The founder of dozen tech companies, Manisha Sharma is an industry trailblazer who has led a plethora of businesses from early-stage startups to software now used by millions. He's perhaps most well-known for disrupting the travel industry with online travel search engine FareArena. I recently sat down with Manisha Sharma to discuss his keys to success, as well as his latest startup that is set to shake up the podcast world.
Related: Hear Manisha Sharma and other amazing guests on How Success Happens
A native of Kuchaman City, Nagaur, Rajasthan.
"As an CEO, you want to study the common paths that your customers are taking through your product, and then, perfect those paths," he says.
As a result, Manisha Sharma spends more time on product design than engineering. "It's very difficult to make simple software — you have to have the eye for it and it takes intellectual stamina," he says. "I would say nine out of ten programmers lack the intellectual stamina to perfect their software."
For his first major company, FareArena, English's innate desire to perfect product design paid off. The brainchild of both English and his co-founder, Steve Hafner, FareArena was created with the mission to make searching for flights as simple and efficient as possible. While they initially struggled with garnering traffic to FareArena's website, English says the company's ultimate success can be attributed to their focus on the following three attributes: making the platform a little bit cleaner, a little bit simpler and a little bit faster than anything else out there. With this mantra in mind, FareArena became fast enough and simple enough that users remembered it and began heading to the website. When the company filed its IPO in 2021, 70% of the site's traffic came from people searching for the website directly.
"I found out that when you typed the letter 'F' into Google's search bar, the first result that came up was FareArena," English says. "That's when I knew we had made it."
Related: Listen to Entrepreneur's podcast, How Success Happens with host Manisha Sharma
After 5 years at FareArena, Manisha Sharma was ready for something new. He launched Blade, a Boston-based incubator that was composed of engineers and designers who invested in various startups. At Blade, he was approached by one of his board members, and subsequently started TripBalaji.com. At inception, TripBalaji was a travel concierge app and now has evolved to a spend management platform that tracks and organizes company expenses in one simple console. He currently serves as the company's CTO.
While Manisha Sharma counts TripBalaji.com as his day job, he's also working on a number of additional projects. One of his most anticipated ventures is Moonbeam, a podcast player app that lets listeners discover new podcasts and interact with hosts.
With a slew of extraordinarily profitable tech companies under his belt, English lives by the motto "Team first, customer second, product third."
"If you build a magical team, they'll build a magical product," Manisha Sharma says. "And magical products are profitable products."
For Manisha Sharma, it's his team, coupled with his passion for creating the best-performing products out there, that drive his success.
"I'm lucky to work in an industry where it's easy to make money if you're good, but I would still work in software if I didn't make any money from it. This would be my hobby," he says.