Reading Time: 5 minutes Amaresh Ray is someone who leaves you feeling inspired, energized and motivated to change the course of your career when you first meet him. We sat down with Amaresh, co-founder of Multiplier and active member of the Atlassian developer community, to understand what it’s taken to launch a business on the […]
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Amaresh Ray is someone who leaves you feeling inspired, energized and motivated to change the course of your career when you first meet him. We sat down with Amaresh, co-founder of Multiplier and active member of the Atlassian developer community, to understand what it’s taken to launch a business on the Atlassian Marketplace with the support of Atlassian Ventures, his advice for developers considering going down a similar path, and why achieving success on the Marketplace is closer within your reach than you may think.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and take a quick break to get to know a fellow community member!
For 3+ years, I was a product manager on the Jira Service Management team at Atlassian. Part of my role was actually to pitch to developers why they should build apps for the Atlassian Marketplace. Through that experience, I really started believing that [the Marketplace] was an incredible space to be in with a massive opportunity. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial itch, so I knew eventually I’d want to drink my own Kool-Aid.
Atlassian provides a solid foundation and does a lot of heavy lifting for you (for example, with programs for founders like myself to help us build a marketing muscle), so to me, choosing the Atlassian Marketplace to launch my company, Multiplier, was a no-brainer. I am constantly seeing ways in which Atlassian really cares about the ecosystem and is willing to support developers within it.
The thing I loved the most as a product manager was when customers came to you with a problem, you could solve it for them, and visibly see how it made their life better. Already familiar with Atlassian customer problems, I was inspired to build our first Connect app: Access Management Workflows for G Suite, Azure AD & Okta. The app provides identity & access management built into Jira to seamlessly onboard, offboard and provision apps, and streamline approval workflows.
A lot of it has been us reaching out cold to members of the Community, pitching what we are doing, and asking them if what we’re creating would improve their day-to-day. It’s taught me to embrace rejection because ultimately, having open communication with your target audience will enable you to find out when you are on the right track.
Starting out, we continuously iterate on our positioning and change how we talk about [our app] to discover what’s really resonating with people. Because we’ve gone out of our way to seek customer feedback, we now have a group of early adopters who are super engaged with us.
My co-founder had a full-time job when Multiplier started, and I was still speaking to potential app customers. I had enough of a signal that this would be an interesting area for us to explore and so I pitched the idea of him joining me.
At first he was working nights and weekends. Once we secured investment from Atlassian Ventures, it was possible for him to leave his current job and join me full-time.
I’ve always wanted to go the bootstrap route, so initially raising venture capital wasn’t something that appealed to me. However, when I did some research into Atlassian Ventures, I discovered how well their incentives aligned with the type of company I wanted to build.
The Ventures funding route definitely took some of the pressure off because it gave us a longer runway to experiment and hone in on what we feel is resonating with customers. As part of the process, we had to legally incorporate and do a lot of the heavy lifting upfront that we needed to turn our app into a business. As part of our evaluation, Atlassian researched the space we were in and really took the time to understand what we were trying to accomplish.
It was probably around two months from the time we applied to the time we had the money in our bank accounts. We had one meeting with the Ventures team where we pitched our concept, and they got back to us in 2-3 weeks. The amount of money we raised is enough for us to build a good, sustainable business right now.
Looking back on my own journey, I’d have three main pieces of advice:
I had an assumption that our ideal customer would be someone more mid-market, around 200 employees, and that’s the size of the company we were targeting and trying to sell to. We’ve actually learned that we’re increasingly able to sell to bigger customers than that. In some cases the sales cycle when dealing with larger organizations can sometimes be a bit of a challenge, but it is still a lot more streamlined because we are part of the Atlassian Marketplace. We’ve benefitted from selling into some of these larger organizations and I never would have expected that to happen this soon.
Our product also has a lot of security implications, and that was something I hadn’t realized was going to be so critical for these larger customers. We now have the cloud security badge, take part in Atlassian security programs, and are going through our SOC2 audit.
The Atlassian developer community is made up of established Marketplace partners that have been around for a while, and a bunch of small early-stage startups like ourselves. We’re a close-knit community and enjoy sharing knowledge and best practices. For example how to use LinkedIn to prospect customers or how to use Google Ad Words and track whether the money you’re spending is directly impacting your ROI. It’s been a wonderful experience being a part of these supportive groups and events with other people who are passionate about what they do.
Everyone in the community is in different stages of their journey and has gone through their own interesting experiences. Every member can help lend a hand to someone new starting out to prevent them from making the same mistake they did, or share the things they learned to watch out for.
Within our business: how much time and money we save our customers. We have saved customers over 500 hours of manual IT work through our automation workflows!
Outside of our business: being able to control my own day and schedule (I have the freedom and flexibility to go for a run in the middle of the day or go to the gym more often, for example), and learning things I never would have been exposed to in my previous role—like learning sales and marketing, how to manage a team of freelancers, or raise investments.
Whether you’re an experienced app developer or just getting started, we hope you took away valuable insights from Amaresh’s story. Being an entrepreneur takes empathy, resilience and perseverance, but we learned from Amaresh that the risk is worth the reward. Are you a developer looking to build your network, or meet like-minded builders and entrepreneurs? If so, we’d encourage you to connect with Amaresh on the developer community.
The post Lessons on Taking the Leap into Entrepreneurship with Amaresh Ray appeared first on Atlassian Developer Blog.