Founder & President
Location: St. Louis, MO
Industry: Technology/Software *SECOND YEAR HONOREE*
Sri Chellappa’s shift from executive to founder and entrepreneur came with plenty of turbulence. His startup was short on capital, debts piled up, customers were hard to find and, on top of all that, he was going through a divorce. For the first time in his life, he said, he faced failure.
“I could have given up at this point, but instead I persevered,” Chellappa said. “With some hard work, dedication and determination, I managed to outlast my competitors despite not having a huge amount of resources or money. It took nerve-wracking decisions and calculated risks, but eventually I managed to make it through this difficult period with only minor setbacks — and even began crafting a new path for success as an entrepreneur.”
Now, seven years later, his software company Engagedly has more than 150 employees, clients in more than 30 countries and a growth trajectory that has put it on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies two years in a row.
Engagedly provides software as a service, built on best practices and decades of research, the company said. “Engagedly’s people+strategy platform helps organizations build high-performance culture,” the company said. “With Engagedly’s modular platform, organizations can execute on their strategy with goals/OKRs, performance appraisals and 360 reviews, enable their people development with one-on-one feedback, LMS, mentoring/coaching and engage their people with recognition and rewards, employee surveys and social praise.”
In the last year, Chellappa launched a podcast, “People Strategy Leaders,” with thousands of listeners worldwide, focused on leadership for the future of work. In this podcast, Chellappa interviews CEOs or CHROs of major organizations around the globe, including professors of management at NYU, Stanford and Duke. The company also raised a series A $10 million round. “One of the big achievements for me was getting this funding from an $8 billion asset management company, Aquiline in NYC, which is considered a leading private equity firm in the world,” Chellappa said. “This was an endorsement of our efforts and the business we had built.”
In the coming years, Chellappa is focused on expanding his reach and developing his podcast and video content to position himself and his company as “the thought leader in the future of work.” Part of that development involves his own decision-making and problem-solving techniques.
“Once I have identified a potential solution or approach, I usually test it out on a small scale before scaling up,” he said. “This allows me to gather necessary data which provides valuable feedback on how well the solution works in practice. At this point, it’s important to make adjustments and refine the idea based on the results of the experiment. By continuing this cycle of testing and refinement, I am able to create effective solutions quickly and efficiently — and this helps me make informed decisions that improve my business in the long term.”
My recognition as a second time Titan 100 means that the first time was not a fluke :) I did indeed earn my stripes and have been able to make an impact on the St. Louis community in particular and overall global ecosystem of startups in general.