Life After The Grove
Ever stay awake wondering if there’s life after the Grove, and if so, what it holds? Well, if Raj Jalan, co-Founder and CEO of Device 42, Inc. http://device42.com, is to be believed, the answer is ‘yes, there is life after The Grove. And it holds growth, success and even a few challenges.’
Grovers who have been around for a while may remember Device 42 from the early days when The Grove was at 71 Orange Street, or from the days when Device 42 occupied the entire third floor of the expansion wing at the Grove’s current location on Chapel Street.In November 2015, Device 42 moved to its new location at 600 Saw Mill Road, West Haven, having outgrown their space at The Grove. Their new offices are spacious, bright with ample onsite parking, and located only a half mile from the exit off I-95. The new space allows for an increased staff and has several quiet conference rooms, for customer demos and conference calls.
Jalan founded Device 42 in 2010 and ran it from his home till the company took off to the point where Jalan needed space for employees and to meet with customers. Realizing it was no longer feasible to run the business from home, he looked into The
Grove. “The main benefit [of The Grove] was collaboration,” Jalan said. “So many helpful people around, full of energy more – than in the usual office.”
Device 42’s product, an IT infrastructure management tool that allows companies to identify, visualize, and manage devices (physical, virtual, or cloud), networks components, software, and passwords, was already developed by the time it took up residence at The Grove. The product allows a company, using Device42 browser interface, to visualize their infrastructure, understand network interdependencies, improve network security, and mitigate the impacts of planned and unplanned IT network changes.
Having spent years working as a consultant to various IT companies, Jalan had first-hand knowledge of the need for such a product and, with his background, he was able to design and develop it. His experience working with companies that needed the product meant he could also market the product efficiently. In fact, Jalan told me, Device 42 was in the enviable position of being profitable from day one.
Given those advantages, Jalan was not looking to collaborate with other Grovers on product design or development, but, transitioning from a solo, service-based business consultant, to entrepreneur of a product-based business with employees, presented new challenges. It was this area, what he refers to as “mind expansion” where Jalan found the creative energy at The Grove most helpful. He mentioned another Grover, John Fitzpatrick, founder of Applivate LLC ( http://shugtrak.com), as being particularly helpful by introducing him to The Founders Lunch group, an informal group of startup entrepreneurs who meet regularly for lunch and discuss various challenges they’re facing.
Asked what was the biggest challenge he faced on a daily basis as the founder of a startup, Jalan didn’t hesitate: “What to do first. You have one hundred things to do; what are the five most important?” Jalan noted that this is an area where too many startup entrepreneurs get trapped. Having run his own consulting business before Device 42, Jalan knew how to handle various administrative details such as bookkeeping, but once the company got to a certain size, doing those things himself was no longer feasible. “I’ve seen startups where they won’t spend the money to hire a resource that can do the work in two hours that it would take you ten hours to do. I was at that point at some stage, I suppose,” he admitted. “But you can only do five or ten things a day. Which five or ten?” Another constant challenge, not just for Device 42, but for any business, is finding, hiring and keeping the right people. “Our most successful hires are from networking,” Jalan told me. “Networking is absolutely necessary for everyone at every stage.”
Other advice Jalan had for entrepreneurs included being sure to keep good records and not to get discouraged when things get hard. “I think it’s all about persistence. Just keep going.” Given that Device 42 now has clients in 29 countries and is actively growing its employee base, it sounds like this is a man who knows what he’s talking about.