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Fireside chat with Saumya Bhatnagar, CPO&Co-founder of involve.ai

Who is Saumya Bhatnagar?

Saumya is the CPO and Co-founder of involve.ai, an AI early warning system to supercharge customer teams with actionable insights and automation, so they can reduce churn, increase upsells, and improve customer experience.

Before starting involve.ai, Saumya co-founded a startup right out of high school in New Delhi. It focussed on using technology to reduce gender-based abortions in India. She did her B.Tech in Computer Science from Amity University. She went on to earn her Masters in Computer Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a focus on Natural Language Processing. 

She is a Forbes 30 under 30 alum, winner of the Stevie Gold Entrepreneur of the Year award, recognized as the 50 Most Powerful Women in Tech by the National Diversity Council and Top 100 Women in Technology by Technology Magazine. 

Saumya is a strong advocate of more representation for women in tech and is the founder of a nonprofit in India for women empowerment. 

When not working, Saumya enjoys binge-watching Netflix, photography, and traveling.

What’s the story behind involve.ai?

My co-founder Gaurav and I had a startup in India before involve.ai. We were a very customer focussed organization. However, we kept running into churn surprises. We realized that to have a proactive customer success organization, we had to be data-driven and use it to predict potential customer issues and understand their growth potential. That experience is where the inception of involve.ai happened.

Our vision is a world where every business has access to the most accurate customer intelligence, delivered in the most intuitive, automated, and actionable format. 

So they have the tools to retain, grow, and delight their customers. 

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

The most challenging part of building the company in the early beginnings was to establish product-market fit. Understanding how to evaluate your idea and your product critically to know whether the market needs it or do you think they need it.

Taking the feedback from the people testing the product hypothesis and coming up with creative solutions to ensure your product is in line with customer needs.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

I am most proud of the team that my co-founder and I have at involve.ai. They are all stellar individual contributors and fantastic team players. I have never worked with a team with a better culture and skill than here.

They embody our company’s values of being product obsessed, growing every day, having Internal-Drive, collaboration and accountability.

Our growth and success would not have been possible without them.

What is your vision for the future of involve.ai?

We want to use AI to help leaders transform their companies into customer-centric organizations. involve.ai will be the most highly trained, accurate, and automated customer intelligence platform on the market. We’re not competing on the number of features —teams don’t need more clicks or manual data entry. 

We’ll win the market using the quality of our algorithms on the backend and the simplicity and ease of our tools on the frontend. 

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

Cash is Queen. Make sure you have runway before anything else. The companies that are winning in this market focus on growth and have enough cash to survive long enough to get lucky.

Secondly, focus on the product and its relevance in the market. Be honest to yourself to evaluate if your product is a vitamin or a painkiller. If it’s a nice-to-have, figure out ways to make your product a must-have

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business

We are a data analytics company. The biggest impact on our business is to be able to use AI and NLP to be able to predict customer success.

The other big impact on our business has been to utilize the tools available for data security such as Vanta.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference Malcolm Gladwell
  • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success – by Dethmer, Jim, Chapman, Diana, Klemp, Kaley
  • Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
  • Getting things done By David Allen
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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