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Hire the right people, empower and incentivize them to make their mark, and great things are sure to follow. It’s a simple recipe, but it’s working for Gathi Analytics.
Gathi provides data analytics to aid decision makers around governance and customer engagement. Only four years old, Gathi has already established an impressive resume. Clients include Alliance Data, global insurance brokerage Lockton, the City of Dublin and more.
Gathi has grown rapidly, from just four people in 2017 to 125 today who are based in Hyderabad, India, Dublin, and in offices with clients around the world. Founder and CEO Vamsi Kora says more hires are on tap, with plans to grow to 150 employees by June and 200 by the end of 2021.
Revenue is projected to jump from $9 million in 2020 to more than $25 million in 2021.
Kora founded the company in 2017 out of a desire to use his industry expertise and his team-building experience and strengths, which is reflected in the way the company hires and hones its team.
“I tell my team, delivering SAS is the ultimate team sport,” Kora says. “You end up working with people you never would have met and in time zones on all sides of the planet.”
Gathi employees are encouraged and empowered to make decisions independently, which leads to a nimbleness for the company, and also to extremely high job satisfaction.
The company also offers a rapid path to equity—Kora says it can happen within six months of employment.
“I don’t subscribe to the winner-take-all kind of capitalism,” Kora says. “I always make it clear I’m more than happy to just have 40 percent of the company and let all the right people own the remaining equity.”
And rather than throwing newbies into the deep end, Gathi goes all in on trainee support with a multi-week program assigning them to mentors who give them front row seats to projects, so in six to eight weeks they can hit the ground running.
After the onboarding process Kora gives hires live client work while not charging the clients.
“So, it’s not a financial burden for them, and the candidate gets tremendous exposure with development you can’t replicate outside the corporate world, and that goes on three to six months. When we believe they have client-facing capabilities, then we place them into billable work,” Kora says.
“You don’t always see that in every company,” says Aaron Newcomer, a senior data solutions architect for Gathi. “It’s great for us to be able to help train people and also good for those getting trained.”
Gathi’s culture was a big part of the appeal for Newcomer, who previously worked for one of Gathi’s clients and was attracted by the deep ties not only between Gathi’s own team but with those it serves.
“Vamsi gives people the autonomy to do things without micromanaging, and he hires people who have the drive and capabilities to do things,” Newcomer says. “Sometimes it can be challenging; it’s always easier to be told exactly what to do, but it’s a lot more fun and rewarding to have the autonomy to shape your role.”
Newcomer adds that he and other employees appreciate the transparency with which Kora runs the company, which would later pay off during the pandemic.
Kora worked hard to maintain connection and face time among already far-flung teams and established extra online group work sessions and happy hours. “So we still felt a sense of working with real people, remembering what faces looked like,” Newcomer says.
“I think one of the big things is that Vamsi reiterated every time we had a meeting, ‘Stay connected, keep talking,’ and that helped people feel part of a team, rather than an individual working remotely on the same project,” he says.
Kora also established a fund in the U.S. and India to donate to food pantries, and Kora says most employees donated three days’ salary within the first three months, which the company matched dollar for dollar.
From the beginning, Kora says his goal was to build a best-in-class company people wanted to be a part of, advance the field of data science and machine learning and advance the communities Gathi operates in.
The term Gathi is meant to be representative of the relationship with data and movement of data while gaining momentum—the meaning of the word. But it’s clear that cultivating the team is as near and dear to Kora’s heart as much as building a successful enterprise.
“What you do in terms of your own discipline, of getting beyond the bits and bytes of management and understand the other person and put yourself in others’ shoes, those are the things that are extremely important to me,” Kora says.
Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.
565 Metro Place South, Suite 3215 Dublin, OH 43017
Business: Data analytics
CEO: Vamsi Kora
Revenue: $9 million in 2020