Girish Redekar is an entrepreneur and IT pro keen on helping SaaS businesses demonstrate security chops to close deals faster.
He founded RecruiterBox, a SaaS platform that helps companies stay on top of their recruitment process, and successfully scaled it to 8 figures before exiting in an all-cash deal.
He then went on and founded his current company, Sprinto, an automated enterprise-grade cybersecurity solution, where he helps SaaS companies become enterprise-ready.
What you will learn
- The metrics you should pay attention to when growing and running your company
- The big challenges building a Software as a Service (SaaS) from the ground up
- The importance of surveying your customers to evolve and build a product they want
- Why you should over-communicate with your customers
- The tools and processes you should be using to build a scalable company
00:00:00 - 00:01:19
Hi everyone and welcome to the Jeff Bullas show. Today with me, Girish Redekar from India and also as an incredibly successful entrepreneur. Girish is an entrepreneur and an IT pro that’s been keen on helping software as a service businesses demonstrate security chops to close deals faster and what I mean by that is going to talk about how to make your site secure and compliant. We'll get more into that later, but a little bit more about Girish, he founded RecruiterBox which is a software as a service platform that helps companies stay on top of the recruitment process. He successfully scaled it to 8 figures before exiting in an all-cash deal and at the time RecruiterBox had over 2500 customers.
He then went on and found his current company, Sprinto, which is an automated enterprise-grade cybersecurity solution. Now I know some people's eyes are already glazing over about cybersecurity but we're gonna talk about why it's important for your business. Basically, he helps software service companies to be ready to comply with all the rules that surround us as websites in a global community of the internet.
So welcome to the show, Girish.
00:01:20 - 00:01:23
Thanks Jeff, that was a very generous introduction. Thanks for having me.
00:01:24 - 00:03:08
So Girish, let's get straight to the point before we actually start talking about how you became an entrepreneur. And Girish is based in Bangalore at the moment which is in India and I've been in India 4 or 5 times and any of you that have not been to India, what blew me away about India was the people. They are so eager to learn. They are passionate and they're in your face, they want to learn, they are keen to succeed. And I was just incredibly impressed by the attitude of especially the young people that I met at Bombay Institute Technology, whereas the first place I ever spoke at in India. Bombay Institute Technology by the way is actually based in one of the biggest cities in the world called Mumbai, which used to be known as Bombay.
So Girish, before we talk about how you started the journey, just quickly talk about Sprinto and Sprinto helps people, websites and entrepreneurs. Provide security for their website as well as compliance. Can you tell me in 60 seconds what that means? Because we've all heard of things like, maybe we haven't, Europe's got this GDPR compliance you're supposed to meet. So Girish, I'm putting it right on the spot now, why should entrepreneurs care about being compliant and having great security for their website?
00:03:10 - 00:05:31
Right. That's a great question, Jeff. So, you know, I'll try and keep it simple if you are an entrepreneur who runs a business around, you know, business software, which fundamentally means that you're selling software to other businesses. This is where security and compliance starts becoming the most important ones. So it is important, even writing consumer software, but I'll take that specific angle right now. And fundamentally, most business software today is written in a format called software as a service, which means that I'm not just giving you the software that you're going to, you know, use like a CD and install it on your machine etcetera. You're just using it like you use Gmail or Facebook or anything else. So you just open up a browser and you're accessing the software.
Now, what really happens when the business users use software in this form is imagine, you know, I'm a business and you are, you are a software vendor, is that my data is on your service. And it's natural that I have some concerns and I want some assurances about whether you're keeping this data safe and secure because who gets access to it? How do your employees access this? Can you sort of get leaked? Can it have problems and so on and so forth. So it's natural for this to happen. And as more and more software gets into this format where my data is on your servers. It's natural that these questions, you know, they start increasing the point of all of these compliance and security programs and it will sound like an alphabet soup of GDPR, HIPAA, you know, SOX too and whatnot. So you know, like if you live around the jargon. These are just ways or certifications for you to explain to me that hey, I follow the standard industry best practices and I maintain a security program, which means that your data is safe and secure and it's not going to fall into the wrong hands or not in the hands of unauthorized people. So that's quite simply it. So it's almost like the trust currency by which you do software business today. And that's the important bit of, you know, becoming compliant with these things. So if you are building a software that you are going to sell to, let's say, you know, like a large business tomorrow, let's say you're, you're selling a software to Coca Cola. They're going to ask you, hey, how are you going to keep, make sure that the software is safe and secure and what are you going to do to keep my data safe and secure? And that's what Sprinto helps you do. We have to implement this. This would otherwise take months and months of your time to help you get there in days. And that's quite simply it. Does that make sense?
00:05:31 - 00:05:37
So you're actually helping software as a service platforms comply and be safe?
00:05:38 - 00:05:38
00:05:39 - 00:05:57
Okay. So is it useful for companies that actually have an e-commerce site that's been, that might be from BigCommerce or Shopify or you've got a Wordpress site, is your service useful for that or is it mainly, is it just for software as the service companies?
00:05:58 - 00:06:50
Software and service companies where it is, where we have a sweet spot. But if you are an e-commerce company and you're operating in some regulated geography like Europe where you are supposed to follow GDPR then yes, it's relevant for you as well.
So you know, increasingly every country or region is coming up with its own privacy laws in the US, in California, we have the CCPA. In Canada, we have, people are Europe, of course we have the GDPR and you know, increasingly I expect that in the next couple of years we're going to have different privacy laws in every region. So even if you are running an e-commerce store or the Shopify store of any sort that you're serving these regions, then it becomes important for you to follow the law of the land, you know, which is these things. So yes, Sprinto does become relevant to you as well and we can help you get through these compliance, and you know, follow the law when you're operating biographies[a] such as these.
00:06:50 - 00:06:55
Okay, so you make it easy by automating this compliance essentially?
00:06:55 - 00:06:56
00:06:56 - 00:07:26
Okay, cool. All right. We've got the technicalities out of the way for the moment. It's good. Now we wanted to find out Girish, how did you get into being an entrepreneur and was there an aha moment where you at the Madras Institute of Technology and he went, I don't want to work for a corporation, I want to be in control of my life and run my own gig and be an entrepreneur. How did you start being an entrepreneur?
00:07:28 - 00:09:12
Honestly it was a very accidental thing like I think I'll probably be one of the most accidental entrepreneurs out there. I never, you know, set out saying that hey I want to be an entrepreneur or run my own business when I think of that stuff, so in fact back in college, I always just wanted to go on to pursue a PhD, you know, do some real science as we used to call it back then and that was, that was the sort of thing that I had like my blinders on and and that was, that was a narrow path that I was looking at. Incidentally, you know, I decided that I would rather want to do like a job first rather than higher studies, like I wanted to do something in the real world a little bit and even there like it was a very simple thing, like I was literally, you know, my job in, while playing around with spreadsheets and the powerpoints, so I was an analyst working with that consulting firm and we used to just, you know, number crunch a large, large number of complex formula and spreadsheets and stuff like that, so that is what my life was about entrepreneurship happened rather accidentally.
So it still turned out that I was friends with my co-founder, like who was my co-founder for both RecruiterBox and Sprinto and, you know, we used to just discuss these ideas about how it would be nice if you could do something like this, would be nice if we could do something like that and, and so and so forth. So we were just bouncing off ideas about, you know, some cool things that we could build and honestly, at the time we didn't, I don't think you are necessarily thinking about it as building a business as much as we were thinking about it, as building like a tool or something of that stuff.
00:09:13 - 00:09:15
It was just creating, just creating something.
00:09:15 - 00:09:52
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we never, I don't think we were that serious about building a business or you know, like, I don't think he even knew the word started back then, so it was just, you know, two blocks[b] just sitting out there thinking about ideas that, of stuff we could build and and I think it came to a point where we were deciding about, you know, whether we should be doing an MBA or you know, trying to do this thing for good and we told us that okay, let's just give this a shot for a year and see how it goes and that's how it began, you know, we just started working on this one particular idea.
00:09:53 - 00:09:55
Were you working at the time at a full time job?
00:09:56 - 00:12:17
I had a full time job and then we quit the job to do this. So it was hard and this was at the height of the recession, you know, this was 2008, this is 2007, we had a big recession, 2008 was a bad time to leave job because it was hard enough to keep a job and but yeah, I mean, you know, we are in a 20s, the confidence is high. So we, I would say rather naively sort of took the dice without really understanding the full repercussions of this thing and we just started working on something. Now, one of the things we sort of were a little cognizant of, but it's sort of, you know, became real very quickly is that we have to teach ourselves programming because we didn't really program professionally ever before. We even know we learn a little bit of programming and engineering college, but that was the extent of it. So I think the first two or three years were real pain because we were teaching ourselves programming. We built a bunch of tools, none of which worked. And you know, like it used to be this thing that we used to get an idea, we used to get all excited about it, build it out and just to realize that hey, nobody wants this. And that, you know, multiplied over like two years is a long, a lot of time.
I think the good thing that happened in the process though is that we actually taught ourselves how to build things well, you know, so, so I think in 2011 is when we started working on RecruiterBox, this is where this was something that got traction. We realized that people wanted to use this. And, and for quite simply, RecruiterBox is what we call an applicant tracking system. It's a way for businesses to track all the people who apply to your company for jobs. And you know, to attract the fact that, you know, they're going through this interview process. This person gave this feedback about them to help you screen candidates and follow the entire process from the point that the candidate applies to you to the point that you might make a job offer to them. So this entire sequence is basically tracking that software. So we rebuild that and you know, that had some real traction and then we sort of double down on it. So, but there was, there was a good amount of 2-3 years where we were just wandering in the desert, you know, wondering what to do. Ah and those were, I mean, in hindsight, you know, we learned a lot, but those were not fun times.
00:12:18 - 00:13:08
Yeah. So where did the idea for RecruiterBox come from? I'm always fascinated by, where does the idea arise from? Was it a problem that you observed? Was that someone something someone shared with you? Was it something experienced by yourself for example, one of the reasons Uber started was because the two founders were on the side of the road in Paris trying to hail a taxi on a wet cold french night and they couldn't hail a taxi, there was taxis going everywhere, but they couldn't stop one. So they saw a problem and then came up with a solution. So where did the idea for RecruiterBox come from?
00:13:09 - 00:15:44
That's a great question. So it did come a little bit from personal experience. So here's what happened in my, the first couple of jobs that I did right out of college, you know, before I started working on a regular. One of the first jobs, we had to go back to our campuses and higher for the next year. And I somehow got sort of roped into that thing and I remember we we did this thing where we had this large meeting room with a huge table in between and we had gone to all these colleges to hire folks from and we had like this huge pile of resumes right out there and we were literally going through it and you know, we were trying to enter stuff into a excel sheet saying that, okay, this person, you know, this is good, this isn't good. And then there were about five of us trying to do this entire thing. Yeah, this is all manual and that, that's the only way we could think of doing it then. And incidentally, I and my co founder were both involved in that process. So we had some first hand experience and it's not like the aha moment happened there that hey, we should do something about it, but it's something that we could connect dots to when we were thinking of problems to solve the second job I had, incidentally, I joined a team which was a relatively small, I think I was the fourth person to join the team I was in which grew to about 80 people in the span of about 15 months or so. So I again, incidentally got roped into the hiring bit order and just an interesting bit this was a large company and this was a Fortune 500 company that I was working with and they actually had a software that was supposed to help you with this thing. The thing is nobody really wanted to use the software. It was so painful to use it. And it was very interesting to see that people always found a way to not use it. So we eventually started doing this thing where we had the shared drive that people would dump resumes there and put feedback there. But they would do everything but to touch that software with a 10-foot pole.
So it was, it was that painful to use. So again, both of these experiences was something that we could draw on, but it's not like, you know, the idea happened that hey, you know, this is a problem worth solving at that point of time. So like I was saying, you know, during the journey where we were looking at a bunch of other problems to solve, this is one of the things that struck to us that seems like an interesting problem because there aren't too many tools that both are easy to use, but at the same time get the job done. You either left with something like a spreadsheet, which is easy to use. But you know, it doesn't really do a great job of actually managing all the hiring in one place.
00:15:44 - 00:15:46
I hate spreadsheets. They make my eyes bleed.
00:15:46 - 00:15:49
I don't blame you. Yeah.
00:15:49 - 00:16:07
And look, I can use them to sum up a column. But they are horrible. Spreadsheets are horrible, but for the right people, they're fantastic. Yeah, so I digress. Sorry.
00:16:08 - 00:16:30
No, but you're exactly right. So, so you, you know, you kind of like between a rock and a hard place because you either have the spreadsheets or you have like these extremely complex tools that nobody wants to use and the idea of RecruiterBox was like, hey, can we actually sort of do something that doesn't amount to putting pointed objects in your eyes, you know, do something that's easy to use.
00:16:32 - 00:16:39
That's right. And I want you to run away with the circus and do really bad things. Okay.
00:16:39 - 00:16:42
Yeah. So that, that's, that's kind of how we germinated.
00:16:43 - 00:16:52
Okay. So how long did RecruiterBox, so when did you start it? And when did you exit?
00:16:53 - 00:17:05
So we started it in 2011. We exited it towards the end of 2017, early 2018. So we're running about for a good 6 to 7 years before we exited it.
00:17:05 - 00:17:17
So, so what happened there, did a venture capital company turn up? Did a competitor show up? What, how did you exit?
00:17:18 - 00:18:57
So we were doing pretty well, we were completely bootstrapped business, which among other things, meant that all of us founders, you know, got our hands dirty with pretty much all aspects of running a software as a service business. So it was, to begin with, it was right in court and it was about running engineering to running product to running marketing and running sales and, and so and so forth. So it was, it was a fun journey in that sense that we learned everything inside out as you would, you know, as you're a bootstrapped company as well, So which means you don't exactly have capital to start hiring executives from the [inaudible]. So the way it works is you build out a function and then you sort of hire people who can run the function for you. And that is, I think it was a great learning experience for us and we were growing pretty fast at the time that we sold the company. We were, I think you mentioned that we were already 2500 customers strong all across the world. I think about 70% of our customers are in the US and we were growing by about 100 new customers a month, which is quite phenomenal, like that volume. So that was, you know, we were at a great place at the time.
The reason to sell it is not so much about, but it was actually a great comfortable business to, you know, to run and, and we could just sit back there and relax and grow rich with that business. It's just that these founders decided that, you know, we wanted to work on something else over and above the RecruiterBox has pretty much become like a ship on autopilot and we felt that, you know, our time was better spent elsewhere. So, incidentally, at that time, this offer came in, they would love to purchase RecruiterBox and make it part of a larger HR suite of software and yeah, that's, that's, it's not like we set out looking for a buyer, it just so happened at the right time.
00:18:58 - 00:19:02
Okay, so you got bored?
00:19:04 - 00:19:18
I wouldn't say that running a business is boring. But yeah, I think we could say that we thought that we could, we had another startup inside of us which could potentially be much larger. All three of us thought of that, all three of us co founders.
00:19:18 - 00:20:04
Okay, cool. So Sprinto compliance and security. Look, that really makes my eyes pins in the eyes about that, right. So you're going, okay, let's make websites and software as a service companies compliant with every rule in the world, including GDPR, Canada, America Australia. But the reality was that you go and take on regulation compliance and security from every country in the world. Where did this idea come from?
00:20:05 - 00:21:55
Yeah. You know, it's like having said that, you know, we wanted to do something more exciting. This is probably the most boring, unsexy business to pick. But I honestly feel it's really, really exciting. I'll explain why. So one of the things that happened while we were running RecruiterBox is that we had to become compliant. You know, because we were a global business, you know, we had to become compliant with this framework like SOX to GDPR, et cetera. If you remember 2017, it was when GDPR was sort of becoming, you know the law. And so, we sort of went through that way. And as engineers, these things fell onto our laps. You know, these things usually will fall into the laps of whoever is managing engineering in the company. And I don't think it was a very pleasant experience. We sort of, you know, went through this process where we hired a consultant, the person spent about six months in the company. We sort of just cannibalized a bunch of other projects that we had a pipeline to make space for this bend over backwards to try and get this done at the end of the whole thing. It was a painful, painful thing. Like we, we didn't even get it done properly. So it was one of those things where we realized that hey, this ought to be a lot more better and it's important that you know, the reason you're doing these things is not because, not necessarily because you want to, but because you're made to.
So the way these compliance works is that, you know, it's the reality of the business. You have to abide by these laws like GDPR or your customers asking you for these compliance is like soccer[c]. So though they sound like they are related to information security, which I don't blame you for thinking it's boring. The real reason you're actually doing it is for revenue, right. Because if you don't do these things, you don't exist as a business and you can't actually close the deals that you want to close. So the real reason to do this is
00:21:56 - 00:22:02
And the governments can come after you and lawyers can come after you. Yeah.
00:22:02 - 00:23:15
Yeah. In some cases, the governments are going to come after you. In some cases, your customers are just going to say that I can't do business with you unless you have these things because it's business software. So in both cases, it just simply means that this is, you know, this is actually a revenue driver more than security program and that's where it starts becoming interesting, You know, because that's, that was my outlook to it when we were running RecruiterBox and we realized that's where it becomes interesting because people really, really want this. And the current way of doing this is extremely painful. It takes months. It takes resources away from the most probably the expensive team in your company, which is probably engineering and at the end of the whole thing, you still don't have the certainty that will get done. And what if we could automate this thing, get you there in days instead of months, make the effort. So we actually reduced the effort by more than 1/10 and you know, help you get these things done without making it sound like you're going through a root canal, you know, so that's the, that's the thing about Sprinto. So that's what gets me out of the bed every morning. I actually have been through that pain before and I think it's while we do the boring and sexy work. The outcomes of that are really, really monumental for the customers that we work with.
00:23:16 - 00:25:06
So you went from stacks of resumes on a table, spreadsheets, Google Docs, maybe not Google Docs but spreadsheets, which was RecruiterBox because that was a big problem. You went to going, okay, we build RecruiterBox and we've got a problem with RecruiterBox because we had to hire a consultant for six months and we need to comply with all these acronyms and government regulations around the world. So again, you solved another problem which is fantastic and this is what I love about being an entrepreneur, right. You're trying to solve problems all the time. They need to work at a hack on skylist and make it easy and cost effective so we can help others make money while we make money.
Okay, that's good. So you're adding value to the world. What have been some of the challenges for you along the way? So obviously you're paying a lot of engineers a lot of time, a lot of money to fix these things or to find solutions and write code. On top of that, not only writing, creating this, the actual solution using software, but also trying to scale it with marketing. So let's go to the next part of this. Obviously paying some very smart software developers is a lot of money to actually write the code for you. That's scary because.. but you've written the code, you've written code before, so you sort of know that, you know, enough to actually allow you to keep an eye on them, make sure they're actually behaving themselves and not ripping you off, Is that right?
00:25:07 - 00:25:14
Well, yeah, it's better than that. I think the developers we have are like better engineers than I am. So I'm proud of the team we have built.
00:25:14 - 00:25:34
Oh yeah, I know, I'm sure, I'm sure you've hired engineers rather than you becoming a wannabe engineer that had to do it because you had to because you're doing a RecruiterBox, the next one is how did you grow the brand? Was it a referral? Was it just listening to their customers? What does marketing look like for, you know, Sprinto?
00:25:35 - 00:28:53
That's a great question. So, you know, part of what we do in marketing is I would say simpler, if not easier because this is such a common problem if you are actually an entrepreneur who's doing business software, right? If you're an entrepreneur who sells business software, this is something that you naturally come across. So what happens as a result is a lot of a marketing is about being present where people look for information around this rather than, you know, trying to shove something down people's throats. It's a lot simpler because this is a real problem. People look for solutions for this problem. So our job becomes a little easier. So, you know, as long as you are talking about the right things, about how do you solve this problem, if you come across this, this is the way to deal with these are the steps you follow and so and so forth. That's kind of like what a lot of our marketing who looks like, it actually looks like a lot of education and you know, so we do all the standard things that any software marketing business will do, which is, you know, make sure that you’re present on Google, you get found when people are searching for these things that are, you know, there are stores, software as a service stores where you are present and so and so forth.
But that's, that's a little later in the lifecycle, right? Like the typical problem that any entrepreneur will probably face is how do you get your first 10, your first 100 customers, you know, those are the toughest and before any engine starts kicking in. I think we were a little lucky there as well, you know, having been prior founders and having, you know, the time between the exited RecruiterBox and we sort of started working on Sprinto, we had about a year, year and a half of a break. And, and we did spend that time speaking to a bunch of other fellow founders, trying to figure out, you know, just, just trying to talk to them, learn from their experiences, share notes, etcetera. So one of the things that happened in the processes, we were in touch with a bunch of other fellow founders and we could find quick ways of validating that, hey, this thing that we're thinking about, Sprinto is actually has legs and people have this as a real problem. So when it came to actually trying to acquire your first few customers, it was relatively simpler. It was that people had this problem, We will start with them saying that, hey, would you like us to help with this? And, and they were like, yes please. You know, I have no idea what I'm doing right now, please help me out with this. And, and that was, that was like a great way to get started. So the first beta customers were relatively simple that way. People were more than willing to get help from us and you know, help us test out the software, whether it does what it's supposed to do. And so, and so, so that that happened, which by the way, before that, before we actually even put the software out to people, we went through this whole process ourselves as a software company. So we actually went through like I think a dozen audits. We just used to go to these GDPR and SOX and all of these folks and tell them that hey, you know help us become compliant and we would just make sure whatever they're asking us to do, we can translate that into software. So that was one of the things that we did. And so the first, I think the first 10 customers are always the hardest. But we went about it slowly and steady after which our marketing engines sort of kept in and we could just tell people from referrals the existing customers who were happy with us. They kept referring other fellow customers to us. So the journey from there on was relatively, I wouldn't say smoother but easier for sure.
00:28:55 - 00:29:03
So how did you have conversations with the customers? Was it emails? Was it slack? Was it a Facebook group? What do you use, Zoom?
00:29:03 - 00:29:08
We were born in the pandemic. So you know there was no other option. Like we were doing all of this on Zoom.
00:29:09 - 00:29:20
Okay. That's cool. In other words, you are actually listening to your customers and they're telling you what they want and you built that incrementally.
00:29:20 - 00:30:17
Yeah. And you know one of the things that I think we did was with our customers' permission. We used to record every conversation that we had, that was one of the advantages of doing this on Zoom and that really helped us pull back over the conversation. You know what, what usually happens is if you're having a face-to-face conversation, you write some notes and then you, it's always hard to have a conversation, take notes and you know, make sure you cover everything that happens about that. One of the, I would say that I didn't think of this, but one of the advantages of doing this over Zoom was that we could actually record the conversation and look back at the recording.
And you could go back at it and you know, get that every detail and nuance that that was there. And this is extremely useful at the early part of any business. You know, people, I will tell you things that are actually problematic for them in one way or the other and it sort of helps you zone into those, you know, there's a specific pain points that they have and that was I think a blessing in disguise.
00:30:18 - 00:30:22
Cool. And by recording you can also share it with the rest of the team, can't you?
00:30:24 - 00:30:48
Yeah. So, you know, we can actually take snippets and we internally, you know, you should have like at this point, you know, at this particular point in the video at 11th minute and 10 seconds, this person tells you something interesting. You know, it's very, you can viscerally understand the pain over there or the, the actual problem that is there and you know, go and solve that thing. So it becomes great for internal education as well.
00:30:48 - 00:31:11
Yeah. Yeah. So what's been the biggest challenge for Sprinto? You said you were working for two or three years after you started RecruiterBox, you left your job. So it wasn't really a side hustle. It was more like you had to live simply and cheaply, wouldn't you like to do this?
00:31:12 - 00:31:39
Yeah, that was not fun times. I think we were living on Raymond other time[d][e], just noodles.
So I had saved some money from my job, which I ran through in the first year and the, you know, for me, for example, my brother supported me, you know, so thankful for him for that. But yeah, those were some tough times financially.
00:31:40 - 00:31:47
Yeah. Yeah. And that's the challenge isn't sometimes just lasting long enough to actually win and succeed, isn't it?
00:31:47 - 00:32:11
Yeah. And you know, it's harder, especially because it's not necessarily that my parents for example were extremely supportive of me being an entrepreneur. They rather that I yeah, they were, I mean to be fair to them that they were being as supportive as they could, it's just that they couldn't understand what is it that I was doing.
00:32:11 - 00:32:14
They would have had no idea what you're doing
00:32:15 - 00:32:15
00:32:15 - 00:32:21
So I tried to explain to my parents what I was doing and I said I'm blogging, right?
00:32:23 - 00:32:26
I know that can be hard to explain.
00:32:26 - 00:33:16
And I'm going but they were proud of me, like I was 50 plus and I was blogging, right? So like it's really, it was, but they were they went well, it looks like you're doing okay and it's good and very proud of you and I'm not quite sure what blogging means and I have no idea what podcasting is because they're in their 80s, right? So yeah, so you did it.
So what are some of the biggest challenges you've had apart from just the financial side, what are some other challenges you've had? And what were some of the mentors, whether it's books mentors, where people mentors, what inspired you to keep going?
00:33:17 - 00:33:45
So I’m actually not much of a reader, fortunately or unfortunately, so I haven't really read that many books. I guess I'm embarrassed learning from other people or from books that way. So this is kind of a little bit of something that we had to figure out on our own not because help wasn't available, but it's just I guess some people are just built that way. I think one of the things that I remember..
00:33:45 - 00:33:48
We're all built differently, that's what’s fascinating about being human.
00:33:49 - 00:35:57
Exactly and I think one of the things I've learned while doing RecruiterBox is that it's one thing to have, you know, something that's working in the sense that you have a piece of software that you're selling, customers seem to want it etcetera. But it's quite another thing to actually build out a team that makes this a real business, You know, like, it's great when you're two or three people, you know, everybody does everything and everybody is pitching and you know, this is sort of the, the only thing that you have, you have really going on in your life. So, so, you know, it's easy for you to just wake up and just run after this thing, but when you're having a team and you know like that there are people who are going to do specific parts of the job and then they're going to go back to their families and their and whatever it is that they want to do with their life and they're going to give you like eight hours of the day and how to actually make sure the engine still works. And you know, how to get the best out of them, how to make sure they work with other people, how to structure teams in the sense that makes sense for them, how to get them to get them motivated to solve to care about the problem that you're solving, all of these things are things that we had to learn along the way. I think that was an important lesson to learn to actually how to build a company over and about how to just, you know, run like profitable, small, nice business. So at its height, RecruiterBox was about 50 people strong with people across two continents. So you know, we have people working in the US and in India some of who are working remotely, so we had to figure all of those things out and I think there's a fair bit of why can't, you know, pinpoint the exact lessons that it sort of became muscle memory, which is very useful when you're running Sprinto. You know, these are things that you that, that you know innately know about how to build teams, how to go about hiring, how to put together teams, how to make sure that they are motivated, they're hitting their goals and the whole thing becomes more than the sum of its parts, that's the hard thing to do and I think that was one of the most challenging things for me to learn.
00:35:57 - 00:36:33
So you said you don't really know what you were doing, but you learned it from muscle memory, but you're building a team and building a culture. So how do you motivate your team? Is it because you're going, I think what I've learned is that the team needs to lean into your vision and understand that you are changing the world by the software you're using for this problem you're solving. So how do you get the team to buy in?
00:36:33 - 00:38:30
That's a good one. I don't think I have a silver bullet answer to it. I think the important thing too that I learned over there is to, to put it simply is to over communicate. You know, what, what tends to happen, yeah, communicate more than you would normally work because what tends to happen is you sort of, it's easy to fall into the trap that hey, this is obvious right, that everybody is going to understand why we're doing this and you know, I mentioned this one time three months ago and you know, it ought to stick and that the world doesn't work that way. So I think the thing that if I have to put it a little simply is to keep them motivated is to keep repeating yourself and to, to sort of communicate more than you would naturally work. So I'm an introvert, I tend to tackle us as much as possible and I do a lot better than one on one conversations than I do and like one too many kinds of conversations, but I don't train myself to do that and sort of keep talking again and again about what exactly the vision is every time we could be solving like a small minute problem to still tied back to why we are doing this and sort of somehow tied back to the larger picture that we're going to go after and just training myself to do this again and again, even if it, even if I'm boring myself to death, but to realize that it's important for the team that you can actually do this again and again. So I think that was one of the things that we had to do and all three of us sort of cofounders had to learn to do that by the end of this whole thing, which I was very glad is that, you know, we, we actually had a company that was like when I said it was running very well, I'm actually proud of the fact that we more than building a successful business, we actually learn a well running company because when we actually sold the company and the founders moved out, the company continued to run smoothly. So I think in some way we made ourselves redundant in the company, which is, which is like while it makes you feel useless, you know, it's it's one of the great outcomes to have, like the company is not overly dependent on you at some point of time and it runs on autopilot.
00:38:30 - 00:39:05
Yep. So, I remember watching an interview with George Lucas and he talked about, but not only to fall in love with what you do, you need to fall in with the love of the process of what you do. So what you just described to me is that when you walked away, the company kept running because you actually sounds like to me you've created a company that's driven by process as well.
00:39:06 - 00:39:06
00:39:07 - 00:39:49
And as entrepreneurs, we typically get excited by the idea, but not excited by the boring part of the process, right, and systems, but the thing about systems and processes, they will set you free as an entrepreneur because you allow those and the people that run those to free you from the day to day of telling everyone what to do because the processes are written, they're recorded and the company starts running itself, it's like a system, what is a system and is that correct?
00:39:50 - 00:40:23
Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head, like you said that a lot more, a lot better than I was trying to say, you're exactly right, like the fact that you have built a system and a process that runs itself is extremely liberating. It allows us entrepreneurs to sort of, you know, work on the next frontier rather than, you know, just sort of making sure that the existing thing that's already working is working well, you know, so that's that's extremely, extremely liberating and that's the only way I can think of building companies now. So it's it's you hit the nail on the head.
00:40:23 - 00:41:16
Yeah, I suppose I discovered it when I launched this podcast two years ago. And one of the reasons I didn't launch the podcast before that, I'd hid all the microphones and all the equipment in a cupboard because I didn't have the team and the processes to do it. Two years ago I had the team in place and I went, I think I can do this now. What I love about, what we're talking about process and systems, is that I record this and then I'll give it to the team And then magically in 4-5 weeks time, it's produced. Yeah, and not because of me is because my fabulous team and the systems we have in place and the software we use allows us to do this. It is incredibly empowering, isn't it?
00:41:25 - 00:41:33
Yes, it is. I know exactly what you mean, and when it sort of falls together, it's beautiful, it's like choreography done best.
00:41:33 - 00:41:37
And when you start though, you've got to do all that, you've got to do it all and that's challenging.
00:41:38 - 00:41:46
Yeah, I know what you mean here, this is, this is I'm glad you brought this up.
00:41:47 - 00:42:49
Because I am now in love with the process of what I do as well as loving what I do and I think as want to be entrepreneurs, people starting a side hustle, they're gonna realize that from day one they've actually got to build a process that helps and get things done in other words takes their creation and builds a process that shares it with the world. And then even the process of communication, which you talked about as well in other words as entrepreneurs sometimes we want to hide, especially like some of us are introverts, some of us are extroverts, right? And you talked about over communicating, which I think is fabulous. You need to have, you need to be telling him, telling him, telling all the time, this is why we're doing this to make a difference and to make your own little dent in the universe with your product in a niche in your world for the world.
00:42:51 - 00:42:51
00:42:52 - 00:43:36
And that's what we need to learn as entrepreneurs is that you can create the product, but how can I create the process that amplifies it and scales this to actually make it, make a bigger difference because as entrepreneurs, you want to make a bigger difference. You talked early to me, you said, okay, RecruiterBox was great, but we wanted to create something that was bigger than that and that's your, it's a bigger vision, there's nothing wrong with that, but it's actually so cool and this is as honorable as we need to actually learn how to learn, how to scale better, to make a bigger difference and it's not just about the bottom line about making money, it's about how to make a positive impact on the planet.
00:43:38 - 00:44:23
Yeah, and you know, I think you said this very well, but like while entrepreneurship involves this burst of creativity towards the building somewhere, I think a lot of value actually comes from there is when you take that creative, whatever it is that you created there and sort of make it repeatable, which is where the process comes in, right? So you figured out something new, and now can you sort of repeat that? Because if you figure that, that new thing at that just pointed by itself, it's not useful, right? Like what what you need to do is basically be able to repeat that again and again, and that's where process and systems really really coming, right, So, so that that burst of creativity that you have, you have this lightning in a bottle, now, can you sort of keep doing this again and again and again and again as inhabit and you know that when that happens, it's great.
00:44:24 - 00:44:48
And that's where the magic happens. Yeah, So before we finish, Girish, any top tips to entrepreneurs that have an idea and want to share it with the world, what would you recommend they do? 2 or 3 ideas, one idea, it really doesn't matter.
00:44:50 - 00:46:49
I think all of these ideas seem to be extremely contextual to the nature of the business that you're doing, but if there was one thing I would point out to entrepreneurs who have an idea is to sort of almost moved away from the idea zone and get into the problem zone. So, you know, like basically an idea is a solution to a problem and I would, one of the things that I've taught myself to do is rather than being married to the idea, it's more important to get married to a problem because what happens is an idea is a tool to solve the problem. And you, you know, when you have this idea, it's almost you think of it like a, like a block that you're trying to see and how it fits into a problem that exists out in the real world. So the, so the thing that I would recommend to many people who are starting out new and you speak to me is that okay, you have this idea to go out there, talk to as many people as possible and see sort of it, there is a place where it actually fixed, you know, like into a problem that exists out there in the real world. And that's, I think the discipline that's required to convert an idea, your business, you know, to to real business, like you just need to keep talking to enough people putting that idea out there in enough places to see where it fits. Sometimes it's a variation of the idea that will fit, it's something in the neighborhood of the idea or a slight change in it, or it may not fit the place where you originally thought it would. You know, it feels like a completely different market segment, completely different set of people or something else. But, you know, you need to take it out for a spin, you can't keep it in your head, you know, that's how actually, so the way to refine an idea is not to think more about it. It's too, but to put it out there in the real world, as fragile as it might be and see whether it is resilient, whether it actually fits something that exists out in the real world, a gap in the real world is you're trying to fit the idea into. So that my mental image of an idea is like a block and the world is full of gaps and you're trying to see if this idea fix one of those gaps that exist out there.
00:46:50 - 00:47:00
Okay, so what you're saying is you need to be married to solving the problem and the iterations of that until you actually keep filling all the gaps until you actually solve it properly.
00:47:00 - 00:47:05
Yes. Because what the world cares about is the problems, they don't care about your idea at the end of that.
00:47:05 - 00:47:17
They don't give a sh it about your company, They don't give a shit about your product. What they give a shit about is actually, does your product or service help me?
00:47:18 - 00:47:18
00:47:19 - 00:47:21
And that's what you keep diving into, isn't it?
00:47:22 - 00:47:22
00:47:23 - 00:48:07
Yeah, Girish. It's been an absolute pleasure talking to you, mate. Hope to bump into you in Madras or India or wherever. And I just love the energy that emanates out of India and you're a perfect example of that, mate, you've got an energy and a passion that is palpable and obviously is solving problems and that is absolutely awesome. So thank you for sharing your ideas, your journey and look forward to catching up in real life one day.
00:48:08 - 00:48:11
Absolutely Jeff, and thanks so much for having me. I really enjoyed this.
00:48:12 - 00:48:15
It's been a pleasure. Thank you.
00:48:15 - 00:48:16
[a]@[email protected] This sounds like "geographies."
_Assigned to Jade Lapuz_
Could this word be "blocs"
_Assigned to Jade Lapuz_
[c]It does not sound like soccer.
Software? Or what?
_Assigned to Jade Lapuz_
[d]Please check this.
[e]I am sure it is "at that time" but I don't get the first word.
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