As we complete almost 8 months since Rishabh and I quit our jobs to startup, I sat down and pondered about our journey so far — the good days and the bad days, the sleepless nights and the doting mornings.
I felt overwhelmed by things that have happened until now, but at the same time, thrilled about so much that’s about to happen! However, it’s not all fairytales and demanded a lot of hustle and grind from us to get here.
In that case, why should anyone join this quest with us? Logically, it doesn’t make much sense to make a career jump towards uncertainty, and sometimes not getting paid as much for it as well.
But, that doesn’t stop some of us who are passionate and delusional enough to think that we can bring our wild ideas to life and build something that can possibly impact millions of people.
We make peace with the fact that we actually have a shot at creating something valuable and bringing positive change in the world. If you fall under this bucket of crazy, this is written especially for you, dear reader.
This piece talks about all the different dimensions that define Locale— all the factors that I would have considered if I wished to join an early-stage startup!
1. The Pain Point
At its heart, a startup is all about the problem that it is trying to demystify. After all, that’s why startups are born.
At Locale.ai, we want to help companies increase the utilization of assets moving on the ground using their location data. Because the real world is far more chaotic and fickle, it gets more challenging to match demand with supply.
What we learned while working with companies is that today, it takes ~15 days for an engineering team to build a live dashboard. Most of the time, these dashboards are built as a one-off solution.
If a product manager or the ops team needs a metric, it takes anywhere to get it done between a day to a week depending on the analyst’s bandwidth — but alas, too late! We have spoken to data scientists who felt more like a reporting team.
Read more about the problem here:
This problem was actually a personal problem. As data scientists working on geospatial data, we didn’t have the right tools that we could use in our daily workflows. We then realized that data scientists all around the world face similar issues and henceforth, companies experience operational inefficiencies.
Does this problem excite you? Do you think the pain point actually exists? Is it worth solving for? Can you devote a considerable amount of time trying?
2. The Pain Killer
Every event today happens at a specific lat-long when you place an order from an e-commerce, logistics, food delivery app. Despite GPS tech and location data becoming so pervasive, the GIS world hasn’t evolved much in the past few decades.
The problem that we have picked up involves solving some highly complex engineering challenges with enormous scale. Imagine a world where every company with moving assets on the ground has Uber-like location intelligence!
We want to analyze and optimize every asset that moves on the ground with some commercial value — cars, buses, cycles, parcels, delivery people, sales reps, bikes and so on.
Read more about the solution here:
So, the next time you want to order medicines in case of an emergency, you won’t hopefully read on the screen, “Delivery guys are not available. Please check again later.”
The delivery guys won’t have to stand idle in the scorching heat, cold or rains waiting for the orders to come. They can be incentivized to move to high demand areas and can earn more. The push notifications that you get won’t be spam — they will be shot to you at the right place and right time.
Are you up for getting your hands dirty in fixing the problem? Does the core vision inspire you? Can the solution create massive impact?
3. The People
It’s always about the people. It has to be. If you’re spending more than half of your day with them, they better be smart!
I am pretty convinced that if there is a way that we will be able to solve these problems successfully, it is when we put the smartest people to it. You trust that if you lock them in a room with a whiteboard, they will figure something out together.
If on one hand, it’s about the brains, on the other hand, it’s also about passion — Passion to build a company and drive to hire the right people, build the right culture, set the right processes.
At Locale.ai, one of our missions is to build one of the smartest engineering teams. The smartest teams figure it from first principles. Almost always.
I am so proud of the team that we have built so far. No one hesitates to stay up till 3 am if that’s what it takes to ship the deployment. Everyone brings a unique skill set and point of view to the table and it’s so much fun to debate, discuss and grow together.
Individually, we belong to six different states, practice four different religions, but collectively, we have a thing for pretty maps. In case you want to ignite your love too, I would suggest you check this out:
Is the team smart? Can they teach you things you don’t know? Do they broaden your horizons? Can you actually add value? Does building from scartch give you a “high”?
4. The Pillar
When you have a compelling problem, a challenging solution, and a great team, culture is the pillar. It’s what brings everything together. It gives you identity and a way to navigate to the shore during a sea storm.
The right culture brings out the best in people, especially while working together, because the effect compounds.
Being an early-stage company, our culture is just hatching out of the eggs. We are a closely knitted team and would aim to stay like that. Our meals are accompanied by discourses that range from politics to religion to life’s purpose!
There’s a lot to do and we are taking one step at a time. We celebrate our wins together and persevere through our lows together. We strive to create an aura where everyone has a say in the industries and companies we need to target and brainstorm on the kind of features we want to build together.
We make mistakes pretty often, we try to apologize or introspect, and move on! Reflection is core to us. Since everything that we do is an experiment, it’s really important for us that we hit 4–5 shorts, wait and see which one hits a sixer, so we can double down on that!
Do you like the way decisions are taken in the company? What kind of discussions take place? Does the environment promote the right things? Does it give enough freedom to fail & iterate?
If reading this piece struck a chord with you, if we share the same world view, if you feel strongly about any of these four dimensions, come help us build Locale out. Apply here.
Starting up is an everlasting process where it is about the journey. But, while we are at it, let’s build something the world needs. Let’s create something worthwhile.
The only disclaimer is if you are game for something challenging, pleasantly full of surprises, and do not mind the late hours mixed with a bit of chaos and uncertainty.