SaaS is the next big thing in the future of using software applications. Many software service providers are already switching their models to SaaS and the ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) tools are no exception. An entrepreneur must look for opportunities in the growth sectors so as to make odds favour his startup. Sensible Softwares Pvt. Ltd. is one such startup which offers ALM as SaaS through its flagship product – BootStrap Today. In an email interview, Anand Agarwal, CEO of Sensible Softwares, shares his story with us.
Genesis of the Startup:
Sensible Softwares has genesis in their passion to build software that helps to improve the users’ experiences by solving day-to-day hassles. Anand and his colleagues at Geometric – Nitin and Vishwajeet – would discuss about their ideas for startups and would have to work on various prototypes during their leisure time. They realised as a team that collaboration was a big challenge and started scouting for some suitable solution for their problem. “We looked for some solutions but we did not find any solution which would suit our need especially in the Indian market. So we thought of building our own product for IT collaboration targeting the SMEs”, explains Anand.
Challenges Faced in the Startup Phase:
Anand and his team faced many challenges during the startup phase, which included tackling with many issues during infrastructural set-up such as power cuts, lack of 24×7 internet access and high rents. Hunting for a small place with low rent became one of the biggest challenges. According to Anand, “One big adjustment was mind-set – from working for a large company to working for ourselves. Start-up phase was quite challenging and fun as we learned lot of new things. Along with managing the infrastructural glitches, we had to market our product with small team. We had to wear different hats at different times”.
Like other SaaS models, BootStrap Today is also based on the subscription based pricing. But Sensible Softwares went a notch further and has introduced pricing model that is not based on pay-per-user, but is based on resource usage. In other words, the user does not pay based on the number of employees using the application but based on the bandwidth that they use. This helps in controlling costs further for the client companies. “Our revenues come from monthly subscription; we also have a revenue sharing model with distribution channels, language partners and integration partners”, explains Anand on the business model front.
Bracing the Competition:
Being early in the SaaS market and targeting the SMEs and startups is a strategy in itself as combining the growth potential of SaaS and the SME market size provides ample opportunities for startups to co-exist with the competition. Nevertheless, according to Anand, “Our philosophy is to keep it simple and intuitive. Good support to our customers and seamless integration are two things we focus on. Now basic foundation is ready and going forward we want to make it intelligent and self-learning platform”. As correctly explained by Anand, excellent customer service will be the key in retaining the customers in SaaS market.
Role of Innovation:
At Sensible Softwares innovation is given high importance and they encourage the team to come up with innovative ideas. Anand and his team promote very open culture so that good ideas are shared and implemented. “Innovation plays a significant role in our strategy. We understand without innovation we cannot survive. Tomorrow somebody will come with better feature and if we don’t innovate that would be a threat to our business. Our biggest asset is our team. We promote very open culture and that is where the innovative ideas can come from” reflects Anand.
The First Big Success:
Every step forward to the mission is a success to be rejoiced, and when it is for startups it is a big morale booster. As Anand says, “Appdirect Canada as our distribution partner (http://www.appdirect.com) and Reliance Bigflix as our customer were our first big successes. Getting Reliance Bigflix in our portfolio was a huge boost for us”.
Anand is a visionary and foresees execution of a lot of new innovative ideas with his team. “For executing any innovative idea, we had to first build the foundation. Now the foundation is ready and gradually we will be implementing innovative features and services. On sales perspective we are ready for aggressive marketing and growth. This year we are expecting good growth in terms of addition of new customers and revenue”, highlights Anand.
About Anand Agarwal
Co-founder & CEO
Anand has over 10 years of experience in the area of Product Lifecycle Management. He has global exposure in handling some of the challenging and sensitive PLM initiatives with companies like BMW (Germany), TARGET (USA) and Nissan (Japan). Anand holds a B.Tech from IIT–Kanpur.
|About Mridula: Mridula is a freelance writer. She writes on Entrepreneurship and has worked for a start-up in the past. To know more check out her profile at LinkedIn/Mridula Velagapudi|