Inside the SaaS playbook with SuperOps CEO Arvind Parthiban

By Kanika Gautam
December 11, 2022, Updated on : Sun Dec 11 2022 02:41:30 GMT+0000
Inside the SaaS playbook with SuperOps CEO Arvind Parthiban
In this episode of Prime Ventures Partners Podcast, Arvind Parthiban, Co-founder and CEO of SuperOps.ai, spills the beans about the thriving SaaS market.
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SuperOps.ai is an early-stage startup reinventing the managed service provider space. Launched in 2020, the startup offers a remote monitoring and management and professional services automation platform for managed service providers (MSPs).


Co-founder and CEO Arvind Parthiban’s rendezvous with the SaaS ecosystem started long before he cracked the idea for SuperOps, with decades of experience in scaling SaaS products and steering them to greater heights.


“As founders, we are like the captain of that ship. We are trying to go into uncharted waters. You need to constantly keep guessing and assume that you are wrong and keep course correcting till you reach the destination,” he says in an episode of the Prime Ventures Partners podcast.


“There are no right answers all the time. You make mistakes and course correct. But the point is to have that appetite to course correct and move forward. That is very, very important,” remarks Arvind.

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Launch of a SaaS career

After graduating as a computer engineer, Arvind had his eyes set on taking the GRE and moving to the US. However, on the insistence of a friend, he interviewed at a tech company and bagged a job as a pre-sales engineer.


The company was Zoho, and the interviewer was Girish Mathrubootham, Founder and CEO of Freshworks. The year was 2006, and it marked the start of Arvind’s journey in the world of SaaS.


Two years later, Arvind upgraded to the role of a product marketer. In 2014, he quit Zoho and launched Zarget—a conversion rate optimisation solution for SMBs. Despite an excellent start, the startup faced challenges while scaling.


“I thought, either we pivot into something else in the same space or do a second product. Or if this is part of a bigger product, it will be a feature. If it’s a marketing automation software, this becomes a feature so that churn will not be a big problem,” says Arvind.


“That's when we had a conversation with Girish, and we got acquired into Freshworks. In hindsight, it was a very, very good decision. And our exit during the IPO was estimated at $300 million,” he says.

Sowing the seeds of SuperOps

As the head of product marketing at Freshworks, Arvind had plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. However, his entrepreneurial spirit forced him to take the plunge and launch another venture. This time it was SuperOps.


Initially, Arvind wanted to venture into the IT operations management space. But he realised the immense potential of the MSP market. The considerably high total addressable market grew even more during the pandemic, which meant there was no looking back.


“We thought this was an opportunity. I started researching how big is this MSP market, and there was a little uptick in the number of MSPs that came into place because they became the arms and legs for the IT team to go and support their employees,” he recalls.

PMF, branding, and more

While Zarget managed to attract hundreds of customers, Arvind doesn’t consider it a proper product-market fit (PMF).


According to him, PMF is a combination of usability and predictability. You must build a predictable and repeatable model for lead generation and conversion. Also, it’s crucial to check whether your product is attracting customers from outside your network.


It’s just as important to invest in the right marketing and brand-building strategies from day one.


While paid marketing comes in handy during the first couple of years of growing your business, you’ll need to focus on building organic reach to succeed in the long run. And while you’re at it, don’t ignore the role of proper brand building and positioning.


“I would urge all our founders to think about it from day one. Branding is very, very important. Because the emotion, the brand is what they (customers) want to do business with. At the end of the day, feature selling will go till a point, then it's the brand selling,” adds Arvind.


You can listen to the full episode here.

Notes:

01:00: From Zoho to Zarget to Freshworks to SuperOps.ai

11:00: Finding PMF: It’s about predictability

18:30: GTM: Answer these two questions first

24:00: SaaS marketing: Lead generation and brand building

33:00: Why, when, and how to work with industry analysts