The founder of the edtech company GrowthSchool, Vaibhav Sisinty, discusses his journey’s many lessons learned in the most recent episode of the 100x Entrepreneur Podcast. One of those lessons is how to determine the best product-market fit.
Vaibhav Sisinty discusses how he developed his marketing expertise while working at travel technology business Klook and Uber in an interview with Siddhartha Ahluwalia, the founder and host of the 100X Entrepreneur podcast. He also discusses how he established the product-market match for GrowthSchool.
More than 300K students have been guided by Vaibhav Sisinty through his start-up GrowthSchool, and he has assisted them in their pursuit of knowledge, growth marketing.
I’m an accidental marketer: Vaibhav Sisinty
Vaibhav Sisinty don’t come with any background of marketing or growth. He started his first startup when he was in his first year of engineering. It was called discovering Android where he learned SEO and website building. His Second year of engineering, he started CrazyHeads, which was also involved in Facebook ads, Google ads and SEO optimization, branding, etc. So that led him to pick up all these skills of marketing and growth.
Usually, I used to write code. Also in college. I enjoyed it. I built a bunch of websites, wrote PHP and stuff, but eventually moved and found my love here, because I really enjoyed doing this. But if you would have asked me when I was still in engineering or getting out of engineering, when I was running CrazyHeads, which was my second startup. I don’t know who I was, I would have never called myself a marketer. But when I joined Uber, the first year, I joined as a generalist, like it was a launch person. So the idea was to just launch go and launch cities. But my leaders at Uber saw that my inclination towards growth, the strategies that I was applying on growth to the cities that I launched, were working, and they saw that I was really good at it, Vaibhav said.
So they recommended to me that why don’t you move into a growth role completely, and when it came from them, and I didn’t enjoy a lot in operations, but I enjoyed a lot in marketing growth, coming up with ideas, trying to grow hack and all that. They basically said yes, it is a great way and I cannot transition and from there, that’s how I got into growth like, but at Uber, it was a fun ride, because when I joined the company, for India it was quite small. And when I left Uber in India, it was like a massive, massive business. It was at its peak, Vaibhav Sisinty further added.
So in that scale, I’ve done a bunch of things. And essentially, my school has been Uber and then Klook, where I also lead a team and we grew the business from five to $25 million, Vaibhav Sisinty added.
Helping other startups
Vaibhav Sisinty starts helping other startups right from college. But when he was 19, he was helping very small companies. And then when he came into Uber and spent a couple of years there and again, opened up saying that he was happy to help better-funded companies start to come into the picture.
“So all throughout, when I was at Uber, I was helping Paytm and a few other companies get to market in local markets. So I’ve saved so much. It’s again, been very accidental. But I’ve been doing that since I was like 20 in some form, or fashion and the quality of startups and companies just grew as I got more and more experience and better credibility. Got it. And today you are 30? Vaibhav Sisinty added.
Founder-Market Fit towards starting GrowthSchool
Vaibhav Sisinty also has a strong passion for education. Since he was 18 years old, he has conducted offline workshops where he has shared the knowledge he possessed at the time. He claims to have instructed more than 20K people offline in ethical hacking, web development, branding, and acquisition when he was in college.
But as I grew, got into Uber, I didn’t have the time to do it offline anymore. I did my first course when I was in Mexico City, there were two days of rain happening, I had about 15,000 followers. I knew I couldn’t go out. I just posted a post on LinkedIn saying would anybody be interested to pay if I created a small Instagram post on how I got to 15,000 followers? And some 300 people said yes. And I rolled out a pre-payment link of $10. And I got about 100 people to pay $10 Without even before I created a course. So I knew people were willing to pay to an extent but I didn’t know Indians would pay. There were a lot of international people who ended up paying $15,000 for the Instagram online course this is when I was still with Uber. This was about 2017 18ish, Vaibhav said.
And then I launched the LinkedIn course because a lot of people said by then I had crossed 50,000 followers on LinkedIn. And nobody knew how to do it. And I said, people asked me to do it. So I did it just as a side hustle for me. Not as something but when COVID happened when the LinkedIn workshop I launched focused on India only that scale like crazy. And when that happened, I started going or going asking questions, saying why is this workshop working very well? Well, there is so much content on LinkedIn already available in India and why were Indians paying 500 rupees for a simple workshop. I didn’t understand it, because my perception was people won’t pay, Vaibhav Sisinty said.
Full Podcast here:
00:54 – Intro
01:55 – Starting in Growth Journey: From his 1st Venture to Uber
05:24 – Helping other startups: His playground to learn
06:29 – Building Organic v/s Paid Channels of Growth
12:02 – Founder-Market Fit towards starting GrowthSchool
16:02 – 0 to $1 Mn ARR before first round of funding
20:36 – Zoho Sponsored – Prashant Ganti on Where do founders struggle with Payroll and how can they fix it?
22:33 – Running Lean & Shrewd to achieve profitability
23:58 – Scale & format of courses before and after the funding
29:00 – Growth Hacking his way to raise funding from Sequoia, Owl & 80+ Angels
36:15 – “Blitzscaling right after funding will break things.”
39:17 – Focus & Internal goals in near future
41:46 – What’s his definition of PMF for GrowthSchool?
49:15 – Managing his time as a Solo Founder
52:55 – Various process which he has built in his life