We talked to Sofia Fominova about how Truligent builds, operates and acquires SaaS businesses which transform large industries and here is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Sofia Fominova: My family and company are based in London, and during these past months in lockdown, we have been fortunate enough to take advantage of time creating B2B SaaS companies with an expert team of developers, writers, and investors while comfortably socially distancing and working. Since my husband, Dmitry Aksenov, and I are business partners, we decided to use time in lockdowns to be as productive as we can and focus 100% on building companies. We love building companies, and for us, it is one of the most fun activities we can do, so we are lucky and not so constrained by restrictions. Despite that it’s truly hard to see the economy and businesses struggling, my partner and I are doing our best to focus on the positive.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Truligent.
Sofia Fominova: Dmitry and I have always loved the diversity and innovation of starting new companies and strive to create strong and agile ventures with outstanding teams to propel industries into the next generation. We are strong believers in the software space and have a very aligned vision. That’s why just before Covid-19 had changed our lives, we decided to collaborate our ideas and work together.
That’s when we founded Truligent back in 2020. Truligent is a diversified software company that focuses on building B2B SaaS solutions for various industries, from supply chain management solutions to businesses tackling climate change issues. Before founding Truligent and our portfolio companies, I built Mealz – a healthy recipe platform, which is now also a part of Truligent’s portfolio. Dmitry was a founder and CEO of DigitalGenius – Customer Service Automation Platform, which is the leading platform in the UK and US for optimal customer satisfaction and cost-savings for some of the biggest companies in their industries, including Fortune 100 companies.
What inspired me to build Mealz was empowering millions of people to make healthy nutritional decisions and provide options for cooking classes, so people feel more confident in the kitchen. Moving onto our B2B ventures, our goal was to build world-class software solutions that disrupt industries and provide proactive solutions for communication, transparency, and research across the globe. Any way that we can contribute to the growth of ideas and economy, especially in these unpredictable times, we have embraced, adapted to, and built from.
How does Truligent innovate?
Sofia Fominova: We are huge believers in technology, specifically in B2B SaaS products, and we are excited to see that people and businesses are getting more excited about new, easy-to-use solutions, and the adoption and acceptance rates are growing. We build diversified software businesses by applying the same fundamental principles across industries. This innovative business model allows us to scale by creating solutions for niche markets using the same set of processes and a highly distributed team. Pragmatically, we have the same playbook that we apply to build all businesses. Our business model is based on researching and developing with a team of experts that drive us toward launching solutions quickly with uncompromised quality. We are inspired by artificial intelligence combined with powerful minds that make innovation happen in a short amount of time, so it is scalable and adaptable software that is easy-to-use and fast to integrate.
How does Coronavirus affect your business, and how are you coping?
Sofia Fominova: We are truly lucky to be in tech, building B2B SaaS companies, so we are not as affected as retail sectors and many other industries. A tremendous benefit to being in tech is that we have the opportunity to help others pivoting toward more online roles and industries shifting to the online world as well. We’re taking hold of this historical moment and moving with it in lieu of resistance.
On business: We have been working hard to build several companies, from single-feature software solutions like Supercode to mobile workforce solutions like Superforce and carbon emission tracking software – Net0. Another notable company we have started is Supertrace, with a track and trace software solution that is easily integrable into the supply chain.
On teams: Almost all of the team has been remote prior to the pandemic, so it was not very hard for us to go 100% remote. Within the last year, we managed to improve the processes, expand the team and stay more organized to manage the team across several countries and time zones. Building a remote team has been beneficial for the company in terms of diversity and timing. Since there are different restrictions in place across the map, having an international team not only is inclusive but allows more organic creativity without geographic and chronological boundaries.
How do you validate ideas? Do you come up with ideas yourself, or do you acquire companies?
Sofia Fominova: We validate ideas internally. Our strategy is to come up with an idea, build a product to test the market, bring it to $1M ARR and then start scaling it further.
Did you have to do anything differently because of the pandemic? What was it, and what are the lessons learned?
Sofia Fominova: One of the things we had to do differently was raising an investment round on Zoom. In the pre-covid world, it would not have been possible because raising investments involves meeting many people and finding people with the same vision. It is much easier if you can go to events, physically meet up with people, show demos of the products and introduce the whole team. Covid-19 has changed that, and we had to adjust. We closed the whole round in a few months, and all was done via online calls and meetings.
The main lesson was that with a huge desire, you can achieve anything, that it is possible to adjust quickly, that technology is intelligent enough to facilitate the process, and that to communicate the vision and the message, you can adapt to not meeting people in person, especially since we are all adjusting to this, although it would have been amazing to have met everyone in person, and we are excited for when we will be able to do so in the future.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Sofia Fominova: We operate fully online, so for us, the tools that we use are from a standard package of software products. We use Zoom and Slack for communication, Trello for managing tasks and tracking the team’s progress, Airtable for hiring new talent, and many other simple tools that make collaboration easier, such as Google Drive, Spark, Figma, Webflow, and others. We also love being a part of supporting communities; one of my favorite online communities is the Global Studio Startup Network (GSSN).
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Sofia Fominova: Since Truligent is a diversified software company, we don’t really look at other software-building companies as competitors, mainly because we all operate in several different markets. When it comes to portfolio companies, it really depends on the company. For example, if you look at the task management software company, you could say that Superforce competes with companies like Monday and Trello; Superforce, however, is focused on field workers who do not have access to computers. One of our other companies, Supercode, a QR code generator, has more direct competitors, but the market is huge, and since QR codes are on the rise, we see very rapid growth in terms of new clients.
When it comes to staying in the game, our approach is to not focus on competitors but simply work our hardest at giving everything to build the best products we can and form the best teams we can. We are very keen to hire the top experts in our fields and scale teams for all of our companies.
Your final thoughts?
Sofia Fominova: We chose to perceive the Covid-19 era as a catalyst to produce what we can with the resources and skills that we have. We have put 100% focus on Truligent companies, establishing the right processes, and assembling a great distributed team so that we can continue to build multiple software businesses at scale.
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