Neil Patel

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In the latest episode of the Dealmakers’ Podcast, we had the privilege of speaking with Joydeep Sen Sarma, a trailblazing entrepreneur who has left an indelible mark on the tech landscape. He is the founder of both Qubole and ClearFeed.

From his humble beginnings in Delhi to co-founding successful startups and driving innovation in the world of big data, Joydeep’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and entrepreneurial spirit. His latest venture, ClearFeed, has attracted funding from top-tier investors like Dilipkumar Khandelwal, 8VC, and Surge.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • A journey highlighting the effectiveness of a systematic approach in entrepreneurship
  • Emphasizing the significance of strategic thinking and adaptability to changing market dynamics
  • The importance of building the right team as a foundational element of successful ventures
  • Valuable guidance across various entrepreneurial challenges, including venture capitalist funding and exits
  • Embracing a systematic mindset to navigate challenges, refine strategies, and boost their chances of success
  • Showcasing the importance of learning from failures, pursuing a passion, and embracing trends
  • Highlighting the transformative impact one person can have in the realm of technology and business


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    About Joydeep Sen Sarma:

    Joydeep Sen Sarma is the founder of ClearFeed and a former data infrastructure lead at Facebook and Yahoo Inc. Joydeep has also worked as an engineer and architect at Qubole and NextBillion.ai.

    Joydeep has been working in the tech industry for over 15 years. Joydeep has a wealth of experience in big data, data engineering, and machine learning. Joydeep is known for their work in building and scaling data infrastructure, as well as their ability to mentor and hire talented engineers.

    Joydeep’s work has had a major impact on the way companies use and store data. Joydeep was one of the first to develop a Big-Data as a Service offering, and they were instrumental in developing auto-scaling Hadoop/Spark/Presto clusters.

    Joydeep has also worked on columnar caches, and they were the first to offer an end-to-end data engineering platform on all major public clouds.

    Joydeep’s work has helped many Fortune 500 companies manage their data more effectively. Joydeep has raised over $100 million in funding for their various projects, and they have scaled revenues to $50 million ARR. Joydeep exited their most recent company, Qubole, to PE.

    Joydeep is a highly respected figure in the tech industry, and they are known for their cutting-edge work in data infrastructure.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma has an MS in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a BTech in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Joydeep also attended DPS.

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    Connect with Joydeep Sen Sarma:

    Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:

    Alejandro Cremades: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the dealmakerr show. So today. We have a very exciting founder that has done it multiple times you know we’re going to be talking about some of those reflections you know of the scaling financing and exiting. You know that he has been able to experience. And then also you know other other things like what he’s doing with mentoring with the investing in some of the other companies and and also with his latest estate company so without further ado. Let’s welcome our guests today Joe Deep Centarma welcome to the show.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Thank you Ada know for having me on the show.

    Alejandro Cremades: So originally born there in India so give us a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, um, I grew up mostly in Delhi. You know which is a capital of India um, um, usual childhood. You know I um was always good at school. You know I was I was one of the class tops. Always always good in studies was I was kind of person you know would sort of study a lot and sort of you know. So on so I went on to doing engineering in Adie Delhi which was you know, very much sought after in India. Um, yeah, so you know, usual, typical kid good in studies and sort of all things academic. Yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, and you got into computer science quite early. Why why? computer science. How do you develop the love for it.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah, that’s actually a small interesting story I did not you know like ah when ah we were young. There were no computers at least I did not have exposure to computers. So I didn’t really exactly know what computer science meant but you and I had a very good drink in ij which is you know as you as many people know very famous. Entrance examine india sort of to get into dietes and when I went for counseling and they told me that hey all the good students they are supposed to today could be science. So I said okay, fine. You know they can be a science physics was my original love you know I used to really like physics as a subject but I ended up taking chemistry to give science. It took me a couple of years to actually develop the love for it. I. Couldn’t really get the hang of it in the beginning. But then when I started doing some graphics and sort of you know like had some nice equipment and the nice I just think it’s really cool. You know I want to like spend more time doing this I had definitely an acquired love. Not ah, not something that I had from day one.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, so how do you land in the Us How did that happen.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Yeah, so after graduating from I daily I you know applied to a number of colleges for scholarship wanted to continue studying. Um I ended up at University Of Pittsburgh in the us on a master’s scholarship also in computer science. Yeah, that was my journey to the us. And then you know I ended up you know getting a job after that an oracle I didn’t go on to finish my ph d program which I had enrolled for it. Kind of sounded a little overwhelming but it was a great experience because I was able to do some research so I was actually able to publish a couple of papers and it was really nice experience doing research in a you know american university but I also figured that I was really more of an applied sort of a person I wanted to build things so I ended up taking up job at oracle.

    Alejandro Cremades: I mean you did a bunch of companies fact you’ve you’ve worked for some of the most iconic companies. No you also Yahoo and Facebook and we’ll talk about that. But in between you know you did a startup and it didn’t go as planned. And I’m sure that you learned quite a bit it run out of money. So so tell us what was the journey there and what were the lessons learned because typically you learn more from failures and from successes so I’m sure that then there was a a ton of lessons there to be learned.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Yeah, yeah, yeah, thanks for bringing that up so actually in about I think it was the year two thousand or I’m forgetting the exact exact years. I was working in network appliance which by the way was a fantastic company and I think I have a lot of influence and lessons from that company in my personal life that I think I’ve guided along with me. Um I just got bored of working in a larger company and I wanted to take the plunge and one of my architects at Netap was starting a. Small company. It was called datsy I don’t think anybody remembers the name or knows the name. Um, it was funded by had a small amount of funding from a venture capitalist and I just jumped in you know I had a couple of offers and I just jumped in I wanted to just experience the startup bug and I this was a person I knew and trusted. Said you know, let me just sort of you know, go around for the right? Um, what I took away from it. It was it was an amazing experience. You know because as an engineer in a large company. You don’t have much exposure you just sort of get projects and you work on them. You build software but you don’t really have exposure to investors to customers to. All kinds of things you know you’re just sort of working in your cubicle. We still had cubicles back in those days. Um, so you know coming to a startup meant that you know I was presenting to investors I was building things from scratch and a small team and I think more than anything else. What I remember is how it’s stretched me.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: You know I was able to do so much in such a short time frame that I never imagined was possible. You know because I had never stretched myself in professional life as much and we were under a lot of pressure to build something to deliver something to you know to have a working product. So I think that was um I realized that you know something I continue to um, tell to you know people I interact with that human beings are really a little bit like a rubber band know like an elastic band and you know unless you stretch you know you don’t really know you know how much you’re capable Of. Of course you don’t want to stretch so much that you know you snap and break. But you do need to stretch yourself a little bit So I think for me like the biggest experience was ah to that you can you? You can do a lot more than you think you can and you realize that when you go to startup so that was the positive side. Um, on the negative Side. We were really clueless. You know, Honestly, the the idea was not very well thought through there were a lot of issues on the business front Technologies. Of course you know you can build in technology but it wasn’t really a well thought through idea or product or customers. There were also issues in terms of people and sort of you know, sort of like just sort of. Founder disputes and things like that. Um I Also actually once once that company started running out of money I started building something on my own that I thought was more powerful I had another friend that I probably shouldn’t name here who was also working with me on that project and we kind of build something which.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, there was another company called data domain which was a multibillion dollar exit you know they were building the same thing we built a prototype I took that to ctos in the bay area I tried to sort of get them to buyin and again you know I and I gave up you know I just sort of went back to my job because I didn’t have a vsi didn’t have money I was kind of feeling really scared of. You know, like just sort of like um, not being able to continue living in the us honestly, um, so I had to give it up but there was another huge learning lesson there that that idea was really great. It was a fantastic idea. But you know I couldn’t build on it because I didn’t know how to raise money I didn’t have enough conviction I didn’t follow through. Um, so while I had you know, stretched myself on the technology and the side I didn’t really know how to do a business and I didn’t have anybody with me, you know who could help me in that. Um and I was totally curious I had no idea you know and and the other thing I realized is that technology is not worth anything at all. But I mean again sort of and me. Not overstate that it’s just that technology by itself is not valuable. It’s it’s customers that are valuable this business and customers that are valuable and I realized that you know there’s just having a cool piece of technology and shopping it around wasn’t going to cut it and I thought it would cut it but you know it was obviously very very naive. Um, so yeah I should have justed gotten a few customers raised a little bit of money and it could have been a really nice startup but you know so that was you know lot of interesting lessons for me I would say more than anything else. The ability to stretch yourself and and.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Keeping that as part of me for the rest of my life I think was the most valuable 1

    Alejandro Cremades: So then you ended up being going back to corporate and it sounds like the most immediate step to going at it again because as they say once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur was working at Facebook where you actually you know, ended up meeting. You know your cofounder for your next day venture. So.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: What were what were the sequence of events there for you to to get to get comfortable with the idea of starting a business.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Right? So as you mentioned you know I went to Facebook after you know Netapp and then Yahoo and then I ended up at Facebook so we had a very great 4 years at Facebook I was one of the co cofounders of the project called hive which was the patche hive project.

    Alejandro Cremades: A.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Facebook so we also bootstrapped the whole data infrastructure at Facebook and build the software and manage the team and you know if it a fast growinging company. You know when we joined Facebook it was about like 30000000 users right? and I remember the 50000000 user party that happened very soon after I joined. And so you can imagine you know those were early days. You know there was about I was about 250 odd strength. You know when I join and now of course you know it is like I don’t know how many thousands of people it has um so a few things happen. You know as a result of the Facebook gig. 1 was of course you know to some level some amount of financial independence because the company did really well that means you know we we made a little bit of money in stock options and so on so we you know we had some job security. You know we could sort of afford to go without a job for a few years um the second thing was um, ah. You know exposure to the big data industry and sort of having some credentials there. So as an author of a very important and popular open source project. You get a lot of visibility. You know, not just in the community and users. But also. In the venture capital community you know everybody wants to talk to you and invest in you and so on so we had like good um you know brand recognition if you if you will coming out of Facebook so I think those were 2 things that really helped both sort of the financial independence as well as some level of credibility and expertise in our very.

    Alejandro Cremades: So what? what.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Hot sector of the technology landscape which was the big data landscape as everybody from that era sort of might remember and then that really enabled us to you know start the next gig which was Cuba.

    Alejandro Cremades: So tell us about a you know going at it with Q all because I’m sure it was not an easy and easy choice. You know, especially given your your past experience with starting companies I’m sure you were a little bit more careful about going about it this time around.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Yeah, sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, actually another thing I forgot to mention you know one of the other things I realized I had you know as you mentioned you know once an entrepreneurial bug. You know you always keep trying to do this so I had also tried other sort of ventures on the side moonlighting you know, just sort of explode other concepts and 1 thing I’d realized was that in addition to.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, now.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, everything that we’ve already talked about um that it’s good to do a venture in a space that you really love because you know you can’t a venture is not like ah something that you do for a couple of days or a month or even six months right it’s something that you do for long time so you know it’s it’s good to work in something that you have a passion for so that you know even if you if things are going well or they’re not going. Well you can stick it out because otherwise you know if things are not going well and you’re also not passionate about the field. It’s very easy to quit it so that ah that is another lesson that I had picked up on the way somewhere along this journey. Um, so when we started kubel a lot of these things came together for me. Um a you know I was really passionate about building sort of technologies in the big data space like that really excited me like large scale scalable computing. That’s something that I had worked on for most of my life and I could see myself working on that for many more years so had passion I’ve always built ah believed in building companies on technology trends. So even my previous startup you know some of the experiences I talked to you about that was that era was this migration from disk. So from tape to disk you know and so there was a lot of companies that were founded on that migration and so. But cubol the the key technology trend that I believed in and why I started. The company was a migration from sort of onremise to cloud because as ah as a early user of the cloud I just felt like this was the way to go and not many people believed us at that time in a lot of venture capitalists at that time.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Talk to us and said oh the cloud is like a toy It’s what developers. It’s really not something that enterprises are going to use so that’s of course all very funny. You know in in 2023 you know it’s all it sounds very very funny but you know that’s what every measure most of the venture capitalists told us and and they didn’t want to compete with ars. There was yet another thing. Um, but we really believed that you know this was the trend and that you know we could write this trend build something that we were passionate about and keep on building it for a long time I also felt like with it with the cloud you know you could do some proprietary value. Add so I think you know. 1 thing to remember in that in 2011 business models were not very clear with respect to cloud and open source. So I think that was something that we didn’t quite get right? but we made a choice you know we we decided that we were going to go and build a service in the cloud so that we could build a somewhat proprietary service while leveraging open source. Um, now it turned out that open source itself was a very very powerful business model and I think we kind of didn’t get that quite right? Ah, but you know you you sort of. We did get some bets right and we didn’t get some other bets right? Of course the turned on betting on big data was obviously a great thing as well. so you know so I thought about a lot of these things and. At least my personal hope you know when I started that journey was hey you know if you could build the best data warehouse in the cloud or best sort of you know, big data warehouse in the cloud. Maybe we could become like oracle you know, which was my first company you know which was like oracle I always remembered that oracle was um, born.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, yeah, and.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Partly, it was a new technology but there was a very important technology trend theyrode upon which was the migration to microcomputers. So as businesses moved from mainframes to microcomputers businesses started using oracles database on microcomputers instead of Ibm’s database which was you know more? well-known to run on mainframes. So I thought that you know we could write the same trend that as companies started moving from buying you know racks and chases and machines and their data centers to cloud that we could build the database that they would use in the cloud and write the same kind of technology trend that oracle wrote in like. You know the early 1980 s.

    Alejandro Cremades: So so then in this case for the people that are listening to get it. What ended up being the business model of cure. What ended up being the business model of Ql How are you guys making money.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Sorry, can you repeat that again I missed that? yeah it was pretty straightforward so we um provided sort of data as a service big data as a service in the Cloud which meant that you know you could upload your data you could process it you could mine it.

    Alejandro Cremades: Are.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Ah, you could query it you could hook it into your bi tools and so on right? So very very similar actually to databricks in snowflake today. Our service was quite similar although they were also important differences. Um, our business model was straightforward. You know we would charge people. Ah for. Compute mostly so as they would run workloads on us whether it’s a batch processing job or an interactive query. You know we would sort of build them for the compute. Um, we made money because we were able to build more than the compute cost us so you know you have some you pay for the hardware to the cloud vendor but you know you have a. Some extra leftover. You know as as a margin um our model actually was like oracle in a where we were charging only for the software part. So we we’re not reselling hardware so it was a little bit different from snowflake you you had your own hardware that you would buy from Amazon and you would sort of. Ask you bold to run it for you so we were like an orchestration layer on top of hardware that you were renting already from Amazon or Google or azure and and we would sort of orchestrate it for you so we would you know charge some amount of software subscription fees for doing that orchestration which was linked to the amount of users you had um. This was early days of land and expand so we had a very beautiful land and expand model Although you know these terms where I would say invented somewhere much after the company started so we would start off with the customer. They would have 1 use case. We would get some amount of initial revenues. But you know as their usage expanded. We would make.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: More and more money because you know the more they used us the more they would pay us so we ended up with some really large clients. In fact, some of the largest companies in the world. You know at at 1 point most of the ride sharing companies were with Kuba so like grab taxi in and and in in in Southeast asia lyft in the us ola cabs in India 3 of the world’s largest ridesharing companies were doing almost all their data pricing with qba we had some of the world’s largest travel companies like Expedia um, and and I think some some others you know were also at Cuba a lot of parties.

    Alejandro Cremades: And you guys you you guys also are raised quite a bit of money. How much money did you guys raise for the company.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Yeah I think we ended up braising total of about 100000000 over the course of the entire journey. Yeah, yeah, so.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, and what was the um, what was the experience with dealing with vcs.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, um, you know of course the business would not have been possible without venture capital. So you know you know we raise a lot of money to scale the company and to you know, make it big and avalage and you stream and acquire these customers. So we have obviously enormously thankful to all of our supporters. We had. Some great venture capitalists. We had lightspeed and Charles River we were were initial investors and then later on norvis and ivp joined us and there were some smaller firms as well. So first of all, you know we had a really positive relationship. With the venture capitalists. So you know like a lot of people are afraid that hey will will the vcs end up micromanaging us or will it. You know take over the company or sort of end up running the company. These are very common concerns that a lot of young entrepreneurs have. So thankfully, you know we don’t we not have any of these problems and we had a very sort of the good form of backing in a way they would advise us and they would review our business but also give us a lot of independence to run it the way we wanted. Um, there is also of course always the flip side. You know the venture capitalists have a certain objective in terms of returns and and the way their model works in terms of red producing a few unicon or degacorn sort of mega hits and so there is also some lack of alignment because as entrepreneur your goals are often.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Little bit different. Um, honestly I did not understand these things you know as well as I understand them now. Um, so um, overall I would say it was a very positive experience. You know, even later on in the lifecycle of the company when we were.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Ah, looking for strategic acquisitions and sort of you know, trying to find a long-term home for the company because it was a little bit difficult for us to be independent. Um, you know it was really amazing amount of help we got from a venture capitalist. So I think really enormously grateful for that. Actually spent a lot of time you know it was a lot of hard work for them as Well. Another.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um, and what was that process like what was that process like of exceeding the company.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah, it was ah you know something that we thought about for a number of years. We kind of. We’re open to it so we kept talking to different companies in the valley and in the tech ecosystem. So I would say that.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: My overall takeaway let me just not go into the details because I think it is not very interesting but maybe the things I learned I would say are that keep talking to companies in your ecosystem. You know those even your competitors you know your competitors your partners. Anybody you know who can potentially be somebody that one day might want to work with you might want to acquire you or you might want to acquire them if you are doing better than them and so on. So I think that networking is good because you know that’s how the best exit opportunities come. That’s also how you know. You can you know a lot of there’s a lot of you know and when the entrepreneurs been a start out right? There’s a lot of talk about hey you know why are you building this company and people say oh you know are you’re building this to flip it. it’s not easy to flip a company you know it’s not you to find a good buyer. You know? And so um. When you think about building a company you know while of course everybody wants to be independent and large successful. Go all the way to the Ipo. You know that’s the dream of every entrepreneur but it’s also useful to think that how you can fit into the world. You know like if if one day you could not sustain the company. You know. Which companies portfolio might you be a good part of right and that is something that I think I do not again, these are thinking things that I did not realize um, but you know as a first time entrepreneurs had no clue. But now I think I understand these things a lot better.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Regarding the details. You know it was a long drawn out Process. We talked to a lot of companies. We got a lot of good offers. We had some stroke of bad luck. Also there were some really really good offers that sort of we passed on and like you know we could not materialize for some reason and so on so usual Ups and downs. But you know we finally exited to a private equity company. And the closing Stages. You know we had a mini a banker so we could not sort of we had to leverage some outside help. It was just not just our relationships. So So they also helped us with the process and and the venture capitalists also helped us with the process quite a bit. Yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: So then after this, you took some time off and you were mentoring. You were occasionally investing in some other startups and then you know based on some of the conversations that you were having with people because everything happens in the conversation. That’s when your next baby.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: Is born clear feed. So what are you guys doing at clear feed. What’s the business model there.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Yeah, thanks for you know, raising that I think yes, certainly ah, a baby this time. Ah now I’m a second time dad or maybe a third or a fourth-time dad I know I also have a couple of kids so I actually that that comparison is very very aft.

    Alejandro Cremades: Um.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: You know you know you would behave very differently with your second kid than you do with your first one as anybody would have.

    Alejandro Cremades: Now Not not now with real kids that bru with real Kidss is that there is no exit and you only break even when they let you sleep at night. So it’s ah it’s its a different kind of yeah good.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: And yeah, so I do want to mention you know if there are young founders were listening into this for many entrepreneurs. There is actually no exit from your startup. You know if you’re if you’re the one of the if you’re the only founder there’s no exit. Even if there’s a couple of founders. It’s really hard to leave. Ah, you know you can’t leave. You know it’s your baby right? Yeah, the volpole company depends on you. So it’s ah it’s not easy to exit the startups now if you’re if you’re a larger founding team. You have the 3 4 or 5 members. That’s a different thing but anyway, um, so okay, so let’s come to clear feed so you know let me tell you a little bit about. Where I started. What was my motivation and then I’ll tell you about what exactly we have ended up building. Um, so like a lot of people who deal with large teams have a lot of reports. A lot of things to manage I was getting like bombarded at work with like tons and tons of messages like whether it’s email or slack or Gira or you know what have you right. Um, and it was really difficult to prioritize you know I noticed that I was not able to find out things that I was supposed to respond to and I was hearing from other parts of the company complaints about my team that hey your team your engineering team. They’re not responseive. They don’t respond to this. They don’t respond to that this does. And I started thinking that this is one of the most important problems in a large companies how to prioritize and find the right things to respond to and make sure that you know you are doing a good job. The second thing I was passionate about was when you had a size of a few hundred people you can’t figure out what’s going on in your company.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: And so I was like hey how can I build a tool that can just give me a feed of the most important things that have happened in my company kind of like a Facebook kind of feed or a Twitter kind of feed but you know automatically generated just sort of like you know, just scans my company for activity and just sort of you know. Give me a feed because you know that would’ve been really useful for me as ah as ah as a ceoto of the company as a cofounder of the company. Um, so look. These were my motivations as happens with most businesses and and I was by now you know as you can realize wisened enough not to sort of just goboard building. You know whatever I sort of like to build. So I started I went around and talked to people I talked to my friends I got introductions to other companies. So I said you know let me go and talk to mid-level managers and senior managers and a whole bunch of companies and see what how they respond to some of these problems that I have identified you know do they empathize with these problems. Do. Care about this and so on so I did a lot of interviews and I started finding finding some patterns you know, First of all I found that this sp project problem of mine which was like hey give me a feed off everything that happens in a company like only the cxo guys wanted were interested like you know the ctos or the ceos they were interested. They were kind of like me right? but but the average middle levell manager they were too busy with their work. They said you know I want some I want a tool that can help me ship better. You know, do better at my work right? And so I realized that that wasn’t probably going to be a good commercial idea or it was a great idea to sort of you know, maybe i’ll’ll still build. It.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: You know when I have enough time but it wasn’t a great commercial idea what I really ended up hearing from people was this sentiment that helped me with my daily work I’m getting swamped with slack messages and so on. Um, so let me jump forward a little bit to what we have ended up building. Um, today you know we have a team of ward.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: 20 to 25 hour people we have an application that sits sort up on top of slack and other enterprise tools like Jira and zndes salesforwards and so on one of the use cases we help with is we help people what we customer support on slack. So. There’s a very specific set of people companies and people. A lot like my previous company kubbel um, who helped their customers on slack. So the the moment they sign up a customer. They open up a slack connect channel and they you know start chatting and say look look. You know, let’s get on get you on board and if there’s a problem they would solve it on slack if if they have to. You know, do some some ah just check in and see you know hey how’s that project going they would do it on slack and and so that’s how the the will sort of the support has been become redefined for these companies. Um my my previous company like I said qwol was a big practitioner of this and. And also I ended up finding that a lot of companies like like qol are doing exactly the same thing so we but ended up building a software that converts slack into what you might call a virtual ticketing system where you can install our software and the customers just see slack like they’re just chatting with you but internally you see tickets. And you see like structured issues like hey the customer has a question or they reported an issue or you know they they want to research their billing period and vice versa. You know you know even you you can reach out through our software. It’s not just a support software. You can also reach out through our software to hundreds of customers at a time.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: And you know track their responses. So we’re building this sort of customer support and engagement software on top of slack that helps a lot of modern b two b saas companies help their scale. Their customer support and engagement. Um, and then then that’s been going really? Well so that’s kind of 1 you know, key sort of use case for us but broadly, you know we are in the area of sort of building. Ah you know in and ah in alignment with some of the original vision of solving a broad problem of building a software that can solve for use cases on these chatty forums right? So we’re also helping engineering teams. So there’s a bunch of engineering teams that are using our software to track escalations. So these are larger companies with a few channels where people report lots of problems and the engineering managers have a really tough time keeping track of all the issues that have been reported and our software again you know sits on top of these channels keeps track of every issue that’s reported. It doesn’t feel like a ticketing system but internally it keeps track of everything and it allows managers to be responsive to close everything and now’ve we’ve also built very cool stuff like automated answers. So you know they can not only sort of ah do manual responses but they can also have a chat bot that sort of leverages their documentation. To provide automated responses and so on so we’ve got like you know these different use cases but the core software is essentially an an application that sit’s on top of slack and integrates with all of your enterprise tools and makes your daily life very very easy to track all these conversations to close them to link them into Jiras and.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Features and so on and so on. Yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: So then how are you guys thinking? you know you know different. So obviously now you know you’re thinking about building this in a very systematic manner. What do you mean with that b.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, so I think a lot of um is a great question. Um, so some of that you know went into sort of starting the company itself. So like I said you know like doing a lot of user interviews before you write a single line of code.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Was part of that you know that’s part of what it means to be systematic the second part of what it means to be systematic is to pick a large enough market right? So obviously as you can see you know we’re building software that I hope one day you know this is my hope and as as entrepreneur you always have these hopes. Um. Almost every company in the world. You know some department in pretty much every company in the world would find a software like ours useful because it’s great for keeping track of stuff on chad-based tools that people are using all day so picking a large market is another important part. The third part is um. Competition. You know you you want to build something that is both differentiated but also you know you can’t walk into a minefield of competition. Sometimes you can do that you know it depends on the amount of capital you’ve raised so I haven’t raised like hundreds of millions of dollars raised a few million dollars and seed funding. So. Um, you know I’m also trying to do something that is unique and differentiated. You know, not something that you know maybe in a lessian or like a salesforce or a service now has already built out because you know if you’re if you’re building something that that has a very very entrenched and dominant competitor then you know it becomes very difficult. You know you can you can still. Build a viable business. Um, but it’s difficult to build a large successful business. So I’m I’m also a little bit trying to build something unique and differentiated while attacking a large market. Um other forms of systematic sort of approach are being careful with spending.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: You know? Um, ah you know in order to get growth. You have to spend So there’s there’s absolutely no question about that and you know that’s where the venture capital funds and money and guidance and you know investors. That’s all plays into that. But.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: You You have to make sure that money is wellp spent and so I think you know one of my learning lessons has been that um you use venture funds where the roi is clear. You know where where you know that you know if I invested the money in the business that I would get something out of it. You know where whether it’s a product. Other whether it’s customers and there’s you know? So So I think at least I’m trying my best to be cognizant of you know how we are spending money and making sure that you know it’s good bang for the buck. Um, time is one of the you know the best friends of an entrepreneur The more time you have in the clock. The more repeat shots you can get at building something you can recover from mistakes you know you can take multiple shots you can build different things so money and time are sort of Duels You know the faster you spend money the less time you have and vice versa right? So I think that’s another aspect So These are all things you know that sort of. You know I’m I’m consciously thinking about the other other aspect about being systematic is people you know like as you know, right in a startup of the size people are everything you know the the start startup is essentially the value of the startup is mostly in the team that it has so finding the right right? cofounders finding the right employees. It’s it’s tempting to scale a startup very quickly but it is really difficult because it’s Beyond. You know, finding business which also can be hard to find very quickly. It’s also hard to scale up a shard of quickly because it’s very easy to end up with the wrong people and so that is also another lesson that you know I saw very.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Closely that there is dramatic impact from hiring right versus wrong people. So you know so it’s it’s It’s much more easier to build a company if you have you know most of the people are the the right people. The people who make an impact on your business and and that takes a little time. You know it’s not something you can just. Make happen. Of course you know if you if you have a old team and the whole team moves from startup a to startup B you know then you can just sort of have that happen instantaneously but in most cases, you know people don’t have that luxury so it takes a little bit of time to you know, build the right team and and so on so first so these are some of the things when I say systematically you know. Ah, these are some of the things I mean and and what it also means is that sometimes it’s a little bit slow so you know you kind of take your time to think through the problems what to build who to target where to spend the money who to hire and so it takes a little bit of time to lay the foundations of a company. But I personally feel a little bit more comfortable with this approach rather than sort of you know what’s called the Blitzkrake approach or like going organs blazing you know where you kind of spend a whole lot of money very quickly to sort of quickly ramp up I just feel that you know this is this is a path I’m more comfortable with.

    Alejandro Cremades: So I get say as your let’s say you know looking back here. You know if I was to put you into a time machine and I was able to bring you back in time you know perhaps to that moment where you were thinking about building your first company. And let’s say you had the opportunity of giving your younger self one piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, yeah, so.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: That’s a tough fun. You know one piece of advice is really tough. Ah you know, but let me put it this way. You know I would I would encourage people first and foremost you know you have to have the right team you have to have great co-founders or founding team I think I think that’s the. Heart of the company and if you don’t get that right? you know and thankfully even ah, ashi and I have a great ah great cofounder pair you know we we worked together for 9 years There’s something to be said about that. Um, so I think that was that’s I would say the most important thing. Um. Again, you know I have a cheat sheet at this point so I actually before starting Cuba I sorry clear feed. You know I created a small template for myself and started writing down everything I said okay, okay, look let me write all these things down you know who’s Goingnna make a my competitor. You know what? But why do I exist you know, but but why am I building this company. What technology trend am i. Writing on right? who are my customers. We’re going to make my competitors. You know? what’s my differentiation. What’s my market size. How am I going to get to these customers. So I I actually think that in there are there’s probably a number of these templates floating around I had 1 for myself I’m happy to share. Um I think. Writing things down what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it to the to the extent that you know you can is really useful and I would strongly encourage people to do that now. There is a very famous saying that you know, um, plans are useless but planning is useful. So.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: It is also the case that you know whatever you write down. Whatever you think through it is quite likely that those things will not materialize that you know that you’d end up doing something different because you know like you always have imperfect information when you start out but still that I think that thought process is very very useful for you and it sort of you know you can keep revisiting that. As as time goes On. Um, yeah I think I think that’s what I would tell a younger version of me and I would give that younger version a cheat sheet if I could yeah.

    Alejandro Cremades: And for the people that are listening joy that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for it to this. All.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: Um, um, I’m on Twitter I am jasonerma on Twitter um, you can find me on Linkedin joy the sense armma you know I’m I’m a clear feed. You should be able to find me very easily um, either of those works well for me.

    Alejandro Cremades: Amazing! Well Joe eat. Thank you so much for being on the dealmaker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.

    Joydeep Sen Sarma: I Get and.

    *****

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