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Building a Global HR Tech Business from India: Adit Jain, CEO of Leena AI (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Jan 24th 2022

Adit and his cofounders started Leena AI in India, bootstrapped to validation, applied to YCombinator, got in. Since then, they’ve built a fantastic, venture-funded global HR Tech business that is successfully competing with Salesforce and ServiceNow. Superb story!

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Adit Jain: I was born in Delhi and am based out of New York right now. I belong to a middle class family. I was born and brought up in Delhi and was there for 22 years.

Sramana Mitra: When did you graduate?

Adit Jain: 2015. I got my BTech from IIT Delhi.

Sramana Mitra: What happened after?

Adit Jain: I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.

Sramana Mitra: Right away?

Adit Jain: Yes. My co-founders are my friends. We were in the same dorm room in IIT. We did a lot of projects in automatic content summarization which is NLP AI. That gave us the confidence that we can build things together. Once we graduated, all three of us had jobs, but we decided not to take them. We started with a company called ChatterOn. It was a horizontal platform that enables anyone to create chatbots without writing a single line of code. It’s like a do-it-yourself platform where you can build chatbots for your marketing or customer support. That was the concept.

Sramana Mitra: What was the customer base that you were going after? Take me to the very beginning of that entrepreneurship process.

Adit Jain: I told you how in college we did that automatic content summarization. It’s a sub-branch of NLP where you take large pieces of content and shrink it down. Use cases are very wide. It could include daily consumption use cases in the form of news summarization. It could include legal reviews summarization. We did work a lot on that in our third year. We were fascinated by that space. We’ve done NLP a lot. AI was becoming very hot in 2015. It was more of a technolog knack that we had to make us try and do something.

Sramana Mitra: In terms of starting the company, where did you start?

Adit Jain: We just started with a project idea. Because it was a fascination for a technology, we started off too wide. We started building a new product because of that technology fascination. We ended up being too wide. It’s a classical rookie mistake. We were trying to be everything for everyone, but we ended up being nothing for no one.

Sramana Mitra: How did you recover from that?

Adit Jain: It led us to growth in terms of people who were building chat bots on the platform. We had small businesses who were trying to build customer support and marketing bots. Out of the 3,000 customers, nobody was paying us though.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Building a Global HR Tech Business from India: Adit Jain, CEO of Leena AI
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