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Business News/ Brand Stories / Eyal Ahimas Is Bridging Cultural Gaps Between Indian & Israeli Engineers
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Eyal Ahimas Is Bridging Cultural Gaps Between Indian & Israeli Engineers

Eyal Ahimas, CEO of IAMOPS started their operations in India, together with his co-founder Roy Bernat, with a vision to eliminate the border between Indian engineers and tech start-ups around the globe

Eyal Ahimas, CEO of IAMOPSPremium
Eyal Ahimas, CEO of IAMOPS

IAMOPS is a customized DevOps, SRE, and QA automation service provider for start-ups and high-growth companies in Israel and the United States.

They work with tech startups across various industries, including finance, telecom, entertainment, health, technology, education, defense, and security. As one of the leading DevOps teams in the market, they actively source and train the best Indian engineers.

Eyal Ahimas, CEO of IAMOPS started their operations in India, together with his co-founder Roy Bernat, with a vision to eliminate the border between Indian engineers and tech start-ups around the globe. In this interview, we will elaborate further on his vision and gain a deeper understanding of his leadership style.

1. We all in India would like to know more about your background. Can you outline it for us?

From a young age, I have been fascinated by the concept of starting a business.

As a child, a friend and I collected old stuff from his parents' storage, opened a desk on the street, and sold it to passers-by.

When I was 12, My friend and I picked Chinese oranges (Kumquats) from my parent's tree and put out a desk on the street of the nearest tourist village to sell them. As a 16-year-old, I invited two of my friends in my room at my parents' house to create a business plan for a live music outdoor bar. All of these experiments were small and never turned into real businesses.

For me to feel confident in starting a business, and taking risks, I needed hands-on management experience and education.

I studied Economics and Computer Science to gain basic understanding of how markets work and technology terminologies. Then, I studied Accounting to receive a more in-depth understanding of how businesses operate and grow. It has been said that accounting is the “language of businesses".

My CPA internship at Ernst & Young exposed me to the corporate world. Then, I worked for a tech startup as a Finance Manager.

As a consultant, I helped CEOs build their business plans and assisted them in executing them. I was exposed to their challenges, management habits, successes and failures. As a result, I felt I had the skills and knowledge needed to start my own business.

I met Roy at that time, and one thing led to another to form what IAMOPS is today.

2. How did the idea of starting IAMOPS come about?

It just made sense.

When Roy told me that he wants to scale his DevOps consulting practice and turn it into a big business, we started brainstorming about how that can be done.

Building the operations in India was the only way to make it happen. We wanted to build a company that provides services that rely on Human Resources, and we knew that India is the biggest pool in the world of high-quality Human Resources. Besides that, there is a difference in the labor costs between Israel and India which adds to the potential for a business to become successful.

Luckily, it’s not easy to operate in India. Despite the abundance of extremely talented engineers, getting to them is difficult. Overcoming cultural differences is quite a challenge. Different cultures exist in every aspect of the work environment, from contract negotiations to onboarding.

I said “luckily" because that is a competitive barrier for other players to enter the market.

Once you figured out how to operate in India, you are in the “blue ocean".

It was my great luck that Roy agreed to my suggestion. The moment he accepted the challenge of building the company in India, he was and still is extremely stubborn to make it happen!

3. What impact do you want to create in the world with your company, IAMOPS?

I want to eliminate borders between countries when it comes to building a team.

I want entrepreneurs to be able to build their teams much faster and by that be able to successfully meet their goals. I want engineers to be able to work for any company around the world, in positions that realize their potential and skills.

There are many “payroll companies" today that enable companies to hire engineers in other countries.

There are many “freelancer platforms" today that enable companies to hire freelancers in other countries.

Neither of them enables entrepreneurs to get on board a TEAM that will take complete charge of a specific domain in a short time, and ensure expertise, accountability, proactiveness, and dedication.

In order to achieve these core values, and achieve them fast, IAMOPS is there for them.

4. Every startup has a “first client" story, how did you manage to get your first deal?

It took us 12 months (!) to earn our first client.

The year was 2020, the year of covid. There was a lot of volatility in the market. There were many startups that closed, and those that continued operating did so very carefully and without significant changes to their operations.

It was a challenging year to develop a new “offering" to the market. During that year we had clients that we worked with before we set up the company which enabled us to operate. Nevertheless, earning the first client with our new “story" was challenging and took some time.

We were able to get leads and try different sales pitches, but nothing developed into a “closed won". At that point, after 12 months, I really had second thoughts about this “DevOps Market". I was not sure about the demand for DevOps as a Service.

Then a new lead came, we had a short phone call and he invited us to his office. I told Roy, “Let’s try a different approach. There will be no sales pitch from our end. We will let the lead speak in the entire meeting."

We went to his office and had a meeting. There he told us all about his pain points. He worked with a known DevOps services company, which assigned him a DevOps engineer who came to his office twice a week. He told us all about why it is not working, and what he is dreaming about. At the end, he even told us how much he pays that company and what his budget was.

For me, this meeting was exactly what I needed. My “ideal client" taught me all I needed to know about the pain point of my target market. He taught me about what he is willing to pay for us to solve his pains.

We won that deal!

Our offering was tailored accordingly from this point on and we experienced constant growth.

5. What are the biggest advantages and challenges of being an entrepreneur?

The biggest advantage - You can pursue your vision and do things the way you want to.

Biggest challenge - There is a huge risk of being an entrepreneur. Usually, people are aware of the financial risk. But it is only one of many. You are also risking your career - if you fail, it can be difficult to go back to the market and get a good position as a hired employee.

You are also risking your personal life. There are many stressful and challenging events in building a company that affects your home, your relationship with your partner, and with your kids. You need to be able to manage your life in a way that you will be able to take and handle all these risks.

6. How has the experience of creating a winning team been? Is there any advice for a budding startup here?

Building a winning team is challenging. Building it REMOTELY, IN INDIA, is a huge challenge.

Niken Wadkar, our first hire who is now a senior manager in the company, was a soul player from day one. Upon joining, he understood and embraced our DNA, and was integral in identifying and bringing on the right team members.

My advice for whoever is building a company is to build a strong and solid recruiting team plus build an internal training program to make the new hires embrace your DNA and culture. Today, Niken is managing IAMOPS’ academy which trains new hires to adopt the “IAMOPS way".

7. What are your ideologies and how does that impact hiring at IAMOPS? Is there any particular combination of attitude and skill sets that you look for in an individual?

On a personal note, it is important for me that my team members are confident and mature to have a “say".

Team players must follow the work plan, but they must also be able to express their own opinions.

I usually speak less in meetings. After I present the meeting agenda, we have a round-up in which everyone has 2-3 minutes to share their observations and thoughts. I speak last and the least. The action items and expectations are set based on what everyone said.

Having said that, I work directly with 7-8 team members in the company. In regard to other team members, I personally believe in delegating authority down the line. For that reason, the team lead must decide who the best fit is to get on board.

In order to highlight different things which I observed about the candidate, I might challenge the team lead and ask questions, but ultimately it will be up to them. Because of this, every team reflects the team leader, and the company becomes more diverse.

8. How rewarding has the journey of entrepreneurship been so far? What is your biggest learning?

Usually, you are so caught up in the daily race that you are not aware of what you achieved along the way. Add the fact that I am in Israel and IAMOPS is in India, and the result is that I don’t have the ability to be completely aware of our achievements.

At some point, when all the company gathers at some events, there is suddenly the “wow" feeling. You look at all of the team members and see how big it became and that fills you with a sense of pride. This is the most rewarding thing that happens in this journey.

My biggest learning is that people are 99% the same everywhere. It might take some time to peel some layers off, but eventually, you will find that a 25-year-old engineer in India has the same motivation, ambitions, and fears as a 25-year-old engineer in Israel. Both want to improve their lives and the lives of their families. To achieve it, they will both do what is necessary.

When you realize that, you understand that your team should be built world-wide.

9. Can you highlight any passion apart from entrepreneurship that you would like to pursue?

In the later stages of my life, I would like to set up a business that will be less “profit" oriented and more connected to my local community.

It would be great if one day, I’ll be able to make my dream and work plan, when I was 16 years old, come true, to see an outdoor bar where live music is played, and barbeque and beer are served.

I’ll go there every night and enjoy time with friends and meet new people who just want to have a good time, laugh, drink beer and listen to live music of a local band or singer.

Today IAMOPS has a big vision, across countries, and markets. The business goals are ambitious and it's mainly about growing, making a big impact, and growing to be a big profitable company. It would be nice in the future to have something small, that mainly aims to have a small impact on the close community.

10. Message for young Indians

  • Go to work for a foreign company at an early stage of your career.
  • Don’t compromise on “support" positions. Find a position where you can utilize your skills.

When I am referring to foreign companies, I am not talking about local MNCs. I am talking directly about a foreign company.

I am not objective here of course, but when interviewing engineers for positions in IAMOPS, we witness a huge difference between engineers who worked for foreign companies for their R&D and between engineers who worked for a local MNC in a support position, half of the time sat on the bench and almost didn’t gain significant hands-on experience.

Don’t get blinded by the brand. Understand what you are really going to do and don’t compromise on the essence of your work.

Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times does not endorse/subscribe to the content(s) of the article/advertisement and/or view(s) expressed herein. Hindustan Times shall not in any manner, be responsible and/or liable in any manner whatsoever for all that is stated in the article and/or also with regard to the view(s), opinion(s), announcement(s), declaration(s), affirmation(s) etc., stated/featured in the same.

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Published: 28 Dec 2022, 05:22 PM IST
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