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Building a Global HR Tech Business from India: Adit Jain, CEO of Leena AI (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Jan 26th 2022

Sramana Mitra: Did you raise money through the YC process?

Adit Jain: Yes. We raised a $2 million seed round from Elad Gil. Then a bunch of seed funds joined in. Funder’s Club was one of them.

Sramana Mitra: Where did you locate the company?

Adit Jain: I shifted to New York because we were getting a lot of manufacturing customers who were based on the East Coast than on the West Coast. We have a huge presence in India as well for development and product.

Sramana Mitra: So the rest of your team stayed in India. You relocated to New York and started building the business development office.

Adit Jain: Yes. Very recently, my other co-founder has also moved to New York.

Sramana Mitra: What happens after you moved to New York and got seed funding?

Adit Jain: One of the big things for us has always been customer growth. We went back to building and making sure that we got more customers. Again, one of the cores of Leena AI has been customer growth and listening to customers. Today, we have eight products and all of them have been built the same way.

Sramana Mitra: In 2018, you were done with Y Combinator. At this point, are you still working on that HR chatbot product?

Adit Jain: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: How was that scaling?

Adit Jain: We exited 2018 with around 20 customers. The average ACV was decently growing. It was around $15,000 to $20,000 at that time.

Sramana Mitra: These were US customers?

Adit Jain: Mixed. We started opening up the US customer base as well. Still, we had a good India presence already. 30% was coming from US and 70% from India at that time.

Sramana Mitra: Freshworks was incubated and accelerated in One Million by One Million. Very early on, it was clear that you could do lead generation and closing deals from India. What has been your experience on that?

Adit Jain: We had a mixed experience. When you target a little SMB, it works very well. Lead generation works even in the higher ranges. Closing enterprise deals is harder from India. It’s tough.

Sramana Mitra: You had the proof of concept done from India?

Adit Jain: The delivery and implementation still happen from India. Also, we have product consultants based out of India.

Sramana Mitra: The POC deal cannot be closed for enterprise from India?

Adit Jain: It can be. We did really well in 2019. It stopped making sense for us at a point where you have a large enterprise that wants to do an entire RFP process. We compete against ServiceNow and Salesforce. These are behemoths. You need to have those relationships going. In the SMB, we still sell from the Indian team as well.

Sramana Mitra: In that enterprise deal making, are you doing all direct selling or are you working with a large system integrator?

Adit Jain: Until recently, we were just doing direct sales. We have a great marketing engine in place and a great sales team in the US. We just did some of our SI and consulting agreements. By the end of next year, I expect that portion to go up.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Building a Global HR Tech Business from India: Adit Jain, CEO of Leena AI
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