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Meet Neerav Parekh – Founder & CEO of  vPhrase | TheAdReview |

Today we have selected Neerav Parekh to take his interview. He is the Founder & CEO of vPhrase.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

The period has been tough for all of us. The initial few months were tough, but we have settled in and got used to the new way of working. Although we still don’t enjoy working from home, we are happy that things have started improving and getting back to normal.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I left my engineering course after one year to study commerce. I could not relate what I was studying in engineering to the world outside. However, I liked reading my friends’ economics and marketing books to relate all the concepts to the outside world. This prompted me to leave engineering and move to commerce. I finished my B.Com from Sydenham and then did my MBA from NMIMS. Got placed with Citibank as an Investment Advisor, where I worked for a few years before moving out and co-founding a couple of companies in the payroll and digital marketing space before starting vPhrase.

While running a digital marketing agency, I found that my clients always wanted my account managers to visit them and personally explain the campaign performance even though we sent out a nice report with beautiful charts. On digging, I found that the clients used to get overwhelmed with the reports and found it difficult to understand them. That is when I wondered what changes I need to make to the report to ensure anyone reading it can understand it. What is it that my account managers do which solves this problem of understanding? Well, they interpret those charts and explain the insights in words, which the clients quickly understand. How could I automate this process of interpretation of data and communication of insights in words? That is when the idea of building a product was born. And when I started thinking of the product, I realized the enormous potential it had to change the way data was understood, not just in digital marketing but in every other place where data was being presented, literally in every company. Every company has to send performance reports to its employees or its customers.

How does your company innovate?

We are in an industry where technology is still evolving. Hence, we have to ensure that our team constantly tries to build things that seem impossible. Teams generally avoid doing path-breaking work due to a fear of failure and being censured for it. To ensure that our team does not face this issue, we’ve built a culture where we celebrate initiatives to build something new irrespective of the outcome. We ensure that failures are not looked down upon.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you Coping?

Working from home has resulted in a reduction in the level of engagement amongst the employees and between employees and the company. This makes work more tiring and boring. We’ve planned initiatives to improve engagement, but some worked, and some didn’t. 

On the other hand, it would have been insensitive to reach out to companies for business prospecting when people everywhere were battling the pandemic. This resulted in a bit of a slowdown for some time. However, people are now more open to talk about business, and things are getting back to normal.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons Learned?

Thankfully we were in a comfortable position when the pandemic hit. This has allowed us to sail through, so far, without having to make any difficult decisions. We have, in fact, doubled our headcount during this time.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Like everyone else, we rely on remote communication and collaboration tools like Zoom, G Suite, etc.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Data analytics and reporting platforms can be considered as our competition. However, they can create just data tables and charts to represent insights, whereas we go a step further and communicate the insights in words.  

In terms of direct competition, we do not have any in Asia. Globally, there are 4-5 companies in this space. The prominent ones being Narrative Science, Automated Insights, and Arria NLG. The advantages of our product over competing products are: 

  1. Ability to customize reports and add charts and tables
  2. Ability to generate complex reports involving multiple data sets 
  3. Price

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