Chargebee’s Krish Subramanian on achieving success through loyalty and trust

Patrick Campbell Nov 10 2020

“I don’t wanna be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.” -The Departed 

Gangster movies have been defined by quotes like the one above, and although organized crime is obviously not something we condone, there are a few things we can learn from the mafia—at least the ones depicted on the silver screen. Cinema has taught us that the mafia is grounded on the ideas of loyalty and trust. Trust that is held to a high regard through a shared experience. 

Similarly, the process of building a business does not have to be done alone, and there are people, internally and externally, who can help us succeed through loyalty and trust. A perfect example of someone who has achieved success through a reliance on others is Krish Subramanian, the Founder and CEO of Chargebee.


His achievements have been amplified by getting advice from, and using the trust of a group that’s known as the Filter Coffee Mafia, a namesake given by the popular South Indian beverage. This group of founders meets once a month and they share what’s worked out and what hasn’t worked out, using each other to understand how they can push all of their businesses forward. Krish says that they do not compete with each other at all, rather the goal is for them to solve problems through their shared journey. 

But interestingly enough, Krish’s experience goes well beyond his work with the group. He bootstrapped the company in 2011 with his fellow co-founders in Chennai, India and has since made it possible to support recurring payments for over 2000 brands in 53 countries. The opportunity to hear what he has to say, is an offer you simply will not be able to refuse.

Listen now 🎧







Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.


Key terms: 

What is a “Filter Coffee Mafia?”

A “Filter Coffee Mafia” is essentially a group of trusted people with varied backgrounds and expertise that you admire, learn from, and even rely on. You meet to share learnings or findings on particular issues that could benefit each other. The various backgrounds bring different perspectives that come together to help address and find a solution to a problem. There’s no inhibition to share successes and failures, but you also hold each other accountable. It's a circle of trust and loyalty.


Why is having your own “Filter Coffee Mafia” important?

Krish mentioned that being a founder can be a lonely experience. Having your own “Filter Coffee Mafia” will not only help you collaborate and learn, it also serves as a type of support system. You’re able to share the frustrations and emotions that come with being a founder or leader, and feel understood. Nobody knows what you’re going through more than someone who has gone through the same thing, or is currently going through it. Being able to share mutual experiences, emotions, ideas, and perspectives can be therapeutic and help you grow as a leader and a person. It’s a win-win.


Action plan:

What to do today: 

Start building your own “Filter Coffee Mafia.”
  • Follow Krish Subramanian
  • Make a list of people you admire and want to learn from, and reach out to them.
  • Schedule a time to meet over coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.

What to do next quarter:

Once you’ve formed your own “Filter Coffee Mafia,” ensure everyone in the group is benefitting from the time they’re investing by locking in the following: 
  • Create an ongoing meeting schedule that works for everyone in a comfortable and casual setting.
  • Develop a loose agenda around the problem or topic for each meeting if applicable, so as to make the most of everyone’s time.
  • Share and exchange experiences, both good and bad. Sharing your failures is sometimes more helpful, and it also helps build trust.
  • Recommend actionable knowledge that can be applied and tried, or implemented.  
  • Document the outcome of any implemented recommendations to share in the next meeting—what worked and what didn’t work.

What to do within the next year:

Utilize your exercise output to work through specific deliverables. Depending on your group, and your company, the output can impact several or all departments in your organization. 
  • Marketing and sales 
  • Customer engagement/success
  • Product marketing
  • Operations
Who should own this? 
Founders and CEOs tend to highly benefit from this type of support and collaboration system, but it could likely have a positive impact on any leader in your organization.

Watch the full episode


Coming up next week
Next week, Vidyard’s Michael Litt explains why getting back to the other things you love is important for the success of your business.

Do us a favor?

Part of the way we measure success is by seeing if our content is shareable. If you got value from this episode and write up, we'd appreciate a click to tweet or a click to share on LinkedIn.


This is a ProfitWell Recur Studios production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

Subscription market insights you won't find anywhere else.