Sramana: What does your management team look like today?
Varun Shoor: We have four members of our senior management team. Raghav Arora is our VP of Operations. He was the first employee of Kayako and was a school mate of mine. He has helped the company grow from inception. James Edwards is based out of London and is our Chief Operating Officer. He joined the company in 2005. He was a former client who was very active on our forums. He started small, working for us on a contract basis. As things ramped up, he started taking on more responsibilities. Today, he manages the remote team and directs us on key product decisions. We are in the process of opening an office in London and he will lead that office. Our Director of Customer Service is also a key position. He joined the company in 2008, and he looks after that team.
We are very close to finalizing a candidate for our VP of Sales position. We need to have proper senior management in place before we raise money. Our middle management is strong but we have been slow in terms of growing senior management. I am still looking for a VP of Engineering. From the look of things, I think that person will be based in London. We want someone who has experience in this industry and knows about the latest practices. They must have great experience managing an engineering team and we have not been able to find that candidate locally.
Sramana: What does the future hold for Kayako?
Varun Shoor: Future growth will align with our fundraising plans. We believe that we have the right foundation to grow this organization. Our focus going forward will be very aggressive in marketing. We are looking for a VP of Marketing. We are also looking to open an office in Silicon Valley in Q3 of next year and I will probably move there to open that office.
Sramana: How do you acquire customers?
Varun Shoor: We don’t spend a single dollar on marketing. All of our revenue and run rate is on word of mouth and search engine rankings. I would say that 50% of our incoming clients come from customer referrals.
Sramana: What do your parents think of your business now?
Varun Shoor: They still don’t understand what I do, but they are happy that I have a company that is growing well.
Sramana: This may be a politically incorrect question, but I’m going to ask it anyways. Culturally, entrepreneurs in India have found that the father of the bride gets very nervous about their daughters getting married to an entrepreneur. You are married, what was your experience there?
Varun Shoor: Mine was a love marriage. As long as the bride and groom both know they are in it for the long term, it takes care of half the problem. By that time, my company was well established. They never thought of me as someone who was struggling, they saw me as someone who was running a company.
Sramana: This has been a delightful story. Best of luck as you go forward!
[Also check out my Entrepreneur Journeys book, Seed India – How To Navigate The Seed Capital Gap in India]