April 12, 2023
Projjal Ghatak - Creating a New Category in a Legacy Market

Projjal Ghatak is the CEO and co-founder of SaaS company, OnLoop, creating a new category, Collaborative Team Development (CTD), in a legacy market with a software product that is redefining the way organizations conduct perf...

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Projjal Ghatak is the CEO and co-founder of SaaS company, OnLoop, creating a new category, Collaborative Team Development (CTD), in a legacy market with a software product that is redefining the way organizations conduct performance management for hybrid teams.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Projjal made the leap into entrepreneurship by tackling what he observed to be one of the most disliked processes in human resources, how he invented a new business category, developing and launching a software product, and some of the hardships that come with being a founder.

Projjal describes how OnLoop works to improve the performance management process, common issues within traditional performance management,  and how OnLoop is redefining the performance assessment process to unlock the potential of workers, increasing productivity.

Projjal talks about the importance of finding the right founder-investor fit when seeking capital, understanding the venture capital business model, the personal toll raising venture capital took on his mental health and how he got through it, and 3 pieces of advice he has for other founders who need to raise funding.

Projjal shares his insights on launching a software product, why he initially focused on product development over revenue, the value he saw in getting his product into the hands of users early on, how to know when you’re software product is ready for monetization, and how OnLoop utilizes user feedback to drive product integration.

Finally, Projjal tells us the gut decision to focus on the mobile app that paid off, two key elements of his product that have driven OnLoop’s growth, how his business has been able to disrupt a static market, and why founders should be more open about the mental health challenges that come with launching a business and getting the necessary support.

Skip to Topic:

4:34 - Redesigning the performance management process
9:06 - Mission to unlock the potential of knowledge workers and increase productivity
11:14 - How OnLoop measures work productivity
12:12 - How OnLoop redefines the performance management process
13:05 - Challenges with gauging productivity in the workplace in the era of remote work
17:42 - 2 key considerations when going from a business idea to launching a software product
19:25 - Navigating the harsh reality of raising venture capital
21:28 - 3 pieces of advice for other founders about raising business capital
26:16 - Finding the right-fit investor
28:34 - Developing a software product in conjunction with your users
29:01 - Creating a product advisory board
29:56 - How to know when you’re ready to monetize your software product
34:02 - Being a disruptor in a legacy market

Find Projjal  at:
Website: https://www.onloop.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OnLoop
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stayonloop/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/onloop/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLaN140q6NZdUMcvQUQezZw

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Welcome to the Real People Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes, and I'm a business strategist who helps mature entrepreneurs design asset-based business models that set their businesses up for growth and exit. I love to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs that share their real stories and the gritty details of how they've navigated their own way through. On this show, you won't hear about the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online, and you won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear real vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of our guests businesses today. I'm so excited to welcome Projjal Ghatak. Projjal founded OnLoop in 2020 to fundamentally reinvent how hybrid teams are assessed and developed. This was after over a decade of frustration with clunky traditional enterprise performance management and learning processes and tools that were either hated or ignored by his teams at companies like Uber and Accenture, where he spent many, many years, he is now dedicated to his lifelong mission of unleashing the full potential of the world's 1 billion knowledge workers. I'm guessing all remote. Welcome to the show, Projjal, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today. Thank you Stephanie. Thank you for having me. So you are joining us from Singapore? That's correct. Yeah, so we are just talking about the two most beautiful and amazing places in the world to live, and we both just happen to be in one of those places. So tell me a little bit about how you got here. Mm-hmm. Tell me about OnLoop. Mm-hmm. Tell me about those backstory. Share with us how you went from consulting into developing this business. Yeah. So you know, the journey started in India. So I was, I was born in a town called Calera in India. Fairly large town I think. 16 million people or so, and, and growing up in sort of eighties and nineties India it sort of utter chaos. And you sort of need to fight your, fight your way through life. But at a fairly young age, I decided I wanted to leave India. And, and sort of build a life that was more global. And so I left India 17 to come to Singapore for undergrad on a scholarship. And that's where, no, I would say the rest of my life started in terms of sort of really sort of building both a perspective as well as an ambition that was much greater than what I was just born into. And I spent a few years in, in management consult. In Southeast Asia. And, and then spent a few years in the US first for business school and then working in finance at a family office. And then over time, made my way back to Asia where, where I joined a company called Uber that, that folks might have heard of. And spent sort of three and a half years there in a variety of roles. Went through a merger with a local competitor in Southeast Asia and, and stayed on an Uber, and so there are. Good war stories from, from there as well. And then, you know, in, in late 2019 sort of left Uber to pursue starting OnLoop. And you know, it took me about 30, 33, 34 years to have the courage to to be an entrepreneur and say, I don't need a monthly salary. I, I think that's such a privilege for, for folks. And, you know, I really resonate with what you say about the real stories. I, I think people forget, Starting a business, first of all, is not something that most people can even think about or, or aspire to. And even if you can, there's a ton of fear you, you have to overcome. And so, you know, it's been sort of. A little over three years that I made the decision to move in the entrepreneurial direction. It's been a proverbial rollercoaster, like every journey is. But you know, because me and the team deeply care about what we do, I think that gets us through times that are tougher. And so we feel lucky to be able to work on something that we feel passionately about and a product that we think can actually really help teams around the world., you. Know, that's a theme that we've heard from quite a number of guests too. I was just editing an episode today. Mm-hmm. Same. And that was the same conversation. If you are, you know, what gets us through as entrepreneurs is believing strongly in what we're doing. Especially if you're going for money and you're telling your same story over and over and over again. You're hearing no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Mm-hmm. You know, that's what, that's what. Boil you through to the place where you're finally kind of entrenched. So tell me a little bit more about On Loop. Tell us, you know, what is the, what's the core offering and what is the core hope for your cus customers? Yes, I'll, I'll tell you, you know, why OnLoop was born, and I'll tell you sort of where we're, so when I, when I left Uber, I was quite open-minded about what I wanted to do next, but what my mind kept going back to and about a week or two coming out, I heard a two pager that I called Talent Technology and talent Technology as a replacement of traditional HR technology. That in my experience, Tended to be built for hr, but not for end user teams. And the particular experience that we honed into is the sort of nightmare that people go through twice a year doing performance reviews and, and going through performance management. And it's probably still one of the most universally hated practices that exist in business. It. Without filling almost every business. And, and, and it's, it's, it's quite mindblowing that that's the case. I think in most other cases when so many people hate something there's, there's a way to to fix it. And so we very much went into sort of on loop saying, you know, we've had a bunch of experience dealing with processes and tools that we hated and. What can we do about it? And, and quite quickly we realized, What we are trying to do in the world is fundamentally build a new category and we call that category collaborative team development. And collaborative team development effectively combines aspects of measuring the wellness of teams measuring what goals they're working towards understanding their strengths through recognition and celebratory feedback. Understanding the blind spots through constructive feedback and then unlocking. Regular learning based on what you're learning about each person's wellbeing, goals, strengths and weaknesses. And, and that's very much a always on. Loop that each member of the team should be undergoing. And, and that's what our product, which is both a mobile app as well as integrates into Slack and a web app makes teams do over time. And then to replace performance management and reviews, we generate something called talent prisms in the product at the end of three months. And that effectively summarizes all of the inputs. Over the course of a six months, and then also applies some of the newer technology around generative AI to, to summarize the disparate inputs that are coming in. So there's been a lot of craze around chat g pt lately, which is open AI sort of language model that helps write. Text from a set of prompts. And so in our case, those prompts are specific in the moment, reflections of feedback, and then that can be summarized at the end of a quarter or six months. And so our, our goal is that we, we fill teams with a practice that drives delightful collaborative growth. And in the process, remove the performance management pain that we've all dealt with for, for many years. I love that. And I think, you know, my, if I, if I could guess, I would assume that what is the most hated and painful about performance reviews is for the employees that they mm-hmm. Are conduct, they're conducted on, You know, like a scheduled basis. Mm-hmm. And so I, I remember being an employee, I haven't been an employee for a very long time, but I remember thinking how unfair it felt that I was getting a performance review, six months passed when anything may have occurred and, and where's the collective memory that is going to create this much more truthful or accurate representation of what I've. No, absolutely. And, and what tends to happen in those situations that if you walk into a calibration room or ratings are being discussed, who's the, whoever's the loudest voice in the room typically comes up ahead. And it tends to have very low correlation with, with actually the work done. And there's a lot of conversation around bias in the workplace and a lot of training around bias. But what drives bias is often. These practices that we've done for many years that fail to fully recognize that the work someone is doing versus the work that is visible that someone is doing. And you know, that that's where there's this very strong purpose of the work that we do is, is to bring to light the real work that each person's doing versus, you know, who's screaming and beating their chest, the most. Right. And what happened in the last week. Right. Yeah. That tends to influence a review far more than what happened over the course of the last six months. Absolutely. So if you, if you could summarize what that big hope is for the change that you wanna make, what is that? Yeah, I mean, it's, it's ultimately around each person being seen for what they actually do. And, and increasing the overall level of fairness in the world for talent outcomes. And so we, we increasingly live in a talent world that is both hybrid and global. And, and that means that, If we, if we get this right in the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years, we'll distribute talent outcomes much more fairly to where those outcomes are created versus just by virtue of where someone was born or. What option they had access to. And so you know, that's where this goes back to sort of our broader vision of unlocking the full potential of a billion knowledge workers. Because we feel that if there were ways to make each person more productive and then measure their work more effectively, we'd, we'd be able to massively increase global productivity by bringing out the best in each person. And that sounds like, that sounds like the alignment for the case for the employer. Mm-hmm. Exactly. Is there, yeah. So the alignment for the employees, the, the sense of fairness and, and representation. Exactly. And in a world where, you know, we are in a recessionary environment where everybody's talking about doing more with less. A, you wanna drive clarity for each person so that each person is the most productive they can be. And then B, if you have to go through layoffs or you have to go through reductions, you wanna make sure that you're keeping your most productive team members. And, but if you don't know who your most productive team members are or you don't have a good way to measure their work, you're probably gonna make the wrong decisions when it comes to people. And so, you know, driving more clarity and visibility into people's work is win-win for everybody. And through a process that hopefully takes up a lot less time and it's significantly less painful for folks. And so how is the system measuring productivity? Yeah, I mean, essentially what we, what we push for is every person's work to be quantified either in the form of targets that they're working towards. In many cases, that's not possible for folks. And so the other three types of goals in the product are projects, hard skills and behavioral skills. And, and so we, we sort of encourage each, each user of the platform to, on a weekly basis, input whatever contributions they make in the form of target project. Behavioral skills and hard skills. And so at the end of three months we can look at each person's contributions as a portfolio versus, oh, did this person move a metric? And, and if we're able to understand, oh, this is how this person evolved over time, you're able to get a much. More holistic, full understanding of that person's contribution as well as their, their future potential in the organization. I think the worst thing people can do is trying to monitor each person's work in terms of how many hours they've sat in front of a computer or how many lines of code if they written or, or like how many slack messages that they've sent. And so there's a lot of rudimentary monitoring that. Companies are thinking about in a world of hybrid remote work, that is absolutely not the right way to think about it. But much more around trying to see if we can quantify creative knowledge work into chunks that people understand. Yeah, I like that shift because I think that, you know, as, as we got hit so quickly with this, you know, the. The remote work model, and a lot of managers were kind of forced to adapt. Mm-hmm. There was a lot of fear-based measurement, right. And wondering how do I keep everyone productive? And do you see that there's a shift in the narrative around the importance of quote unquote productivity versus the quality of what's produced? Yeah. I mean, and that's where productively can be a pretty misunderstood work, right? And, and, and the question is, what, what are we, what are we actually measuring here? You know, Microsoft released some research, a few work a few weeks ago, and there's one very compelling stat that 87%. Of knowledge workers believe that they're being productive at work, but only 12% of leaders think that their teams are being fully productive. And so they call, they call that gap the productivity paranoia which is what's now driving a lot of leaders to say, no, please come back fully to office. And, and sort of turning back on some of the. Remote and work from home policies through the pandemic. And, and, and a lot of that is because, People have gauged productivity in the past by seeing how much activity is going on. And so if I walk into an office and everyone's there, everyone's working, and, and there are, there are conversations happening. You feel calmer cause you, you see what's going on. But if you're, if you're sitting at home and your team just to be around the world and you don't receive a Slack message for an hour and you start getting gangster, Hey, what's going on? And, and, and, and that's, You know, leaders have built their sort of mental models of understanding what's going on, through and informal dialogue. And so what we need to really solve is a lot of the anxiety that, that people feel through sort of the move to remote work. And that, and that's the anxiety that has led to burnout in a lot of cases because on either side, People are unsure sort of where they stand, and they're unsure how much they need to be doing to prove that that good work is is happening. And so if we can make that visibility much easier for teams, that's gonna make everybody feel. More productive and feel less anxious. And so I don't think the issue is so much in whether people are productive or not. The issue is much more in what is the perception of what's going on and how can we use technology and processes to bring perception closer to reality and allow everybody to breathe a little bit easier. So who are you selling to? Who's that sort of ideal client that'll get the most benefit from the applic? Yeah, so, so any organization that's not one office, one room, everyone working together. I think if, if, if that's the case, I, I, I, I, I think enough can be done sort of without technology to drive constant progress. But any organization that is, that is distributed in any shape or form can massively benefit from our product. We typically today work with organizations that are between 50 and 500. And we, and we work with a variety. VPs COOs, CEOs to help drive clarity in their organizations and also give visibility into what's going on in various spots of people origin. So, so, you know, really we, we the, the use case I keep going back to was when I was a GM at Uber and I had a 50. That I had to go calibrate in a couple of weeks. And I had no idea on who these people were. I had, I had no idea what they really achieved. Over time, all I knew is my sort of lived experiences of them for a couple of weeks and what they wrote in the Super long performance reviews. And that gave me very poor data to, to sort of rate them in, in any fair manner. And the reason we obviously. Went after this market with a software product. Cause we do believe that we have the opportunity to fundamentally change how the majority of the world's organizations evolve. But our approach is quite drastic. And so we tend to. Resonate better with an early adopter audience that that sort of resonates with sort of both the problem and the solution. And so, you know, we love MDs of creative agencies. We love strategy and operations folks in, in sort of healthcare tech organizations. We, we. Professional services firms of various types. So it's quite a diversity of the type of orgs and we care more about the leader we are serving and their desire to drive change in their organizations. So talk me through the early days. You, you had an idea like, like everyone. Yes. Yeah. And what was the next step? Did you go straight to building? Did you test the idea? Where was it? Yeah. And so you know, I, I. There were, there were a couple of things that were, that were quite mission critical to get in place. One was finding a initial technical co-founder or technical team to build the product, obviously it's, it's a, it's a software product. I used to code in college, but I stopped a long time ago. And so and so finding, finding that right team in the beginning is often very, very important. From, from a, from a technology product perspective. The, the second was thinking about capital and and fundraising for the product. And you. I was, I was quite certain that we had to raise money to, to build this product over time. Because when you, when you often build a software product in the early days and you're bootstrapping it or you're not raising, or you're not raising capital, Often you will find opportunities to also provide services alongside that software. And typically in the early days of, of building a software product, people will pay more for your services than they'll pay for your software. And, and, and often there's that or that risk that if you're not. Sort of raising capital and you're dependent on just doing what gets the most revenue, that you will skew much more towards the services side of things versus the software side of things. And so once I sort of found the right sort of technical folks the next step was really fundraising. And so those were, those were the first two things that were super top of mind when we first got married. Yeah. And raising money is not for the, the faint of heart. It is not. And I, I, I tell people this, I've never been insulted so much in my life by, by people much younger than me at venture capital firms as when I first to raise money in, in 2020. And it was, it was, it was quite a rude shock. In many ways and I can, I can go through many, many war stories. And, and personally for me, I had also spent most of my career largely sort of in roles that were more internal in organizations. And that meant that I wasn't necessarily putting myself up for rejection every, every couple of days. It has triggered massive anxiety in me. It's, it's triggered my deep fear of rejection. And you have, and, and no founder should be ashamed of talking about this, but I've had professional mental health support for. For quite a amount of time now through, through this journey. And it definitely takes its toll even when things are seemingly going well and, and, and people think you're, you're crushing it. And so it is, you know, I've, I feel, I felt like I'd done tough things in my career before this but now I realize nothing even comes close. Yeah, I'm gl I'm so glad that you brought that up because you know, even for the most resilient of us, which most of us are not that, that resilient, you know, I've known founders who are out doing three pitches a day. And they hear, you know, three nos a day for, for months on end. Mm-hmm. Which doesn't necessarily mean they have a product that's not worth investing in. You. Just as you know, it just is a matter of finding the right investor with the right money and the right people at the right time who connect with you as a human being. Mm-hmm. But the toll that that takes on mental health on like, we're, we're still human beings and none of us, no matter how stable we are, none of us wanna hear that kind of rejection over and over again. So what got you. Yeah. So so I think, I think one thing that I did that I'm quite proud of and I recommend a lot of other founders do is, is make it known to the world that you are building something new. And, and, and what you realize is that as much as founders need money, investors also need deploy money. And. Also looking for organizations doing cool things to deploy capital into. And then that was especially the case in, in 2020 and more so in in 2021. And so a lot, both of my larger institutional investors actually came through LinkedIn inbounds to. And, and the initial outreach came from them and not from me. And what that does is, It just creates much more of a peer sort of energy to the conversation versus one side sort of being subordinate to the other. That, that makes everything feel Yeah, a whole lot better in how you go about it. The, the second thing they recommend to folks is a lot of fundraising is signaling and, and, and signaling. Who's backing you. And so two of my earliest sort of angel commitments were both my managers at Uber as well as a variety of folks that had worked with, with me or another member of our team in the past. And and that often also gives larger investors confidence that here, there are people that have worked with Projo or know the. From the past that are betting on the person again or backing the person again, which also inspires confidence. And, and, and, and then, and then the third is, you know, really realizing that founder investor fit almost matters more than founder market fit. And people don't think about that and you, and you often. Rather build a company differently than take money from the wrong people. I, I, I think that people can get desperate and, and, and I'm very lucky that when I first started fundraising, the couple of folks I first spoke to did not invest in me. Cause I don't think they were the right fit. From a, from a style and approach. And, and outcome perspective. And so you know, I, I got quite lucky that the people that I'm investing are people that I think are good people that see the longer term vision and, and wanna be a part of that journey, and have been very supportive of various ups and downs that come in. Billion business. I'm so glad that you said that because it's absolutely true. Having, you know, been involved in and watched, you know, so many startups go through this process. You don't want the first, the first person to throw money at you. And Yeah. The, and, and going into, you know, for my software company too, we thought really long and hard about whether we even wanna go for money, because completely changes the dynamic of your business. And so I think there's a, a, there is a focus now on. Even from the, the VC side, recognizing that, that that fit is so critical and that that yeah, that, you know, investment you're taking on is actually really well aligned with who you are as an investor. Yeah. And ultimately, if you look at the institutional venture capital model their, their whole business is based on taking bets of something becoming a billion dollar business. And, and, and if they don't see that pathway for whatever, for whatever reason, right? That that might be market, that might be founder ambition, that might be something else. And it's not a great investment for them to make. It's not, it's not small cap private equity. We, when someone is trying to make two x or three X their money. So I also feel like venture capital is quite a misunderstood asset class. And, and not everyone really understand. What the business model venture capital is and, and venture capital is very much. You know, betting on something that can get really big and being okay if it doesn't make it all the way, because that's the model. Yeah. As, as long as there is a desire, towards that that end goalpost but. I think it's become cool to be a venture capitalist and a lot of people could have called themselves venture capitalists especially sort of in more emerging markets outside of San Francisco Bay Area where I often say they actually small, they're small cap private equity, these guys as venture capital, but they're trying to make like a three extra turn on their money versus, versus sort of one bet that that sort of makes hundred. Yep. Yep. Absolutely. And that's also the emergence of all these new types of financing as well, which I think are really, really interesting. So moving, but I wanna, I wanna move on back to your story. So yeah, eventually, eventually you did get funding. Yes, yes. So we raised, so we, we, we, we were usually in market trying to raise half a million to get going, but we. An investor Australia's largest venture capital called Square that really resonated with, with the idea as well as the approach of working with end user teams directly. So one of the differences and our approach that we typically don't work with HR organization first, we try and work with. And the teams directly, cuz that's where we think, we think the problem is and we to go directly to that source. And they love sort of the, the thinking around taking that, but they knew that it would not be an overnight success. And so, so they were keen that we raised. A little bit more money. And so we ended up closing a 2 million round to get us started. And then we, another three and half million the next year. And you know, I, I feel very lucky to have a started the business at a time when markets weren't in the place. I think 20, 20, 21 were some of the better times to raise capital. I think 2022. Was one of the worst years in, in the last 20 years to, to, to raise capital. And that's allowed us to sort of not have to raise last year and be head building. You know, that was a little bit opportunistic too. In 2021, we did not have to raise Very, very glad that we raised another round that's, that's given us more runway to. So what did you get started doing as soon as you had that money? And especially since the, the money that came in was a different amount than you had anticipated. Did that change sort of your growth plans or how did you, how did you move on from there? Not, not really. I mean, to be, to be, to be more than anything else. It just gave us. Cushion and buffer to make sure we were making the deliberate right steps. And so, so for us, it was very important to not think about revenue or selling the product until we felt that the product had. A significantly unique value prop that was driving engagement in our users better than anything else that we had seen. So we started getting the product in the hands of users absolutely right away. And actually when investment came, there was already. An Alpha customer that was using a very janky early version of the product. And I think that is absolutely critical to not sort of be building in a closed room and, and not getting your product in the hands. You can learn so much about the product being in the hands, users of users, and, and that massively accelerates sort of how you, how you build the product. And then the other thing that we did was we put together a product advisory board. Of leaders in every sort of function, from engineering to product, to to bis dev, to marketing, to ops across Uber, Google, bcg, h and m Snap, to put together a group that made sure that the product would serve their needs and their purposes. A lot of. Sort of early pilots were with, with sort of their organizations and, and, and their teams. When we later launched, we decided to focus only on paying customers, so we moved to sort of a smaller org size, but we made sure that the product. Was initially built out with people that we considered leading leaders at leading companies. So, so, so, so very much a product focus and getting the product to a place that we felt was compelling. And that took us about a year, a year and a half till, sort of October off of 2021 for us to feel comfortable that. Maybe it's time to, to acquire more customers. Our first paying customer came to us because they told us that they wanted to pay for us, and we actually didn't know how to collect money. And so we had to figure out how to, how to do that. But You know, building a software product is very much this balance of, do you try and do you try and monetize right away, or do you try to get the product to a particular stage of maturity? I think for a business, SaaS product revenue matters above all else. And, and more so in this environment. So the, the earlier you can get people to pay for your product. But if you, if you get the wrong customer, or if you do that too early, your roadmap might go a direction where you might build bells and whistles for implementation versus the core experience. And, and so finding that balance also becomes quite important. What surprised you about the way that your first customers were using your product? You know what, it's, it's so smart to get. As quickly into the hands of your potential customers, but what assumptions did you make that were absolutely blown up by your customer experience? Yeah, no, it's a, it's, it's a great question. I, I think two things that come to mind. One, we, we initially thought that we were building the products for. Sophisticated Silicon Valley engineering product design, knowledge worker. But one of our early customers was a business process outsourcing company in the Philippines. And they, till this day, remained some of the most active, engaged users of our product because they, they really craved feedback cause it's such a people business and, and the product. So easy to use that they sort of, you know, grasped onto it right away. And so often we make false assumptions on who our product is for or who's gonna fall in love with it the most, versus who actually falls in love with love with it the most. That's, that's one. The second. Some of our early customers also pushed us to build a Slack integration because a lot of our customers use Slack. And so if you could make captures in Slack that would sort of reduce the friction, make it easier. But actually in our experience, we've seen people use the mobile app significantly more than the Slack app. Because when people are in Slack, they're very much formally communicating, not naturally reflecting or thinking. About things sort of in a, in a, in a reflect learning manner. And so although you would guess the mobile app has more friction, we've seen that people do different behaviors on a desktop versus mobile. And so and so that was another counterintuitive bet that we made early on to focus on mobile. That's, that's proven right. In, in, in a lot of ways. And so, One of, one of the things that a lot of, a lot of people talk about is listen to your customer's problems, not their solutions. And I and I, and I think that that ends up ringing very true because humans say one thing and do another thing. And so just because someone says they will, they will do something or, or something feels exciting, doesn't mean that will, that will pan out that way. And so at some level you can. Institutions and hunches and your own experience? I think one benefit that we have is we are building for ourselves. And so we are our own customer and our harshest critic and biggest at the same time. And we have a pretty globally distributed, diverse organization so that, that provides a unique set of voices that are internal that allows us to learn quite a bit. But the only, but the only other way to learn is. Is by seeing what customers do. Yeah. And you've been at this now for a few years, and what has, what has been your biggest driver of growth? Hmm. So, so there, there are, there are, there are two things in the product that really catch people's attention. So, so one is sort of our usage of generative ai. In the product. And so the fact that we can automate the performance ranking process is, is a, is a feature that nobody in the world, in our category has even truck come close to trying to build. And so that's, that's led us to be a finalist at South By Southwest and, and get welcome, I mean, forum Tech Pioneer Award. And so that's, that's led. A lot of attention, and so often when you're building a new product in what is a legacy market or legacy industry. Having a 10 x feature that feels like very different needs, needs to catch attention. That's, that's on the, on the sort of attention grabbing side. And on the value creation side and easy to use, well designed mobile app that makes people not want run away from goals. And feedback has meant that in organizations where it's very hard for people to to make them do goals or log, we are. Significantly higher coverage in people going in and using the product to set goals and, and, and update against them. So, so I, the novelty of the product and our approach in a, in a legacy old market is probably the, the biggest piece that, that sort of attracts customers to us. Yeah. That, that disruption in very old static markets is. Often really hard, right? Yeah, very. Yeah. And it, and it means requiring to find all the adopters and you have to go find them. And, and not, not everyone is an only adopter and will not be, and so you have to, you have to go seek them out. Yep. And, and let them demonstrate. We're coming up on time, but I have a question that I ask all of my guests, and I would love to hear your perspective on it as well. What's the difference between what we hear out there and the world and the business world and the online business world? What's the difference between what the stories we hear there and what's real about being an entrepreneur, being a business owner? Every startup is a shit show. It's, I can attest to that. Yes, it is true. No. No matter what people say on the outside. Every founder that is up on stage smiling and, and sounding super confident is probably suffering from deep anxiety on the inside and probably trying on the inside. That's very and is, and is, and is, and is probably has help or should be seeking help. And so, you know, I, I re resonated with your mission of, of taking the glamor off. You know, I come from a very ordinary. Middle class family in India, and it, and it, you know, I, I pursued the corporate life for a while to, because I never had the option of, of sort of throwing things away and starting a business and, and not earning money. And so I, really resonate with this mission of anybody can do it however, I'm also very lucky that I don't have parents to support or, or. A sort of sick family member to support and that I can focus my energies on, on building my business and pursuing sort of my passions. But this notion of everybody's just a human and we are all normal and we all have our, our fears and insecurities, I think is, is very, very true. And, and I think something that everybody should be telling. Thank you. I'm so happy that you said that, and I, I appreciate it so much, and more and more people need to hear that message. Can you tell the listeners where they can find you? Yeah, so you know, on Loop is on on onloop.com. There's only one Projjal as far as I know. That will, that will show up on, on, on. I'm gprojjal at Twitter. But, but you know, feel free to reach out on any platform of, of your choice. Amazing. Thank you so much. We're gonna wrap it up, but I'm so happy we had the opportunity to chat with Projjal today to hear more about how his business came to be, his experiences along the way, and what the future of the business entails. And thank you so much for tuning into this episode of The Real People Real Business Show, where we get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to the show notes, resources and links from this episode are available on my website and social media platforms. And if you've enjoyed today's, I'd love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you are on to help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience. Until next time, keep building. Keep dreaming and keep being real.

Projjal GhatakProfile Photo

Projjal Ghatak

CEO and Co-Founder

Projjal founded OnLoop in 2020 to create a category called Collaborative Team Development (CTD) to fundamentally reinvent how hybrid teams are assessed and developed. This was after over a decade of frustration with clunky, traditional enterprise performance management and learning processes and tools that were either hated or ignored by his teams at companies like Uber and Accenture where he spent many years. He is now dedicated to his lifelong mission of unleashing the full potential of the world’s 1 billion knowledge workers. Prior to founding OnLoop, Projjal spent three and a half years at Uber in a variety of roles including leading Strategy & Operations for Business Development globally, leading Strategy & Planning for the APAC rides business, and GM of the Philippines rides business. Besides Uber, he also spent some time raising debt and equity from New York hedge funds for an industrials conglomerate (Essar), in strategy consulting in South East Asia (Accenture), and in early stage companies in Latin America (BlueKite, El Market) prior to that. Somewhere along the way he spent 2 years at Stanford (GSB), getting an MBA.