top of page

HCI Webinar: The Human Capital Challenges of Launching Two Bootstrapped SaaS Companies, with Farzad Rashidi

Updated: Jun 11

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Farzad Rashidi about the human capital challenges of launching two bootstrapped SaaS companies. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!

Watch the episode here:

Quick Recap

Farzad and Jonathan discussed the human capital challenges of launching two bootstrapped SaaS companies, with a focus on attracting and retaining talented individuals in the face of competition from established companies. They also explored the benefits and challenges of recruiting international talent, specifically from Ukraine, Russia, and South Africa, and managing a global team with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Human Capital Challenges in SaaS Launch

Farzad and Jonathan, who is based in Utah, had an introductory discussion before delving into the main topic of human capital challenges of launching two bootstrapped SaaS companies. Jonathan welcomed Farzad, the lead innovator at Rashana, a link building outreach platform for businesses. They agreed to maintain an organic flow of conversation, with Jonathan asking questions and Farzad sharing his background and personal context. The meeting was set to explore Farzad's experiences and expertise in launching and growing these companies.

Farzad's Career Journey and Respond Tool

Jonathan and Farzad discussed Farzad's career journey from his initial marketing role at Disney to his current position as Vismay's first marketing hire. Farzad detailed how he and his team grew the company's organic traffic from 3.5 million to 27 million users by focusing on improving search engine rankings. They also discussed the potential of Vismay's internal product and the development of an outreach tool called Respond. Jonathan showed interest in Respond's potential to enhance his online presence, and they then shifted the discussion to human capital challenges.

Attracting Talent for New Startups

Jonathan and Farzad discussed the challenges of human capital in launching new startups. Farzad highlighted that attracting and retaining talented individuals was a significant issue, especially when competing with established companies like Google and Microsoft. He noted that aspiring entrepreneurs are driven by a desire to make a visible contribution to the company's success and see the impact of their work. They both agreed that helping people and companies achieve their goals is crucial for business success.

Recruiting International Talent for Tech Company Success

Farzad and Jonathan discussed the challenges and benefits of recruiting international talent for their tech company. Farzad highlighted the success his company has had in using international talent to compete for cutting-edge technology. He noted that this strategy also allows them to offer more attractive packages to employees. However, Farzad also pointed out the difficulties of finding the right candidates from around the world, underlining the importance of effective recruitment strategies. Jonathan added that the pandemic has made companies more flexible in their hiring processes, allowing for talent recruitment from anywhere in the world. Both agreed on the importance of identifying the right roles and markets for these recruited employees.

Recruiting Talent From Ukraine, Russia, and South Africa

Farzad discussed the company's successful recruitment of talented engineers from Ukraine and Russia, prior to the current conflict. He highlighted the advantages of these locations, which prioritize engineering and software engineering, and are not as attractive to larger tech companies due to their relationship with the US. However, the outbreak of war between Ukraine and Russia presented unique challenges, as half of their engineering team is in Russia and the other half in Ukraine. Farzad also mentioned the successful recruitment of sales and customer-facing roles from South Africa, due to its advantageous time zone and English-speaking population. Jonathan agreed with Farzad's points and acknowledged the importance of understanding the local job markets and connecting with universities to find talent.

Navigating Talent Recruitment From Search Engines

Farzad and Jonathan discussed the challenges and benefits of recruiting talent from search engine companies with a history of mistreating their employees. They agreed on the need for targeted recruitment strategies based on the region and country, as well as the importance of employer branding and communication. Jonathan shared his experiences from his time in Belarus, highlighting the potential for finding top talent in unexpected places. Farzad acknowledged that finding the right channels to promote and recruit has been a significant challenge.

Global Team Management and Cultural Competence

Farzad discussed the challenges and solutions of managing a global team with diverse cultural backgrounds. He emphasized the importance of creating communication channels that allow team members to understand each other and avoid misunderstandings. Farzad also suggested grouping employees from similar backgrounds to foster better teamwork. Jonathan agreed, highlighting the need for intercultural communication skills and cultural competence in the workforce. He stressed that organizations must develop a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion to thrive in the future.

Listen to the webinar here:



bottom of page