14 Minutes of SaaS

14 Minutes of SaaS

E65: Adi Azaria, Workiz CEO & Sisense Co-founder – Growth Hacking in Red Oceans

Adi Azaria - Workiz CEO and SiSense Co-founder on the 14 Minutes of SaaS podcast with Stephen Cummins

E65: Adi Azaria, Workiz CEO & Sisense Co-founder – Growth Hacking in Red Oceans

E65: Adi Azaria, Workiz CEO & Sisense Co-founder; Growth Hacking in Red Oceans.
Stephen Cummins met Adi for a second time in the Web Summit and it was all change. He had navigated the difficult path of separation from a business intelligence rocketship SiSense, which he’d co-founded, to falling in love with the startup world again, and finding his latest passion in field service scheduling software Workiz. If you’re interested in hearing more about Adi’s formative years, tune into episode 8 of 14 Minutes of SaaS … although recorded early in the life of the podcast, it is one of the episodes that has had the highest listenership.

TRANSCRIPT

Adi Azaria

One of the four biggest companies in the world which we worked very… very hard to achieve – 200 employees larger – hundreds of thousands of clients bigger – more revenue – more success – number 4 in Gartner – like a divorce – getting a divorce. You are married to your wife, but you’re married to your company too. After that long it’s never easy. It’s not an easy decision. Even if you feel that, you know, in your guts, there is pain … there is you more you’re going to lose than gain … you’re going to lose a lot. You have respect here. You’re one of the founders of the company and it’s not going to be the that anymore. And once I realised how they potentially can be that big … that was the point of no return I guess. I didn’t know that that’s going to be my journey. I just tried to help them as much as I can. But as, you know, as falling in love –  like first and second date – and then you go here and there and suddenly, it’s there … and it will always be that.

Stephen Cummins

 

Welcome to 14 minutes of SaaS, the show where you can listen to the stories and opinions of founders of the world’s most remarkable SaaS ScaleUps.

  Adi Azaria

In this episode, I meet Adi Azaria in the WebSummit for the second time. It was all change. He’d navigated the difficult part of separation from a business intelligence rocketship which was Sisense – of which he is a co-founder …. He’d helped to build it. He had a difficult transition away from that – and had to fall in love all over again with the startup worl. He found his latest passion in field service scheduling software in a company called Workiz. He’s the CEO of that company now…

Stephen Cummins

 

Delighted to have you back on the program Adi. How are you?

Adi Azaria

I’m very good? How are you today?

Stephen Cummins

I’m doing great. So you’ve had a very interesting year since we spoke here at the WebSummit last year.

ADI AZARIA

Oh, yeah, definitely. So, I’ve been with Sisense, you know, say surrounding it for the last 14 years. And the last year was the year of transition, the big change. There comes a point where you feel that … me personally I felt that everybody around we can do at least as good as I do or even better … so that’s the best time to move to a different department and grow something new … or to move aside – like the eskimos I guess. And I’ve decided at some point I… I went into the burning man – the Israeli burning man – and went to, you know, get alone time – you need some quiet to make difficult decisions. And it just felt right. This is the right time and the right time actually for everybody not just for me. I tried to be less egotistical and, I felt it in me – it told me that its the right time to do the next move. And the next move for me was to take a long vacation and do nothing.

Yeah, and Sisense grew since then … I mean Sisense is now about 500 employees with the UK office and a key office in Arizona.

Stephen Cummins

 

So what’s the delta today since 12 months ago in Sisense. How much has it grown?

 

ADI AZARIA

One of the four biggest companies in the world which we worked very… very hard to achieve – 200 employees larger – hundreds of thousands of clients bigger – more revenue – more success – number 4 in Gartner. Top BI company in the world – or number 4 which we worked hard to achieve. Top SaaS vendor and top visionary in gartner.

Stephen Cummins

You must be very proud?

ADI AZARIA

Absolutely. I’m proud  – mainly of my employees – mainly of my employees which are my kids – that’s how I see them – they took us to places we never dreamed of.

Stephen Cummins

And how does it feel now? A liberation or a difficult?

ADI AZARIA

I think its like a divorce – getting a divorce. You are married to your wife, but you’re married to your company too. After that long it’s never easy. It’s not an easy decision. Even if you feel that, you know, in your guts, there is pain … there is you more you’re going to lose than gain … you’re going to lose a lot. You have respect here. You’re one of the founders of the company and it’s not going to be that anymore. So you consider everything – but its not a rational decision. It came from my gut and I decided not to fight it.

Stephen Cummins

Now – one of the best ways to deal with this is to start something up again or to get involved in a startup again and ypu’re now the CEO of Workiz …

ADI AZARIA

 

As I said, I didn’t want to go onto a new journey. I just wanted to have some fun. You know, after that long – you just want to rest a little bit. But, I think again like divorce falling in love is not something you can plan and I’m meeting my… my goal in life right now is to meet as many startups as I can. So I’m meeting at least one startup a week to help them with nothing in return – just to give them everything that I can in one hour – these guys came to me. So I sat with them. It’s actually was memorial day. So the meeting started with, we… we, you know, it was some kind of an alarm to… respect the memorial of for everybody. So that’s how everything started. We sat in silence for two minutes silence. Very strange.

Stephen Cummins

You serious?

ADI AZARIA

Yeah, absolutely. I didn’t know that’s going to be my journey. I just tried to help them as much as I can. But as, you know, as falling loves like first the second date and then you go here and there and suddenly, it’s there and will always be there. And the guys that I met were actually coming from the field – they are locksmiths. They did the actual work that they are solving for these days. So Workiz… is all about making work easy. Therefore, the name. They… they took a journey that – that lasted for about 10 years with all the challenges of how to face customers and how to grow their business and how to bring technology within a very low tech business in order to scale.

 

How do you do that? And how do you do it with a non-technical guys? And once I realize how the potential is huge –  that was the point of no return, I guess.

Stephen Cummins

And they’re in field service – that’s the space they’re in? So, are we talking about the same area that Fieldaware – an Irish company – are in? Where for example – where they enable customers that have teams of people out on the road servicing other customers?

Adi Azaria

Absolutely! It’s really a red ocean – everybody tried to get into this space … you know, the low tech industries. That’s where the main disruption can… can happen these days. We definitely see a huge opportunity. All over the world they are still using pen and paper – it creates a gap that is ever growing with competition that is much more rich. Workiz… is within the mission to bridge that gap. So technologies… technologies are cheap today and it’s reasonable, but these guys – the service people – they cannot get this always – and that’s what we do basically. We give super Powers to any service business.

We do it for any small business allowing them to easily control any aspect of the business, you know, invoicing and payments and scheduling … down to marketing and leads generation and customer service … the basic stuff.

Stephen Cummins

So, so are you both in intelligent router – you know maybe taking into account everything like the attributes of the driver .. how long she has been driving how… how proximate a driver is to the customer .. how valuable are those particular products or services …  how valuable is customer X compared to another customer? Do you have some sort of have a calculator in there that decides and helps the person know which way they should go – in which Van they should be sent? In what direction? Is that what you are?

Adi Azaria

So we are deploying the most advanced technology behind the scenes in order to easily interact with the field service guys. And I’m interacting with their clients. I’ll give you some examples. You’re getting a voicemail today people are still using these. So one of our most successful features is the ability to listen to these voice mail automatically. Transcribing … understanding the intent. What does the client want? He needs a new job? He needs to complain about something? And then we provide this very structured message to the field service guy – giving him two options. You want to create a job at a lead or just get… get back with a message to the client. You don’t need to answer the phone anymore. That’s one simple way of how we’re using AI and machine learning in order to provide the simplicity to address this.

Stephen Cummins

So you’re using NLP?

Adi Azaria

Yeah, that’s one of the algorithm that we use. Definitely.

Stephen Cummins

I presume you’ve… you’ve got a rich set of workflows that they can configure and… and, you know, insert into flow as soon as the human can take that and manually act-on it as well so  … that way you don’t get tripped up.

Adi Azaria
Yeah. We allow any field service to have the face of an enterprise customer service so. From within the ability to answer any call and give them the right flow customer service support and so on down to the simple notifications you.

etc …

Stephen Cummins

You’ve been listening to 14 minutes of SaaS. Thanks to Mike Quill for his creativity and problem solving skills and to Ketsu for the music. This episode was brought to you by me, Stephen Cummins. If you enjoy the podcast, please don’t forget to share it with your network, subscribe to the series and give the show a rating.

14 Minutes of SaaS