Roger Singh started his career in tech in 89’ working as a developer before technology was even cool. He was in the thick of things during the infamous dot-com bubble and witnessed the bubble burst in 2000 before it had a chance to grow close to its expected potential. The unrealistically high valuations for seemingly invaluable tech companies caused a crash that left the tech world scared and shaken.
Singh saw an opportunity for success in the wake of a broken industry. “The best time to enter a marketplace is when it is going through a transition or anytime there is a change in the industry; that signals a point of entry,” Singh said recalling the first time he felt compelled to be an entrepreneur. With that sparked Scalar, the startup company he’s taken from 1.8 million in annual revenue the first year to 300 million, today, just 12 years later.
Scalar was a company that was filling a gap in user defined content. It was an opportunity to provide new technology and plug holes in a re-forming technology ecosystem. With the trauma of a failed tech economy behind them, Scalar focused on developing unprecedentedly innovative technology, with low operation costs and new lines of business. Their immediate struggle was establishing a new company in a growingly crowded marketplace. Scalar was able to capitalize on newly available tech talent and used them to automate as much as possible, as inexpensively as possible, as quickly as possible.
In a tumultuous marketplace, Scalar was able to exceed beyond what many people thought was possible. Last week Scalar hired their 340th employee. Growing a tech company to that size has been no easy feat in Toronto where these days top talent is often in short supply. Not only that but maintaining a certain company culture has always been of utmost importance for Singh. “Employees first – customers second,” is the key to a successful team Singh explains. “Too many companies put customers too far ahead of themselves. If you treat your employees well and give them what they need to learn and succeed they ultimately will take care of customers better, and customers take care of shareholders.”
Staying true to your company’s values and culture is a lesson Singh feels is one of the most valuable to learn. Singh has learned the hard way how important timely delivery can be. Falling victim to disappointing a customer on an ill-timed delivery is something all companies are forever at risk of. Understanding how to avoid delaying completion all starts with setting up realistic expectations and keeping timelines short, to begin with.Having a quick turn-around and smaller deliverables on a project has proven better results for Singh, “This way you can also show small wins and prove success along the way, anything going on longer than 18 months is destined to have some roadblocks come up and that can be discouraging.”
Sitting on several advisory boards Singh has been asked more than once if he feels like the tech industry is destined for another “bubble burst” like he endured in the early 2000’s. A reasonable concern when considering recent outrageous valuations like Snapchat. A company that doesn’t even have a steady means of revenue. However, there is nothing to worry about in Singh’s opinion “The difference between the dot-com bubble and now is; there is no disputing the impact of Cloud-based services, the pervasiveness of security requirements, Internet of Things, AI, and other solutions that will fuel the upcoming phase of computing.”
Two months ago Singh made the switch from CTO at Scalar and Rubikloud Advisor to CTO at Rubikloud and Scalar Advisor. At Rubikloud the CTO role evolved and became more public facing, a type of spotlight Singh has never shied away from. The idea of growing another company intrigues Singh and being a part of the advisory board previously he knew exciting growth was right around the corner.