6 minute read
August 24, 2020

Pulling Video Data into Insights with Sud Bhatija of Spot

This article originally appeared on www.buildingproptech.com, a retired blog where I interviewed proptech founders on how they were building and growing their businesses.

Hey Sud! What’s your background and what led to you working in PropTech?

My background is helping businesses improve their operations. I started off as a management consultant focusing on helping large businesses improve their operations, and then quickly transitioned to startups. I joined a team trying to build a cleantech private equity fund.

The business ultimately pivoted to a service business focused on mitigating climate risk for real-estate and infrastructure assets - which was my first foray into Real Estate and the start of my passion for technology that intersects with the physical world.

I had the opportunity to explore that passion deeply at Stanford Business School, which is where I co-founded Spot.

What problem are you working to solve with Spot?

Spot is unlocking the power of video for distributed businesses, such as commercial, residential and industrial properties. The first part of the problem we’re solving is making it very easy for these asset owners to access video across all their cameras on a single web dashboard - which is a huge problem given the number of different makes and models of cameras.

We then make it easy to use that video in the context of physical security with easy search and share features. Over time, our vision to build AI-powered workflow tools that can help them improve their operations.

What’s the process been like as you build Spot?

We’re trying to balance a more analytical approach to building our go-to-market engine (and company) with more intuition and big bets so that we can find non-linearities in the market, while trying to build a sustainable business. It’s been an extremely fulfilling life experience, yet daunting.

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How have you gone about growing your user base and revenue? What has been most effective?

So far, all our traction has been the result of outbound email marketing executed by a single SDR. We’re in the process of moving to a more inbound motion that allows us to cover a larger surface area of the market and then focus on pockets of deeper demand.

Early numbers are promising, but there’s still a lot to be figured out. One of most effective ways of growing has been referrals from our existing customers. Large property managers have multiple properties, some of which are in the market at any point of time.

What has been the hardest part of the building, growing or monetizing Spot?

The hardest part over the last few months has been Covid and the turbulence it has created in the market. Multi-family residential and commercial real-estate has been hard hit.

We’re still winning new deals but we’ve needed to move quick and make hard decisions on what customers we focus on.

What insights about Real Estate and Technology have you come to realize whilst building Spot?

We’ve learned that there’s a lot of variation in how the industry adopts technology and how different companies operate. This makes it hard to build a scalable outbound motion to these companies.

This is the thinking behind our shift in focus to inbound. And given the operational nature of these businesses, and the relative under penetration of IT, particularly in smaller companies, “easy to install” and “easy to use” is an essential part of any product value proposition.

Where can we find out more about Spot and connect with you?

You can read more about Spot at spot.ai and reach me on LinkedIn!