Tarsem Basraon is a co-founder of Planworth. We sat down with him to hear what it’s like working with Commit.
Can you tell me a bit about Planworth?
Planworth is a B2B software-as-a-service wealth planning platform that helps investment advisors provide tax, estate and financial planning guidance to their clients by answering simple questionnaires. Our platform works behind the scenes so advisors have the experience and expertise of a virtual family office at their fingertips.
How did you connect with Commit?
I had a concept for wealth planning software, based on my past work as a tax and estate planning lawyer. We built a basic prototype in PHP — not necessarily to go to market, but to show investment advisors, confirm product-market fit and raise money. We needed to rebuild from scratch with a modern tech stack. We needed help and were lucky enough to connect with Commit.
What role were you looking to fill?
Planworth needed a technical lead because neither myself nor James Fraser, my co-founder, have background in the tech world. We were looking to hire someone with experience building a complex scalable platform as well as someone that we could rely on completely.
What was your early hiring process like, before Commit?
From the get go, we knew we needed someone senior, however, we didn’t really know what to look for or how to determine if candidates really knew what they were talking about or presented the right fit. What made things all the more frustrating was there were a lot of candidates we met through traditional hiring platforms who were really into our vision, but said we were too early-stage for them and that “once you get to 10, 15 engineers give me a call.” Our problem was how to build a tech team if a senior engineer doesn’t want to be our first senior engineer!
What were some of your hiring concerns?
Planworth deals with personal information. Our clients are sophisticated businesses that are not prepared to settle for technical deficiencies and security gaps. My concern from the beginning was that we were going to end up with something that solved our problem initially, but was not viable long term because of security issues, or the inability to scale well. Also, as an early-stage startup, hiring the right tech lead was so important because if things didn’t work out, we would be way behind the eight ball. We would have wasted a lot of precious time and financial resources.
What is it like working with Commit?
Commit is perfect for us. With Commit, we aren’t just hiring one or two people based on resumes and interviews — it’s like we’re hiring a team with the bench strength and expertise to deliver across the full spectrum of our tech needs. And we can see their impact and their proposals and be able to assess people before hiring them.
The other thing about Commit that made us feel really comfortable was that they always referred to everything as “we” as opposed to “us” and “you.” When Commit leads Beier and Cong were explaining their ideas for Planworth and how we’re going to get there, they always used “we.” It felt like our interests were aligned, because they have a mission and interest in helping us build something that their engineers want to join full time.
What would you tell other startups about working with Commit?
I tell people all the time that the Commit model and approach to implementation, execution and placement are brilliant. It just makes so much sense — you have the recruiting engine of Google, the hiring experience of veteran tech leaders and a pool of super-senior startup engineers. For us, engaging with Commit mitigated so much risk compared to doing it on our own.
How has Hai fit in at Planworth?
We feel like we won the hiring lottery with Hai Hoang, tech lead at Planworth. And we already knew it the day we offered him a contract because we had worked with him for three months. Hai is exactly the person we were looking for. Someone who knows what they’re doing, knows what they’re talking about, can scale something and has credibility. We can put him in front of clients and investors and know the technical side is always taken care of.
So you’ll continue working with Commit?
We just hired our second Commit engineer. Does that answer your question?
Tarsem Basraon is a co-founder at Planworth. The Toronto-based wealth planning platform partnered with Commit to find an engineering lead to build a scalable solution for their clients. Commit Engineering Partner Hai Hoang joined Planworth in 2019.