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Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Yadhu Gopalan, CEO and founder of Esper, an android device management platform that has raised over $100 million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Esper aims to make software deployment to edge devices easier, faster, and more secure by providing the infrastructure for dedicated single-purpose Android devices like point of sale systems or car infotainment.
  • Yadhu’s 20-year career at Microsoft and Amazon, working on devices and building great device experiences, inspired him to start Esper and solve the long-neglected problems in edge device software management.
  • Esper enables engineering teams that are continually innovating to quickly and confidently push fixes and features out to edge devices at scale without the conundrum of balancing updates against potential outages.
  • While mobile device management (MDM) focuses on protecting the enterprise from devices, Esper flips it to make the dedicated edge device the first-class citizen to deploy, manage and monitor.
  • Esper is creating the “DevOps for Devices” category – applying DevOps principles ubiquitous in cloud software development to physical devices for more agile hardware product development.
  • The company is growing rapidly with millions of devices under management, including five of the top ten restaurant chains using Esper across 15+ device types in each location.

Actionable
Takeaways

Transitioning from Technical Expert to Founder/CEO

Get comfortable not being the domain expert in every area. Trust the experts you hire, understand their goals, and ensure strategic alignment rather than deep-diving into every detail.

Balancing Category Creation with Market Education

Pragmatically use established category terminology for SEO while gradually educating the market on the new category. Aim for buyers to arrive seeking the old but leave convinced of the new.

Finding the Universal Pain Point Across Diverse Customers

Look beyond surface-level differences between customer titles or industries to identify the common jobs to be done and pain points that a product can solve universally.

Driving Customer Success to Fuel Growth

Make customer success a company-wide priority. Going above and beyond to help customers scale, even on issues unrelated to your product, aligns their growth with yours.

Planning for Scale from Day One

Encourage customers to think ahead and build the infrastructure for scale from the start. Create a maturity curve to guide them in adopting DevOps practices at their own pace.

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