Growing a heck of a lot

L-R MUKUND MUDRAS, SOM SAGAR, JAISON MATHEWS, ABHIJIT VEDAK, FOUNDERS, HECKYL TECHNOLOGIES PVT. LTD.

A lot has happened at Heckyl Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Heckyl) in the last financial year.  The company, which specialises in big data analytics, has raised US$ 3.5 million in a Series-B round, set up shop in the U.K., and added products that have spurred client acquisitions. Unsurprisingly, Mukund Mudras, co-founder and CEO of the company terms it as the year of ‘big growth’ and states that this is just the beginning of things to come.

When we last spoke to Heckyl in March 2012, its focus was rather singular; on news analytics on its FIND (Financial In News and Data) platform. Today, the company has widened this platform to include a derivatives product and a recently launched forex product. From five clients in December 2012, today, the company has on board over 20 clients and is looking to aggressively court brokerage houses and hedge funds in newer geographies. “When we showcase one of our products to our clients, we end up making a basket sale of integrated financial products. We believe this is because our platform is unique in its ability to highlight the required data points that facilitate quick and informed decision-making,” says Mudras. He adds that in order to make things seamless for clients, the company is flexible and leaves room for product customisation of up to 20 per cent. Mudras credits the Indian market for being encouraging of a new product, one that he states is competitively priced as against its competitors’. “Our news product is priced on par with that of our international competitors’, but our newer products such as the derivatives, is priced quite competitively,” he says.  Typically, for unlimited licenses on the news product, Heckyl charges Rs. 25 lakh while on the derivatives product, it is closer to Rs. 50 lakh.

When we showcase one of our products to our clients, we end up making a basket sale of integrated financial products. We believe his is because our platform is unique in its ability to highlight the required data points that facilitate quick and informed decision-making.

Making global headlines

In December 2013, Heckyl opened its office at Canary Wharf in the U.K and one of its founders, Som Sagar, moved base to oversee operations there. Mudras further indicates that the company is looking to hire a sales head who is likely to assume responsibilities by April 2014. “When we look at hiring in a new geography, we prefer to hire local talent as they have the best understanding of the dynamics that govern the region,” he says. In due course, the company will hire business analysts, software developers and sales representatives in the U.K., taking its team strength to six in the region. Aside from this, Heckyl is also looking to open an office in Singapore (to oversee the Asia Pacific region). “The idea is to give each region a financial quarter to gain a footing, and ultimately, to set up operations in the U.S. by the third quarter of this financial year,” shares Mudras. In December 2013, the company received a Series-B round of funding, to the tune of US$ 3.5 million from IDG Ventures and existing investor, Seedfund Advisors.  This money is being used to capture newer markets and build teams.

When asked about Heckyl’s client acquisition strategies, especially in the newer regions, Mudras is quick to state that its news product will be the first, active sell. The company will soon release a rewritten version of its news product to suit an HTML website format. “Our products, including news, will fundamentally be the same, with a few tweaks to suit the region we are in.  For instance, in Singapore, F & O (Futures and Options) trading is not scrip-based but index-based and we will incorporate this change,” explains Mudras.

Building capabilities

To manage its growth in India, Heckyl has hired talent from prominent technology institutes such as the IITs, and is looking to bolster its management with hires from the IIMs. Its workforce currently comprises 15 people and the company is looking to take that number to 17 by the end of this FY. The company is also looking to make some senior management hires, including a CFO. “We are actively on the lookout for a CFO, someone to head our technology architecture, and we’ve shortlisted a candidate from ISB for a senior marketing role,” he says. On a reminiscent note, he adds that, at present, Heckyl is better placed to hire from reputed institutes when compared to its initial days as a fledgling startup. “It is just that it takes us a while to find the best fit as we are very quality conscious when adding members to our team,” states Mudras. While the challenges of building scale will be present for Heckyl, the company is optimistic in its approach and more importantly, it is comfortable with its own pace of progress.

In the current fiscal, Heckyl expects to record annual revenues of US$ 1 million. Its revenue outlook for the next FY (2014-15) is US$ 2 million from the U.K. and US$ 1.5 million from India. While the company’s current growth rate is nearly 500 per cent, Mudras points out that one of the key questions the founders find themselves asking and answering is, ‘how soon is too soon’? In the near future, the founders will keenly observe the mobile space and make suitable additions to its portfolio. “We would like to keep evolving as an organisation and ensure that our products create value that is based on the changing demands of our clients,” says Mudras. Heckyl’s work philosophy of creating transparency across capital markets by seeing data for what it is, albeit a tad ideal, is one that is commendable and profitable.


Snapshot 

Heckyl Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Founders: Mukund Mudras, Som Sagar, Jaison Mathews, Abhijit Vedak

Year: 2010

City: Mumbai

Investors: Series-B round of US $ 3.5 million from IDG Ventures with participation from existing investors, Seedfund Advisors

Industry: Big data analytics


2014

2011

No. of offices: 1 – Mumbai No. of offices: 3 including new offices in the U.K. and Singapore
Client-base: 5 brokerage houses Client-base: 20 brokerage houses
Investments: US $ 1 million from Seedfund Advisors Investments: US $ 3.5 million from IDG Ventures with participation from existing investors, Seedfund Advisors