As one of the chosen start-ups that are part of the next batch of the unicorns panel at last weekend’s Nexticorn, CEO and Founder of Snapcart Reynazran Royono has definitely come a long way from his days as project leader at the Boston Consulting Group. Now, after almost four years of building Snapcart from scratch, he tells us about the challenges of building and growing Snapcart, a platform that provides real-time shopper and consumer insights for brands and retailers.
Funding and managing funds
Fundraising is a full-time job—it is expected that the CEO makes sure that the company has enough runway to survive. At the same time, however, it’s also not a good thing for the CEO to devote all the available resources to support the fundraising process. Business needs to continue. The best approach is to have key people supporting the fundraising process. An example would be the CFO, who would prepare the necessary data for potential investors. It is also imperative that there is a business plan in place covering how to use the funds—in reality, 90 per cent of the business plans created by entrepreneurs will deviate, but it is still highly valuable to guide the company as to what to focus on, as well as providing the visibility of funds left in the bank.
One thing that I think entrepreneurs in Indonesia should stop doing is to depend so highly on salary levels to attract talent. In my experience, the best employees are the ones who understand clearly the vision of the company those employees are planning to join, and this key trait is what Snapcart is applying now. We also see a high correlation of “fit” between our employees and the company by having a robust way to assess how the candidates are able to implement the values that we would like to see from our employees—essentially, we should hire employees who have the same DNA as the corporate culture.
The one thing we value the most is our people. That’s why we have the tendency to focus on people processes from Day 1. We believe that it is not just about building the business, but it is also about building the organisation. There needs to be a balance between the two.
Indonesia has four unicorns out of six in Southeast Asia. One major factor is, of course, the fact that Indonesia’s population is the largest in the region. However, I have seen that there is a hidden factor: Indonesia is also a country where we have a culture of diversity. Earlier this year, HBS(Harvard Business School) released a report about the high correlation between diversity and innovation. Innovation drives growth; hence, indirectly, diversity drives growth. The archipelagic nation of Indonesia has more than 200 different languages and tribes. We are born with diversity and united through diversity. This allows Indonesian companies—and Indonesia entrepreneurs—to be more open in accepting differences and exploring diverse talent, not just in Indonesia, but as well as getting experts from overseas.
Having competitions is a healthy way for companies to stay ahead. It gives us benchmarks. It will drive start-ups to think ahead about the key things needed to make sure that the business model is defensible. Always ask yourself: what is that one thing that really differentiates us from similar companies. If that is cracked, then the company is on a good path to glory.
I see that customer trust in a B2B business is driven by two things: First, transparency; and second, expectation management. Regarding transparency, a lot of start-ups are too afraid to communicate clearly about the limitations of their platforms to customers because they are worried that it will be deal-breaking. In reality, most customers will appreciate the transparency and will be OK to either wait or accept those limitations anyway. Managing customer expectation is a crucial factor in gaining trust. Don’t be too bullish and make sure that the timeline is well-managed internally and externally. If you provide clear visibility to customers about how the service or project is being managed and the resources behind it, customers will understand. If, apparently, there are other solutions out there that outperform your (or our) solutions, that means that we need to look into improvements that we need on the product side.
Source: Reynazran Royono, CEO Snapcart