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. Through his startup studio and venture capital firm, 75 & Sunny, Spencer is an active angel investor in over 75 companies and is incubating several more.

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.


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