Startup journey with your spouse
This is re-posted from Amit Manjhi’s 2022 LinkedIn post.
BoostKPI is my third startup. Though it is the first where my wife Shruti (Shruti Prakash) is explicitly a co-founder. With the past two startups, she has always been in a supporting role. Being in a supporting role as a partner can be the worst of both worlds. You still get to feel the emotional rollercoaster of a startup in a visceral way but you don’t feel the glory at the end of a successful journey.
A key reason we started BoostKPI together is because both of us experienced the problem first-hand. I saw it at Wish and TapSense. Shruti saw it at Safeway. We also had complementary skills. Shruti had sales engineering experience. She helped sell multi-million dollar devices that examined hard-disk drive substrates for defects. She has way better people skills (obvious to those of you who have seen us in person). She is more methodical and better at organizing. I also hoped that we will always remain aligned because our fates are intertwined. Mis-alignment amongst founders is a key reason startups fail.
Working with your partner on an early-stage startup is fraught with challenges. You no longer have to balance kids and family duties, you also have to tag-team on customer calls and investor calls. There are many to count, probably in another blog post :).
Working with Shruti has helped BoostKPI in a key way I had not envisioned. I’m an optimist; Shruti is more between a realist and a pessimist. When both (or all) team members are optimists, it is easy to get overly optimistic. You get high on your own supply. You win a contract (after months of work), you start thinking that the flood-gates have opened. A realist on the team has a more sober assessment – reminding you why it won’t be as smooth sailing as you expect. Taking the two views together, you come up with ambitious yet more realistic goals. In the long run, doing so works better with the customers, the team, and the investors.
The timing of our venture provided another unexpected benefit. We started right when California issued its first shelter-in-place order (around March 2020). When everyone was figuring out how to work remotely, we could white-board and work together in person. Amid all the early covid challenges, it was a delight.
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