A Q&A with Monetize360's founder, Murali Saravu
We interviewed our founder, Murali Saravu to learn, in his words, about starting Monetize360 based on his long history and unparalleled experience designing and building monetization systems and solutions.
Q: Hi Murali! So nice to sit down and pick your brain. What need did you identify that inspired you to start Monetize360?
Murali Saravu: I spent more than 20 years building and architecting monetization solutions/platforms for a variety of world class companies, including Cisco and Intuit. There was always a common denominator - the amount of customization required was enormous - taking months to years. Historically, providing a full suite of features and functionality out of the box has been very hard to provide.
As such, in my experience, more than 50% of project time and cost comes down to customization.
When I looked at all of these factors, I saw an opportunity to step in with a fresh approach. Monetize360 is the outcome of that different approach - delivering no-code, out of the box full functionality for any size business. We created our own language to address the complexities inherent in billing, pricing and monetization platforms, without expensive or time consuming customization.
Q: What is the edge that Monetize360 has over competitors?
Murali Saravu: We really have two areas of competitive advantage. The first is the intelligence hub that enables companies to model their services and monetizable dimensions and ingest and charge any type of usage data. We can effectively provide businesses with workflows that offer complex pricing based on a customer’s usage - without development time or expense.
The second is that we can go to market very quickly, because our no-code platform is usable “out of the box”. You don’t need special training or development experience to use our product. It is really as simple as “point and click.”
Q: Creating new technology is not an easy feat. What was the biggest hurdle you faced when creating Monetize360?
Murali Saravu:: It all starts and ends with talent. Finding the right team – with a very specific skill set – wasn’t easy. A lot of our early success came down to finding the right players to help us storyboard the problems we were solving for. Then we needed people who have deep domain experience to build the product. And, today we’re building out sales, marketing, customer success, operations, etc. As we scale, we need to make sure every one of our hires understands and buys into our vision - so that we can truly deliver a transformative experience for our customers.
Q: Founding a company takes a lot of time and effort. Work/life balance is a topic that is more prominent than ever right now. Did you find it challenging to find a balance when building a company?
Murali Saravu: It is definitely challenging *chuckles*. It’s a lot of hard work - a lot of ‘round the clock’ work. Until you get to the point of launching the product to where the team can really start to take over, it takes a lot of hours. Your family really must be supportive of you – otherwise it’s not possible. I’m lucky that my family has been incredibly supportive, going so far as to help me ideate and work through problems at the dinner table!
Q: Do you have any advice for how you've been able to disconnect and find balance?
Murali Saravu: That’s a good question. I try to hike at least once a week - 10-12 miles at a time. You would think that would be just a chance to experience nature and take a break. But, in truth, this team of hikers are all from the monetization and billing space. This is a community of engineers and execs I have come to trust and rely on over the past 20 years - personally and professionally. . I’d be lying if I said we didn’t spend a good part of those hikes talking about work - solving for problems or brainstorming new ideas.
The fact is, I love what I do. And, so it really does touch many facets of my life.
Q: What advice would you give a young entrepreneur?
Murali Saravu: I would say to focus on the problem that you’re solving. That’s the primary thing to focus on. As engineers many times we try to build something, then try to figure out market fit. Instead, I have found that identifying the problem and building a product around the customer’s pain points delivers a better product - and one that can be immediately useful. So instead of saying “I want to start a company, let me figure out what I should do” say, “I see this problem, let me solve for it.”
Q: What was your most exciting moment in building Monetize360?
Murali Saravu: There are so many! I knew there was a market need - and I knew I wanted to solve it. In the early days it felt like there were fits and starts, but when we came up with our own specific language I felt my first big aha moment and said to myself - “oh, we really have it now.” After that winning our first couple of customers was incredibly validating - and then raising our seed round was another big milestone.
Q: Who came up with the name Monetize360?
Murali Saravu: I did. I knew that solving for billing alone would not be sufficient.
But, in order to solve a monetization problem, you historically had to stitch something together from multiple providers, and then changing it was nearly impossible because of the time and money you had sunk into getting these various systems to talk to each other.
Monetization is not a singular issue but needs to be viewed from a 360-degree point of view.
Developing a singular, no-code system that integrates all the necessary components into a single source of truth wasn’t easy, but it is exactly what I wanted to accomplish. I’m thrilled to say that we’re well on our way!