Nick Mehta is the Chief Executive Officer of Gainsight, a leading Customer Success software provider which leverages customer intelligence and automation to help enterprise clients proactively manage retention, reduce churn, identify upsell opportunities, and drive customer advocacy.
Nick’s drive and passion for tech innovation has been evident throughout his career prior to Gainsight. Most recently, he served as the CEO of leading SaaS E-Discovery provider LiveOffice, wherein he led the company through its acquisition by cybersecurity industry pioneer Symantec Corp. in a deal worth $115 million. Before LiveOffice, Mehta was a Vice President at VERITAS Software and Symantec Corporation.
Mehta’s knack for leading and generating creative ideas long-preceded his graduation from Harvard University, where he received a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s degree in Computer Science. During the dotcom days, when Nick was in college, he co-founded a golf e-commerce company called Chipshot.com, which became one of the top 20 online retailers of the 90s. The CEO admits that “CEOing was a safety job,” a plan B after his dream of starring for the Pittsburgh Steelers, which he now roots for from the sidelines with his wife and three young kids.
In May, with Mehta at the helm for four years, the startup raised $52 million in a Series E round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, bringing its total funding to about $156.3 million. Gainsight, now positioned to turn itself into a tech unicorn after its latest capital influx, lists customers including Adobe, Box, DocuSign, HP, Marketo, Nutanix and Workday.
As a major sports fan, Gainsight’s CEO thinks of his job as being like that of a head coach, he writes on his blog. He considers himself responsible for bringing the right people together on his team and placing them in the best position to win for the company’s customers, partners, employees and their families.
Mehta says he is a firm believer in the Golden Rule, attempting to weave it as deep into his company’s culture as possible in order to instill more compassion into interactions, both in and out of the workplace. If there’s one thing he isn’t missing, it’s enthusiasm. The eccentric tech executive suggests that “he talks way too fast and overuses the world awesome like it’s going out of style.”
Posting regularly on his “Mehtaphysical” blog, Nick comes off as a candid, down-to-earth guy. In one post, he speaks of being “very unpopular growing up” and admits that he still feels that way most of the time. Without anyone to eat lunch with at school, Mehta would sneak off to the computer lab. Despite running a successful company, Nick, who just turned 40, says he still struggles with depression from time to time, and has found vulnerability an incredibly powerful tool in connecting with others and finding meaning in work and life.
As a science geek, Nick says his favorite movie is The Dark Knight, while his “obsession with quantum mechanics,” leads him to seek out books such as the Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. The software CEO highlights mentors including Tien Tzuo, the CEO of Zuora, and Eoghan McCabe, the CEO of Intercom.
Moving forward at Gainsight, Nick will continue to champion the new customer success category, using platforms such as the company’s annual Pulse conference to spread awareness.
Nick believes that CEOs should play a hands-on role in all aspects of business, particularly taking ownership of customer success. At Gainsight, the CEO says he is motivated by the idea that team members can gain responsibility, challenge themselves, increase confidence and build their personal brands. As a result, he seeks to create internal opportunity as often as possible. For example, Gainsight’s head of marketing, Anthony Kennada, never ran marketing before, and is now recognized as one of the best private company B2B marketers.
Mehta is adamant about the need to “do the mundane things different,” in order to build a long-lasting and enjoyable career. “One of the most uninspiring things in life is to feel like you’re living someone else’s script,” he says, suggesting that instead of blindly following “best practices,” leaders should look to understand the core logic of any approach and follow up with “five whys.”
“Thinking different isn’t just for people who make iPhones,” writes Mehta, who finds creativity through work in offbeat ways. He says he is “particularly passionate about mixing comedy, music, and Customer Success into a bizarre but loveable stew,” resulting in masterpieces such as “A Taylor Swift-inspired, Jimmy Fallon-themed ode to Customer Success” sung by Gainsight’s clients.