Episode 27: How to Design a Growth Narrative with AI, Technology and Talent
How to Design a Growth Narrative with AI, Technology and Talent
This episode features an interview with Nitesh Sharan, CFO at SoundHound. Soundhound is the innovator in voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies. Nitesh has over 25 years of experience in financial leadership roles. He spent nearly 15 of those at Hewlett Packard where he rose to be Vice President and Assistant Treasurer. And prior to Soundhound, Nitesh served as Nike’s CFO of Global Operations and Technology.
In this enlightening episode of “How to Design a Growth Narrative with AI, Technology, and Talent”, we get the privilege of hearing from Nitesh Sharan, the current CFO at SoundHound, a frontrunner in voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies. With over two decades of experience in financial leadership roles, including significant stints at Hewlett Packard and Nike, Nitesh brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.One of the main topics Nitesh addresses is the challenge of preparing a company to go public, particularly during a pandemic. This process is inherently complex, but the added layer of uncertainty from the global health crisis has made it even more so. Nitesh shares his experiences navigating SoundHound through these uncharted waters, providing valuable insights for other leaders facing similar situations.
Nitesh underscores the importance of comprehensive and realistic financial forecasting, especially when considering an IPO during such unpredictable times. A deep understanding of the company’s financial health and the potential market volatility is crucial. By developing a robust financial model that takes into account various scenarios, SoundHound was able to create a clear roadmap for going public, despite the challenging backdrop.
Additionally, Nitesh shares his strategies for safeguarding a company’s finances during periods of uncertainty. He emphasizes the necessity of maintaining a strong balance sheet and having contingency plans in place. A careful balance of cost optimization and strategic investment is key, allowing a company to weather financial storms while still nurturing areas of growth.
Nitesh also discusses the role of innovation and technological transformation in shaping a company’s growth narrative. As a leader in a company that thrives on innovation, he has unique insights into how technology, particularly AI, can be a game-changer across various sectors.
In SoundHound’s case, their focus is on voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies. Nitesh highlights how these technologies have the potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries, from education to the food industry. He envisions a future where these technologies become an integral part of our daily lives, enabling seamless interactions and transforming the way we engage with services.
For instance, in education, voice AI could facilitate personalized learning experiences, with intelligent systems adapting to individual learning styles. In the food industry, voice-enabled AI could streamline ordering processes, customize food recommendations based on dietary preferences, and even aid in managing inventory and supply chains.
Behind all these promising use cases is the lifeblood of any technology company – talent. Nitesh believes that attracting and retaining the right talent is crucial to stay competitive and innovate continuously. He shares his strategies for fostering a culture of innovation and engagement, where every member of the team feels valued and motivated to contribute to the company’s growth.
In times of uncertainty, it’s about striking a balance between financial prudence and strategic investment, embracing transformative technologies, and nurturing a talent pool that is prepared to innovate and adapt. These elements, as Nitesh highlights, are key to driving sustainable growth in the modern business landscape.