Office Hours Podcast: Immigrant Grit and Their Parents’ Experience Inspired ServiceTitan's Co-Founders

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Ara Mahdessian

Shoeboxes full of invoices and receipts ignited the idea of ServiceTitan for Ara Mahdessian, the company's co-founder and CEO.

An Armenian kid from Iran, Ara immigrated with his family to the U.S. as a young boy. He watched his parents assimilate to their new country while toiling into late hours of the night in order to give their family a good life. Ara said, "I remember my parents would come home...extremely tired, exhausted, dusty and still have hours of work to do...And all this happened at dinner time. It happened after dinner. And so was this work that never ended."


Ara's parents' hard work paid off. Ara attended Stanford where he studied software engineering. He and his co-founder, Vahe Kuzoyan, also a software engineer, applied their knowledge to create automated software for home and commercial service businesses like plumbing and electrical work.

Their software allows for scheduling, dispatching, payroll, recording, payments, invoicing, etc. Ara said one of the most important values to the company is fanatical focus on customer success. "We will do anything it takes to make one of our customers or contractors successful," he said. "If we mess something up, we will go to the end of the world to fix it, even if it cost us an arm and a leg....it's the right thing to do. And it's always worked out for us financially as well.

Ara embodies two of the most significant qualities I look for in founders: a personal connection to the problem they're trying to solve and grit.

Hear why Ara feels having a software engineering background makes him a better leader, what do look for in investment partners and the values he emphasizes at ServiceTitan to ensure a high-quality, supportive and productive company culture.

Ara Mahdessian is the co-founder and CEO of ServiceTitan.

dot.LA Sr. Podcast Producer & Editor Laurel Moglen contributed to this post.


Want to hear more episodes? Subscribe to Office Hours on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeart Radio or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Diagnostics Startup Polygon Raises $4M To Test Kids for ADHD and Dyslexia
Courtesy of Polygon

Here’s how Jack Rolo describes his childhood: He was good at chess, and bad at spelling. He was good at math, and bad at reading. Rolo went on to study physics at Durham University in his native England—and despite often struggling in his courses, it wasn’t until after he graduated that he was diagnosed with dyslexia, a common language processing disorder that affects reading.

Rolo’s experiences informed his founding of Polygon, a Santa Monica-based diagnostics startup that emerged from stealth on Friday with $4.2 million in funding, and the goal of better diagnosing dyslexia, ADHD and other learning-related disabilities. The funding includes a $3.6 million seed round led by Spark Capital, as well as $600,000 in pre-seed funding led by Pear VC.

Read more Show less

ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel on How the Job Market Has Shifted

Spencer Rascoff

Spencer Rascoff serves as executive chairman of dot.LA. He is an entrepreneur and company leader who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, dot.LA, Pacaso and Supernova, and who served as Zillow's CEO for a decade. During Spencer's time as CEO, Zillow won dozens of "best places to work" awards as it grew to over 4,500 employees, $3 billion in revenue, and $10 billion in market capitalization. Prior to Zillow, Spencer co-founded and was VP Corporate Development of Hotwire, which was sold to Expedia for $685 million in 2003. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 100 companies and is incubating several more.

Ian Siegel, ZipRecruiter
Image courtesy of ZipRecruiter

On this episode of Office Hours, host Spencer Rascoff talked with ZipRecruiter CEO and founder Ian Siegel about how he built his company, the lessons he's learned along the way and how he's seen the pandemic drastically reshape the job market—probably for good.

Read more Show less

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Riot Games Doubles Down on Mobile With ‘Aim Lab’ Investment
Image from Aim Lab

Riot Games has invested in virtual shooting range developer Statespace, accelerating the Los Angeles video game publisher’s efforts to dominate the mobile gaming space.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending