5 questions with SVP of Revenue, Saad Shahzad
Written by HopSkipDrive
HopSkipDrive SVP of Revenue, Saad Shahzad, is a big believer in building great teams, making the most of opportunities, and continuously striving to do better. With an extensive background that spans supply chain and transportation, as well as time spent in investment banking and venture capital, he is excited about using his in-depth experience and knowledge to contribute to the success and growth of the company.
Read on to learn more about Saad and hear what he has to say about HopSkipDrive’s mission, the breadth of his role, and the opportunities he sees for the future of school transportation — and HopSkipDrive.
Can you talk about your role and what it entails?
As the Senior Vice President of Revenue here at HopSkipDrive, I work very closely with my partners in marketing to generate leads, and then work with the sales development team to help clients understand our value proposition. I also work with our sales team to move things through the procurement process, and then I work cross-functionally with our implementation team to make sure that, as clients get onboarded, we are setting the right tone and making sure they’re understanding our superior service. And then there’s ongoing account management to ensure we continue delivering the best possible experience. The ultimate goal is to create a growth flywheel.
What made you interested in working for HopSkipDrive?
There are really three reasons why I wanted to join HopSkipDrive. The first is the mission. As an immigrant here in America, education has been a huge part of why I have received some of the opportunities that I have. And I would love to pay that forward. The work HopSkipDrive does every day is impacting the lives of students, it’s impacting families, and it’s impacting the communities we operate in. And so it’s by far the most fulfilled my soul has felt out of any job that I’ve had.
The second reason is the quality of the HopSkipDrive team. Everybody I met during the interview process was humble, they were smart, and they were mission-driven, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with such an incredible group of folks.
And the last thing I would mention is the potential growth and opportunity at HopSkipDrive. As I think about the cities and populations we serve today — and then I think out 5 or 10 years from now and the many other populations we can serve — there’s so much opportunity for growth, and so many more schools, kids and families we can help.
Can you talk a little bit about your background and your professional experience?
My professional experience started in finance, where I spent a lot of time advising technology companies on strategy, raising money in the capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions. Eventually I realized I was more envious of the entrepreneurs who we were advising and less envious of the partners I was working for. So I left investment banking and went on to join a venture capital fund, where I learned about finding product market fit and optimizing unit economics — and how you build great teams.
From there, I joined the operating world and worked at a number of startups, including a cloud storage company that we grew rapidly and ended up selling, as well as an HR technology company that we scaled from a handful of customers to over 100,000 customers by the time I left. I moved into the supply chain next, building a company that became a top-10 warehouse operator in the country with 3,000,000 square feet, and then landed in transportation. I worked for a company where we were transporting organs for transplant surgeries, as well as mission-critical parts for airplanes or the automotive or semiconductor industries.
Have you learned anything surprising from working at HopSkipDrive?
Yes, how large of a market we operate in, and how much opportunity exists for us to have a significant impact. We have an incredible opportunity to take the technology that we have built to work with and help so many districts, schools, parents and students. I believe we can deliver an incredible service, providing a superior experience.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity as the company scales?
HopSkipDrive has done a tremendous job of navigating an extremely complicated environment over the last couple of years with COVID and the impact the pandemic had on schools.
And as we think about the business initially starting on the consumer side and then moving into partnerships with schools, government agencies, and nonprofits, I think about how much more impact we can have as we scale. I do believe there are going to be business school case studies written about HopSkipDrive, and how Joanna and the rest of the team were able to show so much resilience and creativity in navigating this environment.
I think one of the biggest opportunities we have going forward is to explore how all teams — whether it’s our support team or it’s our product team, and even if it’s our sales team — can relentlessly raise the bar on how we serve our clients. How do we take existing clients, who know HopSkipDrive and love our service, and have a conversation about where we could be better, and do more? I think that’s the absolute biggest opportunity that we have in front of us, and I’m excited for the years ahead. We’re just getting started — it’s still “Day 1.”