`“Oops I did it again” — How our member launched his second Startup

Founder Spotlight: Ganesh Swami

Shade Souc
Mar 5, 2018 · 4 min read

We sat down with our member Ganesh, CEO and Founder of Silota and Covalent, to learn more about his journey as an entrepreneur as he launches his second startup!

Full Video Interview

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Ganesh studied Engineering Physics at Simon Fraser University and worked as a Software Engineer at a biotech startup. “Since a biotech MVP takes 15 years to develop” (his words), he turned his attention towards building web products instead. Through his journey working at several startups he specialized in data analysis which led him to his first startup idea.

Journey into startup #1 : Silota

Silota is software that helps companies compute key business metrics like retention, cost of customer acquisition, product adoption and identifying champions from data sources across sales, marketing, billing, and product. In the last year Silota experienced 10x growth through organic traffic… I know! But lets save that for another article.

When we asked Ganesh what he learned from launching his first start up this was his answer:

When we asked him what he expected out of his second startup, he replied:

“hopefully less squiggly”

Journey into startup #2 : Covalent

I’m sure we weren’t the only ones asking — “WHY”?

Well, as it turns out, it was partially our fault. You see, months ago we hosted a hackathon focused on decentralized database blockchain applications, and out of curiosity and maybe a little bit of boredom, Ganesh decided to participate. Going in with no real expectations, Ganesh and his team ended up winning! They built a way to talk to blockchains and other distributed ledger technologies without having to download large files. The feedback he got was so positive that he decided it could be developed into a real startup.

To ensure that this wasn’t just the lingering winners high, Ganesh went straight to the phones. He cold called 50 active members of the blockchain community to dig for signs of a market. Since then Ganesh has launched an MVP and brought on Levi Aul as his co founder — a blockchain expert who built the first bitcoin exchange in Vancouver.

Signal vs Noise

“Think of it as a baseball stats website, it only attracts people who are firstly — interested in baseball, second — want to track stats, and thirdly — want to engage and play with those stats.”

What interested me most was the way Ganesh is approaching his day to day product build in line with his bigger vision. In his words: “We want to launch every month. Not just a bug fix, or a new feature. We are planning on going through the full cycle of ideation -> build -> UX testing -> marketing every month. The market isn’t ready yet, but when it’s ready (say six months to a year), we want Covalent to be associated with “blockchain and data” — the bridge between blockchains and databases.”

Takeaways

  1. Think holistically.
  2. Leave room for serendipity. Each path is unique, no matter how much you plan, the future is unpredictable.
  3. Surround yourself with awesome people. If not for Launch Academy, I wouldn’t have meet the people and lived the experiences that have allowed me to further my success today.
  4. It’s about the journey not the destination. I’ve worked every Saturday since 2017 and I actually enjoy it.
  5. Everything gets commoditized. 100s of marketing tools, 100s of SaaS tools, 100s of new products being launched every day on product hunt, so crowded and noisy today. You need to find a way to stand out and build something defensible.
  6. Speed matters, all else being equal, fastest team wins.
  7. Marketing needs to educate, entertain and inspire.

Special thank you to Sam Chan and Matthew Chow for their help with the video production and Ganesh Swami for his time.

The Orbit

Startup stories, learnings, and 'oh sh!t'