Interview with Srini Battula, CTO at HomeLane

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One of the most important events in a person’s life is surely when he buys a house for himself and his family. Well, buying a house is certainly a big step but turning it into a home is what requires a great deal of time and effort. A part of this process is getting the furnishing done for the house in order to create that perfect dream home. And as most of the market is unorganized it turns out to be a big hassle to deal with carpenters and interior designers, and getting all the right fixtures for them. When a few men faced this exact situation while getting their respective homes furnished HomeLane was born.

HomeLane.com is an online home solutions startup for modular kitchens, wardrobes and other home furnishing solutions. The company which was co-founded in the year 2014 by Srikanth Iyer (the CEO) and Rama Harinath, offers end-to-end home interior designing and furnishing services as a single point of contact for the customers. The USP of the Bangalore-based company is their promise of a timely delivery and the long-term warranty that comes with their products. The funded company from Sequoia Capital and Aarin Capital has recently acquired Doowup, a tech startup offering hyper-realistic, personalised home decor experience for an undisclosed amount.

We caught up with Srini Battula, Technology Consultant of the company to know a little more about this home solutions startup.

Give us a snapshot of your professional journey till now.

I started my career with a fortune 500 company called ABB (Asea Brown Boveri) after my M.S. at Iowa State University, Ames, IA. After that I joined a bay area startup called enCommerce which was later acquired by Entrust, and from then onwards I’ve always worked for startups – Symphony Services, Ketera Technologies (KPCB funded company later acquired by Deem), my own e-commerce startup called Playgroundonline and now HomeLane. A total of around 20 years of experience, half of which is in US and the other half in India.

When & how did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

As explained above, after my first stint at a large company, I was part of 3 start-ups and the macro trends observed in India w.r.t internet penetration and digital commerce, the entrepreneurial bug bit me to start Playgroundonline in the niche area of sports and fitness, and sports has always been close to my heart.

What were the early days at HomeLane like?

The early days comprised of a lot of learning about the domain Home Interiors; understanding how and where all the technology can be used to solve real problems, and scale the business during discovery, design and delivery phases of a customer’s journey in getting their home interiors done. And of course the fund raising activities and building a high performance Engineering team kept us all busy.

Can you please describe what a typical day at office is like?

Our day usually starts with our daily agile meetings, architectural discussions, coffee breaks, tough decisions on which website to order lunch from and of course the usual firefighting once in a while.

There is always more to do on a given day and the key is to prioritize on the basis of key goals agreed upon.

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Can you tell us about the technology stack used at HomeLane?

We use microservices architecture on AWS. We built some very interesting android applications for our internal usage and we are also working on building some exciting products for 3D visualization using VR and AR technologies.

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Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?

Microservices is what we are betting on to help us scale fast and better.

How are you using Business Intelligence and analytics at your company?

Analytics is what we live and breathe as a team. We are a data driven company and most of the decisions are taken based on the A/B testing we do.

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How else does technology help your company stand apart from its rivals?

The 3D visualization products we are building are going to be one big differentiator for us during the discovery phase of our customer. Post discovery phase, we have the strong back-end application(s) in place to make sure our designer partners design and deliver what the customer wants within the promised time frame.

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What has been the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced while running HomeLane?

Building the right Engineering team is always the biggest challenge and it’s no different at HomeLane. We managed to sell our dream and opportunity to some of the rock star Engineers out there and the real problem now is to challenge them with tough technical problems to solve.

What are some of the attributes you look out for in prospective technology employees?

Good problem solving skills coupled with the right attitude and startup mentality is what we look for.

How do you keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology world?

I make sure that a few hours a week are always set aside for updating myself with the latest that is happening in the technology world. There are plenty of sources for that – blogs, popular websites, attending startup events, TED sessions and many more.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

The opportunity in front of us and the fact that we are helping the customer through one of the most important occasions in their lives – moving into their own “home”

What sets HomeLane engineering culture apart?

We are a bunch of passionate engineers who get enthusiastic about solving real customer problems using technology and not a bunch of what I call “if else loop” coders.

Which HomeLane value resonates best with you?

The customer focus we as an organization have is what resonates best with me.

Any piece of advice for the techies out there?

Do not get carried away with the tech buzz words that usually float around. First understand why you are doing and ask yourself what you learned on any given day. Try to have some fun while working.

 

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