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Firing Squad: Kula's Achu Ravi


Automated sourcing, referrals and analytics are all pretty popular features to have in your tech stack these days, but what about a startup that delivers - or at least hopes to deliver - all these things. That’s where newbie Kula comes in. Achu Ravi, founder & CEO of the company that is “On a mission to turn every employee into a recruiter” takes on the Firing Squad in this episode. A bold undertaking, and barely out of diapers, Kula has raised nearly $15M dollars to take on the world but let's see if they can even get past The Squad.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:


Intro: Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, and baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover kids, The Chad and Cheese podcast is taking it to a whole other level.


Joel Cheesman: Oh yeah, it's another Firing Squad. What's up everybody? It's your favorite guilty pleasure. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman, joined as always the Boo-Boo to my Yogi, Chad Sowash is in the house, and today we welcome Achu Ravi, Founder and CEO at Kula. Achu, welcome to Firing Squad.


Achu Ravi: Thanks for having me, Chad and Joel.


Joel Cheesman: Oh, you're very, very welcome. Very welcome.


Chad Sowash: So cool.


Joel Cheesman: Very jovial guy, very jovial, very nice guy. So, Achu, before we get into the business, let's introduce our listeners to you in our Twitter bio. Go.


Achu Ravi: I'm Achu, born and raised in southern part of India, a place called as Chennai. An engineer turned into a recruiter now a founder. Yeah, I know I Love playing cricket.


Joel Cheesman: Chad loves cricket.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: Can't get enough of it.


Chad Sowash: Fuckin hate cricket. Jesus. How many days do I need to be at a sport for God's sakes? [laughter]


Achu Ravi: You should try the T20, Chad.


Chad Sowash: Oh yeah.


Joel Cheesman: What's the T20? I don't know. And I'm sure most know.


Chad Sowash: It's where they cut it down considerably to three hours. Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: And it's called the T20? And it's three hours? Why not the T3?


Achu Ravi: Yeah, it's T, Twenty20. Each side gets 20 overs to play. It's lot of fun. You can see a lot of swings. But yeah, no, it's fun for sure. Apart from that huge fan of photography, was a documentary photographer and, yeah, that's about me.


Chad Sowash: So long walks on the beaches of southern India. That's what I'm hearing.


Achu Ravi: As well as the streets. [chuckle]


Joel Cheesman: A simple man who loves crickets. Okay, Chad, let him know what he's won today on the Firing Squad.


Chad Sowash: Well, Achu, this is how Firing Squad's gonna play out. At the sound of the bell you will have two minutes to pitch Kula. At the end of the two minutes, we're going to hit you up with about 20 minutes of Q&A be sure to be concise or you're gonna get hit with the crickets, means tighten your game up. At the end of Q&A you are going to receive one of these from both of us. Number one, big applause. The only thing Kula is Don Shula, nobody can beat an undefeated season, but we predict one hell of a winning season from Kula.


[laughter]


Chad Sowash: Golf clap.


Joel Cheesman: Does Achu even know who Don Shula is?


Chad Sowash: I don't care.


Joel Cheesman: Don't care.


Chad Sowash: This is my show.


Joel Cheesman: Okay, okay.


Chad Sowash: Golf clap. Kula made the team, but you're gonna have to work harder if you wanna start in this industry. And last but not least, the Firing Squad. Kula can't hold Don Shula's jock strap. Hang it up because the practice squad doesn't even want you around. That's Firing Squad. Are you ready?


Achu Ravi: I'm ready.


Joel Cheesman: All right. Achu, pitch Kula in three, two.


Achu Ravi: Wonderful. So, Kula is a platform which helps recruiters to build effective top funnel by increasing their response rates. So I know it's mouthful but so what we really do is over the course of years, the top funnel building efforts have completely changed in the recruiting process. In early 2000s, most of the employers will typically build their funnel using Job Bots. That is going to Job Bots, posting jobs, newspapers to drive traffic and get those applicants for a particular job. But over the course of years things have changed. We have very little, today, if you look at it, we have very little contribution from the inbound channel. Most of the hiring is happening vie referrals or passive outbound recruiting. The era of recruiting is becoming more social and more passive, thereby the tools today are not really efficient to drive the adoption of such use cases. So what we do at Kula is we really solve for outbound recruiting workflows for a recruiter to increase their response rates, which will in turn reduce the time to hire, as well as generate better yield for a recruiter.


Achu Ravi: So we have two modules. One is called as Kula Flows, which will amplify your response rates by automating your engagement across multiple platforms. We are the only platform today, which helps you reach out via LinkedIn, email, connection request, WhatsApp text, and bunch of other channels. So it's a true multi-channel engagement platform so that you can automate your reach outs to candidates across different touchpoints. We also have another module called as the Kula Circles, which helps you increase the adoption of referrals within the company. Today, referrals is a very push driven product where a job gets created, a recruiter does some sort of a campaign internally called as hot jobs. You give them free iPhone, free iPad, but everyone is busy, is doing their own chores. They don't have time to go through their network and refer. So we built a module called as Circles, which helps you bring all your employees network in one centralized place.


Joel Cheesman: All right, Achu, your two minutes are up. Let's get to the Q&A. Let's talk about the name. Okay. Kula.ai... Kula.com, and that's K-U-L-A, kula.com is parked. Did you try to buy it? Are you currently trying to buy it? Talk about the genesis of the name and why you didn't get the dot com. And I still have a few name questions after that.


Achu Ravi: Sure. Kula means community in Sanskrit. So the thesis of building Kula is... I was a recruiter throughout my career and I wanna build this product for recruiters. So we wanna build a very strong community, which will help build a great product for recruiting use cases. So, hence the name of... Hence the name Kula formed. We tried for kula.com, of course, to rank better to search in research results. But there is another player who is a biotech company, which is using kula.com. But technically, we are... We wanna implement a lot of new technology stacks to help empower recruiters to do their job better. And the closest to us where the AI because we are implementing a lot of AI in terms of the Kula Flows module as well as Kula Circles.


Joel Cheesman: Okay. All right. So also misspellings of Kula, K-O-O-L-A and C-O-O-L-A.ai are still for sale. Why have you not obtained those, secured those domains?


Achu Ravi: We, again, we wanna stand by to the name, which translates to community.


Joel Cheesman: The right answer is, we haven't gotten to it yet. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Joel. We'll do that immediately. All right, let's get to the copyright on your footer, which is still 2022. When you gonna update it to 2023?


Achu Ravi: Pretty soon.


Chad Sowash: In five minutes.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: All right. Real quick birth of the idea, you were a recruiter with Stripe, Uber, Freshworks, deep experience there. How did that drive to this company?


Achu Ravi: Yeah, the inception of Kula started during my time at Stripe. We were growing pretty aggressively in terms of headcounts and one of the gaps where the existing tools in the market were predominantly built for organization workflows, like a system of record, like ATS and whatnot. So what that really means is, as a recruiter, when I identify a candidate, I can only manage certain part of workflows inside a particular tool that is scheduling interviews, taking feedback, making an offer, and moving them down the funnel, and not many tools were available in the market to build effective top funnel. That is, how do I discover a candidate? How do I engage with them to generate better response rates? I ended up building a small hacky solution on Airtable which got adopted internally at Stripe and there was a lot of success. So I thought instead of building internally, I'll just go for the entire community of recruiters. That's how the inception of Kula started.


Chad Sowash: You talk about recruiting being broken. No shit, right? We know that. Where specifically is it broken that you're trying to fix it?


Achu Ravi: Two areas, Chad. First and foremost, on the passive outbound recruiting site, identifying or discovering a candidate is not a challenge anymore. We have a lot of sites where we can just throw in a keyword and we can find thousand individuals. The main challenge is, how do I get in touch with them and how do I convert them? So there are also a lot of tools which helps you identify the email addresses or contact information about the particular individual to get in touch. There are also a bunch of automation tools to help you drive that, but the main challenge is content plays a very important role in terms of driving response rates. And let's be honest, not many recruiters are really good at crafting a beautifully content cold email.


Achu Ravi: So we wanna couple a bunch of things which will empower recruiters to do their job better. One, what are the things which will generate better response rate, better content creation, better source of channels. Today an automation can happen via an email, but email as a channel has been missed. Let's say a engineer might not be hanging on emails, but they might be more active on the email, which they recently committed a code on. And so how do we help recruiters to reach out to the right channel for a specific persona, is where it is currently broken, which involves a lot of manpower, time, manual effort. So we really wanna fix the whole, I would say response rate generation engine. And that's one area which we are focusing. And another area is mostly on the referral side of things...


Joel Cheesman: Okay.


Achu Ravi: Where people are not really able to generate better referrals because everyone is busy doing their own jobs. There is no time for them to go through their network and refer. So we help you build visibility of your entire internal employees network. So that you can mine their talent pool, identify them, ask for a warm introduction, rather than you passively reaching out which will increase your response rates. Let's say if I wanna get in touch with Joel, probably I'll reach out to you, Chad, if you are friends, I believe you are friends. [laughter] So, you might be able to put me in touch with Joel, versus me cold reach out to Joel. So taking a warm network connection to get in touch with Joel is primarily what we are trying to build.


Chad Sowash: So you are focusing on obviously being able to get passive candidates in, but also the referral side of the house. Why are you wasting your time on the referral side? I mean, we've seen so many platforms, who've tried to do what you are doing right now, fail, fail dramatically, crash and burn. So the question is, why are you wasting your time on something that we just haven't figured out as of yet without being more of a truly engaging model. 'Cause this is literally just throwing out messages to people that you hope respond.


Achu Ravi: I sort of see that as an opportunity, Chad, where of course there are a lot of tools which try to solve referral related challenges. If I wanna break down, there are 2-3 high priority challenges in terms of referrals. One, visibility to your employees on what is happening with the candidates who they are referred. Number two, recruiter's not able to churn a lot of leads via referrals. Where there are a bunch of tools which really helped you mine networks and whatnot. There is a lot of friction in terms of importing connections and making that referral flow better.


Chad Sowash: Right, so do you make it easy for everybody to import? How long does it actually take for me to import all of my connections from LinkedIn into your system? I have to go do the whole spreadsheet download and then we've gotta upload it back into yours. How does it work?


Achu Ravi: No, not at all. It takes less than 10 seconds to import your contact from LinkedIn to Kula. So there are a lot of adoption related challenges in the previous platforms. One, how easy is it to import contacts? Number two, lot of friction around who gets the first touchpoint and how do I make an introduction? The channel for introduction was a big touch point failure. Number three, integrating with your existing systems. That is an ATS. Number four, visibility. It was also a challenge with those systems. So we covered all of those pieces and we still believe that that's a very untapped market and we want to penetrate heavily into particular example.


Chad Sowash: Okay. So you talk about integrations. Who are you currently integrated with?


Achu Ravi: We integrate with Greenhouse, Lever, Teamtailor and bunch of other top ATSs in the market.


Joel Cheesman: That's a little bit gray, Chad, and a bunch of others. Very subjective.


Chad Sowash: Top ATSs.


Joel Cheesman: Any others you wanna name?


Achu Ravi: Yeah, we integrate with roughly around 12 different ATSs, Workday and Workable.


Chad Sowash: So when you say integration, does that mean that, are you actually white labeling inside the applicant tracking system so that you can work inside of the applicant tracking system? Or is a recruiter going to have to use your platform and the ATS at the same time? They're gonna have yours in a tab, theirs in a tab and having to flip back and forth?


Achu Ravi: Yeah, it's the later, you don't need to have two different tabs. It's a bidirectionally synced platform. So any changes you make on Kula will reflect it on ATS. Currently inside Kula, we only look after your top funnel building efforts. We don't look at mid funnel. That is scheduling interviews, taking scorecards, bottom funnel that is making an offer, moving, onboarding them. We don't look at all of those functionalities, we only look after top-funnel efforts.


Chad Sowash: So you're trying to be the dashboard for recruiters?


Achu Ravi: That is correct. Like a single source of truth for all things top-funnel efforts.


Joel Cheesman: Wanna get back to the referral business, just so I'm clear on this, 'cause you've got downloads and LinkedIn, and so, does it work in a way that, I'm a recruiter at a company, I know who is employed at my company and then I know on LinkedIn who's the first degree of all my employees, and then I can have them write a note to outreach about a job or do I... You're shaking your head. So that's how it works. So, what exactly are you uploading in 10 seconds?


Achu Ravi: Sure. So I'll probably go a little bit more deeper on that. Every single employee within the company will get onboarded onto Kula Circles module where it's a one-touch click to import their connections from different channels that could be LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and whatnot. Imagine that we are a team of 10, and we all have thousand degree, thousand connections each. Cumulatively, we build at 10,000 people of internal talent network, which will be exposed to your recruiting organization so that I as a recruiter inside the company will now have access to these 10,000 people.


Joel Cheesman: Okay.


Achu Ravi: Discover them, filter them with the kind of roles that you are hiring for that could be multiple filters, company filter, title, whatnot.


Joel Cheesman: So, I join the company, and they say, "Go to Kula, click this button, download your LinkedIn contacts, your GitHub, etcetera." They load into the system and then on your dashboard, hey, these are, this is a first degree to Chad. I'm gonna reach out to them and say, "Hey, I know you know Chad at our company, I know he's a dick, but you won't have to work with him, that kind of thing." That's how it works?


Achu Ravi: No. The later part is quite different.


[laughter]


Achu Ravi: But you identified Chad, you identify Joel and I see that Chad is connected to Joel. Rather than me reaching out, I can ask, request Chad to reach out on behalf of the company. You can do all of those things on the platform.


Joel Cheesman: That's manual on Chad. You give him a template or here's what you need to say, but it's essentially Chad writing the note and not an automated thing.


Achu Ravi: That is correct.


Joel Cheesman: Okay, into his...


Chad Sowash: Can I import the ATS database into mine, because those are people I've already paid for.


Achu Ravi: That is correct. We also integrate with ATS so that we can also look at all the past applications and we can also connect them to the network. So what we are trying to do here is creating a network layer within the organization, because generally referrals tend to perform better and stay longer with the company and you will have a lot more context about the individual who you're referring to.


Joel Cheesman: Is there, so you've built the communication system. Is there a reward system? 'cause most referral solutions have, "Hey, get an Applebee's gift card or get cash or whatever." Like how does that fit in to the solution or does it?


Achu Ravi: Great question. Currently, we don't have a reward in play, Joel, but we have the reporting which talks about number of hires which an individual has made, number of introductions they've made and whatnot. We are currently in the process of integrating with certain vendors to help support the gift card mechanisms and other reward programs within the platform. That's our V2 of the product. What we are currently focusing on is, "Okay, hey, does this really increase adoption? Can you see value and what's the reward which you generally offer because it's unique to the company, right?" Certain companies don't have any reward programs for referrals, certain company does. How do we look at that? So...


Joel Cheesman: How much, it sounds like you rely a lot on LinkedIn and GitHub and some other, what's, how much of a threat is it that they turn this off or change the API to get contacts and I mean they've made it harder over the years. Is that a real threat or no?


Achu Ravi: Oh no. We don't do anything outside of their terms of use. All we do is pull a public URL and we hit our data vendors to enrich data information. We don't scrape any information. We get a consent from the user.


Joel Cheesman: So I have a LinkedIn account, I go in and say, "Hey, give me all my contacts."


Achu Ravi: Mm-hmm. It's like a takeout.


Joel Cheesman: So my question is, if LinkedIn either restricts certain portions of information, email address, phone number, whatever, is that a threat to the business or no?


Achu Ravi: No, we don't require all of those because we work with, all we need is a Google public URL. Let's say if I search Joel...


Joel Cheesman: Well, you need my contacts, email addresses, right?


Achu Ravi: No, I don't need your... I just need your LinkedIn URL. That's pretty much it. And we have a data engineering team which will work with different data vendors to enrich that information back to you.


Joel Cheesman: But you're not scraping LinkedIn?


Achu Ravi: No, we only pull the public URLs of an individual via Google X research.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: You figured it out, my friend. You figured it out. Why not use SeekOut, Hiretual, some of the other solutions or candidate ID or some other competitors?


Chad Sowash: HireEZ.


Achu Ravi: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: Oh, did I say Hiretual? Damn it. It redirects though. It redirects.


Achu Ravi: What we do is with Hiretual or hireEZ for that matter, we compete with them in other flows module where we build the sequencing layer to reach out to candidates more efficiently and also discover within the platform. So we don't have the discovery piece built in because we believe that the existing investment on LinkedIn is already being made and the datasets on LinkedIn is much more accurate. So, what if we really help empower recruiters is to get in touch with them faster and close the loop rather than building a discovery platform right on the tool. That's the only differentiator. We only focus on the sequencing layer like Gem for our flows module, hireEZ does not have anything related to Circles or the referral engine so far.


Chad Sowash: So can recruiters actually use your platform to amplify everything that they're doing to their entire social network? Or is this just a direct, connection? Only.


Achu Ravi: You mean in terms of reaching out to candidates?


Chad Sowash: Yeah. If I wanna post in my feed that I have something going on or what have you, and I wanna do that to my entire network and then I wanna reach out individually. Can I do both?


Achu Ravi: No. It's just individually.


Chad Sowash: Individual. Okay. So, and this is the next piece. First and foremost, it'd be nice if you could actually just broadcast, to my entire network, first and foremost, and then be able to reach out. Because being able to, again, if you know advertising and know marketing, which is exactly what this is, it's messaging, it's awareness. You need more than one just message to get in front of them, in many cases to be able to get a reaction. Taking a look at your social, you know, being able to even do that with your own platform, I mean, on Twitter you have little to no activity. Why aren't you using the platform to drive content awareness, engagements, Instagram, nothing there. LinkedIn, you're more active, but you haven't posted in two weeks. You know, if I am a buyer, I'm gonna be going out and looking at those signals. And if you're not using your engagement platform, your lead platform to drive your own leads, I'm not gonna have anything to do with you.


Achu Ravi: Yep. No, great, great points, Chad. I think first and foremost...


Joel Cheesman: Shouldn't even have an Instagram account. There's nothing on it. Get rid of it. It's embarrassing.


Achu Ravi: Yeah, so...


Joel Cheesman: It's embarrassing.


Achu Ravi: Let's be honest, right? You know, our top priority today...


Chad Sowash: We are.


Achu Ravi: Our top priority today is making sure that we build right products and solutions to take it to market. We are still, we haven't gone GA yet. We are still testing with our existing very limited users. So we are primarily focusing on LinkedIn as a channel because that's where we believe our ICPs are hanging out. I don't think recruiters will go onto Instagram and look for cool products. So, you know, if you want to take a meme approach or a, you know, do some reels, yes, maybe, that's the part which you would like to take but currently given the team size, which we have, and given the investment which we are looking to make in the product, we just wanna channelize our efforts in the right direction to make the needle move.


Joel Cheesman: So when you go update your copyright date at the footer, take out the Instagram link and whatever the hell else is there, unless you're using it, 'cause it's a waste of space.


Chad Sowash: And again, it's all about retooling your platform to be able to be a real messaging platform, a real messaging platform that only does point-to-point isn't, it's not good enough. Right? I need, I need a much more broad-based scaled amplification that's there. Let's talk about competition, which you did talk about. So hireEZ and SeekOut, their AI both have about 7-10 years of lead on your platform. They've been collecting data, crunching data, training AI for a very, very long time. So how do you, how do you expect to compete with those types of organizations?


Achu Ravi: So, a couple of things which I would like to call out. One, in terms of the data which we collect, it's mostly around information on network layers. That is what's the degree, closest degree of connection with Chad and Joel? Let's say for example, if the AI, which let's say for example, hireEZ or other competitors have built, is mostly around search index. Show me all the relevant people who might be a good fit for this particular role based on certain parameters. What we do is a little bit more deeper in terms of understanding network connections because we don't do a... Build a discovery platforms. That's not our game. So we use AI in twofolds, one, content generation in terms of creation of flows, which will generate you better response rates. So recruiters struggle today to write better content, to generate better response rates.


Chad Sowash: They have ChatGPT, now I can go do that free, why do I need you?


Achu Ravi: It's not just content you are generating, but you can also look at content parameters across different channels. What kind of content which will work in LinkedIn, what kind of content will work in email based on certain parameters, which you give us input. Right? So that's number one. Number two, the network layer is significantly important because if I know who's the closest net person who is connected to this individual within my company, there are higher degree chances for me to get in touch with that particular person rather than me just shooting an... Spraying and playing an email. Right? So we only focus on these two AI layers. We don't compete really on the discovery module yet, and we are not intending to go into that particular direction. We really wanna focus mostly on communication, engagement, set of things that is better content, better way of type of sequences of messages will go out and whatnot. That's our core focus. We are not really focusing on discovery piece.


Joel Cheesman: Gotcha. Let's talk about money for a second. You guys have raised 14.7 million according to CrunchBase in 12 or in August of last year, you raised $12 million. What's the money going toward? Global expansion? What's customer look like, sales, etcetera, talk about what the money's being spent on.


Achu Ravi: Sure. So far we have raised two rounds, cumulatively put together we have raised roughly around $15 million. So we are a small team, small, but biting team. Most of our efforts currently is going on R&D. The money will be used to build better functionalities to serve our customers. As I told earlier, we just went live a quarter ago and we are north of around 30-plus customers. All of them are paid customers. We don't have any freemium users or anyone from day one we have been getting only paid customers. Roughly our focus for 2023 is going to be more investment in product, and go-to-market teams. You spoke about not much of activity on Instagram, LinkedIn and whatnot. I think we are gonna invest heavily on our content marketing engine to help drive the traffic. So that's primarily where we are chasing that. But currently we are just full heads down focusing on product and building, right? Just to support our users.


Joel Cheesman: We talked about no freemiums. I tried to look up pricing. You made me fill out a form, tell you what integrations I have, and then I probably get a call from a salesperson and then I have to do a demo and all that other bullshit. So...


Chad Sowash: Yes.


Joel Cheesman: What does this cost? Why the hoops to get pricing? Why not be more transparent, make it easier on me. Talk about that.


Achu Ravi: As I mentioned earlier, we just went live last quarter. We are still figuring out what does an exact good pricing means for us. So what we are currently doing is purely based on what the customer requires, we custom-price for each of our customers. We don't have a standard sticker price yet. So the pricing is a big experimentation work because there are a lot of parameters which we need to be considerate about. So in July we are going live with freemium and as well as pricing page. So hopefully that should be resolved in the next two months, Joel, when you visit our website next, you should, you can be able to skim through all this loops and you'll be able to play around the product in the next couple of months.


Joel Cheesman: Yeah. I'm also gonna follow you on Instagram. If I don't start getting some posts, you're gonna hear about it. Okay. You're gonna hear about it.


Achu Ravi: Yeah please do. Keep us checked.


Joel Cheesman: All right. That is the bell. Achu are you ready to face the Firing Squad?


Achu Ravi: Please. Go ahead.


Joel Cheesman: Chad, would you like to go first?


Chad Sowash: Sure. So Achu, Buy or Sell in September of last year. Kula was there, you guys came out with a Kula video it was, well done, incredibly well done. It got, got me, got me excited to see what the brand was gonna hold. One thing that I gotta say though is, you know, having some big names in the market, like hireEZ who has over 45 million in funding, SeekOut 188-plus million in funding, Findem close to 40 million in funding. Those names, their successes and funding does provide great validation, market validation for a segment like Kula, right? And no doubt recruiters are in desperate need of tech that will help them scale through automation. We need to get rid of the admin tasks so that recruiters can take time back and give candidates the white glove service that they all deserve.


Chad Sowash: I did reach out to three Kula competitors and asked them what they thought of you guys, and they all responded like clockwork with who are they? Can you send me a link to their site. That's saying something, right? And we were talking about the social presence and whatnot. There's literally no market presence and awareness other than that really cool video that I talked about, which came out last September. Okay? Now on the other side of the equation, if I were a buyer and I talked about this before and I saw a vendor like you that was talking about engagement, awareness, activity, brand building, those types of things, I would want to see you demonstrating that first. If you can't demonstrate that first for me, as you being the first client, I don't wanna have anything to do with you. You're not even gonna make it on my RFP list, right? And OpenAI, when we start talking about content creation is going to change your narrative and probably your tech stack because content creation's gonna become a commodity very, very soon. Then we look at referrals. Referrals are more than just having a bunch of names and outreach, right? If that would've been the case, then guess what? We would've had this figured out over a decade ago.


Joel Cheesman: Jobster.


Chad Sowash: Easily. Back in H three days, right? We would've had this figured, but it's more than that. So the thing, what I'm trying to help you understand here is that you are focusing personally, my opinion, in many different areas that you should just ditch. You should focus on helping companies surface the great candidates and reengage the great candidates they've already bought in their applicant tracking systems. These are things that actually make really good business sense, right? Now with all of this because of market validation, because I see where you're going and there are some great companies that are out there as well, there is some space in this market for Kula. I don't think that will be a problem. Gonna need, probably need a little bit more funding and a hell of a lot more market awareness, right? And at that point, I'm gonna, this is a wing and a prayer my friend. I think you're gonna make, you're gonna be on the bench, but you're gonna get a golf clap. I don't think you're a starter just yet, but I think you got a chance, my friend.


Joel Cheesman: You're halfway there living on a prayer is what Chad is saying.


[laughter]


S5: It needs to be about 20% cooler.


Joel Cheesman: All right, Achu, I'm gonna echo a lot of Chad's sentiment, particularly on focus. I mean, you guys are all over the place. Like domain names need to be registered, that'll redirect to misspellings, your copyright date, there's literally no posting on Instagram. And you guys have a link to your Instagram like focus...


Chad Sowash: Just the basics.


Joel Cheesman: Get rid of all the fat, the exterior stuff, like focus on what you guys do. We didn't even talk about your analytics product, which is in there. So I don't know, you know, only you know about what are people wanting? Is this referral thing a customer driven or is this like we just had a cool idea to do it 'cause there are companies that do referrals that do it a lot better can you find a way to integrate those solutions into yours where you're using Bonusly or whoever, plug that into our stuff.


Joel Cheesman: I love your background, time at Uber recruiting, time at Stripe. These are serious companies that did some serious recruiting. So I gotta think you learned a thing or two in that time period. The fact that you actually made a product that Stripe was using internally, I think is great. Chad mentioned more money. I'm kind of surprised that you're not further along with almost $15 million in terms of brand awareness. The fact that your competitors don't know who you are. Like that money needs to go to some brand awareness and who the hell are you guys? And so I think that needs to be focused. Maybe you need more money, but I think with 15 you should be able to do a lot of these things that smaller companies can do that you guys aren't doing. So I'd love to see more focus. The product wise we mentioned SeekOut, we mentioned, hireEZ and some others, I agree they're further along, but there are things that you guys do that they don't.


Joel Cheesman: For example, hireEZ only does email outreach, which something we learned at Unleashed last week. The fact that you guys have integrated text messaging, WhatsApp and all those other messaging platforms is a good thing. So I think there are things you guys are doing right on the tech side, you're failing miserably from a marketing, brand awareness, go-to-market perspective, I think that can be fixed. I as well, wing and a prayer is a good one. I'm gonna, like, I sold you guys when we first reviewed you. If not for your experience, some of the tech and some of the things that you're doing focus, get brand awareness, and I think that you've probably got something that can make it. But no way, you're getting an applause, but I'm not ready to shoot you down yet. This also for me gets a golf clap.


Chad Sowash: On your way.


Joel Cheesman: Gets a golf clap.


Chad Sowash: You can possibly get off the bench, Achu. You just gotta work hard my friend.


Joel Cheesman: I wanna think of a cricket metaphor, but I have no idea of anything about Cricket. So get your googly or whatever it is together, wicked googly and fix this shit. And you'll be all right. Other than that, how do you feel?


Achu Ravi: I'm feeling great. Thanks. Thanks for this comments of course. You know, we've been live in the market for the last... We started building 16 months ago. A lot of efforts have just been focused as just been more on building product...


Joel Cheesman: I just asked you how you felt, not try to save your rating. So you're feeling good's? All right? Okay. For our listeners that wanna know more about Kula, where would you send them?


Achu Ravi: Kula.ai, @Kula Twitter, follow us on LinkedIn.


Chad Sowash: Follow them on LinkedIn. That's about the only presence they have right now until they blow all those others up.


Joel Cheesman: That's right. He's got a black eye and a bloody nose, but he did survive the Firing Squad, Chad. And with that another one in the can, we out?


Chad Sowash: We out.


S6: Wow. Look at you. You made it through an entire episode of The Chad and Cheese podcast. Or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell. Enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey. Or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back like an awful train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.




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