Rubrik’s Bipul Sinha on Making Risk Part of Your Business

During a fireside chat at WeWork Lab’s event announcing our partnership with Lightspeed Venture Partners at our Bristol Chowk Gurugram, India, location, Bipul Sinha, cofounder and CEO of Rubrik, spoke about hiring, taking risks, and focusing on your customer. Here are five key takeaways.

1. Make risk part of your business
“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks,” said Sinha. “Taking risks should be a deliberate choice. If you’ve raised $10 million you should take $1 million and use it to take risks.” He also sees risk as a way to speed up your growth: “We wanted to build the biggest company the fastest. We were thinking about ways to we accelerate the business—we thought of ways to put some capital at risk that could change the game. In a startup you’re either growing fast or dying—you need to keep accelerating.”

2. Find investors who understand your goals and have your back
“Ninety percent of VCs don’t know what they’re doing. You shouldn’t get enamoured by money or valuations—none of it matters,” Sinha explained. “Do your homework. Pick someone who knows your space but pick someone who is a bit of a dreamer. You need their support when you want to take risks.”

3. Attract talent by pitching them with your problem
Initially, hiring at Rubrik was a bigger challenge than Sinha expected. “I thought, I’m a hot shot VC so it’ll be easy to get people to follow me, but 45 days later I’m waking up sweating in the middle of the night wondering what I did to my career because we had made no hires. I had exhausted all my contacts, all my connections,” he said. What was missing from his strategy was showing potential engineers the complex and important problem they and the company would be solving. So he and his team made a pitch deck for interviewees that explained just that, and hiring accelerated.

4. Build products customers actually want
Before they had a product to sell, the Rubrik team cold-called potential customers to pitch product ideas. They got valuable feedback on whether the pitch was working and how they could improve it. “This process is about identifying where the actual pain is—you need to drive messaging towards that,” Sinha said. “If you don’t you can meander for years.”

5. Emphasize transparency in your company
At Rubrik, “We wanted to create the highest possible level of transparency,” Sinha said. “We opened up board meetings to every Rubrik employee. This means that there is little information asymmetry and no one can use information as power. In fact, now everyone demands transparency and this allows everyone to move in the same direction at high speed. The next challenge for us is how to maintain it as we go from 1,000 to 10,000 employees”.

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