Lashna Jha’s Hoboken Company, sWorks, Speeds Software Development for Startups and Enterprises – NJ Tech Weekly
Serial entrepreneur Lakshna Jha works out of her Hoboken office. She runs a company called sWorks, a tech company with a mission to help businesses grow their revenues and improve their operational efficiency. sWorks employs about 40 people, many of whom are in tech teams in India. She also has sales teams in Texas, New York and California.
Previously, Jha was the founder and CEO of a startup called sRide Carpool, a carpooling app with 2 million-plus users and 12 million-plus annual rides in India. The app matched car owners with people who wanted rides and, along the way, both the owners and riders expanded their social circles.
sWorks makes apps for both startups and large enterprises, and it delivers them very quickly, usually between six and eight weeks. And these aren’t simple apps. For example, one of the apps the company recently completed for a “stealth” startup called “WayBo Logistics” (Newark) aims to speed up long-haul trucking and to get truckers back to their families at night.
Jha described the problem. There are two big challenges in the trucking industry: If you are trying to transport a load from New York to California, the driver can only legally drive 11 hours, and then must rest for 13 hours. So, the driver is only moving for half a day. Under these conditions, it will take approximately seven days to transport a load across the country, so truck drivers are away from home anywhere from 14 to 16 days at a time.
With the platform that sWorks is developing, founder Eric Amaso has created a way for a trailer and cab to go with one driver for 5.5 hours, and then with another driver for the next 5.5 hours. That way, the load gets across the country much faster, and the drivers all get to go home for the night. The coordination of the drivers is accomplished through notifications built into the software.
This project includes both a hardware and internet-of-things component, said Jha. “When the load is left in the designated place, it has to be restrained to a hardware source. With the mobile app, the new trucker is able to release the trailer from the restraints and take it further on its journey.”
NJTechWeekly.com asked Jha what her company’s “secret sauce” was. “We try to understand the customer’s business really well.” She pointed to her own background as a technology consultant for 25 years, working with people at Aetna, Verizon and various financial service companies, among others. This experience has given her an in-depth understanding of her customers’ businesses.
“We are not trying to just build technology or write lines of code for our customers,” she said. “We are trying to build technology that helps their business grow revenue. We do detailed analysis of [the] business before an app is started. We start with a design prototype. The prototype is built in two weeks. A prototype is worth 1,000 meetings. A design prototype is a powerful tool for businesses to better understand their needs, refine their ideas and ultimately develop products and services that are truly valuable and impactful.”
She continued, “Maintaining regular contact with customers and partners is essential for building strong relationships and ensuring long-term success. We work with a lot of partners, like AWS [Amazon Web Services], Stripe, Square, Twilio, HubSpot and Kommo.
“Speed and building a minimum viable product (MVP) can be critical factors for achieving success. By focusing on speed and building an MVP, businesses can also benefit from the ability to pivot quickly and adapt to changing market conditions.
She added that sWorks helps startups to focus on revenue generation by prioritizing the top five or six features that are the most essential for their businesses. By identifying the most critical features, startups can avoid getting bogged down in unnecessary development work, and can instead focus on delivering value to their customers.
Towards the end of the interview, NJTechWeekly.com asked Jha how her company can grow enough to deliver excellent results to both startups and larger companies. She said that she has a clear year-on-year tenfold growth plan for the company.
“The architecture is similar to building with Lego blocks, as it is based on a component-based architecture. With this approach, developers can create software by assembling pre-built components, customizing it for customer business needs. It’s much like building structures with Lego bricks.”
When sWorks hires people for its team, it looks for a combination of both skills and cultural fit. Hiring for cultural fit is important, she said, as it can help ensure that new employees share the company’s values, work ethic and vision.
Jha also offers free consultations for startups and businesses looking to develop technology that will enable them to expand their operations, she told us.