The journey of Tenantcube from conception to product makes for a very good story. When Andy (our CEO) and VJ (our COO), both friends of many years, flew from Canada to Chennai with a dream in mind, little did they imagine how much of a challenge they had really taken up.
After deciding to incorporate their startup in Canada, they started setting up their development team in Chennai, India. Though the birth of a startup is an exciting phase, it is also a bit similar to going on a roller coaster without strapping yourself in. They had to work on finding talent and funding; but they held on tight to the ride, and built a formidable team with the support of well-known investors who believed in their brilliant idea, and history of success in the SaaS business.
With the foundation all set, Tenantcube’s new Chennai office had an address. But turns out, that was the one thing we didn’t really need: a physical office. COVID-19 hit, and all the carefully-laid plans had to be…re-laid.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tzu
Tenantcube was a proptech startup, which meant we had to build software for an industry that was notoriously slow to adapt to new technology. The pandemic opened the eyes of people to embracing modern tools that’d enable them to accomplish anything from within four walls. That the same technology only made their processes more efficient and saved a ton of time was an added bonus. All of a sudden, landlords and property managers were clamoring for solutions that’d make their businesses more streamlined.
In true startup spirit, the fresh Tenantcube team enthusiastically rose up to the challenge. Our small team adapted fast to the new working environment, led by solid leadership that encouraged creative problem solving, open communication, and a flat hierarchy. Though our team worked in two widely-spaced time zones, we met virtually every day to collaborate and build an innovative software platform from scratch.
Gradually we got to know each other better, despite having never met face-to-face. As our product grew from strength to strength, so did we. We released our beta version, which was an instant success among landlords and property managers tired of bigger players turning them down. Tenantcube solved all their problems, was affordable, and what’s more - helped their businesses scale. And we were there for them every step of the way.
Our product was growing, our customers were happy. There was just one thing we were yet to do as a team: meet in person. Though we’d spent hours talking to each other over the course of a year, we all wanted to have some real face-time, share our ideas, and have fun in the process. As infection rates drastically reduced, travel restrictions eased, and everyone got vaccinated, we finally settled on a date: November 26, 2021.
Flight tickets were booked, and a nice resort by the Chennai coastline was picked to host the perfect day for a team retreat. The morning of the 26th dawned, a Friday. We all arrived at the resort in eager anticipation, despite the threat of impending rains. People who’d worked with each other for over a year to build an outstanding product, met for the first time. Guarded smiles gave way to enthusiastic greetings. Handshakes gave way to high-fives.
Animated conversations were the highlight of that day, amidst several games and other activities. Colleagues who were usually shy during online meetings were surprisingly extroverted in person. Not to mention the many hidden talents - our CEO Andy was able to spin a top for a whole minute! There were plenty of funny moments throughout the day as well. Smaller teams were formed for the activities, and at the end of a scavenger hunt, we spent several riotous minutes arguing over the definition of a human pyramid after everyone interpreted it differently! Another activity of the scavenger hunt was to record a one-minute dance video with all the members of a team. Hilarity ensued when the rest of us realized that a particular team had just performed one dance step and looped it in a continuous gif lasting a minute! The laughs were endless.
We already had the privilege of watching magic happen in the process of building a startup; we experienced that wonder again that day. That a group of people could meet each other for the first time and get on so well with little effort, was magical. It was a testament to the work culture within the company that interpersonal relationships grew and thrived hand-in-hand with the product, even if virtual.
After a full day of games and uninhibited conversations, we felt energized instead of exhausted. Reinvigorated, for another year of reaching dizzying new heights with Tenantcube. We truly felt like a family.