Never Lose Focus from the Problem you are Solving – Sachin Gupta, HackerEarth
For the technical foundation of any company to be strong, it needs programmers with great programming skills. Going through the traditional recruiting process wastes lot of precious time for the startup, and it may never reach the rockstar programmers looking out for challenging assignments. HackerEarth, founded by Sachin Gupta and Vivek Prakash aims to solve this problem. Their work has been well received so far by programmers and recruiters. The startup has recently raised half a million dollars from Angelprime.
InMobi was looking to hire some developers for one of its new product division. The startup helped them hire 6 programmers through one of their hiring challenges, but the important thing to note is that it took InMobi just one day to hire these developers whereas had they gone through the traditional hiring sources it would have taken them more than45 days to do so. They were not only able to drastically reduce their hiring cycle by multifold but also acquire the best talent with minimal effort. This proves the multifold advantages of HackerEarth.
Sachin Gupta is a graduate of IIT Roorkee and had worked at Google before starting his own venture. Vivek Prakash is Sachin’s batchmate from IIT Roorkee and has previously interned at Amazon and Google Summer of Code. Sachin heads Business development and Vivek takes care of the technology.
We talk in detail with Sachin on the journey so far, how they plan to use the funding and his biggest tip for entrepreneurs.
Since launch in late 2012, tell us how the journey has been?
We started the journey of HackerEarth with GSF Accelerator in late 2012. The exposure we got during the accelerator was great and helped us build a network in the industry. With a team of just 3 people, including the co-founders, the next 4-5 months were spent in launching and refining our online skill assessment tool which is currently used by some marquee names in the industry. In the process we were also building out a strong community of developers which has now beautifully lent itself to our sourcing solution.
During this time we raised an angel round of 150K from GSF Superangels, grew our team to double digits, acquired some big customers and more importantly we have been able to identify the problems plaguing the technical recruitment industry and are building a product that aims to make this process frictionless and effective.
We have now raised half a million dollars from Angelprime as we have validated our hypothesis and are now planning to scale our operations. The focus will be on ramping up sales in India and expanding our community in other geographies.
By stats, the platform catered to how many programmers and companies recruiting talent so far?
At this early stage we are not sharing any numbers, but on an average, we have been able to help companies close 4-5 developer positions per challenge and have acquired more than a dozen clients in the past year or so. Furthermore using our assessment tool, companies have been able to assess and hire hundreds of developers, both through campus and lateral hiring.
What do you plan to use the $500K funding from AngelPrime for? What’s coming up next @HackerEarth?
Over the last one year, we have validated our hypothesis, rolled out a stable MVP and acquired the initial customers, now is the stage for scaling the product and community. This funding will be used for expanding the team and sales operations in India. We’re also looking to grow our community in geographies like eastern europe and south east asia.
Companies often complain that, good programmers are hard to get. With your experience at HackerEarth, do you agree? Or it’s just a matter of finding the good ones?
Good programmers are hard to find. Not because there aren’t enough of them, but the community is very fragmented. Also, it’s about being able to attract these people to your company. Developers love to know about the kind of work that a company does. For example, Flipkart, an e-commerce company, does some amazing tech work. But does a good techie know about it? They don’t.
Honestly, we believe that by building a big enough community of brilliant programmers, this problem might be solved. But yes, finding developers is difficult, despite enough of them being there. A company has to find a way to address a programmer’s needs and aspirations. If a company can do that well, the programmers will come.
Things that the startup journey has taught so far, and tips for budding entrepreneurs?
Running a startup is tough, there are a lot of distractions in the journey, sometimes it could be depressing and at time it could be euphoric. The most important piece of advice that I can give to any entrepreneur is to never lose focus from the problem you are solving. A lot of times entrepreneurs become very zealous about their solution and start trying to fit their solution to the problem. But if your solution does not solve anyone’s problem then it’s not worth a dime. Also contrary to what you may think, startups are not built in a day. Building a successful company takes years of strategic planning and dedicated hard work, so be patient. As long as you are solving a pertinent problem and understand your customers/users pain point you will continue to grow.
We hope you enjoyed reading the interview. For any programming requirements, be sure to checkout HackerEarth.