Interview With Ankit Tanna
Describe your product or service:
“Truein is a face recognition-based time and attendance solution for a contractual and distributed workforce.”
Describe your company values and mission:
“We believe in taking ownership, continuous learning, communicating openly, and staying focused.”
How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.
“Seed round. Total funding $800,000.”
How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)
“Total 24 people [on the] team, including two founders, nine in engineering/product, four in customer success, four in sales and marketing, one in ops, and three contractors.”
How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!
“During my first business, I often visited customers and met their Admin and HR leaders. During discussions, I came to know about the pain areas in attendance management for contractual staff and the remotely deployed staff. There was temporary & frequently changing staff, and one of the common problems was to register them for attendance. Sometimes workers directly reported at the site and it was a tedious and error-prone process to keep their onboarding and attendance in sync across multiple locations.
Existing attendance solutions were usually relying on fingerprint biometrics to capture attendance. However, because of the nature of business, many workers’ fingerprints were faded, and their attendance was registered manually. There was also a lack of transparency with regard to employees’ attendance policies and a lack of control over those policies. These issues, in turn, affected workforce productivity and resulted in low morale. There was also a lack of employee experience.
After researching the problem, I realized companies worldwide are facing this issue, and there is a better way to solve this problem. We leveraged AI and Face recognition technology and started building Truein.”
How did you come up with your startup's name? Did you have other names you considered?
“I was looking for a name that focuses on accuracy and authentication. We are leveraging face recognition for attendance capturing. So, I thought that the name ‘Truein’ would be perfect.”
Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
“Becoming an entrepreneur is something that I’ve always been interested in. Taking up a challenging project and working on it with total commitment is something I always wanted to do.”
Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?
“Companies with Contractual and Distributed workforce is our target market.
Truein helps to optimize staff utilization and plug revenue leakages. We focus on providing attendance-related solutions to companies hiring low- or medium-skilled workforce. These companies often have a lot of trouble with attendance. With this in mind, we are focusing on this target market.”
What's your marketing strategy?
“We use Google Ads, LinkedIn, and content marketing to generate awareness about our product and generate leads.”
How did you acquire your first 100 customers?
“I acquired my first 7-8 customers through my own network of friends and referrals. This helped us to build good case studies. Then, we ran email campaigns and Google ads to generate more awareness about our product and find more customers.”
What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?
“We primarily track:
- Annual recurring revenue (ARR)
- Average revenue per user
- Upsell revenue %
- Cost per lead
From customer onboarding point of view: number of days to adopt the solution by 95% staff, and some of the key usage matrix.”
What's your favorite startup book and podcast?
“‘Zero to One' by Peter Thiel is one of my favorite startup books. I recently started listening to the ‘Masters of Scale‘ podcast, and I really like it.
It is a series that talks about how businesses can grow and become more successful by doing things the right way.”
Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?
“Google Workspace and Notion.”
What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?
“I realized that it is very hard to build a core team to work with you. However, when you finally have one, it is very rewarding.”
How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?
“I usually end up working long days. However, I try to avoid checking emails and notifications when I'm not working.”
What is a strategy you use to stay productive and focused?
“I try to book at least one to two hours a day for focused, deep work. During this time, I try to stay away from meetings and calls. Recently, I have started to break my day into smaller sprints. This has helped to avoid burnout.”
Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?
“Reading every day has helped me to learn and grow. Also, keeping internal meetings shorter than 30 mins has helped me to stay productive.”
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
“I worked as a software engineer at Persistent Systems for five years. Apart from technical skills, I learned a lot about processes and people skills.”
More on Truein
Ankit Tanna, founder of SaaS startup Truein, shared valuable insights during our interview that will inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs.