Pala is an award-winning entrepreneur who has founded three tech companies, growing one to 250+ people and leading another to an exit that generated a 16x return. He serves on three boards for startup and growth-stage eCommerce, market research, and analytics companies. Pala has expertise in business strategy, financial models, marketing and customer analytics, pitch decks, and product and pricing strategies.
Worked with the CEO to review and revise sales compensation structure, optimizing the sales commissions to focus on gross margins ensuring that the sales team delivered profitable growth.
Built a five-year financial forecast, analyzing churn and revenue attributable to new and returning customers, to uncover opportunities to drive sustainable 15% revenue growth per annum.
Advised the company on a new DIY market research product to expand business amongst price sensitive customers while protecting margins on full service product lines. The new product is expected to contribute about 15% of the total revenues by 2022.
Built forecasting models with the founders to project product revenues and expenses that improved visibility and reduced cash burn.
Developed financial review mechanisms, tying projections from the forecasting models with actual reports from the Xero accounting platform.
Performed quarterly financial reviews and cash burn analysis. Identified opportunities to control burn and ensured the company was financially sound through subsequent funding.
Participated in product pricing discussions and built what-if scenario analysis for various price points to identify optimal pricing for the product variants.
Involved in the buy-side due diligence process and conducted due diligence interviews aiding in investment decisions.
Focus areas: Due Diligence, Profitability Analysis, Fundraising, Forecasting, Financial Overviews
Advisor and Consultant
2016 - PRESENT
Created annual budgets and review mechanisms for an offshore development facility based in India. Effectively implemented the financial plan to generate over 40% EBITDA margins.
Developed forecasting models for service revenues, workforce costs, overhead, and sales expenses. Worked with the senior management team to implement the decisions that were supported by the financial model.
Offered consulting services in the areas of pricing, product, financial, and growth strategies.
Built models and strategies to track and manage critical value drivers for the services business, including average revenue per employee (ARPE) and the average cost per employee (ACPE).
Developed pricing strategies and converted ad-hoc project engagements to long-term services contracts.
Led fundraising discussions with prominent venture capital firms including Battery Ventures, Norwest Partners, Inventus Capital, and Sequoia Capital. Negotiated a term sheet with Battery Ventures.
Focus areas: Consulting, Strategy, Pricing, Market Research & Analysis
2013 - PRESENT
Stone Meadow Enterprises
Analyzed and led investments in residential real estate such as apartment blocks and condominiums.
Analyzed and led investments in commercial real estates such as retail centers.
Analyzed and led investments in recreational properties such as campground resorts.
Developed business plan and raised investments for construction of a resort in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
Created 3.2X returns on equity on a $2.3M investment property over a period of 4 years.
Focus areas: Discounted Cash Flow (DCF), IRR, NPV Calculation, Return on Invested Capital (ROIC), Value Investing, Deal Analysis, Investment Analysis, Investing
2020 - 2021
BizMiner Research Guides
Analyzed the market, competition, and arrived at a product pricing matrix.
Analyzed existing product offering and pricing and identified opportunities for consolidating the products and simplifying the pricing options.
Developed a pricing strategy and a pricing model in conjunction with the overall product strategy to improve revenue and profitability.
Built cohort retention models, analyzing retention across cohorts, and linking user activities to identify predictors of churn and revenue leakage.
Correlated Net Promoter Score surveys with support activity, determining the correlation of the two with churn and revenue growth. Identified opportunities for churn control and worked with the product team to deliver improved retention.
Performed revenue analysis and calculated the customer lifetime value, annual revenue per user, and average lifetime value by customer tier.
Focus areas: BI Reporting, Dashboards, Metrics, User Research, Client Retention, Business Intelligence (BI), Revenue Analysis, Revenue Leakage
Founder and CEO
2014 - 2016
Created the bootstrap budget for early-stage product development and market validation. Successfully developed the minimum viable product (MVP) on time and on budget.
Developed the financial model and investor presentations for external fundraising. Led the fundraising discussions with two private investors and three venture capital firms; successfully secured private angel funding.
Developed revenue models and identified several monetization channels to generate revenue via clicks, insights, and partners.
Performed customer acquisition cost (CAC) and lifetime value analysis (LTV) for mobile users. Actively monitored daily and monthly average user metrics to assess growth and engagement.
Built user analytics and shopper insights reports for prospective clients tracking mobile-influenced shopping trends.
As an emerging player in the Market Research Industry, leverage the growth of smartphones in its early stages to expand into Fortune 500 accounts.
Prioritized projects and product development, balancing group and divisional objectives. Negotiated with peer corporate leaders to ensure that the mobile research division achieved maximum growth by leveraging shared resources including corporate sales teams and by cross-selling to other divisional clients.
Reviewed monthly geographic and product P&Ls, and implemented cost control mechanisms including reducing member acquisition costs.
Managed a $2.0 million expense budget and $1.5 million capital budget for the division, achieving profit margins of 15%.
Built and managed business against key performance indicators including user acquisition costs, lifetime value, and retention. Prepared monthly reports for the President and the Board of Directors.
Handled vendors, worked with group sales teams, and participated in proposals for prestigious clients such as Facebook, Google, and Nielsen.
Pioneered a mobile survey platform in the early stages of the smartphone era and acquired prestigious clients including P&G, General Mills, Philips, 3M, Best Buy, Bass Pro Shops, and Sanofi.
Built the company to $100,000 in revenues within 12 months of product launch and was on track for over $800,000 in revenue in the second year of operations.
Negotiated with two industry leaders and successfully led the sale of iPinion to e-Rewards, achieving a 16x return for investors in two years.
Led sell-side due diligence, including negotiating contracts and deal terms; developing earnout models; and creating the finance, product, legal, human resource, and sales documents requested by the buyer.
Developed business plans based on extensive market research, competition analysis and early-stage budget for product development, validation, launch, and marketing.
Prepared investor presentations and led fundraising discussions with multiple angel investors and venture capitalists; negotiated term sheet with TechColumbus.
Established Indian-based IT services delivery operations and scaled to 250+ person team in nine years, servicing clients in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Built delivery teams across IT, analytics, and market research.
Built the organization, establishing the reporting structure as well as recruitment and training processes to support growth that ranged from 56% to 130% per annum for several years. Received Hewitt's Best Employer Award in 2006.
Led the company in the attainment of process and quality certifications, including ISO 9001, ISO 27001, CMM Level 4, all of which assisted with client acquisition.
Grew revenue to $5 million in IT and analytics services, putting the company among the fastest growing technology companies in India and Asia.
Established subsidiaries in Germany, Sweden, and the United States to support global client growth and client servicing.
Oversaw profitability and growth, and developed mechanisms to review and manage key profitability drivers including average revenue and cost per resource.
Focus areas: Profit & Loss (P&L), Data Analytics, Organization Building, Business Strategy, Tech Sales, Practice Management
The Power of Choice: Bootstrapping vs. Venture Capital (Publication)
As a founder, how should you decide how to fund your start up and think about bootstrapping vs. venture capital? Each comes with advantages and limitations. A framework can help compare the two and decide how to get funding for a startup.
Post Graduate Diploma in General Management and Financial Management
2004 - 2006
Indian Institute of Management - Indore, India
Bachelor's degree in Engineering
1992 - 1996
Government College of Technology - Coimbatore, India
Data Science and Big Data Analytics: Making Data-Driven Decisions