2nd November 2020
As we enter the winter months and a fresh wave of restrictions, staying optimistic can often feel like an uphill battle.
However, for Priyanka Lilaramani, founder & CEO of Truealpha, alongside the challenges, this year has also brought a new appreciation for the resilience of her team and sector, and offered a fresh perspective on how we can approach business in a more sustainable way.
As an early stage start-up, Priyanka felt the full effect of the fear and uncertainty back in March, telling us, “We had just opened our first capital round, and fortunately were seeing very positive response from the investment community. But around the second week of March – when we were just peaking in terms of interest levels – suddenly everything changed and things froze. There was just too much uncertainty for investors to make decisions.”
Speaking on the investor community, Priyanka understands this apprehension, adding “Investors have been on the same journey as the founders – just trying to re-adjust the best they can, to assess the opportunities and work out what is possible against an ever-shifting backdrop. And although the situation now looks a bit uncertain again, I think people have learnt valuable lessons and the implications won’t be as severe – the investor community is on a positive trajectory.”
Despite this initial setback, Priyanka was re-assured by the fact her product was gaining new traction, due to the revised business priorities that arose from the pandemic.
“What we are building is about digitalising stakeholder management for venture backed companies, and as you might imagine, the mindset around digitalisation has changed a lot. Those who believed in it, believe in it more strongly, and those who were sceptical are starting to reconsider their views. So, it has definitely created a positive impetus for what we are trying to do.”
In addition to this, socio-political and environmental issues that have arisen this year equally generated new opportunities, adding, “A part of our platform is around collecting metrics, and there is particular interest in this with ESG and D&I. The global social and political events from the last seven months have accelerated interest interest in these topics within our customer community.”
With new opportunities arising for Truealpha, Priyanka reflected on the support and comradeship she saw in the start-up community during the most trying times, and feels increasingly optimistic in the future of her sector.
“One positive thing I found was the resilience of the founder and start-up community. The way people just went all hands-on deck was really inspiring. Whether it was going the extra mile for their own team or offering a helping hand to another founder, there were so many great examples of start-ups supporting each other – from helping each other navigate through the government schemes, offering advice and support, or introducing people to useful contacts. It’s been fantastic to see this resilience and I think overall the innovation ecosystem has bounced back stronger than before. It’s not back to pre-pandemic levels but I do believe that it started to turn a corner around June timeframe.”
Looking to the future, Priyanka thinks that a ‘return to normal’ is not enough as a goal – and business leaders have a responsibility to re-build something better.
“I hope we have learnt some valuable lessons as a society in this time – especially in terms of sustainability. Think about it, how many international conferences does one industry really need? Do we really need to jump on a plane on a whim, simply to attend an event or meeting, with complete disregard to the impact on our environment? This has presented an opportunity to really take heed of some important lessons and challenge the way things were. This is an opportunity to create new ways to work, which balance remote and in-office mindset.”
Speaking on lessons, the biggest takeaway for Priyanka this year is about how important it is to connect with your team at a personal level and to let them bring their whole selves to work.
“There has always been this expectation that you leave your personal self at the door when you arrive at the office, and become your ‘work self ‘– and then swapping back as you leave. I think that has completely gone with the new working from home. We don’t have this clear distinction anymore, and a successful company culture will be the one that lets these two selves – with all the conflicts, juggling, and family duties that come with it – co-exist. People shouldn’t have to compartmentalise their personal lives and supporting your team as people, not employees, will go a long way for the future of work.”
About Truealpha (https://truealpha.io)
Truealpha is a SaaS platform solving the dual challenge of shareholder relations <> portfolio management for investor-backed early stage companies. It simplifies managing metrics, KPIs, growth analytics, company newsletters and enables frictionless and meaningful communication between companies and their investors, Board and other shareholders.