Start, Scale, Exit: Shruti Kapoor on Building Your Business’s Wingman

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About Our Guest

Shruti Kapoor helped FinTech company, Payoneer find its go-to-market legs in India where she began to run the sales team, something she was new at.

CRMs clearly weren’t up to the task. Shruti constantly had marketing and product folks asking for customer feedback, so she thought: “There has to be a better way for everyone to get the information they need without relying on sales reps to enter it into a CRM.”

Meanwhile, there were two friends – Murali and Srikar – who knew each other from their first days on the job way back in 2005. Somewhere between snowboarding, playing soccer, and backpacking across Alaska, they became the kind of friends with whom you share your business ideas and investor money.

After serendipity struck, the trio came together and went into phase experimento. In 2017, they talked about building a platform to analyse common trends between sales calls, help teams A/B test call scripts & playbooks, and make it easy to share the voice of the customer.

In 2018, Wingman 1.0 came to life, and they won some cool badges along the way. This year, they merged with Clari to make predictable revenue growth a reality for their customers.

About this Episode

Start, Scale, Exit: Shruti Kapoor on Building Your Business’s Wingman

Sales is hard...

That’s why Shruti Kapoor and her two co-founders built the ultimate wingman to help give real time feedback that let salespeople improve on their demos. Their technology, called Wingman, unsurprisingly was easy to sell. Both to early-stage investors, to customers, and then eventually to strategic acquirers later down the line.

Learn how the trio turned one idea into one customer into one big payout when they merged with enterprise software company, Clari.

What you will learn in this episode

  • The cost of equity in the early stages of a company
  • Three considerations when selling a company: Payment and control
  • Managing founder relationships and expectations
  • Why the right mentor can make all the difference

Connect with Shruti Kapoor

Show Notes

(8:59) Wingman started out of Shruti Kapoor’s desire to build something to ease the pain of her own experiences in managing a sales team. What they developed was a software that gave real time feedback to help sales people improve.

(13:13) Equity is expensive. And it’s more expensive the earlier your are in your company. Shruti, like many entrepreneurs who’ve been there before, will be the first to tell you not to take the cheque if you can afford it. Dilution is a real risk and has real consequences on your valuation later.

(23:21) You’re always told to build a scalable business, it’s your golden ticket to success. But here, Shruti explains how she had to unlearn that and shares the process on building sustainably.

(31:11) The decision to sell isn’t based on a magic number. It's very personal to the founders. So before starting the business (and selling it), the trio of founders sat down and mapped out why they were starting the business, what success looks like, and what the ultimate investment would be.

(41:54) Some deals take 12 months or longer, Shruti’s took a few months. There are a few tips on what expedited the process: Readiness, knowing your strategic buyers, and understanding the market.

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