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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013: Techieworks, Gurgaon, India

Posted on Monday, Dec 9th 2013

Techieworks provides remote technical support services to the senior demographic in the U.S. and Canada for issues related to PCs, peripherals, and other devices. Seniors are increasingly flocking to the Internet driven by the need to stay in touch with family and friends through email, video chatting on Skype, and photo sharing on social networking sites like Facebook. A recent Nielsen report says that more than 19 million American senior adults are using the Internet. However, handling technical problems in their computers is often a frustrating experience for senior adults. There are several IT support services in the market, but very few that focus on this demographic.

To cater to this niche segment, Techieworks was founded in 2011 by two brothers, Anant and Abhinav Vats. Before starting Techieworks, Anant Vats, a management graduate from IIT Madras, had worked with Infosys and had founded Anveshan Recycling. Abhinav Vats, on the other hand, comes from the advertising and copywriting field.

Techieworks, based in Gurgaon, India, provides remote technical assistance services ranging from PC optimization, anti-virus support, operating system support, installing applications and troubleshooting compatibility issues, data backup, transferring contacts and multimedia from phone to PC, setting up a home or office network to installing and updating drivers for printers and cameras.

When Techieworks was founded, the market landscape was dominated by Iyogi, a remote technical support firm also based in Gurgaon with customers across the world. Techieworks used this successful business model to address the needs of the senior population.

The main value proposition of Techieworks is its simplicity and sensitivity to the needs of the senior population. It offers multiple touch-points to reach out to customers, with no need to remember and write down numbers. For customers who find it difficult to talk, it offers chat support. To avoid waiting queues, it allows customers to leave a request to be called back. Techieworks believes in providing exceptional service at an exceptional price. Its annual maintenance plans start from $299.99, while the price for resolving a single incident is $69.99.

The co-founders bootstrapped the company with their own funds. The first two employees of the company were hired in a coffee shop even before Techieworks had any space to call an office. Rather than looking for external funding, the company pushed itself to be cost-effective. It saved money by opting for secondhand furniture and rented IT infrastructure in a basement. The money it saved was invested in building its knowledge and expertise in areas where it could gain a competitive edge. Such cost-effective business strategy has made the company profitable.

Anant Vats says the company’s growth strategy would be to continue offering new products and services that address the needs of the senior market. The company is not yet ready to look for external funding. Anant believes external investors take the fun and freedom out of building a company.

Regarding an exit, Anant says that he enjoys the process of building the company and has no specific thoughts of an exit. He adds that he has no dreams of becoming a multi-millionaire overnight. Though eventually money is a consideration, he wants to be in a situation where he can decide the kind of culture to be provided to the members of the Techieworks family.

As the world transitions globally to paperless operations, it has become vital for senior adults to learn to use computers. Many organizations have successfully helped seniors make this transition through several training programs. Training, however, is the first step toward this transition, and tech support companies like Techieworks play a vital role in maintaining the momentum.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013

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