Abhinav Agrawal
Abhinav Agrawal

Abhinav Agrawal: Talent Density Has Always Been High in California and the Ecosystem of VCs, Large Tech Companies and Startups Has Been Unique

Abhinav Agrawal of Rocket.

Tell us about yourself?

Co-founder & CEO of Rocket. Previously VP @ SurveyMonkey, Co-founder & CEO @Renzu (acquired by SurveyMonkey), EIR @ Social Capital, VP of Product @ Zynga, PM @ Amazon EC2, Engagement Manager @ McKinsey & Company. MBA from Harvard Business School and BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton.

What do you think is the single biggest misconception people have when it comes to startups?

People think startups are glamorous and a quick path to getting rich. Instead many overnight successes are years in the making and the risk adjusted better path to getting rich is joining a big company.

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

Patience and persistence are essential for success in any arena in life. As a founder, you naturally have a million thoughts in your head but you need to have the patience to test out the hypothesis and also the persistence to follow through on things that don’t seem to work out so easily.

If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to focus even more than what seemed possible at the time. Startups can do amazing things but they need laser like focus.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

We have 3 small kids and a dog so that makes life in the household very challenging. I am lucky to have an amazing wife who often picks up the slack but I also try to dedicate time to the kids and the family on a regular basis.

Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?

Having done a few companies together, the founding team knew that recruiting was such a large problem. We could never find a good solution so we decided to build it for ourselves!

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

We combine the best of technology and the best of humans to create a magical solution for our clients.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

We don’t do any outbound sales yet – it has all been referrals from happy customers. I would say that firstly, make sure the founders are super involved in sales and don’t pass to someone you hire too early. Secondly, focus on your existing customers and new customers will come from word of mouth!

What do you consider are the main strengths of operating your business in California over other states in the US?

Talent density has always been high in California and the ecosystem of VCs, large tech companies and startups has been unique.

What (if any) are the weaknesses of operating your business within California?

The regulatory environment is quite challenging – with lots of changes.

We are currently suffering through a cost of living crisis. With California already being one of the most expensive states to live in, how has this impacted your business?

We went remote at the beginning of COVID. We now operate nationally and hire nationally and we see that many of our customers are doing the same. We also let employees relocate anywhere they want.

It is no secret that California is the birthplace of innovation. But that also makes it incredibly competitive. How have you found the competitive environment of California?

Excellent – competitive environments are great to fuel innovation. I would rather be in a competitive versus a dull environment.

Have you considered moving your company to another state? If so, which state and why?

No we haven’t considered that.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

We are expanding incredibly fast! Our market is huge, we believe we have the best solution for the problem and so now it is on us to execute and build a big business in the space.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

Check out our website (www.getrocket.com) as well as the website of our SaaS product Hireflow (www.hireflow.ai) and drop me a note on LinkedIn.

Follow Rocket on Twitter or Linkedin.

Kian Katanforoosh

Kian Katanforoosh: I Don’t See Being in California as a Significant Advantage To Operate a Business Today

Otiniel Ribeiro

Otiniel Ribeiro: California [Is] the Tech Hub of the World – It’s Easier To Connect With Like-minded Individuals in the Space