Miraj Patel of Harness

An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Miraj Patel (co-founder and CEO) of Harness, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Harness – what problem were you trying to solve and why?

Harness was built off the premise of the subscription economy, the fundamental shift in business that for-profits have been driving toward over the past 15 years. It’s a shift from the transactional approach, where the majority of dollars were focused on customer acquisition, to a relationship-based approach where dollars are focused on building great customer experiences that lead to recurring sales and higher customer lifetime value.

For-profits have been enjoying the benefits of recurring revenue for years and Harness is sharing those same fundamental concepts with the non-profits we serve. Our Subscription Philanthropy platform was designed to help our customers track, manage, and grow subscription analytics, billing, and revenue.
We’re on a mission to grow the giving GDP of America from (its long stagnant) 2% to 3% of the overall economy.

What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?

The challenges we’ve faced have changed as we’ve turned the corner from “survival” mode to “compete” mode.

Early on, it was all about driving toward product/market fit. The technology landscape is changing so rapidly that many of the anecdotes and best practices from pioneers who were starting up in the late 90s/early 2000s don’t always coincide with the competitive markets of today. For instance, the idea of a minimum viable product (MVP) is no longer good enough – today’s startups must focus on creating a minimum sellable product or they won’t be able to drive the traction needed to cross the chasm.

At Harness, we’re currently dealing with an entirely new set of challenges, all having to do around scaling our organization efficiently. Structuring operations and human resources have become as important as continuing to drive the product forward.

What does the future hold for Harness?

With 1,000+ customers, we’re continuing to focus on TAM expansion strategies, including exciting partnership opportunities from both product and distribution standpoints.

Our dream is that one day in the future, every human will “Harness” for a cause or mission that they are truly passionate about.

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

Tampa Bay Tech is boomin’! And why not? When starting a company, founders need to assess locations that boost an employee’s ability to live, work, and play within their communities. Tampa provides the perfect blend of each.

We have all of the intangibles already: cost of living, quality of life, weather, etc., and with more of the tangibles (talent, funding, founder resources) falling into place, there’s no reason for Tampa to not continue its stellar growth trajectory.

What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Don’t fall victim to the rat race. There will always be a new competitor, a bigger funding round, a stronger valuation, but the business with a strong purpose and strong underlying unit economics will always win. Always.

Always take care of your people, and in return, they will always take care of the business.

Keep going; nothing worth having comes easy.


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