Growth Story: Ben David of Chattr
Welcome to our Growth Story series, where you’ll meet startup team members—either natives, boomerangs or transplants—in Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Ben David, Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder of Chattr, formerly HireHumanly, a home care recruiting platform that sources, screens and schedules top applicants automatically.
Where are you from?
I'm from Rochester, NY and moved to Tampa 10 years ago for a job opportunity.
Tell us more about your role at Chattr. What does a day in the life look like?
I'm the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Chattr, so really that means I work on anything that needs to get done throughout the day. Specific to my role I spend a lot of my time on our product strategy, things like talking to customers, getting feedback on the product, working with our developers on how we can continually improve our product.
We are a small company, so we contribute to operations, marketing, sales, etc. Whatever we need to get done.
How did you get your career started and what challenges did you face along the way?
Before Chattr, I spent about 10 years working for a few different technology vendors in enterprise IT. I started in an inside sales bull pen and then in fields sales. I've worked on product management teams, and had the opportunity to work on two product launches early in my career. I've also worked on marketing, go-to-market implementation and channel management. I guess you can say I've done a little of everything in that IT/Enterprise tech space. My biggest challenge was that I hated the corporate life and the structure. I've always had that entrepreneurial itch, so working in silos that move slowly with bad communication was tough. That was the biggest struggle for me in the corporate setting. You don't really know how to make an impact outside your own little bubble. When I began with Chattr, there was a pretty abrupt change realizing "ok, I have to do that." Determining what to do, how to take things one day at a time and build a business outside of a big corporate support structure. It is a big adjustment.
How has this region shaped your career or startup journey?
Early on, I kinda felt like the Tampa startup scene was all talk. In this region, there's a lot of events and organizations and articles about startups, but I always felt the actual founders and companies took a back seat to all of that. Now I feel like we're in the first era of really great local startups. I think Embarc deserves a lot of credit for giving the community some juice. What I learned in Tampa is that there are a lot of talented people here but they are dispersed around the region. You have to work a little harder to find a developer resource or someone who's really great at growth marketing or other entrepreneurs that are great at what they do. Things here are very spread out. There's a lot of great ideas and people here but you need to be as resourceful as you can be to make it happen. It isn't San Francisco, New York or Boston but there are resources here. Being scrappy is key. Entrepreneurs in Tampa require a lot of grit because there aren't too many glamours aspects of building here. But if you put the work in, a lot of great things can happen.
What tactical advice can you share from building your startup or career?
There are three things that I really try to focus on:
- Manage to your company values. If you're a values-led organization it makes the decision-making process so much easier.
- Be obsessed with customer service. Overdeliver where you can.
- You've got to be smart enough to recognized your opportunities. Make the most of your chances.
Where do you see Tampa Bay next? How do you play a role in this future?
Like I mentioned before, I feel like we're in this first era of great startups in Tampa. We've got a long way to go to be the startup hub we all want it to be. I feel like the founders and their teams today will be the group that really helps push Tampa forward and be the ambassadors needed to help grow this market. Founders have a credibility with other founders that you can't manufacture. Personally, I want to build Chattr and make it a huge success here and then hopefully be lucky enough to build a few more hugely successful companies in Tampa. I think paying it forward is important. Successful founders of this generation can help the next group and so on. I'm very optimistic about this region especially after meeting some of the teams building companies here over the past year. Generating the momentum and sharing the momentum is key.
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