Since its establishment in 1996, Robosoft Technologies has undergone a remarkable transformation. From a software development company, they have evolved into a comprehensive digital transformation business with a global presence, spanning across the US, Japan, India, and the UK.
In 2021, TechnoPro, the 1.6 billion dollar Tokyo Stock Exchange listed company and the largest technology-focused staffing and service business in Japan, acquired Robosoft. This move solidified Robosoft’s position in the market and marked another milestone in the company’s journey.
Boyd & Moore has been partnering with Robosoft since last year, leading their search for the role of SVP & Country Manager, Japan. This key position was taken on by Sreekantan Nair, an experienced tech leader with over 22 years in the Japan market.
Recently, BMES SVP & Director Avi Tiwari caught up with Ravi Teja, Robosoft Technologies. Inc Chairman & CEO, along with Sreekantan, who has now been with the company for a little over four months. In their conversation, they discussed the transformation of Robosoft Technologies over the past few decades and the guiding principles that have helped the company achieve impressive growth.
Ravi: We are now in the third decade of our existence. In our first decade our founders were betting on Apple – Apple platforms, running applications, developing applications, putting games in applications – while the rest of the world in 1996 was focused on Y2K.
Then Steve Jobs launched iPhone, and so, from a Mac development company, we became a mobile app development company.
The founders realized that in creating technology for such a small device, simplicity and design play a very important role, so we built engineering design and UX/UI capability. The founders got private equity investment to be able to scale the business and take it global, then in 2017-2018, I joined as CEO. We have since grown six times on revenue, thirty times on profitability and we have totally internationalized our business. We were 80% India focused, now we are 80% global focused, with the US, Japan, and the UK as our key markets.
So, from mobile app development company, we have now become a digital experience and transformation company. Our four pillars are digital consulting, UX/UI design, engineering and analytics. Next, we’re looking at growing and scaling our business both organically and inorganically. This means a lot of investments in people – in Japan, in the US, and APAC – Singapore is a good market for us.
As our Asia pacific strategy grows, I’m also sure Boyd & Moore will become more and more relevant for us and we’ll be looking towards you for talent!”
Avi: “Definitely. We look forward to the collaboration, supporting your journey of growth and expansion across Asia Pacific and hopefully in the US and European markets as well! You partially answered my next question, but I’d like to ask what’s next for Robosoft? In what direction is the company headed going forward?”
Ravi: “We just set up our London office in the last month or so. We’ve acquired a country head there to run the UK operations. This growth also means that we’re going to have more offices in Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia. We’re planning to expand inorganically which means we will acquire more companies, more leaders, and more capabilities. I think the opportunity where the world is moving towards digital and we, being a digital only service provider, we become more and more relevant.
There’s a famous question – who drove the digital acceleration and transformation? The options are CEO, CTO…Or Covid?!
While all of us were waiting for the right opportunity, Covid really accelerated digital and Robosoft as a global brand got established during these times. We really want to take advantage of that and move forward to scale our business.”
Avi: “There’s no doubt! I’ve personally witnessed your growth and expansion over the past 18 months here in Japan. I also want to ask about what it’s like to be a part of Robosoft in 2023? What are the core values of the company and how do you embody and implement these values into daily working practices?”
Ravi: “Good question. You know, I realise that most companies, including our company, know what they do. What we do is build digital products for global customers. Some companies know how they do what they do, which is the customer value proposition. We know that we do things with speed, quality, agility. But not many companies know why they do what they do. When I joined, my question to my entire leadership team and employees was “why do we wake up every day and why do we need to build this software?” This answers that core purpose. “What if I don’t wake up and don’t build that software? What am I impacting? What am I waking up for?
So, we answered these questions, we debated it and realized that, because we are in a digital world, building digital products, we touch people’s lives every day. The way people buy things online, the way they pay and transact online, the way they bank, buy insurance online, the way they get entertained online – We are simplifying people’s lives. They can do anything on their mobile or the internet. Sitting on their couch, or in their office. In a car, on a train, or at their homes, it doesn’t matter. We are simplifying billions of lives with the products that we are building.
That’s what we tell our employees. Our employee value proposition is “come work with us, work with global brands, not just global brands, but you’re impacting billions of people. That’s why you wake up every day. That’s our larger purpose. When our people understand that larger purpose, they work with their blood, sweat and tears, it’s not just about the pay cheque, it’s because we are impacting lives.”
You’re impacting billions of people. That’s why you wake up every day, that’s our larger purpose.
Avi: “What kind of career development pathways does Robosoft offer to prospective employees?”
Ravi: “That’s an important question. One is the content of work – we work with all the cutting edge and emerging technologies like web 3.0, NFTs, Metaverse, Blockchain, Cloud, AI, and Analytics, so people are quite excited about working on these projects. Global brands like PayPay, McDonalds, Discovery Network, British Standards Institute, American Automobile Association etc. These are great brands that people want to work with.
Careers with us might go in two directions – one is someone who wants to be totally technical and continue to be technical, going from developer to senior developer, to an architect to a senior architect and creating technology architects. Or somebody who’s a designer becoming a senior designer to then becoming a creative director.
A lot of people also want to move away from their technology base to become managers and leaders. These are natural people who can get the best experts and still manage teams and projects and successes. We look at ways of assessing people on their strengths; don’t want to give somebody a managerial position just because they’ve grown and they’re more experienced. We assess whether they will be more suited towards working closely with technology, architectures and designs rather than managing people. Not everybody wants to do so.”
Avi: “That’s very true. Not all experienced people aspire to lead. It really depends on a person’s strengths and aspirations. I’d also like to ask about what it’s like to work with Robosoft, and what kind of environment the company actively creates for its employees.”
Ravi: “I remember the days when I joined. We were all working from the office and the policies were such that if you wanted to work from home, he or she had to go through a whole bureaucratic process. So it was like “I don’t trust you. You have to be sitting in front of me, and that’s how I see that you’re actually working. The number of hours you put in is how I decide whether you’re effective or productive or not.”
Then Covid hit, and everybody worked remotely. We were one of the first companies to make work from home happen because of lockdowns, etc. We moved laptops, we moved desktops and gave them all (to our staff). It was an infrastructural challenge as we had 1200 employees, 95% of which were in India at the time. Moving them to their homes in a large country is a challenge but we did it, and it’s now been three and a half years and we’ve continued to work like that.
We have all the tools and technology we need to work effectively and know whether people are being productive, even working from home. Now with offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, and now Tokyo, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, anywhere to anywhere could be at least an hour going to the office and then another hour coming back home. Why waste those two hours? Give those two hours back so people can either work more, be with their families or pursue their hobbies.
We are still working from home as our teams become increasingly global. Our employees are working from major cities and towns and are with their families, their grandparents, their children, and they can be flexible around it. So, I think that’s the key proposition we have created. Some of us do want to come back to the office to be able to meet in person, so we have created a hybrid culture of how we work in Robosoft.”
Avi: “Thank you for sharing that with us. It seems that Robosoft has adapted to and embraced a lot of the big changes that have occurred over the past few years and turned them into strengths for the organization. We certainly look forward to seeing all that there is to come for the company in the next few years and of course continuing to work closely with you as an Executive Talent Solutions partner.”