Assim Gupta is the CEO and Founder of Closeloop, a cutting-edge software development firm that brings bold ideas to life. Assim is a strategic thinker who always asks “WHY are we doing this?” before rolling up his sleeves and digging in. He is data-driven and highly analytical, yet his passion is working with teams to build unexpected, creative solutions that catapult companies forward.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Assim Gupta: I am an Investor, Philanthropist, and a Serial Entrepreneur. I am Assim Gupta, the CEO of Closeloop Technologies; passionate about mentoring young entrepreneurs and passing on real-life knowledge and insights from my entrepreneurial journey. I have been a member of Keiretsu Capital and Band of Angels for a few years as an Angel Investor. Also, I am a panelist at PitchForce that helps early-stage startups to raise funds for their business.
Born and raised in the Indian state of Punjab and graduated from Punjab Engineering College with a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.) degree in Electronics and Computer Science (1993), followed by an MBA from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in International Marketing & Finance (1994-1996), I secured an Advanced Project Management Certificate from Stanford University after that that empowered me with management skills, methodologies of IPS Learning (IPS) on real-life processes and tools to become a profound leader and manager.
I have worked with companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, VMWare, SGI, and Essar for over two decades before starting my own, Closeloop Technologies, headquartered in Mountain View, California, is a self-funded technology company, which is, of course close to my heart. This is not the only company I owned, and rather I started a few companies from which I got good exits by selling them to big pockets.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Assim Gupta: The last couple of years has been vacillating for everyone in the business world. The unanticipated rise of coronavirus took the world by surprising shock. With businesses having a tough time dealing with the situation, it was technology that kept everyone’s hopes alive and helped tech companies thrive. Fortunately, being one of the promising technology companies in the USA, we had everything on track, infrastructure- and personnel-wise, from remote working to virtual client meetings and team discussions, these were not new to us. We kept it going and overcame challenges with confidence and courage. It was certainly not easy, but as they say, ‘the show must go on.’
These years were certainly an alarming sign for businesses not having an online presence and were still operating with traditional methods. Nevertheless, with so much negativity around, it was positive to see businesses taking the digital route. I believe businesses thrive with lessons learned from the past. With the advancement of digitalization, the business market landscape is evolving and expanding.
Change is the only constant thing in this world. It is unavoidable and evident. Stay abreast with the changes around you and adapt to the change to succeed.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Assim Gupta: Challenges have always been there, and they will remain in the future too. Unpredictable scenarios like pandemics can test your preparedness, courage, and strength to overcome it all and come out as a winner.
Though we cannot predict the future, we certainly can prepare ourselves for the worst times. And to me, preparation for the future means investing in smart IT solutions that streamline work operations, teams, management, and enterprise on the whole and help you stay ahead of the curve.
To evade situations like pandemics and grow despite the global slowdown, you need smart solutions. Aside from that, focus on enhancing customer experience and improving communication because the better you communicate, the better you relate with your customers.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Assim Gupta: To be honest, the technology space is the only sector that wasn’t impacted much by the pandemic. In fact, tech companies grew as new business owners made their way to IT solutions. A few alterations were to be done to ensure client satisfaction and employee retention, which I believe was taken care of. Besides that, virtual meetings, remote work culture, and things likewise did not really impact the IT industry. We are used to such working environments.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Assim Gupta: Clarity. I believe there was no clarity when Covid-19 hit. People were unaware of what was happening and what was going to happen. The lack of awareness and delayed actions by administration houses caused severe damage to businesses around the world. The sudden shutdown of everything was something that was new, and people or businesses were unaware.
Technology is the key to a prosperous future. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce store or provide services online for that matter, you need to upgrade with the changing market norms and user expectations. And, rather than being resistant to technology, it should be integrated into business practices to control the unpredictability of situations.
During my entrepreneurial journey, I have learned that early efforts in the right direction in terms of client communication, team discussions, employee productivity & efficiency, and marketing are all that are required to grow sustainably in the long run.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Assim Gupta: So true. It is because of the ease and comfort online mediums offer. Fortunately, people are liking it and getting used to the new ways of operations. Trust is being built. They are happy to order stuff online rather than queuing physically in stores. From the smallest of needs to buying a luxurious sofa, everything is tap-enabled and a click away to doorstep delivery. What else does anyone want?
And this is just the beginning, I foresee billions of dollars of business in the online space in the coming months. With new technologies like AI, Blockchain, IoT, and AR/VR maturing, the user experience is set to levitate, which will take sales numbers to monumental heights.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Assim Gupta: With everything being online, you need to spend nearly half of the day on screens, whether laptops or mobile devices. However, you need to strike a balance between your sitting hours and the time you are mobile. I make sure to go for a walk or run in the evening after work and spend time exercising early in the morning to remain in shape and a healthy state of mind.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Assim Gupta: Real-life stories are helpful in inspiring team members and motivating them to achieve the unimaginable. I cite my past experiences and share stories at the workplace to charge everyone up and make them believe that nothing is impossible if you are passionate about it. I truly am a software aficionado, and the zeal to turn things around in my favor is what keeps me going. The same I expect from my team too. Hence I keep sharing my knowledge and experience, good or bad, for them to relate, learn and grow.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Assim Gupta: The most challenging part of our job is to keep up with the changing user expectations and market demands. It doesn’t take time for trends to mature in the IT space. We need to be on our toes to identify them, incorporate them into our business practices, and offer services in the way our clients expect.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Assim Gupta: Currently, I am fascinated by how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are maturing. I am looking forward to seeing their impact on our daily lives in the coming years.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Assim Gupta: As a leader and a mentor, I believe a lot of companies are more focused on creating value for their customers than spending time providing a cohesive work environment to their employees. There should be a balance between the two things because companies don’t become great by themselves, it is the team that makes them great. If your employees are not valued and unheard of, then even progressing companies can languish or completely fail.
I think appreciation at the workplace is important. As leaders or bosses, we need to look at things from a human’s perspective first rather than evaluating performance based on figures and metrics. The performance evaluation should be based on commitment, innovation, talent, and ideas anyone brings to the table, whether experienced or not.
Gone are the days when degrees used to overpower talent. Today, innovation and ideas carry more value than a mere degree from a top-rated engineering university or B-school.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Assim Gupta: To me, the power of convincing takes the cake. If you can convince people easily, then you can go places. Whether looking to secure funding for your startup or communicating with clients to sign up for a deal, convincing power can be your ultimate weapon.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Assim Gupta: To me, success entails creating and maintaining a sense of balance in life. You should be working hard to accomplish your goals, but at the same time you need to spend time on self-care. Eating well, exercising, traveling, and spending time with friends and family are things that help you rejuvenate and achieve a well-balanced and wise mind.
Business-wise, when you know that your clients are benefiting from your association, you know you are successful. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that helps you thrive for more in your life.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Assim Gupta for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Assim Gupta or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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