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Corporate executives, entrepreneurs and authors discuss corporate finance strategies, growth tactics, leadership journeys and other management topics to drive value creation. 

Nov 21, 2023

Thomas Kunjappu, founder and CEO of Cleary, discusses how Cleary can help companies improve internal communication and build organization culture.


Show Notes

[01:30]  Thomas provided the backstory of the founding of Cleary.  His background has mostly been in product management throughout the career. Typically, when someone is building products, it is built for customers.  In the case of Thomas, the product was initially built for internal customers (at Twitter). The mission of Cleary is to build connected company culture and being the central hub for companies. With the rise of remote and distributed work, the purpose and mission of Cleary becomes more important and urgent.

[04:25]  Thomas explained the sweet spot of Cleary's products.  Originally, the sweet spot was for pre-IPO or public companies with some scale and reach. With the prevalence of remote work, more companies (i.e. smaller) can benefit from Cleary's product because of the nature of distributed teams.

[07:02]  The use cases of Cleary are discussed.  One key hypothesis of a great company is to treat the employees the way you treat your customers if you want to retain them and build a great workplace of the future. There are 3 main areas/benefits of Cleary. First one is around communications  (e.g. the executives sending internal emails, having an all hands meeting, ensuring that everyone's in sync internally.) The second layer is about company culture.(e.g. Cleary has a badging system to incentivize the desirable employee behavior). The third pillar of Cleary is about search and productivity. 

[11:01]  Thomas discussed Cleary's differentiation. Cleary aims to disrupt the legacy Intranet market. (the repository to hold information but the market is very fragmented) For mid-market companies, Cleary is competing with is a dozen different tools. Cleary is not built to be a point solution, rather, it aims  to operate as a central hub.

[14:23]  Cleary's go to market strategy is discussed.  In its early stages, the company relies mostly on customer referral.  Recently, it has built up a sales and marketing organization.

[16:33]  Thomas shared Cleary's fundraising journey.  While the raise was successful, the company faced this dichotomy between revenue growth and customer stickiness on one side, just when the investor sentiment started to become more cautious.

[18:35]  Thomas discussed how he handled difficult investor questions. An entrepreneur should be able to predict 90% of questions from investors. Always answer questions honestly. If you don't know something you say so, but then be sure to do 2 things: follow up with the answer and writing in short order, and then ensure you're adding that answer to your repertoire of internal FAQ.  It's not just for investors, but you're becoming a better CEO for the company because you develope a better handle on all aspects of company’s operations.

[20:26]  Continued discussion on handling investor questions.  A fundraising event is a sales function, not a finance function.  A CRM can be used to manage the investor pitch pipeline. How do you know if your sales notion is working, the entrepreneur can analyze the pipeline, having a feedback loop.  Obviously, the entreperenur needs a high energy level to be successful as you're not going through numbers. You're going through a vision.

[25:09]  Thomas shared how he uses KPIs to steer the team towards the overall company mission. 

[27:47]  Thomas shared his perspectives on current developments of X (Twitter)

[35:40]  Challenge and Opportunities are discussed (unlocking the community, creating the movement and creating that community that would be behind the movement of a great work community; balancing uncertainty with demand that you might see in the market).


Book Mentioned on the Show

The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: A New Paradigm for Sustainable Success by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Klemp



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