I’m Rachit Khator, founder of Stackby. Stackby is a new generation SaaS that combines ease of use of spreadsheets, the functionality of databases, and connects to various popular business APIs in a single flexible platform.
Stackby is used by thousands of users across the globe, from digital entrepreneurs to marketing teams to agencies.
We’ve over 3500 customers from over 150+ countries, and growing at a rapid pace.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I’m a first-time entrepreneur, but a long time entrepreneur in the making. From college days, I was interested in entrepreneurship. I founded a student-run organization (of the world’s largest student-run organization) in my city that fostered entrepreneurship and promoted global student exchanges in over 120 countries. Having led that for two years, we grew from $0 to $10000 by taking various entrepreneurial activities in the city to create a culture of entrepreneurship among the youth.
There are no shortcuts to success - each journey will be full of hardships but in the end, only your perseverance and courage will lead you to success.
With all the experiences, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a part of the Master’s cohort at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where we studied entrepreneurship and learned how to build and scale technology businesses. Only 25 people were selected as part of the cohort from a global application pool.
Before Stackby, I spent four years working in corporate venture capital and product management for a large Fortune 500 in Michigan, US. There I led investments and worked with over 15 technology startups and helped invest over $100M in combined assets across various startups. A couple of our startup investments got us 5x in two years.
The idea of Stackby was conceived in 2017, during work, when I was dealing with multiple spreadsheets that became cumbersome to manage. That’s when I saw the need for software tools that empower normal users to build their own applications versus molding them in various vertical applications. I started validating the idea amongst my network and most people resonated with me on the pain point - that spreadsheets do become a mess when you’re dealing with unstructured workflows.
With that validation, in 2018 I quit my corporate job in the US and moved back to India to start Stackby.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
Before we wrote a single line of code, I spoke to at least 100 people across different walks of life and we pivoted from our original idea of making software for investment professionals to make a platform that empowers anyone to build their own software.
After moving to India, the biggest challenge was to assemble a good team. Fortunately, I was in touch with a few engineers in my network and we started working early on to build the MVP. Especially, coming from a tier-2 city in India where there are a handful of technology startups - it was an uphill battle.
Team photo from Feb 2020 (Published in YourStory)
But patience and persistence helped build a team that believed in the vision and heads down started working on it.
It took us over 2.5 years to build a product that we could globally launch. Those 2.5 years have been full of tears, sweat, and sheer hard work. Building a product-first company without a proper ecosystem is tough, but if you are disciplined enough and follow the process, you can get there.
Product screenshot of the grid from early 2020
Fast forward to 2020, when we first launched we formed some great channel partnerships, got our story covered by a renowned media publication, and spread out the word. We were able to scale to over 3000 companies in 130+ countries in 9 months or so without any marketing spend.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
One thing that helped us stand apart is our customer-first mindset and making sure we support them every step of the way. It’s in our DNA.
We were recently covered by G2, as a ‘High Performer’ in the highly competitive Project Management software category in their Fall 2020 reports. Thanks to our successful customers, they have helped us become better and have been really supportive of our journey.
We’re now operationally profitable, but we’re constantly investing more in expanding our reach by building long-term partnerships and making the product better by hiring a solid team - now over 15 people strong.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Yes, 2020 has been the year of unknowns.
Fortunately, our product timing launch was right as the world moved remotely and Stackby helps teams collaborate remotely and get things done.
Along with right channel partnerships, we also invested in growing our community, which helped us get closer to our customers and engage with them almost daily. Within 9 months, we were over 1200 members strong and we continue to grow.
Along with that, we’ve seen interest in No-code tools have been on the uprise, and we launched our own API and gave ability to users to connect columns to over 40 popular services natively for them to build their custom no-code automation tools leveraging Stackby’s easy to use spreadsheet-style database platform.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Our team works on Slack entirely for communication. We love it because it really helps us stay connected since most of our team is spread across Surat, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and California.
For team collaboration and data management, we use our own tool Stackby. And for workflow automation, we use Zapier and Integromat.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I love reading books. Some books I would recommend really helped me in the product journey;
For my personal inspiration, my all-time favorites are;
- Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda
- The Laws of Spirit World by Khorshed Bhavnagri and
- Bhagavad Gita, As it is by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
All these books help me stay focused and help me connect with my inner self and I still read them periodically when I’m confused.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
My father once told me that - running a business is like sitting on a bull, it will try to make you fall but have to hold your seat tight.
There are no shortcuts to success - each journey will be full of hardships but in the end, only your perseverance and courage will lead you to success. Don’t take time in making decisions and doing the right things.
As they say, the secret is what you give to the universe, the universe will give back to you. Stay positive and enjoy your entrepreneurial journey, don’t get bogged down in details.
Where can we go to learn more?
You can learn more about the product on the Stackby website.
If you’re a business owner and interested in learning about remote working and automation, you should check our blog and YouTube channel. Some good articles & videos will help you grow your business, stay productive, and automate your lives and work.
I can personally be reached via LinkedIn.
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