Our guest today is an ex-Merchant Navy Officer who, through an interesting sequence of events, became an Insurance Executive and eventually an Entrepreneur. He currently runs a Global Products & Services business in the Insurance Domain with a team 1900 people spread across 9 countries. This journey began little over 7 years ago when Arun Balakrishnan was heading the Berkshire Hathway's Indian Insurance Business. When Berkshire decided to wind up the India business, Arun spotted an interesting opportunity that would eventually lead to his company, Xceedance. And he's used the bootstrapped entrepreneur playbook of starting with services and then building products very effectively.
The Founder's Journey
Arun's had an interesting journey, and it fits perfectly with the saying, you can only make sense of your life when you look backwards. He's often found himself in situations that might not have worked out in that moment, but it has all led up to him building a global business that started out of India. It all started post his MBA from IIM ahmedabad, where him and a friend of his decided to build internet businesses. Due to bad timing in the fundraising market, they couldn't get the necessary resources required to scale up their venture. The ideas they worked on would even turn into billion dollar ideas eventually, albeit executed by different people in a more favorable market.
You'll often hear him say, he was lucky, and while there is some truth to that, he undermines the action he took and the decisions he made to get where he is today. Join me in this conversation as we talk more about his Internet business days, building Berkshire's Insurance business in India, and how he has been able to scale up Xceedance over the last few years. We talk what it takes to build a global business starting out of India, how they've been able to scale the hiring and org culture to build a team of 1900 people across the globe.