Samar Singla has built an interesting Outsourced Product Development company by latching onto the trend of developing mobile marketplaces a la Uber for large and small customers. This interview is an exploration of the mobile marketplace trend based on his experience catering to a variety of customers.
Sramana Mitra: Tell us about Click-Labs. What do you do? How do you do what you do, and how do you differentiate from your competitors?
Samar Singla: We work with bigger companies between Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 for their innovation department on new products that they want to launch. We also work with entrepreneurs and help bring their ideas to market. We differentiate ourselves by focusing on some key areas and by trying to create IP in those areas that have delivered hardware with smaller time to market. For example, we focus a lot on sharing products such as Uber. We try to focus on niches and by that focus, we have quite a bit of IP.
Sramana Mitra: You have developed IP in certain types of niches and applications. You are able to re-use that IP and get your customer to a fast time to market turnaround time.
Samar Singla: That is right.
Sramana Mitra: Is the company based in India?
Samar Singla: Yes, we have our headquarters in India. There are about 150 people. We have an office in the US also – in San Francisco.
Sramana Mitra: You’re about a $5-million-revenue company?
Samar Singla: That’s right.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about some of these niche areas where you have specialized and developed IP. Give us some examples. You gave the example of the Uber kind of applications. If you look at the stack of developing an Uber type of application, what do you have already in place? How much of this advantage of this time to market are you bringing to new customers?
Samar Singla: Time to market reduces by about 50%, I would say.
Sramana Mitra: Can you describe the stack example? In the Uber stack, for example, one of the key components is Twilio. We had Twilio here who talked extensively about that component. It’s one of the key enabling technologies in Uber.
Samar Singla: I know about Twilio. What we do is basically a close set of IPs which are like code blocks. If I want to build a product which is like Uber, what are the components that I would typically need? If I try to do a very generalized list, it would be scheduling, dispatching & tracking, GPS, reviews & managing the reviews, and aggregation.