The entrepreneurship bug bit me early on in my life, as an engineer I always enjoyed building and tinkering with things, coupled with working in venture capital and private equity I was exposed to the dynamic world of startups. It was the excitement of building something from scratch and the potential for impact that ultimately pulled me towards entrepreneurship.
What was the major driving force behind becoming an entrepreneur?
My entrepreneurial journey was largely driven by my recognition of the significant innovation deficit in the B2B financial services sector. Despite the rapid technological advances in the B2C finance space, B2B financial modeling tools had remained largely stagnant and complex to navigate. I realized there was a profound need for a platform that could act as the backbone for these services, driving innovation, simplicity, and efficiency. This led to the inception of CrossVal, designed to be a comprehensive and intuitive tool that would not only fill this innovation gap but also redefine the infrastructure of B2B financial services.
How did you choose the name CrossVal?
The name CrossVal comes from ‘Cross-Validation’, a statistical method used to estimate the performance of models. It resonated with our aim to validate financial models and ensure accuracy in businesses’ financial decision-making process.
What was the reaction of your friends, family and peers when you declared your intentions to start CrossVal?
When I announced my plans to start CrossVal, the response from my friends, family, and peers was a mixture of support, playful humour, and constructive criticism. There was an amusingly candid moment where my family mentioned they had anticipated this venture six months prior. A testament to the perceptive nature of Indian parents, perhaps! But, jokes aside, their unwavering support was instrumental, even when they critically assessed my decisions. Their belief in my vision and their understanding of my passion for melding finance and technology were affirming, deciding to embark on this entrepreneurial journey all the more resolute.
How did you raise the capital to fund this venture and did you faced any difficulties to raise those funds?
The process of raising capital can often feel like a high-stakes quest for external validation, one that can distract from the business’s core objectives if not handled thoughtfully. During the first few months, our priority was to monetize our MVP and generate revenue, essentially bootstrapping our operations. This period of self-funding proved invaluable, forcing us to focus on the intrinsic value of our offering and our commitment to our customers. We subsequently raised funds through angel investors who were aligned with our vision, which bolstered our financial position without compromising our focus on the customer’s needs and our business’s growth.
What challenges did you faced in the initial phase of your startup and how did you overcome them?
In the initial phase, the primary challenge was creating a product that was sophisticated yet user-friendly. We focused on understanding our users, iterating our product based on feedback, and constantly refining our offering to overcome this challenge.
What sets you apart from other players in the market in the same space?
What sets us apart from other players is our unique approach to financial modeling, our 5 minute onboarding process, AI-enabled features, and an emphasis on accuracy and precision. We’ve also tailored our solution to cater to the specific needs of the MENA region.
Who are your potential customers and what value do you offer them that they should work with you?
Our potential customers include founders, CFOs and finance professionals across various industries. We offer them an intuitive, accurate, and efficient tool for financial modelling and analysis, giving them the confidence to make informed decisions and spend time on high value tasks by automating number crunching.
How do you market your business and what has been the key element of your marketing strategy that has yielded desired results?
Initially, we focused on forging strategic partnerships with accelerators and co-working spaces, which led to organic growth driven by referrals and positive word-of-mouth. As our customer base expanded and our reputation solidified, our strategy evolved to incorporate digital marketing. At all times, our focus has been on delivering an exceptional product, so much so that our users became our biggest advocates.
Their satisfaction and enthusiasm for CrossVal have been instrumental in fuelling our organic growth. Today, we continue to harness the power of customer advocacy, coupled with targeted digital marketing campaigns and thought leadership initiatives, to effectively market our business and extend our reach.
Acquiring customers is a huge task, how do you build a successful customer base?
We’ve built a successful customer base by focusing on customer satisfaction, investing in excellent customer service, and ensuring our product consistently meets and exceeds customer expectations.
What major milestones have you achieved in your journey so far?
We’ve had quite the ride with CrossVal so far. A cool moment was when a user loved our tool so much, they decided to invest in us. We’ve also been helping big companies upgrade their financial game with our tool.
A pat on our back moment? Cracking the USD 100k mark in recurring revenue. And guess what? Users are hopping over from our Silicon Valley rivals to use CrossVal. Yep, we’ve become the popular kid on the block.
But we’re not stopping. Our eyes are set on making finance easier and simpler for everyone. So, here’s to more challenges, fun times, and changing the financial modeling game one step at a time!
How would you describe your journey so far and where is the company headed?
The journey with CrossVal so far has been a rollercoaster ride of excitement, fun, and rewarding challenges. We’re constantly learning, innovating, and refining our approach to truly revolutionize financial modeling. Currently, we’re working on introducing cutting-edge AI-powered features to enhance our product even further.
As we grow, we’re always on the lookout for talented individuals who share our vision and passion. So, yes, we’re hiring! We invite those who want to be part of this exciting journey to join us. It’s truly an exhilarating time for us at CrossVal.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
My favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur is the freedom to innovate, the opportunity to solve real-world problems, and the immense satisfaction of building a product that adds value to customers.
What advice would you give to people who wish to become entrepreneurs?
Start as early as you can, iterate as often as you can and be an optimist.