Sean Bhardwaj, Product Manager in Camarillo, CA, United States
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Sean Bhardwaj

Verified Expert  in Product Management

Product Manager

Camarillo, CA, United States
Toptal Member Since
July 12, 2019

Sean is a product strategist with 10+ years of experience building and leading cross-functional teams to deliver high-performing solutions that solve complex challenges, delight customers, and grow revenues. He leverages his expertise in design thinking to successfully create products and services for consumers, business, education, government, and nonprofit markets across a wide range of industries in organizations from startup to enterprise.

Project Highlights

Digital Learning Platform
Led the conception, design, development, and deployment of a digital learning platform to develop early-stage entrepreneurs
Revenue Model Restructuring
Innovated on product processes and restructured revenue models increasing the customer base by 40% and retention by 50%.
Digital Strategy for Lead Generation
Led the development of high performing digital strategy, web platform, and internal sales process increasing qualified leads.


Work Experience

Founder, Product and Strategy

2012 - 2020
Aspire 3
  • Led strategic planning processes to create long-term roadmaps for overall business and product strategy for organizations from startup to enterprise. Set product vision with ownership of end-to-end solution design, product roadmap, and go-to-market strategy.
  • Led product management functions from ideation through launch to deliver internal and external digital products and services for business (B2B), the consumer (B2C), and education (B2E) markets.
  • Developed market research plans and conducted deep-dive market analysis employing multiple primary and secondary research methodologies to uncover insights on consumer trends, competitive landscape assessments, and product-market fit.
  • Utilized Agile methodologies to gather requirements, create documentation, prioritize features, groom backlogs, oversee all product development stages, and lead training and change management to ensure efficient rollouts while negotiating tight timeframes in rapidly changing environments.
  • Focused teams towards user experience and voice of the customer through customer journeys, design thinking, and human-centered design, to create solutions with high customer engagement, satisfaction, and sharing.
  • Established a culture of data-driven decision-making by defining relevant metrics (KPIs, OKRs) and set processes to collect, analyze, and act on business intelligence data.
  • Built, managed, coached, and scaled cross-functional, remote, multi-generational and inter-organization teams from the first hire to 10+.
  • Led projects and programs with multiple teams, timelines, and dependencies to completion on time and budget through effective prioritization of activities based on strategic goals and ROI.
  • Managed and grew seven-figure P&Ls, increased revenue and profitability of key business lines within lean budgets by identifying opportunities for cost efficiencies and workflow optimization.
  • Delivered actionable reports and presentations praised for clearly communicating business, product, and market insights to Board and C-level Leadership to guide strategic decision making on business growth, product innovation, expansion strategy, and marketing.
  • Designed and led critical presentations and coached executives to successfully deliver them to investors and clients securing investment and new business valued at eight-figures.
  • Cultivated key stakeholder and client relationships, acting as an advisor, building strategic partnerships and developing joint venture opportunities.
  • Defined brand strategy, developed marketing and communications plans by translating market research and analysis into messaging objectives, and guided creative teams in implementing strategies to maximize brand profitability and lead generation.

Founding Partner

2017 - 2019
Pharos Center for Innovation
  • Headed cross-sector strategic planning efforts and set the vision for a collaborative, regional effort to promote workforce and economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • Initiated and advised on entrepreneurship, startup acceleration, and incubation programs at the local, regional, and statewide levels.
  • Created strategic roadmaps and secured resources for new program development with partner organizations by reducing redundant efforts, streamlining processes and re-prioritizing budgets.
  • Guided development strategy and outreach to successfully recruit 100+ strategic partners for a network of supporting resources for startups, businesses, and nonprofits reaching 800+ entrepreneurs within the first year.
  • Led the mentoring program in the areas of business, product, marketing, and fundraising strategy leading to over $1.5 million of new business and $2.2 million raised by associated companies.

Executive Director

2013 - 2017
Ventura Ventures Technology Center
  • Developed an early stage technology startup incubator and accelerator through a public-private partnership with the City Economic Development Office.
  • Created stakeholder engagement to create a startup ecosystem and culture of entrepreneurship in the region to attract, develop and retain startups, entrepreneurs, and tech talent.
  • Defined growth strategy for the incubator leading to an increase in membership and community engagement by 15x.
  • Designed and built a digital platform to develop early-stage entrepreneurs and startups from idea through product development and launch leading to the creation of 40+ new companies.
  • Built collaborative relationships with local educational institutions to embed entrepreneurship and STEM training within classrooms, training over 5,000 student entrepreneurs to date.

Lead Strategy Consultant

2011 - 2014
SB & Associates
  • Oversaw client engagement, led all major accounts through the sales cycle and managed a group of consultants developing marketing and product strategy for early-stage startups.
  • Presented business plans and pitched startups and products to investors and potential strategic partners leading to investment.
  • Established data-driven, agile product development by identifying KPIs and setting processes for collecting, analyzing, and acting on data.
  • Increased users 5x and daily active users 10x for web app products by identifying and developing engaging features, creating a project evangelist program, and conversion rate optimization.

Product Manager: Consumer & International Divisions

2009 - 2011
  • Led $6 million personal-safety product consumer business unit to record sales.
  • Improved profitability 20% by redesigning distribution structure.
  • Reduced budget 80% by simplifying messaging, materials, and packaging.
  • Created a data-driven culture to guide product focus and decision making across departments.
  • Increased social media engagement 4x through creation of social media strategy.
  • Reduced sales bid response time 75% by developing a more efficient process.
  • Analyzed quality issues on key product lines and implemented process improvements.

Digital Learning Platform

Led the conception, design, development, and deployment of a digital learning platform to develop early-stage entrepreneurs

Led discovery for regional education and workforce development agencies to identify solutions for developing entrepreneurs from idea through launch across several markets. Created a research plan, led market research, identified target segments, solution design, and business model design.

Presented and received unanimous adoption for the proposal of a digital learning platform with modular content and lead end-to-end design and development. Responsible for building the team, overseeing the product implementation (including content strategy and curriculum structure - video lessons, tools, and online+offline coaching), and training for each of the agencies to launch the product in their service offering.

Launched pilot within one year three agencies and scored highly in both user engagement and content mastery. As a result, the product organically doubled in users annually in the first four years from word of mouth growth. Currently, the platform is used by middle schools, high schools, colleges, non-profit agencies, workforce education groups, and economic development agencies.

Consumer-Facing Mobile App for Two-Sided Marketplace

Built product development team and mobile app with B2C and B2B marketplace leading to seven figures of funding.

Worked with leadership and investors to identify product prototype gaps and determine the need for a new solution. Built product management function and educated team to create clear channels of communication between management, development, design.

Owned product roadmap and user experience to ensure product-market fit and established prioritization of features with a consumer-centric focus across all stakeholders. Instituted Agile methodologies, managed and grew product and development team from 0-6, and launched new consumer-facing MVP within 6 months with tight timelines and budget. Negotiated with vendors to secure access to inventory with low purchasing minimums.

Presented to investors from angels to VCs receiving positive feedback on app UX and team progress and traction which led to the investment.

SaaS Web App

Led product management for a mid-sized accounting technology firm to create a SaaS web app and reduce workflow by 50%.

Established Agile methodologies and clear communication between the sales and engineering teams. Worked directly with senior management to engage them in process and groom product backlog. Created the roadmap for automation, using a rules engine that aggregated and analyzed user-created rules to create suggested changes allowing batch editing of offline ledgers and banking transaction data. Described as a “killer feature” that drove early adoption within the organization and with early users.

Developed and proposed the overall product strategy of turning a fully-featured version into a proprietary internal tool and releasing a lite version to the market as a way to maintain a competitive advantage.

Revenue Model Restructuring

Innovated on product processes and restructured revenue models increasing the customer base by 40% and retention by 50%.

Developed strategic growth opportunities for a professional services company by evaluating service offerings, client usage, and workflows.

Identified opportunities to automate reporting and certain client-facing functions and shift from time-based to service-based pricing model. Developed tiered pricing strategy with higher pricing for clients requiring greater customization and interaction and advised on marketing rollout of new marketing structure to clients with minimal friction.

This resulted in a significant increase in the customer base and client retention as well as a freed up staff time for high billable projects.

Digital Strategy for Lead Generation

Led the development of high performing digital strategy, web platform, and internal sales process increasing qualified leads.

Guided market research and workflow analysis for a cross-sector regional consortium of business services providers to determine growth opportunities. Analyzed primary and secondary data and internal business intelligence to develop a recommended digital strategy, including a new web platform to better acquire leads and internal process optimization to better sort and convert them.

Led implementation including sourcing and managing vendors for services, developing sales funnels and ensuring data tracking, and performing change management and training for individual member organizations. Persuaded competing organizations to focus offerings on specific market segments and collaborate in order to re-prioritize budgets while reducing redundant offerings.

Increased leads by 50%, client engagements by 15%, and growth in member applications to the consortium by 22% over 12 months. The client was awarded a contract to drive regional adoption for the digital strategy.

Gamified Social Learning Web App

Led product management and marketing functions for a B2C and B2E (education) startup resulting in investment and acquisition.

Led product management leading a team of seven engineers and designers through Agile methodologies to develop a web-based social game to teach math to elementary school students. Increased release cadence from 1one feature per quarter to one per month. Instituted quality assurance and bug testing process decreasing the frequency of critical failures after releases by 80%.

Created a voice of the customer focus and developed a product evangelist group of users to provide rapid feedback on new feature concepts leading to an increase of daily active users by 10x and users by 5x over 12 months.

Product Feature Redistribution

Developed the business and product strategy using design thinking increasing membership by 20% by adjusting product features.

Gathered data from market analysis, conducted user interviews, surveys and looked at usage for a for a B2B mid-sized membership-based organization to identify user segments.

Guided organization in adopting a voice of the customer focus and advocated for the restructuring from one level of service at a scaling price to a muli-tier product/pricing structure with a different feature mix for their three targets of enterprise, mid-sized, and small businesses. Strategically moved product features into three categories aligned to users requiring no additional development.

Created a data-driven marketing plan and key messaging objectives to roll out the new membership structure which was well received by existing and new users and led to an increase in the customer base by 25% and membership by 20% over the course of a year.
2005 - 2009

Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

University of Southern California - Los Angeles, California


Microsoft Word, Jira, Asana, Trello

Industry Expertise

Startup Accelerators, Education Technology (Edtech), Higher Education, For-profit Education, Video Gaming, Nonprofits


Gamification, Agile, Agile Product Management, Agile Workflow, Design Thinking, Human-centered Design (HCD), Change Management, B2C


Product Management, Product Owner, Innovation, Education, Product Strategy, Team Leadership, Product Marketing, Training Content, Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Leadership, Coaching, Business Analysis, Requirements, Product Roadmaps, Go-to-market Plans, User Research, Business Models, Product Design, Product Frameworks, Product Ownership, Product Discovery, Product Delivery, Product Development, Consulting, Story Mapping, Microsoft Office, Microsoft PowerPoint, Lean Startups, User Engagement, User Journeys, User Journey Maps, User Experience (UX), Change Leadership, Stakeholder Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategy, Customer-centered Product Development, New Product Development, Management, P&L Management, Budget Management, Data Analysis, Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), Business Process Analysis, Solution Design, Cross-functional Team Leadership, Cross-functional Collaboration, Cross-cultural Management, Startups, Startup Funding, Early-stage Startups, Startup Consulting, Startup Growth Strategy Development, Marketing, Market Research, Market Research & Analysis, Consumer Behavior, Product Requirements Documentation (PRD), Customer Acquisition, Public Speaking, Executive Presentations, Presentations, Presentation Design, Client Presentations, Sales Presentations, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Customer Experience Management, User Stories, Mentorship & Coaching, Mentorship, Team Mentoring, Business Coaching, Instruction & Coaching, Business Development, New Products, Innovation Management, Strategic Planning, Strategic Partnerships, Strategic Planning & Execution, Roadmaps, Web, Digital, Mobile, Microsoft Excel, Lean Canvas, Business Model Canvas, Lucidchart, Wireframing, Solution Architecture, Agile Coaching

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