SalesTechStar Interview with Andrew Bocskocsky, CEO & Co-Founder at Grata
Andrew Bocskocsky, CEO & Co-Founder at Grata joins the SalesTechStar team for a quick chat to talk about his experience setting up Grata while diving into a few best practices that can help SMBs thrive despite the challenges they are faced with in this Covid-19 downtime.
Hi Andrew, welcome to SalesTechStar! We’d love to hear more on the story behind Grata and what differentiates Grata in the market. What was it like starting up and how has the platform evolved? We’d love to hear about your recent funding and upcoming product plans as well!
My cofounder Nevin Raj and I were classmates at Harvard, where we worked as consultants and engineers at McKinsey, Palantir, and other startups. In these roles we realized there was a massive need for one source of digestible and up-to-date information on SMBs after experiencing the difficulties of conducting this research manually. We took on a massive challenge with limited resources, so we had to make the best of it. When we started Grata, we were sending our clients prospect lists of SMBs. We’ve come a long way to be able to bring B2B search to our users, who can now build their own SMB prospect lists in real-time.
Our plan is to use the funding to make all US businesses searchable by the end of the year and innovate the latest NLP technology to keep our information fresh in a fully automated way.
What are some of your thoughts on the tech marketplace and SMBs? Can you share a few thoughts on some of the most interesting innovations that have been introduced to support SMBs challenges?
The biggest challenge with SMBs is discovery, and there have been several innovations supporting this. Starting with restaurants, there’s Yelp. For consumer retail, there’s Google Maps. For eCommerce, you now use Shopify or Squarespace to make a website. But there’s no authority for B2B discovery. That’s where Grata comes in.
SMBs are integral to the overall economic/ business model: in your view, how can tech companies innovate more to support these businesses especially now during a global pandemic?
There’s a large wave of tech companies automating and providing lower cost alternatives to back office services like accounting, HR, recruiting, and IT, to name a few. The culture in tech has been to go “enterprise first” – larger deals that have a perceived lower acquisition cost. However, automating company discovery and reaching SMB prospects more effectively can be a game changer for both tech companies, considering it unlocks 50% of economic opportunity, and their customers.
As businesses and economies pick up pace despite the threat of the Covid-19 disease, what are some of the biggest thoughts you’d share with SMBs leaders?
Business is going digital. It’s been trending this way for a while but COVID accelerated it, not just by necessity but by professionals realizing that digital is more time and cost effective. Therefore, SMBs will need to rely less on offices, trade shows, conferences, and word of mouth to do business. They’ll need to discover new ways to be found. They need to now discover new ways for customers, investors, and vendors to find them. They’ll need to embrace everything digital from video conferences to increasing their web presence.
What are some of the biggest takeaways that the global workforce (in tech) should have from the events of 2020?
You can do your job from anywhere, but that’s also going to mean more global competition for your job. Be sure to stay up to date on the latest developments in the industry that will allow you to better serve your clients. As workforces in all industries begin to make adjustments to this new remote way of life, it’s essential to remain knowledgeable on industry developments in order to keep a competitive edge.
Three must-dos or best practices you’d share with any business leader as they lead their teams through uncertain times…
Find the hidden gems. There are tons of family run businesses that you haven’t heard of that can become your largest customers.
Grow with your customers. Treat business development like venture capital. Find the small companies that are going to be the future leaders of the economy and invest in them. If they become successful, so will you.
Don’t overlook SMBs! Small and medium business doesn’t mean small customer. If you can find a way to efficiently acquire SMB customers, your business will thrive.
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Andrew Bocskocsky is the CEO and co-founder of Grata, a B2B search engine for discovering small to middle market private companies. Andrew has been an entrepreneur in tech for more than the past decade. He got his start in working on Palantir’s government platform, becoming deeply interested in large scale data systems. He spent the next 5 years founding and building Gramercy360, a profitable software company that enabled companies to modernize their data infrastructure and build more efficient analytical systems. Andrew started Grata with a classmate after identifying a new opportunity to leverage machine learning and NLP to automate legacy B2B research processes.