Surround Yourself With People Who Want You to Succeed
In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Please explain Casepoint in a nutshell.
My name is Haresh Bhungalia, CEO of Casepoint. Casepoint is a technology company focused on solving business workflow challenges. We were initially focused on legal technology and, more specifically, litigation discovery. Among the many challenges we address are eDiscovery workflows for internal investigations as well as regulatory and corporate litigations.
Did you have a personal experience that led to its development?
I love building things. Growing up, I watched first-hand as my dad, an immigrant, built a fledging manufacturing business by working 80-hour, seven-day weeks. The company grew from a handful of employees to over 300 in the mid-80s and early 90s. While a significant accomplishment, my dad had a falling out with his business partners for wanting to take a vacation after working at a breath-taking pace for more than 10 years. After having the rug pulled out from under him, he walked away and started again from scratch, determined to surround himself with the right people and not let that happen to him again.
When we sold my first company, 2020 in 2012, Casepoint had been incubating on the side. I saw an opportunity to experience that “high” again and jumped in head-first. Seven years later I’m having more fun than I have ever had.
What advice do you have for fledgling developers that you wish someone told you when you were starting out?
Know what you don’t know -- and learn it. While I committed to mindful listening in my early days with the company, I absorbed everything like a sponge before I allowed myself to propose new ideas. Being cognizant of what you don’t know and seeking to know it is paramount.
Know when to ask for help. Casepoint is a technology company; my previous venture was in services. I wish I had someone to show me how to close the gap because SaaS and services companies have completely different operating metrics.
Surround yourself with people who want you – not just your business – to succeed. It took me some time to ramp up. Surrounding myself with the right people certainly helped. I remind myself to never take those people for granted.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
In today’s market, there is plenty of capital available, but it’s important to look past the dollars and focus on where the funding is coming from. Who will you be working with? Do they share a common vision on the long-term business strategy? Will they be incremental to the execution plan? Are you comfortable letting them into your boardroom?
Business divorce is very painful and should be avoided at all costs. We have never taken capital at Casepoint and if we ever do, it will be with people who we admire and respect, and who want us – not just the business – to succeed.
How did it feel the first day you began running this business?
I was nervous. I didn’t have the domain knowledge, and I didn’t understand how the tech space worked at a tactical level. The culture and the players were also new. It was different from the public sector environment I was intimately familiar with.
What lessons did you learn from your first business that directly helped your next one?
The management skills I learned at 2020 have been invaluable at Casepoint. I started 2020 with my cousin Paresh Ghelani straight out of college, so there was a lot of on-the-job learning. Paresh and I did not operate 2020 based on academic theories. We experimented a lot and applied practical experience to build out the company.
One of the main lessons I learned was how to best work with your team. I have learned that the most valuable thing you can consistently do is hire the right people, clearly articulate their goals and manage to outcomes instead of the tactical process.
How do you approach your relationships with team members?
Casepoint is more than a business. It is about creating opportunities for personal and professional growth. We are vested in our team member’s individual journeys as they progress in their career and life outside the office. This is a core foundation of how I run my businesses.
Right after I joined Casepoint, my wife and I hosted the company’s annual party at our house, a tradition which is still with us today. Halfway through dinner, my wife Alpa pulled me aside and told me, “This doesn’t feel like it’s your team. Go fix it.” She had picked up that I still felt like an outsider and I hadn’t taken the time to personally jell with every team member as I had done at 2020. This was her way of pushing me to integrate more, and she was right.