Sramana: Let’s talk about customers. Who did you receive product validation from?
Krish Kupathil: Currently we received validation from operators like Vodafone Spain and Vodafone Group in Europe. From the handset vendors we have received validation from Samsung who is distributing it in their store and on their latest secure platform. The validation is from all the major players in the ecosystem. In the case here are 2,000 Vodafone resellers who sell this solution for us. The entire Samsung enterprise team promote this solution for their enterprise customers. We also have our direct customers as well. The oil and gas giants are discussing solutions with us.
Sramana: Were these companies all people you had talked with before you set out developing this product solution?
Krish Kupathil: No. These people all signed up after the product was developed.
Sramana: Who validated the opportunity for you? You had enterprises and operators asking for a solution, but how did you check that your solution was the correct one to build?
Krish Kupathil: We did the validation of the idea with the telecom operators, Verizon and Vodafone. On the handset side we did the validation with Samsung. They are the largest player in the Android space so we went with them.
Sramana: What assumptions did you make about how this product would get sold? Did you assume it would get sold through the operators?
Krish Kupathil: Our assumption then and now is that the product would be distributed through the mobile ecosystem. We still believe the telecom operators are a great channel since there is an operator store on every corner. We also believe the major handset vendors such as Samsung and Nokia are good channels.
Of course we also leverage the fact that our current solution has relationships with Microsoft. We are leveraging the Microsoft reseller network. Since our personal contacts are the strongest in the mobile space we did launch our product with those connections.
Sramana: Do the operators sell on your behalf?
Krish Kupathil: They do sell. In the case of Spain, Vodafone has 2,000 resellers. our product is loaded onto tablets and phones and is sold and displayed at all the reseller sites. We do a revenue share with them so they receive a certain percentage of everything that we collect.
Sramana: In building the company you were initially bootstrapping with services. Did you ever raise money?
Krish Kupathil: We raised money a few months ago. We bootstrapped with our services. When we started off AgreeYa had 10 years of experience as a consultancy and I knew the owners every well. That is where the name came from. The owners also hold a stake and they put in some seed money.
We raised money specifically to allow us to focus on marketing. We raised money in March from Saama Capital which is an offshoot from Silicon Valley Bank. We raised equally from Saama and some working capital financing from SVB.