Rivigo closes $75 million Series C funding

Posted in Leadership, Rivigo

Our mission at Rivigo to change logistics industry and improve the life of driver just got some excellent support. Rivigo has closed $75 million Series C funding with Warburg Pincus. Warburg Pincus was a key investor in Bharti Airtel where they made one of the largest private equity exit in India. Here are links to some media coverage.

Rivigo raises $75 million in Series C funding from Warburg Pincus (ET)
Warburg Pincus bets `500cr on logistics co Rivigo
 Warburg Pincus invests $75 mn in logistics startup Rivigo (vccircle)


The success behind Rivigo is Deepak’s leadership, vision, business acumen and setting up a world class team with mission focus on getting things done.

How Rivigo is contributing to the future of internet!

Posted in Hot, Leadership, People & Culture, Technology

For many of us Internet is all pervasive. It is essentially a medium without which we cannot imagine our present day lives. What started as a mechanism to connect several machines has grown to break political and social boundaries of the physical world that we live in.

And it has a profound impact in India too. The impact can be seen in all walks of life – banking, travel, social, politics, entertainment etc. The list is endless. However, the reach and penetration of internet is still limited to the big cities. Not surprisingly, lot of new application development is biased towards places where internet usage is already dense.


At Rivigo, we are changing that. Our business model involves thousands of people who are part of the logistics value chain to deliver business benefits to our customers. These people are connected to Rivigo technology platform from many remote places in India. Learning, understanding and using new age technology is how they go about doing their day’s job. And that is mandatory. Rivigo is making technology accessible to people in such remote places and creating a real need for them to be part of the internet.

This is what I believe is the future of internet – connecting people who are already not connected! And Rivigo is just doing that with its technology platform.

Managing different functional teams

Posted in Leadership, People & Culture

As mentioned in my earlier post about support hiring, one of my tasks was to get the support team off the ground for one of our products.

There are some key differences in how different functional teams like development, quality engineering and support team operate and go about doing their day-to-day tasks.

Functional Characteristics

This is not an exhaustive list but this understanding has several advantages that a manager can leverage for managing the team, collaborating with others, build a rewards and appreciation strategy that can result in building highly successful teams. Managers can also leverage this core knowledge to remove any biases if they are coming from different background and have more empathy towards employee behavior and develop risk assessment strategies.

Learning Scalable Systems

Posted in Leadership, Technology

One of the key facets of personal leadership is the ability to adapt and learn. It allows one to stay ahead of upcoming challenges, help the team and engage in proactive leadership. I just started working on a new project to design highly scalable architecture and here is what is helping me to build learning in this space –

1. Hands on building SaaS based application

I started designing and building a SaaS based application as part of my weekend project. I did few long coding sessions and the time spent was well worth it. Most of the mistakes were done when I succumbed to the temptation of just making it work. The exercise provided me deep insight into issues and challenges of building a SaaS based application.

2. Meeting startups

Many startups are formed as a proof-of-concept product and cannot really afford to over engineer the product till they see traction in traffic. Once they see traction and funding, they make leap and bound progress in their architecture and are very aware of cutting edge work. Hearing their technology journey and how they are identifying and resolving initial design flaws was a great learning experience.

3. Meeting technology advisers at venture capital firms

I met senior technologist from couple of top venture capital firms. Their perspective on building scalable SaaS products was invaluable – how to bring scalable practical thinking in the design process, how some of the successful companies are implementing scalable strategies and how some of them have avoided redesigning their system by staying ahead of potential problems and issues.

4. Online resources

There are several online resources but these two are my favourite presentations on this subject –  7 Stages of Scaling Web Applications provides a very good overview and Scalable Web Architectures: Common Patterns and Approaches provides a very comprehensive coverage on scalability. And you can never run short on interesting reading at All Time Favorites at highscalability site.

5. Leveraging past training

After moving past design philosophy, I also started looking into some of the past trainings that I attended on building blocks for highly concurrent design and other from an application programming perspective. Many of the concepts started to make sense.

6. Books

I recently bought a copy of Scalability Rules: 50 Principles for Scaling Web Sites. It is a reading in progress. I may buy another book or two to keep as a reference. Having written a book myself I know how challenging it is for a book to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies. Suggestions are welcome on any good books available on this topic.

7. Brainstorming with smart people

White board discussion with smart people around you help you make great progress in learning and validating your learning!

An innovative approach to support hiring

Posted in Hiring, Leadership

One of my tasks last year was to setup support engineering team for one of our products. Once we identified a lead who can potentially run day-to-day operations the next big task was to complete the hiring. If the hiring gets delayed, we run the risk of facing more challenges – delays in resolving customer issues, lowering of customer satisfaction scores, overworking existing team and losing customers. In worst case, there was a chance of losing the openings themselves.

I was not ready to lose the openings neither ready to compromise on my law of hiring. So for some of the candidates, I started trying few different things.

Role Play

I asked candidates to play support representatives and I played an irate customer. We used a familiar product and started shooting my questions. I also had the lead watch our conversation and share notes. The role play helped me assess customer handling capabilities as well as maturity of the candidates in a tough situation.

Take Home Assignment

Since candidates are coming from many backgrounds, it was becoming very difficult to assess their technical and learning abilities in the context of our product. And the solution was easy. I started giving them take home assignment (time bound) to install the product, prepare an overview and learn two areas where we get maximum queries from new users.

The Learning

It was a very interesting experience. Any candidate who gave unreasonable excuses after agreeing to finish the assignment by certain time was a no hire. Those who did come back and we successfully hired showed their ability to learn quickly, research about the product and present a good overview and common challenges that users face. These are all highly required qualities for a support role. What I also found out that some candidates wanted this job badly and their performance in the assignment showed their interest.


We were able to hire good folks who were already trained on the product and can start contributing from day 1.

Future of Information Consumption

Posted in Hot, Ideas, Leadership

I recently had long meetings involving several hours of technology and market research. Needless to say those meetings were tiring. There is so much of information that is available that it is almost impossible to comprehend every bit of it. All I wanted was an easy way to collect and digest information faster and in a less tiring way.

This is when my I jokingly started discussing about if there is a way we can inject all relevant information directly into our brain – perhaps by taking an “information” injection!

Information Consumption

I see many folks, smart people that I meet suffering from this problem of “information-overload”. There are times when as many as 25-50 browser windows are open on the folks’ machine. I always ask, “When do you have time to read all of this”. And most of them admit that when the browser windows crash, they rarely open that link again. Opening several windows only build pressure – pressure of reading rather than understanding and building knowledge.

But this has to change in future. Today, we are physically limited by our senses (eyes, ear) to consume more information. It is like the current system is built on USB 1.0 data transfer speed and while we need USB 3.0 or beyond speeds.

Interestingly, I just watched a TED video from Nicholas Negroponte talking about a pill that we can take in future to ingest information. I can’t agree more having discussed about the same idea when faced with the challenge of consuming information rapidly. I feel more and more people are running into this issue and someone somewhere will take up this as an opportunity to find a solution.

How are you solving the challenge of information overload today?

4 tips from an eight year old to become a star performer

Posted in Leadership, People & Culture

Kids keep it nice and simple – most parents of young kids will vouch for that.

This is how my 8 year old girl summarized a book on legendary women tennis player Steffi Graf.

Steffi Graf - How she became a star

So, what professionals need to do to become stars?

1. Play well – Do your work to the best of your ability. You need to demonstrate what you have got.

2. Work hard – Easier said than done. Perhaps some amount of planning is always helpful to make it a bit smarter.

3. Enjoy – Very important. Many researchs have proved that there is a direct correlation between productivity and having fun. I have written three articles on this topic. What makes us feel good about our work, Guiding principles on work-life balance and Whopping 87% of employees worldwide are dis-engaged in their jobs!

4. Listen carefully – Well the idea is to learn. And to learn not only you need to keep your eyes and ears open, you need to have an open mind to be able to take the feedback about your mistakes. All great athletes have this quality.

This book is part of my recently purchased books for kids. See details here.

The Elephant in the room

Posted in Leadership

During my childhood days, like many of you, I have followed the Indian parable of six blind men describing an elephant. Each blind person thinks of individual elephant part as something else. John Godfrey Saxe has written a beautiful poem about this short-sightedness.


This is a great challenge many organizations are facing where very few people are able to visualize customer needs, product vision and what to build and map them together into a cohesive picture that can be communicated, built and delivered to the customer.

Now think of what leadership is about? In simple terms it is about three things –

1. Having a vision
2. Ability to communicate the vision
3. Get people around you to build the vision

Mapping this to the elephant story, a leader, firstly, should be able to have a holistic view of the product and service. Creating this vision is easier said than done. Secondly, a leader should be able to communicate the relationship between parts and the whole. Since multiple teams and people work on smaller parts, the chances of mismatch are higher. Like how each blind person thins about different parts of an elephant.

Lastly, as the team starts building the product, a leader should be able to identify the deviations from vision and guide the team to build the right product – be able to call elephant an elephant.

This is no way different from creating the cohesive picture that I described earlier. I guess this leadership is what many organizations need today.