“For businesses, the CTO role is a low-cost addition to the organization [that] can help reap potentially high pay-offs by identifying and elevating critical opportunities,” explains Tom Berray in The Role of the CTO: Four Models for Success.
The technological innovations are drastically altering how individuals, companies and governments operate. From sectors to functions tech has disrupted the entire business environment. Developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another.
As these vast array of technologies challenge and change the way businesses work, the role that becomes most critical is that of the Chief Technology Officer. Every business today needs a CTO to be able to unlock the opportunities technology holds for them. In fact, a McKinsey research highlights that companies that keep abreast of new technologies and build them into their strategies and operating models have greater success than those that do not. As more and more companies realize this, the demand for CTOs is increasing and currently is higher than ever before.
While the demand for a good technology head has increased, there is a dearth of right talent to fit this role.
Deepak Singh Ahlawat, CEO and Founder, Purple Quarter said, “The pool of candidates with relevant experience, skills and leadership traits is very restricted. Hence, to help companies find the right CTO, we chose to launch Purple Quarter.”
In 2017, Ahlawat founded CTO recruitment startup that focuses on core value fitment, and screens using multiple sources and assessments to present potential fits to companies seeking top technical leadership.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Ahlawat discusses the rising demand of CTOs and shares how Purple Quarter strives to help companies of all sizes and nature find the right tech head for them.
What inspired you to start Purple Quarter? What was the challenge that you were trying to solve?
A company's success or failure depends on how it harnesses the power of technology.
After spending a decade in technology hiring, we realized that the major problem faced by growing startups was to find a technology head who could not only bring tech advancements but also drive the growth of the business.
Previously, businesses were all about the CEO. But with technology becoming the key to unlocking the future growth for businesses, roles of CTO and other technology leaders have become crucial. On one side, these roles open up rarely and on the other side, there is often a dearth of appropriate talent to fill these vacancies that hardly open. The pool of candidates with relevant experience, skills and leadership traits is very restricted. This is why we chose to launch Purple Quarter, and decided to put our years of experience in technology hiring to help companies find the right tech leaders.
We are on a mission to connect great tech talent to various organizations and founders.
As the segment your startup works in currently is extremely niche. What were some of the challenges that you faced while ideating and launching?
One major challenge we faced was that most companies and leaders thought that Purple Quarter is just another staffing firm. We had to work on how the entire job market perceives us.
Besides that it took a little over six months to deep dive, mine and map relevant talent that distinctly fell into the category of 'Heads'.
We customized our research, handpicked and met (200+) active and passive talent to reason the thought process of this group. Whilst meeting potential talent, we also met with notable industry technology visionaries and arrived at a few analogies that have paved the way to our speedy success.
What approach finally worked out for you? How does Purple Quarter help companies find the right tech heads?
Our entire business revolves around an uni-dimensional approach.
We do core values fitment to find Technology Heads for Tech Companies with absolute ROTI (Return On Time Invested)!
We try to keep the approach methodical yet simple. With the entire world buzzing around Analytics and Intelligence, we managed to sprinkle a couple into our work as well.
We focus on finding an absolutely perfect match as we follow the below two analogies to the 'T':
1. PQ Search Index = IQ+EQ+BQ = Intelligence Technology Quotient (+) Emotional Quotient (+) Behavioral Quotient
2. ABE approach
- Absorb - Spend considerable time with the owner(s) of the role and the potential match to make an absolute certain decision on the proposal
- Build - Act as a strategic partner and build and own the nine-yards
- Engage - Don multiple hats as Strategic Adviser, Information Provider or Mentor throughout the journey
How many companies have you so far helped with their hiring needs?
We are growing at a fast pace and have placed 6 CTOs in notable startups in India. For instance, placed Ravi Krishnaswamy from Flipkart to InMobi, Amazon India CTO Dale Vaz in Swiggy, and WoNoBo’s Sourav Sachin in BrowserStack.
We are positive and on track to become a $100 Mn brand by the end of 2019.
Who do you consider your closest competitors?
We do not have a direct competition as such in the current market. However, we face significant indirect - competition from other search firms like Staton Chase, Egon Zehender etc. But what sets Purple Quarter apart is the focus of only concentrating on CTO hiring piece and our proprietary behavioral matrix.
What are your future plans for growth and expansion?
Purple Quarter wants to expand to other geographies; we have already started working in the Southeast Asian market and Bay Area. We aim to be the number one brand for CTOs globally.
In our far future, we also plan to invest in other companies and startups as well.