Editor’s note: The New Bull City series today includes an interview with Anil Chawla, CEO of ArchiveSocial, a Durham-born and nurtured startup that just won a major honor from TiE – The Indus Entrepreneurs, an organization focused on technology worldwide.
DURHAM, N.C. – The event wasn’t the Academy Awards, but Anil Chawla was as nervous as any actor up for a golden statue.
The possibility of earning international recognition for an emerging startup is, after all, pretty heady stuff – and perhaps a big business winner.
So the chief executive officer of ArchiveSocial – a company born and nurtured by The New Bull City’s entreprenruial community and now apparently poised for success – was understandably nervous at the international TiE Top 50 competition last weekend in Silicon Valley, the tech world’s version of Hollywood.
But instead of receiving a prestigious Top 50 designation from among more than 1,000 candidates before an international TV audience, Chawla waited to hear if ArchiveSocial had won – by email. And he kept waiting. And waiting some more.
Not until late, later, latest did he learn …
Then – eureka.
“I was about as thrilled as you can you be at 3 in the morning,” Chawla tells The Skinny. “The winners were supposed to receive an email at 8 on Friday night, and by 11:30 I had not received anything. I went to bed assuming that we didn’t win.
“It was not until I rolled over at 3 a.m. to look at the time on my phone, did I find out that we won.
“In many ways, it was also a feeling of relief.
“I had traveled all the way out to Silicon Valley on short notice, and it was satisfying to know that I would not be coming home empty handed.”
Bringing order to the chaos of social media record keeping is the goal of ArchiveSocial. Led by Chawla, a former IBMer, the company has come up through the system of Durham’s tech echo system. From becoming selection as a participant in The Durham Startup Stampede for new ventures to receiving a $41,000 through a grant from NC IDEA and being selected by the Triangle Startup Factory for $50,000 in startup capital plus a tough mentoring and training course in business development, ArchiveSocial continues to progress as a business.
The TiE selection is the latest addition to the corporate resume – and an important one, says Chawla.
“It is extremely validating and encouraging for our team,” he explains. “There were more than 1,100 applicants to this competition, and beyond that, I am sure that people in Silicon Valley hear countless startup pitches. It is encouraging that our business concept stood out, and that the judges believed in both the problem we are solving as well as our approach.
“Furthermore, it is validating that, even as a small and lightly funded team, we have accomplished enough to secure this type of recognition. Many of the other winning companies are very impressive and much larger than we are, including a privately held company currently valued at $1 billion.
“It is hard to know what business impact the recognition will have since it is still so fresh, but it certainly lends more credibility to our company and gives us a huge boost of confidence.”
Remembering their roots, Chawla says he and his team owe a debt of gratitude as well to the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, mentor David Gardner and others who have helped turned ArchiveSocial from a dream into a reality.
The Skinny asked: Whom would you like to thank publicly for the progress ArchiveSocial has made to this point?
“This may sound cliche but we truly owe thanks to the entire Triangle startup community for the incredible support we have received over the years,” Chawla says.
“We have benefited from most of the major entrepreneurial organizations in the area such as Triangle Startup Factory, NC IDEA, CED, and Startup Stampede. We are also very fortunate to have David Gardner, an extremely seasoned and successful serial entrepreneur, as a hands-on advisor and investor.”
Chawla says all “helped us in several ways. At a high level, these organizations have come together in one community to provide many of the critical resources that a startup needs: office space, mentoring, capital, networking opportunities, and a platform for gaining exposure.”
The TiE program was not just for companies with links to the Indian community, but Chawla, the U.S.-born son of Indian immigrants, takes cultural pride in the TiE honor as well.
“My parents immigrated here from India in 1980. The competition was actually open for any company to be nominated (regardless of heritage), and many of the winners were not of Indian descent,” he says.
“That said, it is definitely an honor to be recognized by TiE given the heritage I share with the community. The TiE organization consists of some the most successful people in Silicon Valley (and around the world), and it is exciting to know that ArchiveSocial caught their attention.”
More Funding This Year?
So what’s next for ArchiveSocial? Back to work, he says.
“We are continuing to focus on scaling customer acquisition and improving the product. This requires growing the team, and we are currently hiring!
“We are three full-time employees at the moment, and we are hiring. We have amazing plans for the product and are looking for a full-stack Lead Software Engineer to take the reigns on development to get us there. We are also hiring for a Specialist in Lead Generation to help us scale our sales funnel. Interested applicants can send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
As far as funding is concerned, ArchiveSocial is “in good shape today,” but that might change soon.
“We are contemplating a potential fundraise later this year as we look to scale,” Chawla explains. “As fortunate as it is for a company to receive capital in this environment, we are much more interested in investor partnerships that are genuinely strategic and not just about the capital.”
Business continues to build, he adds.
“We have added several new government and financial services customers that we are thrilled about. You can expect to see a few particularly exciting announcements in the near future (as budget cycles close), similar to the announcement we had with the State of North Carolina last year.”
And as for the future, Chawla plans to stay loyal to the Triangle.
Will ArchiveSocial remain in the Triangle as you continue to grow? Is this home?
“Absolutely. This weekend was actually my first trip to Silicon Valley. I have been to San Francisco but not to Palo Alto, San Jose, or the rest of the Valley where most of the companies reside. With all of the exciting developments we currently have going on in Durham and Raleigh, I can honestly say that I was missing home!”