Interview of Deepak Anchala (Founder & CEO- Slintel)

Respect everyone, no matter how junior/ senior and treat them all the same way Deepak Anchala

A graduate from IIT and IIM started his career in investment banking and later made his way into the technology world when he understood that’s the future. He has spent most of his career in sales and marketing roles in Fortune 500 companies and later in Silicon Valley startups.

What inspired you to join the above company or this sector?
I started Slintel to address a pain point we faced in sales. The problem in sales today is that most companies do not know who their next customer could be or where they could be coming from. As a result, sales teams run spray and pray campaigns and get extremely low response rates. Response rates are decreasing by the day, as buyers are increasingly spammed by cold emails/ calls.

We are building a top of the funnel recommendation engine for sales and marketing teams. We analyze over 100 billion data points daily to understand where buyers are in their journey, their purchase patterns and spending behavior, and relay these recommendations to sales and marketing teams. We are focused on the B2B segment right now.

What is your life mantra?
Always surround yourself with people smarter than you – If you are the smartest person in the room, you have a problem.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Every day is a new challenge. I guess the hardest part has been balancing my startup life with my family. You need a support system to take care of a family while you are cranking up those extra work hours, and I’m hugely grateful to my wife for it.

How do you protect yourself from the problem of brain drain?
I’m assuming you refer to brain drain from our company. We haven’t had an attrition problem so far, mostly because of the work culture we have built. I’ve tried to bring in the silicon valley culture to the Indian workspace – everyone can question one another, and contribute to company build. Also, we make the workplace a fun place to be at. 

For today’s employees work culture trumps everything – salary, title, etc. The sooner employers realize that the better they can retain talent.

Share one habit that you think makes you more productive?
Keeping myself physically active and my energy level always high. 
I believe that life today is very demanding (both at the office and at home) and unless you have high energy levels, you won’t be able to make a mark.

Share one habit that you wish to change in yourself?
Start my day a few hours earlier in the morning.

Answer in one line.

One tip to success – Stop discussing, start doing.

One mistake you believe every individual must avoid – Spending time with friends/ family who doesn’t believe in your abilities.

One most important lesson that you have learned till now – Respect everyone, no matter how junior/ senior and treat them all the same way. 

Apps you can’t live without – Linkedin, Youtube, Google for work

Key in the workplace – Be honest to yourself on what your skills and gaps are. And work on your gaps, every single day.

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Startup earlier in life.

Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Treat others the same way you want to be treated.

What makes you excited about Mondays?
Thinking about all of the exciting stuff I’ve lined up for that week, and what I need to accomplish by the end of the week.

According to you how are self-worth and happiness important in a job?
Very important. People spend more time at work than at home (if you discount the sleep time). So it is very important to maintain work-life harmony (a term frequently used by Jeff Bezos) as your state of mind from work carries over to your home. If you are happy at work, you are generally happy at home.

Sharing your experience of raising funds and how difficult it was?
For first time entrepreneurs, the first few rounds aren’t easy. It is all about storytelling and how you can convince a room full of VCs to believe in your vision. During the initial stages, VCs are evaluating you as a founder more than anything else (the business, traction, the team are all secondary). 

Before going to VCs I would strongly suggest convincing a co-founder to join you full time and then a few good employees to join you. And then build a product, and get a few customers/ users on board. If you are not able to do the above, convincing VCs is going to be an extremely difficult task.

Successful serial entrepreneurs receive money with just an idea, as VCs have seen an exit already.

What’s your opinion about StartupLanes?
StartupLanes seems to be doing a great job of bringing the startup community together. I see you are trying to help founders throughout their startup journey. Keep up the good work!