alejandro: That’s great. Amit, what is the best way for folks that are listening to reach out and say hi?
Amit Sharma: I’m happy to share more of my experiences on one-on-one. One of the best ways is via LinkedIn. Drop me a note. I’m happy to connect with you.
Alejandro: Fantastic. Well, Amit, it has been a pleasure to have you on the DealMakers Show. Thank you so much.
Amit Sharma: Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed our conversation.