Announcing The Founder Stack SaaS ’20 Cohort by Accel
In February 2020, we announced the launch of Founder Stack, with the first cohort themed around SaaS, and today we reveal our first cohort of 32 founders.
What is Founder Stack?
Accel India has come up with a new domain-specific stack to help founders in the pre-product market fit stage.
Accel will help 50 early-stage founding teams across 3 categories — SaaS, Consumer Tech, and B2B Enterprise — through a 10-week immersive program that enables founders to gain knowledge and insights from domain experts and get the clarity needed to build scalable companies.
The first edition focused on SaaS founders, who’re operating in the $400B global opportunity. The program brought together insights from Accel’s decade long experience of working with SaaS founders from $0Mn ARR to $100M ARR
We invited founders to come #BuildWithAccel and had 32 founders join us for the SaaS’20 Cohort. Founders were across Idea to Funded Stage.
The 32 founders (varying from the idea stage to revenue generation stage), commenced their 10-week journey on March 26th, with the program kicking off online (thanks to COVID crisis), and concluded their final week on May 28th.
Through these ten weeks, these founders worked on various outcomes like validating the market opportunity size, planning their cross border strategy, building their sales & marketing engine, and tuning their pitch to investors & customers. These outcomes were achieved through weekly tasks, sessions by our coaches & 1–1 office hours with critical experts.
Here is a look at our first cohort, the flag bearers of the Founder Stack community:
(1 /15) Vinod Bollini, Vivek Sharma, Akhilesh Bussa, and Bharat Prabhakar: Fantastic Four
Vinod, Vivek, Akhilesh, and Bharat met in the Ed-Tech crucible of Toppr.com. They started there during the early days of online learning and were a critical part of the Toppr journey to the high rollers table.
Learning from their experience of building the growth engine at Toppr (and then Rakuten and Joveo), the four of them, wanting to empower small businesses to compete with the biggies, started aarzoo. It is a zero-effort marketing intelligence platform for Shopify merchants that helps them get more customers and more revenue, without having to employ a small army. https://aarzoo.co/
This super energetic team was just three weeks old when the FounderStack cohort kicked off. Perfect timing, as the program lined up neatly with their process of discovery.
Shout out to Vinod for being our community champion at FounderStack, getting people to take a break from their everyday hustle and get together for some (imaginary) beer and (online) poker. Thanks, Vinod.
(2/15) Rupesh Rao: Breathing customer success
Rupesh comes with two decades of experience in the enterprise software industry and has spent the last decade in ‘Customer Success’ functions serving enterprise customers in the US, EMEA, and APAC.
Rupesh is currently building Cognisaas, a ‘customer-centric’ platform that empowers cross-functional teams to collaborate efficiently on a ‘single source of truth’ to track, prioritize, and deliver customer use cases successfully at scale. His long term mission is to help enterprise software companies attain AI-driven execution of customer-centricity.https://www.cognisaas.com/
When not thinking about customer success, you can find Rupesh spending time with family, reading books, and playing Sudoku.
(3/15) Rushabh Sheth and Bikram Dahal: Reading between the lines
Rushabh was heading Nepal and Sri Lanka regions for Rocket Internet, and it was during this time that he met his co-founder Bikram.
Seeing the head of finance at his previous firm spend days reconciling invoices with bank statements, Rushabh and Bikram leveraged their data science and software engineering expertise to build Docsumo. This intelligent document workflow platform reduces back-office costs by automating document data capture, analysis, and fraud detection.https://docsumo.com/
Rushabh and Bikram were also part of the 2020 London Barclays Accelerator powered by Techstars. Outside of Docsumo, Rushabh and Bikram are usually found looking for ways to automate their daily tasks.
(4/15)Naomi Chopra and Haritabh Singh: For the love of cloud monitoring
Naomi and Haritabh spent most of their career building growth products at Uber: from the Driver App and Maps to the Uber Web App in use today.
Both of them are passionate about the cloud and SaaS observability. They are now working towards bringing the same level of monitoring that developers enjoy with applications to SaaS products, enabling the finance and IT leadership to govern the SaaS apps that their organization uses from the side of costs, security, and compliance. https://www.hatica.io/
Naomi and Haritabh are big proponents of remote work. Having enjoyed higher productivity during the COVID lockdown period thanks to the beautiful collaboration apps available today, they’ve decided to build their startup as a remote-first organization.
(5/15)Ravitej Yadalam and Navaneeth KN: Bangalore valley boys
Ravitej is a serial entrepreneur (his most notable venture being Pennyful, a pioneer for cashback in India), while Navaneeth’s background is in software development, including building Gauge, an open-source automation testing product, at ThoughtWorks. Ravi and Navaneeth have worked together for the better part of the last decade.
They are currently building Lightwing to help companies slash their monthly cloud compute costs by up to 90% on AWS, Azure, and DigitalOcean by using intelligent cloud ops automation.https://www.lightwing.io/
Ravi and Navaneeth were also part of Techstars 2020 and Net App Excellerator.
(6/15) Aquibur Rahman and Devyesh Tandon: Mad over AMP for marketing
Aquib is a marketing geek, his most recent stint was as head of marketing at ClearTax, where he grew their CleartaxGST brand from zero to 600K customers (the proof is in the pudding: just google anything related to GST or income tax). Devyesh is a software geek who takes an interest in everything about technology from robotics to machine learning.
Aquib and Devyesh set out on a mission to make email more interesting for both marketers and their users through their product Mailmodo. This software converts the email space into an app-like environment using widgets so that users can complete their entire journey within the email itself. https://www.mailmodo.com/
Outside of work, you’d find Aquib trekking or traveling, and Devyesh is doing one of his photography experiments.
(7/15) Athul Suresh: The No-Code Rider
While at college, Athul packed his bag to Delhi to work as the head of design at Innov8 Coworking (YC16). He helped multiple growth-stage startups in Bangalore on product and design.
Phasor was born out of Athul’s frustration while building backend API that actually works. Phasor is a no-code platform where developers could use these modules and build backend logics for their API. In simple terms, you can drag and drop your backend algorithm instead of writing them using a programming language. Check out http://phasorhq.com/
While not thinking about APIs or code, athul likes to think about mental models or catchup with friends.
(8/15) Vaibhav Antil and Jasdeep Cheema: From buddies to co-founders, encore!
Vaibhav and Jasdeep are long time friends who founded Jukebox Studio together, which was acquired by Gaana.com. They spent a couple of years with Gaana, leading product and business before taking the plunge into the second leg of their entrepreneurial journey.
When Gaana had to get GDPR compliant, they realized that a lot of time and engineering resources were invested in extracting information, building new workflows, and maintaining proof of compliance. The duo saw this as an opportunity to venture out again and started making a tool that helps companies comply with Data Privacy Laws like GDPR wtih their product Privado. Check out http://privado.ai/
When not building Privado, you’d find Vaibhav listening to his classic rock vinyl and Jasdeep road tripping on his bike in the mountains or spending time in the kitchen making some delicacies.
(9/15) Jayendran GS and Srikanth R: With love, from the SaaS capital of India
Jayendran and Srikanth have over three decades of combined experience in the accounting domain and are looking to disrupt the space through a SaaS play. This team brings a powerful combination of domain expertise and vigorous passion for giving accountants superpowers through applied AI.
As colleagues at a Big4 accounting firm, they saw first-hand how accounting teams were stressed by the two-pronged problem of the increase in regulatory requirements and an increase in complex data volumes. They sensed that AI technology could revolutionize the industry with significant gains in quality, cost, and speed.https://prudent.ai/
Apart from Prudent.ai, Sri and Jay share a love for sports and are also regular doubles partners in badminton. Sri is a die-hard Liverpool FC fan and a big-time adventure buff, while Jayendran’s interests span across reading, playing scrabble, visual design, and video games.
(10/15)Puneet Khanduri and Prashant Khanduri: The OG valley bros
This star-studded brother combo brings in more than two decades of software development experience across Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, Affirm, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, among others. Puneet led the ML&AI Services group at Twitter in the Bay Area, and Prashant led the underwriting engineering team at Affirm, also in the Bay Area.
Both of them are incredibly passionate about solving developers’ problems around testing. Their solution, Isotope, runs undeployed code through thousands of production scenarios within minutes inside an isolated simulation to predict any bugs that would otherwise only be caught in production. The open-source core of the predecessor product that Puneet had built during his time at Twitter is now used by Airbnb, Mixpanel, Baidu, Bytedance, and a long list of other companies.https://sn126.com/
Outside of work, the brothers share a passion for horticulture with their father, who is also a programmer and first introduced them to punched card programming in the 80s. The brother duo logging in from the same screen every Thursday is a visual that will be missed 😔
(11/15)Yasharth Mishra, Gaurav Bhawnani and Kunal Mishra: Solving for Monday Morning Blues
Yasharth led product and business at Amazon Pay and the Amazon India category team, Gaurav headed revenue and growth for Licious and Kunal, who brings in the tech capabilities to the team worked with Comscore, Yahoo, and Appnomic Systems in the Bay Area and India in architect and developer roles.
The three of them came together to solve a problem close to their heart, helping solve for employee engagement and wellbeing at the workplace at scale. Their solution, Superhumans.ai, is a platform that allows companies to adopt a personalized, strengths-based approach to people management — all the more relevant in a post COVID world where organizations will often need to manage employee engagement and wellbeing in a remote setting.
True to their company name, the three of them have superhero names for themselves based on their roles. Yash (#CaptainAmerica) handles science and product, Gaurav (#T’Challa) handles marketing and sales, and Kunal (#IronMan) manages all things tech.
(12/15)Andrews Moses & Vijaysekar. D: Our midnight rangers
Andrews comes from the Freshworks and Zoho mafia, starting in the earliest days of Freshworks as the 7th employee. He championed sales in North America for Freshworks, did a stint as a part-time professor, before finding his passion for real estate.
Andrews is building an AI-powered property management platform called Tenant Cube which makes the landlord’s life easier by automating operations, while also offering a better experience to the tenant. Andrews realized the need for this solution after becoming a property manager himself and learning about the hassles of manual and repetitive work associated with managing a property.http://www.tenantcube.com/
Week after week, Andrews joined us from Ontario on online Zoom sessions from 9 AM to 6 PM (11:30 PM to 8:30 AM for him) with the same cheerful energy giving us no clue of the time difference. His strong sales skills won him the ‘James Bond’ tag within the Founder Stack cohort.
(13/15) Anushree Bishnoi and Ankur Pandey: The power couple of FS
The husband-wife pair complements each other with Anushree bringing her startup and product experience across TaxiForSure, BookMyShow, and IDFy and Ankur coming with his extensive data science skills across roles at Loyalty Rewardz and Here Technologies.
The team had built products in the past in the space of misinformation and fake bot detection on social media. UnFound was born out of an increasing inbound demand from brands to help protect against fakes and frauds online. Their product has now evolved into an end to end brand protection platform.
They were also a part of Axilor’s accelerator. The FounderStack platform helped Anushree and Ankur explore the idea of a cross-border play.
(14/15)Shruti Kapoor, Srikar Yekollu, and Muralidharan Venkatasubramanian: The unbreakable three
Shruti led business development for Intellectual Ventures and Payoneer, while Srikar and Murali have a background in software engineering, having worked with the likes of Google and Uber.
During her stint at Payoneer, Shruti realized that the information in CRMs was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the voice of the customer or insights for sales improvement. Frustrated by the lack of tools to solve this, the trio decided to embark on solving the problem. Their solution, an AI-based sales coach, helps sales leaders replicate winning behaviors across their team, helping them close more deals. https://www.trywingman.com/
Shruti, Srikar, and Murali were part of the Y-Combinator batch of summer’19. Apart from their passion for Wingman, they also share the same orthopedic surgeon who has helped fix broken ligaments and shoulders for the three of them over the last year! Being ahead in the startup journey compared to their peers in the cohort, Shruti and the team played the role of an elder sibling, lending a helping hand and acting as a sounding board for cohort mates whenever needed.
(15/15)Lakshman Pasala and Ram Pasala: Straight out of an epic
Lakshman and Ram both come from software backgrounds.
They founded Yaoe out of a desire to make software development more efficient through the advent of the cloud. They are currently building the complete developer workspace on the browser, where users get ready-to-code development workspaces with the most popular ide VS Code along with on-demand compute, memory, and storage. Their goal is that developers should spend all their time in Learning, Coding, and Collaborating while Yaoe should take care of the rest.https://yaoe.io/
Lakshman was part of Y-Combinator in his last venture, Chutney
We were fortunate to get to know our 32 rockstar founders up close and welcome them to the Accel Community!
We thank all our coaches who helped the founders in these tough times. A big Shout out to all of you who believe in paying it forward and helping us build a great learning community for founders.
Reach out to us on email@example.com if you want to connect with any of the founder for a Customer Trial, Funding, Media, or a Partnership.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” — Walt Disney
Our FounderStack cohort showed every inch of courage, and it’s only a matter of time before they realize their dreams. We wish our first cohort the best of luck for their endeavors and hope to continue being a part of their journey. It’s just the beginning :)
If you are building Consumer Tech Startup, we are building one of the best Consumer Tech Stack for early-stage founders. Applications open in August 2020.
Please Note: We have decided to open the program content to the whole startup community. 🙂
The Program Content will be first shared with all the Founder Stack Applicants and then to the entire startup community. We are putting together the videos, tasks & resources for you.
Take Care & Stay Safe.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with marketplaces. Let us share our learnings and build a better and stronger ecosystem. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a part of the Accel family.
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