This week, the ladies of Smith Shapourian Mignano LLP are proud to spotlight Braid founder, Sachin Agarwal, in an exclusive Q&A for our readers.
Sachin is a product manager and strategist specializing in mobile and cloud products for both consumer and enterprise. He also has experience as a founder and early employee for four startups, as well as experience in venture capital, investment banking, and alternative investment management.
We first met Sachin at StartUp House in San Francisco, when he pitched his company to the community for 1 Million Cups. We have had the pleasure of knowing him ever since. In this blog, he has graciously offered valuable tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What was your inspiration to form your own business?
As I moved up in my career, I spent more time coordinating information and less time doing the actual work I was hired to do. Braid was built to help with that problem. Braid is a simple project coordination platform built inside the tools you already use, so that you can share with your team at "the moment of work" - when the client emails you, when you send out a proposal, when you're walking out of a meeting, and so forth. With Braid, it's so easy to add information and keep a project moving forward that people naturally choose to share and update others. This means information is more trustworthy because it's more timely.
What is the biggest challenge you faced thus far as an entrepreneur?
Building the right thing with as little money as possible. I'm a self-taught programmer, and I'm not very good. So I've had contractors help me to move faster. But that costs money, so I have to be super good a customer development and product management so that we build the right thing. Even with my experience, we still made a mistake and built our iOS app before our Chrome extension that puts Braid inside of Gmail. So we lost a few months and a fair chunk of change. Thankfully, we've recovered from that mistake and will be able to push out an even better iOS app soon.
What is the best decision you made so far as an entrepreneur?
I had a meeting with an early advisor where I shared a grand vision for Braid - one that would have required teams and companies to dramatically change the way they worked. The advisor told me to focus on building the smallest possible thing, just to test to see if people would recognize they had the problem I wanted to solve - then build out a broader offering once it was successful. Thankfully, we did this - it got us to early users much faster and has opened up possibilities we hadn't even considered before.
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