Jafar Owainati and Zakir Hemraj, Co-Founders of Loopio, an RFP response software that streamlines the way enterprises respond to RFPs, RFIs, and security questionnaires, share their thoughts on starting a business, attracting top sales talent and maintaining and growing a company culture in a changing business environment.
After graduating from university, Jafar and Zak figured they would work a few years, get an MBA and work toward a corporate executive career like many others; which was the case for Jafar. However, after both were exposed to the startup bug they knew it was the path they wanted to pursue.
Jafar and Zak’s early years at Loopio, along with their third co-founder Matt, were full of pleasant surprises. They were able to bootstrap the company for an extended period, thus leading to better than expected cash flows and big-name clients, all while having little trouble attracting top sales talent. Looking back now they had greatly surpassed their own expectations.
When it comes to attracting top talent, the founders express the importance of the interview process. It should be one that is a sell for both the candidate and the employee. They also stress the importance of rockstar candidates that are able to receive feedback, both in the interview process (as a warning sign) and in the position itself. Being adaptive as a salesperson, regardless of tenure, is extremely important.
Jafar and Zak stress an “uncomfortable feedback” company culture which pushes team members to develop a sense of “true culture”, one which embraces transparency, feedback, honesty, and integrity as opposed to an artificial culture brought about by perks and ping pong tables. Lastly, the founders explain the challenges associated with both maintaining a tight-knit company culture as well as retaining top talent during periods of high growth and how to best position oneself for such challenges.
By Dan Petz
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