Celebrating 4 Years at Reltio: My Thoughts on Working at a Successful Startup
By Gary Ryan, VP Partner Success, Reltio
I recently marked my four year anniversary at Reltio and I thought I would share some reflections on my experience and why I believe Reltio is succeeding despite the long odds every tech startup faces.
Reltio is my first experience working at a tech startup company in a 40+ year working career that has spanned multiple job functions and sectors. Four years ago I had no thought or desire to go to work for a startup. But the decision was a no brainer when I had the good luck to meet Reltio’s founder Manish Sood, understand his vision, and saw firsthand the power of the SaaS data-driven platform the Reltio team had built. I knew I wanted to be part of the Reltio team and I would always regret it if I didn’t invest my time and use every selling skill I had to convince them to let me join.
My experience over the last four years has been, by far, the most challenging, exciting, and rewarding working experience that I have had in my professional life. This is mostly the outcome of working with an incredible team of people all focused on the same goal. Winning in the market, growing exponentially, and receiving industry acknowledgement doesn’t hurt either. Ultimately, however, the best part of the experience is making a difference and providing business value for our customers. I spent too many years selling and delivering products and services that yielded very little measureable value to my customers.
Here are my key lessons learned for anyone thinking of joining a tech start up:
1. I totally underestimated the effort and dedication required to be successful with a startup. However much work you think it will be, double it.
2. Working for a startup is not for everyone. This is mostly due to my first lesson learned. You need to be at the right point in your life to be able to deliver on what is needed to succeed.
3. Our CEO Manish Sood talks about how building a successful startup is like climbing Mount Everest. There are many routes you can take to the summit and sometimes you will need to stop, go back, and try a different route. But the most important thing is to never give up and to keep moving forward. If you are invested in working for a startup, give it everything you have and be mentally prepared for setbacks.
4. Do not go to work for a startup unless you believe 100% in the vision of the company and the product. Otherwise it will be very difficult to sustain your focus and effort.
So why is Reltio succeeding? I believe there are five key reasons:
Not every great idea will yield a successful startup, but without a great product vision, the odds against success will be very very long. Reltio’s founder and CEO Manish Sood is simply the smartest person I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He has an unbelievable ability to understand what drives customer value from a data driven perspective and then map those requirements to solution architectures that use new and upcoming technologies. Put simply, Manish is the reason why I decided that I had to be part of the Reltio story. I believed in him and his vision and I could instantly see Reltio’s place in the market.
A great product vision can easily fail without good execution. Making the right decisions on technologies, personnel, investors, business strategy, and on and on and on is critical to achieve success. Reltio is extremely lucky to have an incredible leadership team. But more importantly it comes down to the founder again, Manish. It was clear from the very beginning that he had an incredible product vision, but what has amazed me has been the skills and expertise he uses to continuously make the right business decisions.
It is an incredible pleasure to work for a company with a culture that really cares about their employees and puts all their effort in focusing on the right things like customer and partner success. This culture comes from the top down and again is the result of having the right management team. It is this culture that allows us to attract and keep the team we need to succeed and keep our customers benefiting from our platform.
Very early in our history we had the extreme good fortune to find a few select customers to embrace a shared vision with us, placing significant confidence in us to power their critical business initiatives. They partnered with us championing us within their own companies, and in the market. In the end, a successful startup is more than just the technology it’s about people and relationships. This is why our core values stress that we treat all of our customers, partners and employees as family.
Our focus from the beginning was to enable a data driven SaaS platform that our partners would yield business value from by taking their own solutions to market. We knew that we would not be able to scale and to take the needed market share without a strong partner network. Again, we had the extreme good fortune to find a handful of partners early in our growth who believed in our product vision. And just like our early customer story, our partner sponsors supported us and stuck by us. Today, the vast majority of our SaaS subscriptions are driven by our partner network.
All of these critical factors needed to come into play for us to achieve the success we have and to continue to grow. I feel extremely lucky to be part of the Reltio story.