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From UX Designer To SaaS Founder

Peter interviewed Gaurabh Mathure, Co-Founder of Tydy. Tydy, an Employee Data Platform, simplifies employee data and document management. It streamlines processes across HR, IT, and Vendor apps, ensuring a seamless, personalized experience for employees from onboarding to offboarding.

Gaurabh discussed with Peter:

  • Tydy’s role in streamlining data for an enhanced employee experience.
  • His UX design background’s impact on shaping Tydy, highlighting the importance of design services.
  • Tydy’s initial focus on large enterprises, addressing complex onboarding and employee experience challenges during rapid growth.

Introduction

Peter Loving: Okay, wonderful. So I’m here talking today with Gaurabh Mathure from Tydy. Gaurabh, thanks so much for joining me. Could you tell me a little bit about what you do and introduce yourself, who you are and what you do?

Gaurabh Mathure: Great. Thanks, Peter. It’s great to be here. So I’m Gaurabh Mathure, as Peter said. I am the Chief Product Officer of Tydy and one of the co-founders as well. Tydy essentially is an employee data platform which allows companies to use the data from different processes and design superior employee experiences over them from onboarding to offboarding. Think of us as an equal to a CDP in the consumer world. We are the EDP for the workplace.

Overview of Tydy

Peter Loving: Okay. So managing everything well, related to the people in the company, employee data.

Gaurabh Mathure: Right. So essentially what we look at is if your company has multiple systems, there might be a Peter on system A, Peter on system B, Peter on system C, but how does an organisation know Peter holistically? Our platform essentially brings all those Peters together and helps the organisation understand you so that they can deliver a personal experience for you.

Background

Peter Loving: Nice. Great. Gaurabh, what’s your background in that led to you building this particular product, solving this problem?

Gaurabh Mathure: Interestingly, my background is UX design. I’m a designer by craft. For 16 years before starting Tydy, I practised UX design. I worked on various different products, right from Nike Plus to a trading platform called E-paid to a connected coffee machine called Cubo, which is for a German company. So I was always interested in designing experiences. But the key thread that tied them all was all of them had an aspect of data and data leading to behaviour change. And that really has constantly stayed a trend throughout my career. The reason why I started Tydy with two of my other co-founders was that the organisation itself was an interesting product to me. And to me, behaviour change is fundamental to a workplace. We wanted to see how we could affect behaviour change in an organisation through software.

Peter Loving: Okay, sounds wonderful. So you bring this perspective of being a designer to pivoting from a designer in your career into a SaaS founder. How has that affected your mindset? What benefits or differences do you find that you bring to being a founder as opposed to other founders in SaaS that might come from a technical or marketing or operational background?

Gaurabh Mathure: Yeah. So I think fundamentally, I had to change my mindset a lot. Working as a designer with an agency or a design consultancy when you’re working for customers is great. In some way, you’re working off of a platform that’s already developed, and you can solely focus on the design of the product. I think what I hadn’t understood initially was how much goes behind that. Once you build the product, what happens to grow it, to market it, et cetera. Personally, I actually have grown a lot as a designer, becoming a founder. But what’s also great is that three of us bring three different pillars of the company together. So one of my co-founders heads of the business, the other one heads of technology, and I head up a design which essentially mostly affects the product. And that’s been a great partnership for us. One of the key things that has been helpful when working with enterprises, and we’re going to talk about that a little bit more, our focus has been large enterprises, has been my consulting background, where many times when you go into working with enterprises, you have to understand their processes. If you think of building a product, let’s say I’m building a consumer app, I can build it within my company based on the understanding I have of the market.

Gaurabh Mathure: And you generally create averages and you design a product based on what you understand from those insights. When you work in an enterprise, every single enterprise who’s a large stakeholder in your business is different, even though at a high level, the processes might be similar, they’re different. So from my design perspective, what has been really interesting is to go in there, understand the problem, and almost co-design the solutions with our customers. So so that we can actually improve their processes. So that’s really been a fundamental, I would say, difference in my approach to how we work with our customers and build a product.

Selling to Enterprises

Peter Loving: Yeah, fantastic. Fantastic. I love the way that you have three co-founders in some of the three critical pillars of building a SaaS business. So that must position you in quite a strong way to build the company. I’m interested in your route to market as well. So you said you started off by selling to enterprise, which as we’ve seen a lot of in the SaaS nowadays with product-led movements and mass market appeal, it’s selling to the wider market. And then companies tend to typically upgrade their sales process and move up market to the enterprise deals. Why did you start selling to enterprise? And also what’s been your route to getting access to those deals?

Gaurabh Mathure: Right. So the background for three of us essentially was working in large companies, and therefore, you always start off with where you understand problem. We realised that if you wanted to have a good employee experience, if you’re a 20% company, that’s something that you can do by adding a person, making sure you have the right people culture. As soon as you start scaling scaling up. Companies don’t intend to have bad culture, but the systems break over time. So we wanted to really solve those bigger problems where how do you ensure that the culture and experience of an employee doesn’t break while the company is scaling. And in the last 10 years, 15 years, we’ve seen a lot of these hypergrowth companies, and we’ve also seen a lot of failures of that hypergrowth. And on the other side, there are traditional companies who are large manufacturing hubs who have looked at startups and said, Hey, we want to be like them. But now they’re so big that they can’t. Now the solution to that is to bring something and create a system internally where you can actually implement it. So that’s really what attracted us to this problem.

Gaurabh Mathure: And we started off with the enterprise because we felt like that was a large problem to solve, and nobody was really focusing on it. In terms of how we started making a way in to these companies, we actually spoke to a lot of people. So went down the traditional route of discovery and user research, speaking to a lot of HR folk, and realised that onboarding was a space that nobody had touched, but it was quite a complex space. So when you think about onboarding, you might just say, Hey, great. I’m going to send an offer. I’m going to send a welcome letter, maybe set a payroll. And on day one, we’re going to orient them. That’s how it works. Most of the time, that’s good. But if you think of a larger company who is hiring, we have a customer who hires 150 people a day. That doesn’t really work. You have a lot of paperwork, you have compliance, you have background verification, you have to integrate multiple systems to get together, get it all together. And speed to hire is an important metric for people to influence productivity. And also, when you just think of a very basic fundamental truth, if you want to affect the employee experience, you can’t start off with maybe going to the employees who are already there.

Gaurabh Mathure: You want to maybe see the employee behaviour right from the beginning. So it’s almost like kindergarten kids. You’re going to make sure that they’re getting the right values. So we felt onboarding was really interesting space to affect the employee experience and also solve a lot of productivity challenges. And that was our way into the enterprise to make sure that we solved that problem and connected that process and improved it for the better. If you think of it, it’s my first gateway into the company. It’s the first time I’m actually interfacing with the company after I’ve committed to it. The onboarding was our way in.

Research and Relationship Building

Peter Loving: Yeah, I think that’s great because then all of the data on employees follows that onboarding process. Did you manage to establish good relationships through doing your research, your customer research in these interviews? Because it seems like that was not only a way for you to learn about the problem and inform how you shape your product, but also that that gave you the ability to then get some access to the sales conversations and relationships with those enterprise companies.

Gaurabh Mathure: Yeah, absolutely. I think going back to that consulting background, that has always been our way in. We try to add value to most customers. So even when we do our sales process, one of the things we always offer is ensuring that we can help them do discovery. Many companies start these large transformation projects, but they do need some direction. So us having worked with multiple companies can offer aggregated insights to say, Hey, here are some interesting processes. And we do that as a part of the sales process to make sure that we are actually sharing our findings, and that automatically helps them understand whether we are the right fit for them or not. So that’s really how we move forward, I think, add value during the sales process. I wouldn’t even call it sales process, the initial conversations. And if the product is the right fit, we move forward and go ahead and make them a customer.

Peter Loving: Great. And do you have any consulting or services bundled in with your monetisation? Because quite often when I speak with enterprise companies, there’ll be some element of consulting or services that go alongside the contract with the product. What does that look like for you guys?

Gaurabh Mathure: Yeah, so that’s a very good point. And that again goes back to design. When we started, HR is an interesting discipline. I almost see it as a parallel parts to design because it’s a huge component is about serving users, serving humans, right? But the challenge with the HR and people of teams is that they don’t always have access to design talent internally. You go to the sales team, go to the marketing team, they’re going to have designers embedded in there. There’s very few people of teams or HR teams who have designers. So one of the first services we offered when we started, because part of the experience is connecting systems and ensuring the right flows and process. But the other part is also the employee experience. How does that experience come across? What content are you sharing? So we actually started a service very early on to convert a lot of boring HR documentation into amazing bite-sized infographics, et cetera. So that is one of the services we offer. We’ve actually done some interesting projects with them. It’s almost like an extension of the employer brand. So we actually have a design team that works with the corporate community applications teams to make sure that the employee experience on the platform is also great.

Gaurabh Mathure: So the design services is a big thing. And traditionally, we also have professional services for certain integration and custom work that might happen in large enterprises. But yeah, those are the two elements.

Peter Loving: Oh, that sounds great. Yeah, it’s good. It’s always great to see when you have the recurring revenue model, subscription model, but you’re also able to get the bigger contract deals with enterprise, but then you also often get some consulting and other services that can add to your ARR. Hey, Gaurabh, I think we’re going to have to wrap up, but it’s been great to talk with you. Thanks for sharing those key points and the things that make you guys unique. How could people follow Tydy or check out what you’re doing?

Gaurabh Mathure: Yeah, so you just go to the website, www.tydy.co, we’re also on Twitter, @tydy.co, as well as Instagram. If anybody is looking for a career with us, you can get a sneak peek into our culture. Thank you, Peter.

Peter Loving: Wonderful. Yeah. Thanks for speaking with me. It’s been great, Gaurabh.

Gaurabh Mathure: Likewise. Thanks a lot.

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