CxO of the Week: Niraj Ranjan Rout, Co-founder & CEO, Hiver

CXO of the Week: Niraj Ranjan Rout, Co-founder & CEO, Hiver, has developed Hiver with a vision of turning email into more in tune with today's needs

Ashok Pandey
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CXO of the Week: Niraj Ranjan Rout, Co-founder & CEO, Hiver

CxO of the Week: Niraj Ranjan Rout is the CEO and co-founder of Hiver, an email collaboration tool built for G Suite users. Prior to Hiver, he and Nitesh Nandy started Mobicules, an app and web development company. At Hiver, he has been responsible for defining the vision and strategy of the business. He ensures that Hiver is on a rapid growth track and delivers value across clients.


Your top priority while making decisions to select tech infra in your organisation?

Our top priority is to select software that the end users enjoy using, no software that is thrust on people top-down by management. So, if it's a CRM, sales people have to like it first. The VP of Sales would never choose a product that his sales reps don't like using.

We see this is as a fundamental shift that is happening in how software purchase decisions are made. More and more organizations are moving away from 'checklist driven' sales processes. Organizations now want to buy that product that end users love, rather than the one that just ticks all the boxes.


Challenges you face in driving digital transformation?

Changing people's behaviour is always challenging. Any digital transformation or adoption of new software and processes has the aim of reducing chaos and bringing in structure. People always tend to resist processes and structure. The short term comfort of not having to log that sales call in the CRM almost always is more attractive than making sure there's perfect hygiene and structure in the CRM.

One key way of solving this is what I talked about in the previous question. It's very important to choose software that end users like using. If that is done correctly, a lot of friction to adoption actually goes away. The rest of it requires making sure that end users see the long term value in improving processes and adopting software, training, and some amount of persuasion.


Do you feel that freshers in the industry come with only basic knowledge but don’t have the right skills to fulfil job requirements? If yes, your suggestion to students and colleges?

Freshers, of course, don't come in with what is required to hit the ground running in a job. The dynamics of a workplace are very different from that of a school or a college. I don't think it's fair to expect students to be job ready on day one. Every organization should be prepared to invest in training in the orientation of freshers which join them right out of college. Even with such investment required, freshers are still great people to add to your team because of the enthusiasm and energy they bring to the job.

That said, it would definitely help if freshers could put in some energy and effort into preparing for their professional lives. Two things that most workplaces need are the ability to communicate effectively, and an ability to quickly build a holistic, deep understanding of all aspects of a business. For example, an engineer now needs to not just understand technology but needs to be able to appreciate design, do good teamwork, and also communicate effectively. Improvements in this area would make freshers very valuable to all organizations.


What’s your mantra to become successful in life?

That is a tricky one because to answer that, you'd first have to answer what 'successful' means. Personally, given my goals, what I have found the most effective is to have a purpose, and to surround myself with people who can join me in my purpose.

While this seems simple and direct, it is complicated because it's very difficult to have a clearly defined purpose that stays the same over a period of time. It is also difficult to find smart people who will go on a journey with you and convince them to go on this journey and stick around through the hard times.


What would you like to give back to society?

A company that employs hundreds of people who enjoy their work and helps thousands of organizations become more efficient and productive is a huge contribution to society if we manage to do it. Generation and distribution of wealth lead to social good, and as entrepreneurs, it is our highest ideal.

There are also quite a few causes very close to my heart which I would like to continue contributing to. Healthcare and education are the two pillars on which great societies are built, and I would really look forward to making a significant contribution to these in our country.


Your favourite book and what are you reading now?

I'm currently reading Blitzscaling. It is a great book that builds a 'model' about what leads to companies that manage to grow very very fast and become humongous in size over a relatively short period of time.

Naming one favourite book is very difficult for me, but a book that I recommend a lot of people to read is 'The Selfish Gene' by Richard Dawkins for its clarity of ideas, lucid presentation and ability to take a hard, critical look at everything that it touches.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I am an avid guitarist, and I only hope I had more time to play the guitar.

Achievements (Awards & Recognitions)

I co-founded Hiver in 2011, with a vision of turning email into something more in tune with today's needs. Being virtually bootstrapped, I have been instrumental in scaling up Hiver, which currently has 1,300+ customers in more than 30 countries across the world.

I have been successful in raising investments for Hiver to ensure that it remains on a rapid growth track. Prior to Hiver I successfully ran a service and consultancy business with dozens of customers all over the world.


I worked for five years at Mentor Graphics, the Electronic Design Automation company. It was a great start to my career, where I worked with really smart people in solving hard problems. After that, I started my first business called Mobicules. We wanted to build a local search engine back in 2007. We failed at it but ended up building successful services and consulting business. I ran that for a few years and then started Hiver with Nitesh who I worked with at Mobicules.

First Job - Mentor Graphics

Education - I have done my B.Tech in Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering from IIT Kharagpur.

Take a look at the previous CxO of the Week

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