Abhinav Shashank pitched a 400-pages report as a trainee inside a Fortune 500 company and managed to get $20 million funding for the same, much before he actually became an entrepreneur. After getting his idea approved, Abhinav worked on building the product in Bangalore, scoped out manufacturing in Shanghai apart from spending time in Dallas, U.S., giving him an overall experience in building a truly global product.
“By the time I left, it was already a $40 million revenue business,” Abhinav tells me in this podcast.
Is there a path to doing this on my own, he remembers asking himself around that time.
For Abhinav, it was almost like doing a startup again, this time, however, without the protection of a Fortune 500 company. Clearly, there is a lot of value in being entrepreneurial, which is mostly underrated.
An IIT Kharagpur alumni, Abhinav and his batchmates earlier planned to build “a Kharagpur Consulting Group”, on the lines of the famous consulting firm, Boston Consulting Group, he recollects jokingly.
On a more serious note, Abhinav started looking at the world of big data, which is mostly unstructured, and how to make sense of it for customers.
“How do you manage this explosion of information for innovation?”
The early prototype for Innovaccer was aimed at helping academic institutions such as Harvard make sense of information. But when he met Rajan Anandan of Sequoia, thanks to the connection made by Aneesh Reddy of Capillary, the first pivot happened.
“Why don’t you build this for the enterprise?”
Since then, Innovacer has been growing its revenues at over 100% annually and is set to cross the $100 million ARR mark by sometime next year.
The big opportunity has been to tap into the U.S. healthcare market, which is almost like the fifth largest economy in the world, according to him. And the quality of healthcare data continues to be patchy.
“The person you’re trusting with your life knows less about you than your retailer does.”
Before Innovaccer made its second pivot to focus entirely on the healthcare market, the startup was already doing $4 million in ARR.
“We decided to shut down the existing $4 million business, right after the $12 million fundraise from Westbridge,” he recalls. That happened at the first board meeting with Innovaccer’s new investors.
There are broader entrepreneurial lessons too.
“As an entrepreneur, most of your days have their lows. There are only a few of those elusive high points that you are living for that carry you through all the lows,” he says.
Listen to this podcast with Abhinav of Innovaccer to learn more about managing bold pivots, almost like changing the engines of a plane while still in the flight, and staying bluntly honest to create a $100 million ARR business.