Karan Chaudhry is a serial entrepreneur based out of Palo Alto in silicon valley. He is currently the Cofounder, Chief Product Officer and Global Head for ComnPlus, where his team is building advanced machine learning based personalization and recommendation engines focused on the online digital content industry. He is also an active Mentor/Advisor at StartX, a top incubator for Stanford university entrepreneurs, where he advises entrepreneurs on topics like fundraising, team building, data driven product management and product marketing, sales and business development etc. Prior to that, he was the Cofounder and CEO of DropThought (acquired), a machine learning based instant feedback and text analytics platform for VoC/VoE applications. He received his MBA and MS degrees from Stanford university.
Comnplus builds scalable personalization and recommendation engine using advanced machine learning techniques. It offers its product as a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. The company helps clients optimize CTR (click-through-rates), retention, engagement, sharing, and conversion. Comnplus’s mission is to enable better, more engaging user experiences by enabling content creators to target the clients with the best suited personalized content.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired you to launch your business?
Karan Chaudhry: I have run a machine learning analytics company before. While watching content online, what struck me was how little machine learning analytics is used in the content Industry today for personalizing and recommending content for viewers. This has the potential of vastly improving viewer experience. Sure, there are a few examples like Netflix, which is a great example of a data driven company, but there are not many of those around and a lot more can be done in the space. There is a huge opportunity to actually disrupt the way the content industry functions by applying machine learning analytics to content and personalizing it for the end users.
BusinessInterviews.com: What issue does your core product help solve and how so?
Karan Chaudhry: Comnplus builds scalable personalization and recommendation engine using advanced machine learning techniques. It offers its product as a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. The company helps clients optimize CTR (click-through-rates), retention, engagement, sharing, and conversion. Comnplus’s mission is to enable better, more engaging user experiences by enabling content creators to target the clients with the best suited personalized content.
BusinessInterviews.com: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Karan Chaudhry: My biggest challenge as a business owner has been to build a great team. I have published an article in Forbes discussing the solution in detail: Forbes.com
BusinessInterviews.com: Have you had any mentors or role models that have influenced you? Describe the impact.
Karan Chaudhry: Quite a few actually. One of my mentors, Mike Cassidy, is a VP at Google heading their Loon project. From him I learnt the importance of speed and momentum. I’m a big believer in the minimum viable product (MVP) philosophy. Once I decide to execute on an idea, my goal is to get an MVP out of the door as soon as possible. Once done, the goal is to iterate on the product based on user feedback to launch new features and make it better. I have seen way too many entrepreneurs waste precious time chasing the perfect product, a concept which does not exist in real life.
BusinessInterviews.com: Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Karan Chaudhry: I consider myself extremely successful. For me success is about having the freedom to pursue your passion and creating an impact while doing so. I feel blessed that when I get up in the morning, I feel excited about what I do. At the same time, I am aware of my responsibilities as a leader towards multiple stakeholders and always strive towards achieving the best results for my ventures.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Karan Chaudhry: Firstly, do it for the right reasons. It’s a long and hard journey. A lot of times its only passion, conviction and persistence which will sail you through. Secondly, follow the MVP approach, always focus on your customers and improve your product for them. Finally, choose your investors and board carefully. While its super tough to refuse an investment offer, remember you are getting into a marriage and there is no going back. Divorces are messy here as well. We had to ask a board member to step down early-on and it was a painful exercise.
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