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Bootstrapping with a Paycheck and Scaling in Coimbatore: Kovai CEO Saravana Kumar (Part 5)

Posted on Friday, Nov 6th 2020

Sramana Mitra: How many people are in Coimbatore right now? Is London still small?

Saravana Kumar: We have about 130. London is still small. We have about 10 people there. We only keep the top management here. One of the biggest things that we have done this year is invest in a 250-seat office that amounts to a $1.2 million office. 

Sramana Mitra: What do you want to do moving forward? Do you want to do the same thing and keep growing? You want to stay bootstrapped and build the company? 

Saravana Kumar: Until 2016, BizTalk 360 was the only product, and that’s where our revenue came from. We realized that the product has matured in terms of engineering. You can only do so much with a supporting product. We built good engineering resources.

I come from a technical background and I know that if I’m not getting good work in, at the end of the day, I’m going to get bored. I didn’t want to lead those people who I mentored. We decided to be more of a multi-product company.

BizTalk 360 has a market cap. It’s a small niche. Whatever I do, I can’t scale it beyond that. Everything’s matured. The sales team, support team, and I personally got bored. We decided to start the second product and that’s when Azure was coming a bit faster and a lot of things were moving to the cloud.

We replicated the same challenges. We started Serverless360. In 2017, we were writing documentation for the enterprise product. People want good documentation in terms of how to configure and troubleshoot it. We were struggling with writing the documentation.

That market is dominated by the help desk providers. Their core strength is the ticketing and the support side of the site and they don’t pay too much attention to the knowledge bit. We were frustrated by that, but at the same time, we saw that gap in the market that nobody is solving.

We started Document360 to solve that. We brought in the entire company for a month. The idea struck me when I was in Redmond for a conference. I thought about the big gap that nobody is solving and I checked out everything in a week. When I came back, I told the team about the idea and I stopped everything that December of 2017. I was talking with the engineers the whole way.

In January, we were sure that it would work and we started the product. Now, it’s one of our fastest-growing products in the company. In the last two and a half years, we’ve crossed 250 customers. We have $350,000 annual revenue. That is growing at a rate of 12% to 15% per month. 

Sramana Mitra: Are you able to use your contact with Girish to get Freshworks customers to buy that product? 

Saravana Kumar: We have a marketplace at Freshworks. I have a good connection within the Freshworks team. We are working with them. They started recommending Document360 for the medium and high-end enterprise customers. 

Sramana Mitra: That was my question if that customer base has this need. If Freshworks has a way to recommend or market your product, that would be a source of leads. Zendesk also has a marketplace.

Saravana Kumar: We started putting it on Zendesk and Freshworks marketplace. That’s a channel we’re building and scaling now. 

Sramana Mitra: I love the story and I’m really glad you reached out to me. I’m thrilled that you chose to do it in Coimbatore. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping with a Paycheck and Scaling in Coimbatore: Kovai CEO Saravana Kumar
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