From one boss to another

From one boss to another

1) Pawaa Software

Focus: Information Security

City: Bengaluru

Pawaa Software wants to redefine information security by introducing a unique file format meant for security. This file format addresses multiple security requirements in various kinds of files.

The company wants to help its customers securely share sensitive, confidential and compliance-related information to their internal and external authorised users with utmost security.

Prakash Baskaran, founder and CEO, speaks on:

Building scale

True scaling for a startup is not possible by being a run-of-the mill, me-too product company. For a startup with limited resources and an unknown brand, building scale is about positioning the products/technology successfully against known brands and competing on its uniqueness. Scale, from the traditional sense, in terms of number of people or geographic locations or customers will follow automatically.

LESSON LEARNT

Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a bad idea or your product won’t be accepted in the market or you will have difficulty competing with the biggies. Importantly, don’t let any investors talk you down. In the path of innovation, there are no trends. When we don’t follow the trend, a startup’s idea is dismissed and disregarded before it is finally accepted.


2) Movico Technologies

Focus: Cloud-based video sharing

City: Gurgaon

Movico offers a cloud-based personal video library management tool. The product has server-based tools integrated for scene-based search, scene extraction, cut and join, transcoding and publishing to any social media or web platform.

Arvind Jha, director and co-founder, speaks on:

Needs of the ecosystem

For a vibrant product ecosystem, we need to strengthen the financial support for intellectual property (IP) creation via soft loans, matching grants and incentives for risk capital. We also need to evolve a national strategy for creating a dominant position in the emerging cloud and mobile lifestyle.

LESSON LEARNT

The best lesson I have learnt in my entrepreneurial career is humility as I have been proven wrong several times.


3) Srijan Technologies

Focus: Content management services company

City: Gurgaon

Srijan is a content management services company focused on using Drupal, an open-source content management system, for development. At the Nasscom Product Conclave, the company presented a product to “democratise surveys by moving them away from a checkbox-based format, to capture people’s attitudes.”

Rahul Dewan, founder, speaks on:

A suggestion for the product ecosystem

Solve your own problem; a successful product will come out of solving your own needs. The gurus of product development, 37 signals, have never taken a dime from outside investors, yet they remain one of the most successful and talked about product companies globally, with Basecamp, Highrise and other SaaS (software as a service) products. Their books ‘Getting Real’ and ‘ReWork’ talk about this product development philosophy with tremendous clarity.

LESSON LEARNT

“Do the right things and the right things will happen to you.” This is a quote I heard my guru, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, mention a few years ago at an event in New Delhi. It stuck and I’ve remembered it ever since. Whenever I’m unclear about the next step forward or face a challenge, this is the statement I recall. What is the ‘right’ thing to do? – this discernment is a matter of listening to the inner voice.


4) Imaginate

Focus: Augmented reality for retail

City: Hyderabad

Imaginate is a technology company that develops innovative products in augmented reality. The company’s first product, TRIALAR – a digital virtual trial room, is uniquely positioned to offer apparel shoppers a comfortable and seamless shopping experience by enabling them to instantaneously and simultaneously try out a variety of apparel without really wearing them physically.

Hemanth Satyanarayana, founder and CEO, speaks on:

His personal approach to building a company

Never stop innovating and dreaming big to make a huge impact on the ecosystem and don’t worry about failing. Your company may fail, but you will always succeed.

LESSON LEARNT

We often undervalue the time we spend on any activity. The best lesson I continue to learn is the financial value of time.


5) Quickolabs

Focus: Search engine optimization

City: Bengaluru

The company has launched a product called SearchEnabler, which is an on-demand (SaaS) search engine optimisation (SEO) platform for startups, small businesses and individuals. SearchEnabler aims to make SEO easy, affordable and measurable.

Khadim Batti and Vara Kumar, co-founders, speak on:

Enhancing visibility

Over six out of 10 failed technology product startups list weak promotions and marketing as one of the key reasons for failure. Entrepreneurs must formulate their promotions and go-to-market strategy right from the early days.

LESSON LEARNT

If you believe in your idea, be persistent. Our first feedback was extremely negative but we kept improving and made changes based on the feedback and usage patterns of users. It took us over 70 user trials and six months to receive our first positive feedback.


6) Conwerge Web Services

Focus: Group-driven projects

City: Bengaluru

Conwerge was established with the intent of creating products that bring people and web content together for a common purpose or theme. Its flagship product, Grupur, is aimed at making transactional grouping (groups trying to accomplish a goal) easier on the web. Currently, the company is focused on helping groups of buyers to buy homes at a discount and simultaneously help builders clear their inventory faster.

K. Rajakumar, founder and CEO

LESSON LEARNT

Strike a balance between external suggestions and personal convictions.


7) Semgel

Focus: Analyzing data

City: Bengaluru

Semgel is a semantic technology startup with a focus on enabling professionals to gather data from the web and make sense of it. Semgel uses emerging technologies to make data exploration powerful and intuitive. Users need minutes, instead of hours, to go from searching to analysing and getting answers to what they are looking for. Semgel currently targets investors, entrepreneurs and marketers, who need to research technology companies.

Harish Kumar, founder, speaks on:

Initiatives for the product ecosystem

Forums that bring together domain experts and technologists. The objective would be to allow both these groups to collaboratively discover opportunities for new product development.

LESSON LEARNT

Don’t start until you have the core team in place and everyone knows their role in the team. The core team should be able to execute a full product cycle without requiring additional hiring. Any further hires should be a bonus.


8 ) HirePlug

Focus: Recruiting through employee referrals

City: Pune

HirePlug is a SaaS product that facilitates hiring through employee referrals. The company offers two different service models to its clients – pay-per-resume and pay-per-employee-per-month.

Rajan Chandi, founder and CEO, speaks on:

A suggestion for all entrepreneurs, including himself

In terms of mindset, we should be driven by the fear of lagging behind rather than the fear of making mistakes. We need to continuously find creative ways to solve problems and find ways to stay ahead of the curve.

LESSON LEARNT

In the early phase, we did not pay attention to sales at all. We were too engrossed on the technology and lost focus on sales. Now, I have fixed it consciously.


9) NRich Software

Focus: SaaS product to manage diabetes

City: Chennai

NRich’s most recent product is DiaSof, a SaaS product to help the diabetic community stay healthier, measure sugar levels regularly and take prescription medication on time. DiaSof also generates reports on a patient’s health history (from a diabetes perspective) so doctors can view records over a period of time, rather than just prescribing medication based on the previous sugar level.

Badri Narayanan, founder and CEO, speaks on:

Previous experience

With my previous product, a personal finance tool that has 4,000 customers, I thought big, but never really scaled because of various reasons. I didn’t market it enough and didn’t raise external capital. I am working on fixing these very mistakes as I build DiaSof.

LESSON LEARNT

While you’re thinking big, make yourself a to-do list to execute on that thinking. Acting big and executing big is crucial.


10) Ozonetel Systems

Focus: Cloud telephony

City: Hyderabad

Ozonetel offers cloud telephony services through its various products including Cloud PBX, CloudAgent (for call centres) and KooKoo focused on small and medium enterprise customers. Its focus is on reducing capital expenditure for its clients.

Murthy Chintalapati, founder and CEO, speaks on:

The ecosystem

I’d like to see more and more opportunities to network within the ecosystem. It will help increase the flow of information and accelerate growth for all of us.

LESSON LEARNT

Boot strapping through services will be a challenge in India and it should be avoided as much as possible since the DNA required to build a product company is fairly different from what it takes to build an IT services company.