Hire to Your Weaknesses. No matter what stage your business is in; it’s best to hire people in areas you may not have the appropriate skills at. Initially we were hiring employees on our team that had similar backgrounds to our team instead of hiring employees that may have a technical skillset that would’ve added more value to our company.
Asa part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rohan Doodnauth.
Rohan Doodnauth is the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of OpaLink. Rohan earned his B.S. in Finance at the University of Central Florida before working in Cloud SaaS and Corporate Finance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Mybrothers and I are second-generation Americans born to Indian descent parents from Guyana. Our parents instilled their values of always being kind, humble, generous always helping those in need. Growing up our parents always showed concern for others’ welfare and putting their comfort first. Our parents owned and operated Adult Daycare Centers where we spent time volunteering and giving back to the senior community in Merritt Island Florida. OpaLink was founded on the concept of gifting and the hospitable brothers believed in the concept of giving more than you receive.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
During the pandemic our founding team was placed in a situation where we were all working from home for our corporate jobs and had to assist our parents with their facilities due to the labor shortage caused by COVID-19. By coming together, we realized that through any difficult situation we can accomplish everything by being a family first and multitasking to achieve our task at hand.
Can you tell us about the cutting-edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?
OpaLink combines multiple technologies such as peer to peer, geofencing, and data analytics to allow users to communicate directly with our partner restaurants, identify when customers are at a current restaurants/bar and allows friends to gift/send items instantly to each other.
This will allow users to never experience F.O.M.O, create dining experiences with friends that are physically displaced, and meet new people.
How do you think this might change the world?
OpaLink will change the world because it will create a new standard of virtual dining that will foster connections and experiences.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?
With our technology customers will receive more drinks and food items that they were not initially planning for (lol).
Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?
It was the summer of 2020 and all three of us were quarantined because we had COVID-19. My brother Teddy was on the phone with his best friend living in NY while he was out celebrating his birthday at a restaurant. Teddy called the restaurant to send a bottle of wine to his friend and was denied payment of reading his credit card over the phone because of security reasons
What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?
In order to lead this technology to widespread we need to partner up with operators and show the positive outcomes that our product will have on their top line, consumer foot traffic, and prioritize the emotional connection of keeping our operators consumers engaged.
What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?
We are targeting hyper local markets with growing restaurant groups. We will be targeting regional cities that have high population density of restaurants and cluster of Millennials & Gen Z’s within a certain square mile radius and where a single restaurant group owns multiple different venues / locations.
To convert users tactically, we have introduced our “gifting product” to educated users who visit the site. Users are directed to enter in name, age range, and zip for an early access to download our app when it is released on the store. This also tracks how many times the user refers the application and at the end of the campaign we will select the top 100 users to be invited to the launch event on Jan 15th. This strategy allows us to build anticipation and to increase our referrals organically.
Loyalty and Referral: Users, will also only be awarded loyalty points when they gift and refer friends, with this strategy we can increase the brand awareness and footprint of Opa
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My brothers and I are beyond grateful for our loving and supportive parents who always pushed us to achieve our goals and dreams. When we initially began working on our business, we moved back under our parent’s roof to bootstrap funds and they welcomed us with open hands. Without their support and sacrifices, my brothers and I would not be able to pursue our dreams of becoming successful business entrepreneurs.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My brothers and I always believe in helping others out without the intent of getting the same reciprocation. Whether it’s giving career advice to our peers, mentoring students that are striving to work in business, or simply helping a stranger — we believe if you give back to society, it makes us happier and healthier.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- A simple solution is always better than a complex one. Before launching your startup, you should always keep in mind that it’s best to keep your solution clear and concise to allow your customers to fully understand what problems you are solving for them. In addition, the more complex your systems are; the longer it takes to develop and test. When we initially developed our minimum viable product, we realized towards the end that it was way complex to operate with the current team capacity and funds.
- Focus on what’s going to move the needle. Spending the first 60% of your day focused on what is going to get your business to the next step will propel you towards your goals faster. This will allow you to cut out distractions and prioritize your goal- driven actions first. When we initially launched our business, we were so distracted on the micro-detailed business plan early on realized it was a waste of time because we pretty much had to re-work it. Instead, we became more focused on what was going to push the needle, which was defining our target market, finding the right team, defining our problem and solution.
- Getting through it nearly kills you. No matter how high the cards maybe stacked up against you, you can make it through with determination and hard work. With every roadblock that my brothers and I encountered it challenged us to think outside the box and work together to overcome those hurdles.
- Hire to Your Weaknesses. No matter what stage your business is in; it’s best to hire people in areas you may not have the appropriate skills at. Initially we were hiring employees on our team that had similar backgrounds to our team instead of hiring employees that may have a technical skillset that would’ve added more value to our company.
- Build Great Relationships. No business can survive without trustful people in your circle. By focusing on expanding your relationships with your employees, customers, and investors; it allows you to grow together with likeminded people. We found that attending business events and utilizing social media allowed us to get inspiration, make connections, gain mentors, and learn about new opportunities.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We want to inspire a massive movement around connecting people by teaching them how to celebrate life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” -Confucius
I believe it’s great to constantly challenge yourself and strive for new heights but sometimes we should take sometime to unwind and enjoy the simple things such as Reduction of extraneous input (phone, kids, parents, loud sounds, bright lights, phones, computers or whatever) and focusing on the one simple thing
Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Have you ever experienced F.O.M.O or (Fear of Missing Out) while your friends are out celebrating together? Or do you want to create dining experiences with family and friends while physically apart? Our mobile app allows users to gift drinks and food to friends without physically being at a restaurant or bar. At its core, OpaLink provides a social timeline where friends can share their gifting transactions and let their friends know what restaurant/bar they are at by using the checking-in feature.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Readers can follow us at
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
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