Michael Beygelman of Claro

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Michael Beygelman, the founder and CEO of Claro, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Claro – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

The internet and social media continue to change the way that people communicate and think about their careers. From talent acquisition to employee engagement, this shifting paradigm has paved the way for actionable, data-driven workforce insights to be propelled to the forefront of all human resources strategies. Companies that use HR analytics to support business decisions see an 82% higher three-year average profit than their counterparts, according to an industry study from Bersin by Deloitte, and 71% view analytics as a high priority. While the HR analytics domain is still nascent, it is already forecast to grow to nearly $4B by 2024.

We saw information about the workforce growing exponentially, but there was no simple way of making it usable. Being huge fans of what Google did for society and the internet, we charted a course for building a Google-like platform specifically aimed at workforce-related information. However, we wanted to make it more engaging and allow people to interact with the information using visuals and to use the information to help them tell stories with data. Fast forward a couple of years, and today we are doing exactly this! Claro’s market leading technology helps companies perform competitive talent benchmarking and market-mapping, elevates organizational diversity and inclusion strategies, and enables employee attrition modeling and strategic workforce planning.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

We were early in having a vision for a technology platform that could organize all the world’s workforce-related information, making it easily accessible so that organizations can make more strategic decisions about talent. There was no one company that we could copy/paste, so we had to create our own reality. We also had to find visionary investors who shared our global outlook. Tightening data privacy regulations and GDPR in Europe also presented challenges, which meant in order for us to build a globally scalable business, we needed to make sure we were compliant. There was no single “OMG” moment for us, because our unified visions helped us work through one obstacle after another. Today, we are most likely one of the only GDPR compliant workforce analytics applications of our kind, and we’re really proud of that.

What does the future hold for Claro?

We are really excited about workforce supply and demand planning, especially as we think about what this might mean for global organizations. They need tools to do workforce planning for a new talent reality, which they will face when the world starts coming out of Covid-19 crisis mitigation and management. As we speak, we are working on releasing new functionality like salary information, competitive demand information, and turnkey solutions that enable people analytics professionals to assess talent market dynamics in real time.

What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Nashua?

The tech startup scene in Nashua can be so much better, but we compete with Boston and that’s pretty stiff competition. One of the biggest problems is access to capital. Many investors want you to be near them, and bigger cities tend to also have better access to top talent. Perhaps the Covid-19 global transformation might be an opportunity for investors to rethink this paradigm, at least temporarily, but I suspect as things begin to return to normal, we’ll see this trend pick right back up. I think the tech startup scene in southern New Hampshire will continue to be an afterthought by global standards until we can figure out how to make it attractive for investors to setup shop in our state. Capital attracts innovators, innovators attract talent, talent creates opportunities, and opportunities create a framework for sustainable growth.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Building a business can be likened to a car or a motorcycle race. It is very difficult to build even a foot of separation on straightaways for 2 reasons:

  1. Most of the cars/bikes are built well so your machine is probably no more powerful than their machine.
  2. There is very little skill involved in keeping a vehicle going straight on a straightaway. Straightaways in the business world are likened to “business as usual” or times of prosperity, so you can spend a lot of fuel and not be able to close much ground on your competitors. Even mediocre businesses or mediocre leadership teams can hide their lack of a USP or strategic thinking because keeping a car or a bike going straight on a straightaway is not very skillful. All you need to do is keep the steering wheel straight and no one knows that you are a bad driver.

In reality, races are won going into and coming out of turns, and the sharper the turn, the more variance (or separation) that can be created. Going around turns is 100% skill, whether in competition or in business. You need to know when to start breaking, you need to know how closely to hug the curve, and then you need to know when to start accelerating and how fast to accelerate to maximize your separation as you get out of a turn and back onto a straightaway – back to the period of the race where it becomes more difficult to make up any ground again. If entrepreneurs adopt this approach, they’ll quickly realize that they need to conserve resources on straightaways and double down when they have identified unique opportunities to create massive separation. They will realize success is typically not a nice trend line like business schools might have you believe; on the contrary, the success curve is quite chaotic and sometimes not even a curve at all. Sometimes a tech startup can create two years of separation in a 90-day period because they might not have the same constraints that bigger companies have.

The last and probably the most important thing to be mindful about is the skill set (or behavioral orientation) that is required to be successful in a startup. Startups need to be constructed of people who “make things happen” rather than people who respond to things happening to them. NOTHING happens in a startup unless the founders and early employees make it happen, and this, while seemingly a simple nuance, can sometimes be the difference between success and failure.

 

For more exclusive interviews, see our full Profile of a Founder series

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