Mr. Manoj Agarwal, Co-founder, Xoxoday, in a candid conversation with Diplomatist, tells us how you can motivate your employees, customers, sales, and channel partners with rewards, incentives, and benefits.
Diplomatist: What is Xoxoday and what makes it stand out? Who are the brains behind the company?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: Xoxoday provides technology infrastructure to enable businesses to automate rewards, incentives and payouts processes across the value chain. What Stripe is to Payments and Twilio is to Communication, Xoxoday is to Rewards and Incentives. Xoxoday’s products, Plum, Compass, and Empuls, help build brand loyalty and customer retention, improve channel and sales performance, and increase employee engagement, respectively. Our products allow SMBs to leverage technology to seamlessly motivate their employees, sales and channel teams, and customers. I co-founded Xoxoday in 2018 along with Sumit Khandelwal, Kushal Agrawal, and Abhishek Kumar. We are a passionate quartet of entrepreneurs whose shared mission has been to bring simplicity and continuity to a complex, everyday problem of human motivation, using technology. Our success can be attributed mainly to our unique blend of a people-first culture and product-led growth. We strongly believe that our people are our biggest competitive advantage and that is why we chose to invest in them right from the start.
Diplomatist: What are the key values that drive your strategy?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: Our core values are a way of life for us and the basis of our culture. Culture is everyone’s responsibility at Xoxoday, and we believe it helps us achieve our big goals. One of Xoxoday’s core values is “Customer is our true north,” which means that every decision we make starts with the customer. We are committed to delivering quality and being empathetic and fair in all our interactions with our customers. Other core values that drive Xoxoday’s strategy are unlocking new value, approaching every problem creatively as an opportunity to innovate, and displaying proactive accountability in all our initiatives. Keeping our feet on the ground is a value that keeps us rooted. The ability to be authentic, grow humbly, and learn from mistakes is a value we cherish the most.
Diplomatist: Could you give us a list of the unique services you provide and how these services can help businesses and individuals post-Covid?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: While the pandemic has taught us multiple lessons, there are three big takeaways for the business world. It has taught us that work can happen in a remote setup, but there is a need for digital processes to be seamless. Also, the nature of employment and hence payment is changing with many full-time employees transitioning to become consultants, partners, or gig workers. The pandemic has also prompted organizations to introspect and put people, culture, and overall employee experience at the forefront of business because of the Great Resignation Drive. The underlying common connection is that keeping employees of all hues motivated and happy is a challenge that every business faces now. All our three products are designed to help organizations navigate the choppy post-Covid waters in this context. Companies can use our product Empuls to create a people-first culture. Empuls is an all-in-one employee engagement platform that we initially built to keep our employees motivated, heard, and connected. The internal success prompted us to launch the product for SMBs during the pandemic and has garnered a lot of positive responses. As entrepreneurs, we understand the value of sales teams and the stress that sales teams undergo. We created Compass to turbo-charge sales teams and channel partners and remove some of their pain points through gamification and real-time commissions. Our horizontal infrastructure product Plum helps businesses disburse payouts, rewards, incentives, and benefits to their employees, customers, sales, and channel partners. A perfect panacea that addresses the evolving nature of employment.
Diplomatist: Tell us about the challenges you faced while building Xoxoday.
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: One of the foremost challenges we faced was creating a brand name for Xoxoday. When we started, Xoxoday was an unknown entity, digitizing a space primarily served by legacy systems and manual processes. Breaking through the barrier of being unknown and creating trust in this high monetary transaction business was very important. As a startup creating products, getting the product pricing right to striking a delicate balance between managing costs and ensuring margins is yet another business problem that we have been solving. To scale from zero to 270+ employees today, we always keep an eye out for finding the right people with the right mix of attitude and aptitude. As is the case with every firm on a growth trajectory, balancing our day-to-day operations while aligning with our long-term growth plan is another challenge that we continuously seek to win against.
Diplomatist: How would you define Xoxoday’s journey of motivating and engaging people?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: We believe in practicing what we preach. We use our vertical-specific products, Compass and Empuls, to engage with our employees and sales teams and use their feedback to improve our products continuously. One of the biggest testimonies of our efforts in motivating and engaging people is that we have not only had no layoffs during the pandemic but have turned The Great Resignation on its head by converting it into a Great Recruitment drive. We have hired more than 100 people across multiple levels in the last six months, taking the team strength from 150 to 270+ employees.
Diplomatist: How has technology served as a competitive advantage for your business?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: Technology has propelled our journey in disrupting and digitally transforming the rewards and incentives industry. For example, our horizontal infrastructure, Plum, is both robust and scalable. These two facets facilitate solving varied business use cases for multiple personas in the rewards and incentives space. They also enable our product to provide multi-currency and multi-lingual support, making Plum attractive even in non-English speaking geographies. One of the biggest advantages that technology offers is versatility. We have tapped into this versatility and ensured that our clients could seamlessly integrate with any of our products through the flow of their work, thereby increasing our product adoption. Our product-led growth trajectory has been primarily fuelled by technology and its advantages. We have leveraged our state-of-the-art tech architecture to scale rapidly and are set to achieve sales of 80 million USD GMV on Plum by the end of this year. Overall, we have grown from scratch to 1500+ clients and currently have 2.5 million + users using our three platforms. Also, we are adding 60 new customers to our platforms every month. We are predominantly bootstrapped and would be clocking 10 million USD in revenues this year. Internally, to improve our efficiency and free up our people to pursue meaningful work, we use more than 100+ SaaS products. These products have helped automate routine tasks across our departments (marketing, sales, finance, HR, tech, & product) and enhance productivity.
Diplomatist: What is next on your roadmap?
Mr. Manoj Agarwal: Xoxoday is well placed to take a leadership position in the Rewards, Benefits and Incentives sector and emerge as a formidable global player in the next 2-3 years. Today’s market opportunity is around $1 trillion, and we plan to process ~ $ 2 Bn worth of rewards and incentives through our platform in the next two to three years. As a consequence, we also aspire to reach annual revenue of 100 million USD during the same time. We also plan to tap into the opportunity of generating additional revenues by cross-selling and upselling to our end-user base of over 2.5 million +. Growing and expanding our customer base in the North American and European markets for each of our products is also on the anvil.