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The Future of Communication Technology: Sagar Babber of Mastera On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up How We Connect and Communicate With Each Other

An Interview With David Liu

We are building an online teaching platform for creators & teachers that will simplify distributing & consuming knowledge. Mastera is an all-in-one platform for anyone looking to start & scale their knowledge business from building your website, hosting live classes, selling programs & on-demand videos, taking payments & subscriptions, engaging with customers & more. We are making it easy & affordable for anyone to take their skill and turn that into a profitable business.

The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sagar Babber, co-founder and CEO of Mastera.

Sagar Babber is a serial entrepreneur who sold his previous software startup and is now the founder of Gleantap & co-founder Mastera. Sagar has over 13 years of experience building software for numerous business problems and is behind the success of many founders & businesses.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

While pursuing my engineering degree in computer science back in 2006 I was doing freelancing on the side for some money. I started to get more work than I could handle on my own and soon I was hiring developers. After graduating in 2008 I started my own software dev shop and had 40 developers by 2014. We worked with numerous small businesses & founders helping them bring ideas to life. In 2017, I was brought on by a big fitness group to help fight customer churn. In the process, I built a customer engagement platform called Gleantap. I sold my software dev shop in 2018.

Soon, Gleantap started to snowball and we had interest from many other fitness brands to help them engage and retain more customers. In 2020, when the pandemic hit, a lot of our customer’s shut down or were looking for ways to continue to service their customers virtually. In an attempt to help them we pivoted and built Mastera, an online teaching platform.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Honestly, each day as an entrepreneur in the technology industry is an interesting day. There are always problems to solve, pain points to address and new ways to innovate. I suppose you could say that I love what I do, so each day brings something amazing and interesting to my life.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can always connect the dots looking backward. So you have to trust the dots will connect in the future.”

I have always trusted the journey and focussed on consistent small progress and it has always made sense how the journey has shaped up where I am. I can easily see looking back, the experience of working with numerous small businesses in my software dev business and my engineering background helps me build functional & purposeful softwares to solve real business problems.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My wife, Shwetha Dixit has always been my cornerstone. She has believed in me and has pushed me through the thick and thin. There have been times where I wasn’t sure about myself or was just lost but her confidence and belief in me has helped push me through the biggest of roadblocks.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I love helping people believe in themselves and pursue their dreams. I continue to motivate everyone who crosses my path because sometimes just a little motivation is all you need.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about the cutting-edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

We are building an online teaching platform for creators & teachers that will simplify distributing & consuming knowledge. Mastera is an all-in-one platform for anyone looking to start & scale their knowledge business from building your website, hosting live classes, selling programs & on-demand videos, taking payments & subscriptions, engaging with customers & more. We are making it easy & affordable for anyone to take their skill and turn that into a profitable business.

How do you think this might change the world?

This will empower people across the world to pursue their dreams by taking their skill or passion and turning it into a business. A bartender can virtually teach people across the world how to make drinks, a musician can virtually teach people across the world how to play an instrument and so on. We are simplifying distributing & consuming knowledge across the world.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

Any technology can be misused in the wrong hands.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

Pandemic. Because of the pandemic we saw many of our customers from our other startup, Gleantap, shutting down or scrambling to engage their customers beyond their physical location. In an attempt to help our customers we started putting together this online teaching platform and before we knew, we built one of a kind all-in-one online teaching platform.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Being a startup, we are still limited on funds and resources. Adequate funding would help us push this platform throughout for widespread adoption.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

Our platform was built to exactly solve that.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Alternative ways of Funding — Even though it appears that every other startup is getting funded, it’s actually not easy to secure funding from VCs. We spent quite a ton of time scouting for investors, until we realized there are better alternative ways of securing funding such as — Crowdfunding & Revenue Financing. Crowdfunding is more popular than ever and startups can easily raise up to $5M from anyone who is willing to invest $100 or more. There are several platforms that make it a breeze — Republic, Wefunder, Microventures etc.
  2. Go-To-Market is the real deal — It’s a common belief that “if you build they will come” but that almost never happens. Development is the easy part of any startup, the real work is in go-to-market. Figuring out the marketing channels, making sure you have a product-market fit and strategizing & executing on your marketing plans to get your products in front of the right customers.
  3. Roles to hire for — I wish I knew the exact roles I need to hire for before burning through thousands of dollars to realize the roles I hired are really not what I need. Startups are always limited on resources so hiring for the roles that will really move the needle is important. If you are wearing multiple hats and are on your own, you probably need another generalist like yourself who can help with share the workload before getting into a specific functional role hiring.
  4. Revenue over funding — In the industry, we always celebrate funding over revenue milestones and that sets the wrong expectations for new founders. Instead of focusing on generating revenue and profit, they focus on getting funding and get too deep into the rabbit hole instead of actually working on growth & revenue.
  5. Driving product roadmap based on customer feedback — Founders are visionaries and often get blinded by their own vision. They don’t listen to customer feedback and are building too many features that no one needs or cares about. Starting minimally with incremental development based on customer feedback is the right way to go.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Pursuing your dreams and passion is easier than you think. I would influence people to pursue their dreams and make a living out of that. And I would push people to invest in their friends & family who are pursuing their dreams and building businesses. Anyone can be successful in anything they are doing with a little bit of passion, dedication & persistence.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can follow me on LinkedIn and/or Twitter (@babbersagar). And can check out our website — https://mastera.io

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.

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David Liu

David Liu

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David is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, a unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication