Interview with young entrepreneur Sachin Kamdar on starting his business Pars.ly.
This is part one of the ten part series. Follow the Starting a Business as a Young Entrepreneur interview series and don’t miss an interview!
Interview Series Sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance. Hiscox specializes in protecting IT/technology, marketing, consulting, health and beauty, photography and many other professional services businesses, tailoring coverage to the specific risks in your industry.
In 2009, Sachin Kamdar and Andrew Montalenti were arguing over startup ideas when they settled on what would eventually become web analytics and content optimization company Parse.ly. Although the duo had been roommates at NYU, their previous efforts to launch a startup were set aside to pursue individual careers. After going their separate ways post-college, they got ‘antsy’ with their current job situations and reconnected by working nights and weekends to launch a new company.
Parse.ly developed out of the idea of taking unstructured data in the form of content and using cutting edge ways to accumulate and structure it for businesses. Parse.ly was accepted into startup accelerator DreamIt Ventures, which has graduated successful startups including SeatGeek, Adapt.ly, and SCVNGR. Since graduating from DreamIt Ventures, Parse.ly has raised $5.82 million in funding.
The company has grown to 14 employees and has launched three products, including their newest and most successful – Parse.ly Dash. Dash is a content management system that analyzes the web to track trends, reveals sharing information, shows publishers what’s popular and what works for their specific audience. Customers of Parse.ly include Mashable, The Atlantic, US News, and other major publishers and websites.
In a market flooded with analytics and content measurement companies and products, what sets Parse.ly apart? Sachin cited three things that set them apart from the competition:
1. “What data we collect versus what other analytic companies are looking at. We wanted to make sure that we had the best data possible in the most pristine way possible.”
2. Parse.ly is fighting against the philosophical notion that analytics should only be limited to a couple of people in the organization that have been trained or have spent hours and hours figuring out how to use the tools. “Our notion is that if you can allow anyone to use your data… and make decisions, you’re going to be able to move the needle drastically as an organization.”
3. “Analytics isn’t something that has to be locked behind doors.” The data that Parse.ly collects can be used directly to power aspects of the clients’ site. “We turned the Parse.ly platform around to not just be an analytics frontend, but also to be an optimization backend where tons of our customers are powering a wide variety of things on their site from content recommendations to engagements widgets and modules.” Clients don’t just view information, but they can build their product on top of the technology that Parse.ly provides.
Q: What has been the key to Parse.ly’s success and growth?
A: “We have a very clear mission – to unlock the value of content through data and analytics and have been unrelenting focused on driving that mission internally at our organization and externally through the product.”
With almost any success story comes the triumph over obstacles of all shapes and sizes. When asked what the biggest obstacle he has faced and overcame is, Sachin said, “The role of a CEO at Parse.ly and in any early stage company. The role of a CEO almost changes every single month as your company grows, introduces new products, as you’re dealing with internal issues that arise…one day you could find yourself being an account manager, the next day you’re a salesperson, the next day you’re HR and recruiting, the next day you’re a marketer. It’s honestly been a challenge to deal with all these different things you have to as CEO of the company and trying to manage yourself and your time.” Sachin has dealt with this challenge by focusing on what will bring the highest value to Parse.ly, and if he is spending his time on the most important thing for the company at that time.
Q: What’s the most important thing you can do to protect your business?
A: “Execute, and execute it as fast as possible.” “Success tends to solve problems.”
Parse.ly has come a long way in just four years. Two former roommates were able to reconnect and successfully launch a post-dorm room startup despite the odds of settling into their careers and going their separate ways. Sachin said that success tends to solve problems, it also comes to those who are able to overcome obstacles.
Sachin also gave his advice for young entrepreneurs and more insight on the growth of Parse.ly. To hear the full interview audio, press the little play button under the interview highlights!
- Sachin’s job before co-founding Parse.ly – public school teacher in Brooklyn, NY.
- The key to Parse.ly’s success and growth: “We have a very clear mission and have been relentless in driving that mission.”
- Best piece of advice for young people under 30: “You need to stop making excuses for why you aren’t where you want to be yet.”
- “There is no better time for you than right now!” If you want to get somewhere make sure that you are working towards that right now.”
- The advantages and disadvantages of starting Parse.ly, and being an entrepreneur in general, at a young age.