categories

HOT TOPICS

NEWSLETTER

If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here.

Subscribe to our Feed

Best of Bootstrapping: Bootstrapping a Technology Product Company from India

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 5th 2021

Some of us have worked relentlessly for decades to bring about the change in India from a largely services-driven technology industry to one that today produces credible products sold all over the world.

Ameyo is one of the early examples of this shift, and CEO Sachin Bhatia, an early visionary in this journey.

Sachin is also a long-term reader of this blog. It is always a great pleasure for me to do the Entrepreneur Journeys of my long time readers who have benefited from these stories and the invaluable lessons shared by so many entrepreneurs since 2006.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go to the beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born and raised? What kind of background did you have?

Sachin Bhatia: I was born in New Delhi, India. I graduated from IIT. I’m a computer science graduate. I did my Bachelors in Computer Science in 2001. I have my whole family in India. My father was in the manufacturing business. In our college days, we thought that India should make some more products. That is how the journey started. I started this with a couple of my batchmates at IIT. 

Sramana Mitra: You started it right after IIT?

Sachin Bhatia: No, we started when we still had jobs. The idea was started in IIT. I used to tell this story to all our early hires and it’s good to repeat. In early 2001 to 2002, we used to ask folks to give us five global companies that they respect in IT. People used to say Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, Google, and HP.

After that, we would tell them to give us 5 Indian companies that you respect. They would say TCS, Cognizant, and HCL. This question was such a disturbance. Why is it that there is no product company out of India? You could count them on one finger. This question kept bugging us. It was there at the back of our minds. We joined our jobs. I joined a company called Geeks Software Systems.

Me and my co-founder Bishal used to do telephone stacks. We were trying to seek counsel on this question. In 24 months, we decided that we would try it out because in either case if we fail, we will know the answer. If we succeed, we would have found the answer.

Sramana Mitra: If you were following the blog for a long time, you know that in 2005 when I started this blog, I was writing extensively about this topic. The topic of needing product companies and the need to move India from a service industry to a product industry. Zoho was the first big example that I found that broke out into the world. I met Sridhar in 2007. Now it’s great.

Sachin Bhatia: He is a hero in the community here. Even before that, there were Tali and Vedika. You could count the product companies in India on one hand. That was the motivation – not the domain and the idea of the product but just the idea that there has to be a product company out of India.

Sramana Mitra: I did a product company out of India back in 1997. I raised venture capital in Silicon Valley. It was an absolutely uphill task. No one would believe that you could build a product in India and sell it globally. It was an absolute nightmare. It was early.

Sachin Bhatia: Those were the days when the company used to be called Drishti instead of Ameyo. There is a story behind that also. When we were leaving the company we asked ourselves, “What do we have? Is it a product idea or it is a domain?” All you have is a vision. We were absolutely in love with Sanskrit, so we named it Drishti.

Sramana Mitra: What did you do in 2003 when you were getting started?

Sachin Bhatia: We all came from a middle-class background. There was no option of raising capital. We didn’t know how to do that. We were doing it all out from IIT and into our jobs. We invested 1.5 to 2 lakhs.

Our first job was to make sure that we had enough money to build a product. For the first one and a half years, we did a few service projects. We could build anything, so we said, “Let’s just make sure that we have enough money to bootstrap this business.”

From 2004 to 2005, we were picking up projects in the space that we knew well. We were able to generate around $100,000 which we used to bootstrap our company. We were getting more service projects, but we said, “Okay, now is the time to execute the plan for the product.” We diverted all the resources to the product.

There is a story behind how we discovered our first product. We asked ourselves what we could make. There were a few ideas in the telecom space. The first idea was that we could run the whole telecom company on a Lynx. People were buying Sony Ericsson and Nokia and you could actually run a telecom through a Lynx box. That was a great idea.

For validation, we started to look for pin codes in other countries that would pick up this idea. We couldn’t even get a meeting with them. After that, we thought that this could be a wrong idea. There was one idea that actually clicked.

At that time, there were these small BPOs in India. There were a lot of calls happening in India across the US and the UK. This was a telephone card that used to go in a server and then into a socket. This is a very expensive card. That idea clicked. We were now selling to small and medium businesses, and could run a contact software on the Lynx box.

Even if I charged half the license cost, our margins were still high because there was no hardware involved. That idea got us our first million in a couple of years of running this product. That is how the contact software happened. This was off serendipity.

We were trying to find out which spaces we could build our product on and find the customer. Back in 2005, we knew that it had to be a contact center because there was very good traction. That is how the journey of how Ameyo started.

Our conversation continues here.

This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping


. Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Why is Bootstrapping Important?
. How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently?
. Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings
. Excess is NOT Required for Success
. Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later
. Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies
. The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping
. Bootstrapping to Unicorns
. Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million
. Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue
. Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million
. Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy
. How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million
. Bootstrapping with a Paycheck
. How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan
. Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses
. How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million
. Bootstrapping with Services
. How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million
. How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana
. How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million
. Death by Overfunding
. How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+
. How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck
. TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage
. The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance
. BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering
. Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania
. Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million
. SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida
. Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK
. Ownership Matters
. Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland
. Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado
. Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada
. Financial DNA CEO Bootstraps to $10M+ from Australia
. Big Barker CEO Bootstraps a Niche E-commerce Brand
. PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina
. Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits
. Ultra Mobile Founder Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M
. Can You Bootstrap a Virtual Company to Over $5 Million?
. Capital Efficient Entrepreneurs Turn $1M into $80M
. Discussing the Journey Through Failure to Success
. From a Small Town to $12 Million
. Bootstrapping to Y Combinator and $10 Million Series A
. Bootstrapping a Marketplace to Over $10 Million
. Freightwise Bootstraps to $33 Million
. Bootstraps First to $5M ARR, Raises $10M Later
. Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US
. English Major Bootstraps a Tech Company
. Bootstraps with a Paycheck to $15M from Tennessee
. Queue-It Bootstraps from Denmark to the US
. Bootstrapping A Virtual Company To $25M
. ActiveCampaign CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $40M
. Alteryx Bootstrapped with Services to a Public Unicorn
. Inspyrus Bootstraps Using Services to an Awesome Business Model
. CEO Bootstraps Using Services to Millions from Russia
. Wiredrive CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $10M
. Scaling to Over $10M by Bootstrapping Using Services
. Bootstraps Using Services from Poland to a US SaaS Company
. ButcherBox CEO Bootstraps a Perishable Meat Business to Significant Scale
. Waveform CEO Bootstraps to $8M
. Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship from Estonia
. From Laid-off Engineer to Successful Startup CEO
. Imagine Easy Solutions CEO Bootstraps to Exit
. BannerBuzz CEO Bootstraps to $35M
. Bootstrapping a Virtual Company to Scale
. Bootstrapping Using Services from Wisconsin
. Best Tactic for B2B Startups
. Bootstrapping by Piggybacking from Romania
. Bootstrap First, Then Scale with VC Funds
. Bootstrap to +$10M First, Raise Money Later
. Madwire CEO Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later to $120M
. Bootstrap Using Services First, Raise Money Later
. Wonderful Bootstrap with a Paycheck Story
. RushOrderTees CEO Bootstraps to $23M
. Bootstrapping with Freemium and Free Trials to $13M
. Bootstrapping, Pivoting, Gaining Liquidity, Scaling to $100M+
. Bootstrapping with Affiliate Marketing
. Bootstrap to Exit, Bootstrap Again, Then Raise VC Money
. Bootstrapping Using Services to $12M
. Bootstrapping an Ad Tech Company from Paris
. Bootstrapping a 100% Virtual Company from Ireland
. MiQ CEO Bootstraps with Services from London
. Bootstrapping to $8M During the Covid Crisis
. Bootstrapping a Marketplace from Brazil
. Bootstrapping Using Services from Sweden
. What Should Startups Do To Raise Seed Capital in 2021?
. EdTech Unicorn Bootstrapped First from Canada
. Coalition Technologies Co-founders Bootstrap to $10M
. Bootstrapping a Virtual Company to $10M from Atlanta
. Bootstrapping a SaaS Company with a Paycheck and Scaling
. Bootstrapping with Services to $20 Million
. Onit CEO Bootstraps First, Raises Money Later
. Pura Vida Founders Bootstrap to $130M
. Lawline CEO Bootstraps to $10M
. Bootstrapping a Technology Product Company from India
. Codesigned CEO Bootstraps Using Services
. Rukkus CEO Follows Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later Strategy
. Bootstrapping and Managing a Successful Pivot
. Ukrainian Entrepreneur Bootstraps to Global Scale
. Bootstrapping a Niche E-Commerce Venture
. Bootstrapping Planon to $100M from The Netherlands
. Co-founder Bootstrapped with a Paycheck from Indiana
. Bootstrapping an Education Company
. Bootstrapping an IoT Company from North Carolina
. Serial Bootstrapper Bootstraps to $27M
. Bootstrapping Identity Automation Using Services from Houston
. Bootstrapping ProjectManager.com from NZ, Scaling in the US
. Bootstrapping to $15M in Three Years
. Peruvian Entrepreneur Bootstraps to $200M
. JotForm Founder Bootstrapped with a Paycheck
. WeGoLook was Bootstrapped from Oklahoma
. Bootstrapping AutoClaims Direct to $15M
. Meltwater Founder Bootstrapped to $200M
. Bootstrapping to $20M From London
. Synechron CEO Bootstrapped to $300M
. Unique Vintage was Bootstrapped with a Paycheck
. Toptal CEO Bootstraps a Virtual Company to Scale
. Bootstrapping to $45M from Chicago
. Vacasa Co-founder Bootstrapped to $100M
. Bootstrapping Infinitely Virtual All The Way
. Bootstrapping to Exit Discussion with David Lambert, Right Side Capital Management
. Bootstrapping a Healthcare IT Company to $100M
. Discussing Seed Rounds with Cindy Padnos, Illuminate Ventures
. Auction.com Bootstrapped to $180M in Online Real Estate
. Discussing the Silicon Valley – India Corridor with Naren Gupta of Nexus Venture Partners
. Bootstrapped with a Paycheck to Techstars and Acquisition
. Discussing People vs. Market with Jon Staenberg, Staenberg Venture Partners
. Bootstrapping a Highly Profitable Company in Social Media Marketing
. Discussing Investments in Indian Startups with Anand Daniel, Accel Partners
. Bootstrapping an Evergreen Business from Oregon
. Discussing Startups in Africa with Osayi Igharo, Ripple VC
. Investing in Concept Stage Startups with Matt Holleran, Cloud Apps Capital Partners
. Serial Entrepreneur Bootstrapped Two Startups to Huge Revenue
. Discussing Investment Strategy With Deepak Jeevankumar, Dell Technologies Capital
. Bootstrapping Hotelplanner.com to $20M with Intelligent Financial Engineering
. Discussing Investing Across Sectors in India with Swapna Gupta, Qualcomm Ventures
. Bootstrapping Cleverbridge From Germany

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos