Mandeep Sodhi is the Founder & CEO of Effi, an AI-driven mortgage broker platform helping users reduce their admin time by half and double their loan settlement.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am currently the founder of AI-powered SaaS platform called Effi (short of efficiency) which was launched in beta on 30 June 2020.
Effi provides a complete end-to-end platform that offers customer engagement and management functionality, together with predictive analytics to help mortgage brokers improve their productivity and aggregators provide a seamless and sophisticated experience to their mortgage brokers.
Effi is my fourth start-up and prior to Effi, I launched and successfully scaled a home loan marketplace called HashChing which I exited in May 2019.
I started my career as a graduate at Accenture in 2004 after graduating from University of Wollongong in 2003 and then stayed in financial services for nearly a decade as a business analyst before taking a full-time plunge into start-up in 2015.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Every day is a different day in a start-up, especially launching in the current pandemic environment.
I take turns with my wife to drop our 20-month-old daughter to childcare by 8.30am. I then head to our office space in the city for our daily stand-up team meeting at 10am where each team member, starting with me, shares what they are working on today and what was achieved yesterday.
Most of our team members work from home but we all stay connected throughout the day to complete our assigned tasks. I try to finish all my meetings by 2pm to move into the product manager role and support our software development team both onshore and offshore.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Since we are in our early days of our business, some of the team members prefer to come to the office when it is safe to do so. We allow our staff members complete flexibility to work in a way that suits them and the business best.
Since 1 July, I have returned to our office space as I really miss being around my team. I can be super productive when working from home, but nothing beats sitting next to your customer success team and discussing customer pain points or celebrating positive feedback after their call with the customer.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I prefer to take the approach of achieving work-life harmony rather than balance. When your work is bringing you joy, it gives you positive energy at home with your family.
Outside of my own start-up, I am on the advisory board of two start-ups with whom I spend a fixed number of hours and I enjoy talking to the founders of both the start-ups.
To achieve work-life harmony, I focus intensely on prioritisation and daily communication with my wife about our schedules to make the most of a limited availability without driving each other crazy.
I also agreed with my wife for a date night every week with a movie and takeaway food from her favourite restaurant to spend quality time with her.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
The current pandemic forced all of us to work from home for a few months at least which allowed me to spend more time with my wife and our 20-month-old who is growing so fast.
Earlier, I hated not finishing my daily work commitments which often led to late nights at work. I now make every effort to be home for dinner and read bedtime stories to my little one. My family is my highest priority now.
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I follow world politics closely and listen to podcasts related to start-ups, trends and future tech, on my travel between work and home. One podcast I recommend listening to is the a16z Podcast.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
My phone – it lets me do everything!
8) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Regardless of what balance means to you, your life and work have certainly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You may find yourself spending more time with family or more time working on projects that you are most passionate about. Either way, if you are going to sleep at night feeling accomplished or fulfilled, that time is likely well spent.
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