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IVP's Hypergrowth Podcast: Harness CEO Jyoti Bansal on simplifying the software delivery process

22/01/2020

In IVP's Hypergrowth Podcast series, IVP investors talk with CEOs from the fastest growing companies to understand the ins and outs of company building in the hypergrowth environment.

Jyoti Bansal, the Co-Founder and CEO of Harness, is on a mission to simplify the entire software delivery process. With the goal of helping companies match the level of their software deployment to companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google, his team at Harness gives critical time and resources back to companies by allowing them to focus on core innovation instead of more tactical software deployment processes. As the founder, former CEO, and chairman of AppDynamics, acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on the eve of their IPO, as well as the founder of an early-stage venture firm, Unusual Ventures, and startup studio, BIG Labs, Jyoti is no stranger to birthing a business, growing it, then creating value along the way for the ecosystem.

IVP led the Series D of AppDynamics in 2013 and led the Series B for Harness in April 2019.

Some key takeaways from Jyoti:

Four questions to ask before embarking on a start-up

Can I see a visible path to $100M ARR?

Can I build a sustainable technological advantage?

Is there an opportunity to build a wider, category-defining platform beyond $100M ARR?

Is the founding team one where we can work together for the next ten years?

Bottom-up vs. top-down selling There is more power that has shifted toward the developer but it's not just the buying power it's really about the decision making power. It used to be that the CIO could make a decision on buying this product and then they will make a top-down decision, you know, an announcement that everyone has to use this product. That's just impossible these days. No CIO, no head of engineering can make a call like that, unless you get buy-in from the developers

The most important thing for most developers is something that they can try without talking to a salesperson. Something that they can use and feel themselves without, you know, having the pressure of buying or something, right? So you can do it with open source you can do it with freemium the product has to be good In this kind of space, mediocre products don't win and don't survive

At some point, you have to convince a VP or a C level person to spend half a million a year with a vendor

Tapping talent and investing in recruiting The single most important advantage is the ability to attract the right talent earlier on.

I think the main advice I would give to people is trying to hire a little bit ahead. Not too far ahead but six to twelve months before you think you would run into a wall with your management structure/management team that you have.

For any exec about forty-percent to fifty-percent time does go in recruiting and acquiring the right talent and that's the best use of your time anyone can do. But I would say at about, somewhere in the thirty to fifty people mark is good to bring in a senior recruiting person

The formula to fundraising You know, as a first-time entrepreneur when I was doing, raising my Series A for AppDynamics, I had to pitch twenty VC's and get twenty rejections before I got my first offer. For Harness, the second time entrepreneur, twenty VC's approached me to invest before I accepted one

You want to fund the company in any round for the next, eighteen to twenty four months. I do not like to fundraise more frequently than that; it's just too much overhead . You want to have some buffer, you don't want to be scrambling for funds.

More from the full conversation in the transcript is below.

To hear more, listen on iTunes or SoundCloud.

TRANSCRIPT Narrator: Welcome to IVP's Hyper-Growth Podcast. In this series, we talk with CEOs of the fastest-growing companies and discuss the ins-and-outs of company building in the hyper-growth environment. If you like what you hear, consider following us on SoundCloud or subscribing to our podcast on iTunes. Thanks, and enjoy the show.

Jason: I'm Jason, an investor at IVP and welcome to the Hyper-Growth podcast. I have as my guest on the show today, Jyoti Bansal, the CEO and co-founder of Harness.io, a continuous delivery as a service software platform. As well as the founder and former CEO and chairman of AppDynamics, an application performance monitoring company, which was acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on the eve of their IPO. Jyoti also founded his own early stage venture firm, Unusual Ventures, as well as his own startup studio, BIG Labs. IVP was fortunate enough to lead the Series D of AppDynamics in 2013 and recently led the Series B for Harness earlier this year. Jyoti, it's great to see you. We're so glad to have you here.

Jyoti: Thanks for having me here, Jason.

Jason: I think many people are familiar with your AppDynamics journey and so maybe we pick up the story from where that leaves off. It's 2017, the company you founded and built was just acquired in one of the most successful enterprise exits of all time and for the first time in ten years you're not working on AppDynamics. So tell us, what did you do with all that free time?

Jyoti: *Laughs* You know, when AppDynamics was acquired, my first instinct was to do nothing and retire for some time and so that's the first thing I tried, and you know running a company had a long list of things that I wanted to do so that was the first thing to get things off the list, which was doing a safari in Africa and do the hiking in the Himalayas and see Machu Picchu and to see the fjords of Norway and so there was a long list of things to achieve and so that's what I did for six months and then kind of spend a lot of time on the beach. But after about eight/nine months it occurred to me I'm not ready to retire it's just too I need to get b
LINK: https://www.ivp.com/news/podcast/ivps-hypergrowth-podcast-harness-ceo-...
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