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Bootstrapping a Robust SaaS company from India: Rategain CEO Bhanu Chopra (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Mar 9th 2014

Sramana: How do you calculate TAM and how much of the TAM is still available in the market? The OTA segment is relatively small and it sounds like you have saturated that segment quite well.

Bhanu Chopra: There is not any publicly available data regarding the OTA segment. If you look at the top OTAs, you will see that we have all of them as clients. If they are not a client, then we are in talks to replace our competitors.

In terms of the hotel and car rental space, I think there is still a lot of market opportunity. There are around 500,000 hotels out there. We have several solutions in that space and each product has a different penetration rate. We may have 75,000 hotels using one solution and only 50,000 hotels using the other solution. There is not much market left to penetrate on the car rental side. However, we do still have opportunities with the franchisees. I think there are 10,000 franchises that could use our revenue management solution.

There are several large travel companies that do not factor in market dynamics when it comes to pricing. We are trying to help those companies investigate price optimization benefits. We want to help them factor in supply and demand to help price their product appropriately. We still have the ability to deepen our relationships on the OTA side of our business.

Sramana: You have done a very good job with product management. That is not a sweet spot for Indian companies. Tell me a bit about how you recruited your product managers in India?

Bhanu Chopra: I had to look at my individual strengths. We have been very selective about who we hire. We have elected to pursue quality over quantity. We have four people who are absolutely brilliant. If the product manager is great and can put together the right blueprint, then you can build a team around that person. We have a very defined methodology when we bring something to the market. There is a lot of involvement on my end as well. Over time, we have mastered how we think about prototyping, validating business plans, and building the launch plans.

Sramana: How many people do you have in the company now?

Bhanu Chopra: We have 450. We have almost 80 in sales and marketing. We have a significant number of people working in tech support. There is a lot of data normalization that has to be done. We have an in-house team to do that data normalization.

Sramana: How big is your engineering operation?

Bhanu Chopra: I believe we have about 100 people in that operation. We are running several products with that group of people.

Sramana: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

Bhanu Chopra: I often get the feeling from entrepreneurs that winning is getting an investor on board. I think that bootstrapping is clearly the way to build a business. I believe we can build a $100M company through bootstrapping.

Sramana: You have done a very good job navigating this company. I wish you nothing but success.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Bootstrapping a Robust SaaS company from India: Rategain CEO Bhanu Chopra
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