Meet Jisha Syriac. Co-Founder of Dhihub Solutions, an innovative platform that allows employees to engage your employees with AI-powered chatbots and Analytics! We recently sat down with Jisha to learn about her exciting entrepreneurial journey.
Tell me about your business.
We are Dhihub Solutions and we build chatbots focusing on employer/employee engagement – from answering employee queries, collecting feedback to training and development. We started with just answering employee queries with regards to policies and procedures. From that research we learned we need to do more and have more value for businesses to buy the product, so now we’re moving forward with other areas of employee engagement as well.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
I’d been in HR for more than eight years, then I moved into UX design, and when I was doing my final project at my course at General Assembly, I wanted to work on a problem I faced, which was answering employee questions, so that’s how this idea came up. We didn’t find anyone making chatbots to answer questions in regards to policies and procedures.
How does the chatbot work?
Our chatbot is linked to the policy and procedure documents of an organisation, so when you ask the question it extracts the information from the document. So initially you need to train the chatbot and later on it picks it up itself.
Tell us about your team.
It’s my husband Sachith and I. My husband was a software engineer and did his Masters in Stats and Maths at RMIT, and now he’s working at Melbourne Uni as a Data Scientist. I build the product and he does the integration part, where it needs coding. I learned most of it through self-learning and online learning.
Have you always has an entrepreneurial mindset?
I’ve worked at five organisations, and at all those places I used to have my own creative ideas and ways of working, including initiatives I would come up with and coordinate. I’ve always been interested in coming up with something new.
You’re currently working full-time on your startup, was that a tough decision to make?
My husband and I both wanted to work on building our dreams and our future, and we both felt this was the right time. We got selected for Y Combinator which helped us develop our skills and confidence, and then we applied for LaunchHUB.
How do you and your partner find work-life balance?
I would say we have dedicated time for it, during work days and work hours it’s totally about the business. When our daughter is with us it’s family time, but when she’s not with us or asleep it’s work time. Sunday’s we specifically keep for the family.
What has been the most challenging part of your business journey?
To understand that pausing is okay. I used to measure my productivity by working the whole time and doing tasks continuously. As I moved into a startup I realised it’s okay to stop in between and think for a while about how to move forward, it’s not a waste of time. It’s important to allow time to think from a different perspective. That was a challenge for me, and it took time for me to allow myself time to think and not have something in front of me.
What’s the best piece of advice you have received?
Business – you should always be flexible with your thought process, you might think this is the solution but you need to have a mindset that allows you to be open to implementing new suggestions and solutions. Flexibility of the mind is very important.
Research is also very important, it might take some time but it’s worth it. It gives you a solid foundation to tell you that you’re on the right path. We got that from the mentors at Activator.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned on your business journey?
We actually thought most people knew about chatbots, from the research we did we learned that three out of five people had never heard the word chatbot. So we realised educating people on what a chatbot actually is was important before introducing them to our brand.
Have you had any mentors?
So far, mainly just Matt Frith – he’s really good. I’ve only worked with Linda once and she was also really good, so I’m really looking forward to working with her more. My husband and I both like very straightforward ways of explaining things, and both of them are like that – which helps us a lot. They’ve been amazing.
What brought you to Activator?
We needed mentors, we moved to Australia five years back, both of our family members are used to working for a company, but not really entrepreneurs. To have support here was a challenge, we didn’t have anyone to tell us about the Australian industry, we needed advice based on the fact we are in Australia when we started the company, and that was a strong reason to apply for LaunchHUB.
What other things have you enjoyed during LaunchHUB?
Having the milestone meetings, which make you accountable for what you said a week back, helps you remind yourself that you’ve said something and you should do it! It’s also good to talk to other entrepreneurs and discuss what they are going through as well. It’s very helpful to know what’s normal to go through. Also meeting new connections.
Top three tips for starting a business?
Be open to learning