4 Years at Floh: A Behind The Scenes Account of Life at One of India’s Hottest Startups.

The people who power Floh are very special and here’s an insider’s view from behind-the-scenes by Kumar Ray – our former Product Lead. He talks about the 4 years he spent ‘building’ Floh and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours. 🙂

Kumar Ray and his wife, Garima Jain, met at a Floh event
Kumar Ray and his wife, Garima Jain, met at a Floh event

I was the second employee to join Floh. I joined in May of 2012, the Product Lead for a very, very lean bootstrapped startup in a sector where everyone and their grandmother have already solved the problem or had an idea to solve the problem.

It’s been four years and it’s time to say goodbye. It’s time for me to take a break (hopefully, not too long) and reorient myself to other interesting problems. It’s been quite a ride. We started with nothing but a Facebook canvas app and now I am married (yes, we met at a Floh event) Floh has a robust web app as well as Android and iOS apps. We first tripled and then quadrupled the number of events we host, and let’s just say, there are a lot more members we serve and can serve.

The basics of the service that Floh provides was there from the very day I joined. We get great people, organize great events, and let serendipity do its magic. My challenge, at least the way I saw it, was to make this is a repeatable process that still has the personal touch of the original service, aka a product.

There is a lot of magic behind the scenes to getting great people. Workflows, reports, roles and all those exciting things. Same goes for events. Only those of us in the background know the crazy amount of work, heartache and paranoia that go into organizing those bright moments. Hats-off to the Events team at Floh for managing to not only survive, but also to come out of with processes that have allowed Floh to scale event execution effortlessly over the last two years. Serendipity is great, but there is a lot of work behind the scenes to catalyze those bright moments, the first sparks.

Some of it seems like no-brainers now. One of the first product-enhancements I remember pushing through was the manual addition of links of Facebook profiles (we didn’t have profiles on Floh yet) to the pre and post event emails to the guest of an event. It paid off, for me and for a lot of other people at Floh. My, now-better-half used that mail to find me on Facebook and send me that first message to ask me out for juice(!). Can you ask for better validation? It is of course automated now – do check the List of Attendees on your phone.

There were also misses and dead-ends. There were real challenges working in a lean setup. But, there was measurable progress and most importantly validation from the customer. I think I might be a little spoiled. It will be hard to look at non-paying users as validation after my time at Floh. A paying customer is more demanding while also being more engaged and more understanding. There is nothing quite like it. I was one, and a lot of employees at Floh are or have been members at some point or the other. Off the top of my head, a good 50 percent of those who have worked or are working here at Floh were members first.

The goals haven’t changed, but we now have a boat load of knowledge, experience and processes and systems that work (though of course there is tons left to do). There is no where to go but up, up and away – touch many lives and truly transform the way singles meet in India.

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