Jai Shekhawat didn’t have a whole lot of substance to offer when he began his effort to start Fieldglass. He didn’t have experience raising money, and he only had a vision in his own mind of what the company could be. On the personal side, he had a wife at home taking care of the couple’s new baby and a pile of school debt.
Things picked up a bit when he was able to recruit a team to help him on his quest. But then he got rejections from more than 90 venture firms, had a dispute with a vendor, watched expected wins turn into losses and came within a week of missing payroll.
But Shekhawat remained confident that he had a great idea. He wanted to provide firms with software that would enable them to engage more effectively with providers of contract labor.
So he tweaked his model and began to better understand the nuances of buyer-supplier interactions. He developed a model that took out cost and increased efficiency in these interactions, focusing on partnering instead of competing with staffing firms.
And while Fieldglass wasn’t the first company to do business in this area, Shekhawat’s partner model was unique and remains the only successful model in the industry.
His transaction pricing model was another challenge for Shekhawat as it was considered to be unworkable by many in the e-procurement sector. Today, however, it is the industry standard.
Shekhawat is committed to sharing his story of persistence and determination. He is a frequent guest speaker at local MBA schools on the topics of entrepreneurship, strategy and fundraising.
His attitude of helping others and serving as a mentor to those who work with him has influenced the community and his company, where turnover is less than 10 percent annually.
How to reach: Fieldglass, (312) 279-8700 or www.fieldglass.com