India is at the threshold of a third wave of IT entrepreneurship. First came IT services, from companies like TCS, Infosys, and Wipro. Then came a wave of internet and mobile consumer services, from the likes of MakeMyTrip to Flipkart and Ola. The next wave will be B2B software product companies, according to iSPIRT (Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable), a non-profit think tank which has just released an index of the top 30 such companies.
The business model of software product companies is fundamentally different from that of software services. A software product is built once and sold to hundreds or even thousands of customers in roughly the same form. Services on the other hand are developed and deployed differently for each customer. To use an analogy, an IT services company is like a tailor who provides you with a bespoke jacket. A software product, on the other hand, is like a readymade jacket.
Professors from Stanford University and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) worked with iSPIRT on this index. They contacted 100 companies and most of them gave iSPIRT access to their financial data to compile the index, which will be updated every six months. The valuation of the 30 companies that made it into the index worked out to US$6.2 billion. That’s an average of US$200 million per company. More than a third of the companies on the list are bootstrapping, suggesting that quite a few are flying under the radar of investors.
Some of the other nuggets that the iSPIRT report throws up are:
Of the top 30 in the index, the younger companies tend toward horizontal solutions rather than vertical industry-focused solutions in areas such as banking or retail. The startups are moving from India-centric to globally-focused organizations. Most of them started with an initial set of clients in India, and then went global.
Most of those which started before 2006 – 50 percent of the list – were bootstrapped. About 40 percent of those have got growth capital into them now but the majority remain completely bootstrapped. These companies are mainly domiciled in India.
Most of the companies which started post-2008 are venture-backed. About 73 percent of them got early-stage venture capital.
Here then are the 30 companies that made the cut into iSPIRT’s first Software Product index (iSPIx) in alphabetical order:
- Accelerite Persistent Systems: It provides endpoint management, recovery as a service, and mobile operator location solutions. Co-founded by Nara Rajagopalan, it is now headquartered in Silicon Valley.
- AdNear: It is a big data company that uses location information and its context to power marketing for advertisers. The company’s data platform is built on top of proprietary technology, giving us the strength of location awareness without the need of GPS or operator assistance. Founded by Anil Mathews in Bangalore, it is headquartered in Singapore.
- Capillary Technologies: It offers customer engagement management solutions that enable retail marketers to manage customer data, gain insights, and personalize engagement. Co-founded by Aneesh Reddy in Bangalore, it is headquartered in Singapore now.
- Druva Software: It offers integrated online backup for enterprises, secure file sharing, and data analytics for protection and governance of endpoint data. Co-founded by Jaspreet Singh and Milind Borate in Pune, it is headquartered in Silicon Valley now.
- Eka Software Solutions: Its analytics-driven, end-to-end smart commodity management platform enables companies to efficiently and profitably meet the challenges of complex and volatile markets. Founded by Manav Garg, it is headquartered in Bangalore.
- Freshdesk: It is a cloud-based customer support software that lets you support customers through traditional channels like phone and email, social channels like Facebook and Twitter, and your own branded community. Founded by Girish Mathrubootham, Freshdesk is headquartered in Chennai.
- IBS Software Services: It is provides a variety of different software products for airlines for airline reservation, cargo revenue accounting, tour booking, crew, and hotel management systems. Founded by V K Mathews, it is headquartered in Kerala.
- Ilantus Technologies: It works in the identity and access management (IAM) security domain with a focus on enabling companies to leverage in the rapidly converging hybrid environment of technologies – cloud, enterprise, BYOD. Headed by Binod Singh, Ilantus is based in Bangalore.
- Indian Energy Exchange: It is India’s premier power trading platform. It provides a transparent, neutral, demutualized, and automated platform for physical delivery of electricity. IEX enables efficient price discovery and price risk management for participants of the electricity market, including industries eligible for open access. Founded by S N Goel, it is headquartered in the National Capital Region (NCR), which includes Delhi, Gurgaon, and Noida.
- InfrasoftTech: It is a software products, solutions, and services provider focused on banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector. Headed by Hanuman Tripathi and Rajesh Mirjankar, it is headquartered in Mumbai.
- Kayako: It offers help desk software and customer service software to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales, both as SaaS and on-premise. Founded by Varun Shoor, it is headquartered in London now.
- Komli Media: Its digital advertising technologies enable marketers to reach, acquire, and foster audiences and publishers to maximize their revenues. Founded by Amar Goel, it is based in Mumbai.
- Manthan Systems: It provides advanced analytics, business intelligence, optimization, and analytics-driven execution solutions for retailers and consumer goods manufacturers. Founded by Atul Jalan, it is headquartered in Bangalore.
- Newgen Software Technologies: It is a global provider of business process management (BPM), enterprise content management (ECM), customer communication management (CCM), document management system (DMS), and workflow and process automation software. Headed by Diwakar Nigam, it is based in NCR.
- Nucleus Software: It is a global banking software product and solutions provider. Founded by Vishnu R Dusad, it is headquartered in NCR.
- Ozone Media Solutions: It offers a SaaS platform to simplify custom ad creation for retargeting campaigns, using templates from its design studio. It also has targeting solutions to execute media buys and ease access to aggregated premium inventory. Founded by Kiran Gopinath, it is based in Bangalore.
- PubMatic: It is a global technology platform that powers the programmatic advertising strategy of leading publishers and premium brands. Founded by Rajeev Goel, it is headquartered in Silicon Valley.
- Qubole: It offers a big data as a service (BDaas) platform, which runs on leading cloud offerings like the Amazon Web Services (AWS) which makes fast data analysis easier for all users. Co-founded by Ashish Thusoo, it is headquartered in Silicon Valley.
- Quick Heal Technologies: It provides IT security solutions for all computing platforms, including PC, Mac, mobile, tablet, and enterprise networks. Founded by Kailash Katkar, it is headquartered in Pune.
- Ramco Systems: It offers next-generation enterprise solutions across cloud, mobile, and tablet computers. Headed by Virender Aggarwal, it is headquartered in Chennai.
- Rategain: It offers offers hotel channel management and promotion management to the travel and hospitality industry. Founded by Bhanu Chopra, it is headquartered in the NCR.
- Real Image Media Technologies: It is a leading provider of technology in the film, video, and audio domains. It was instrumental in bringing computer-based digital non-linear editing to India. It is the only Indian company – and amongst a handful worldwide – with DCI compliant digital cinema technology. Founded by P Jayendra, V Senthil Kumar, PC Sreeram, and Arun Veerappan, it is headquartered in Chennai.
- SunTec Business Solutions: It provides revenue management and business assurance solutions to banks, financial institutions, and communications services companies. Founded by K Nanda Kumar, it is headquartered in Kerala.
- SVG Media: SVG Media is a digital media network with 45 million unique visitors in India. Founded by Manish Vij in 2006, it now has presence in Southeast Asia and the Middle East as well. It is headquartered in the NCR.
- Tally: It is a market leader in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions. Founded by the late SS Goenka, Tally was the first to introduce codeless software, a natural language interface, and path-breaking remote functionality. It was the first to launch a free service and breakaway commercial terms, including free upgrades and no charge per seat to transform the ownership experience. It is headquartered in Bangalore.
- Vizury: It helps marketers secure customers through dynamic and creative retargeting and display solutions. Founded by Chetan Kulkarni, Gourav Chindlur, and Vikram Nayak in Bangalore, it is a rare outsider to prise open the Chinese market, which even IT biggies from India had found impermeable.
- Vserv: A mobile marketing platform from India, it has clients in 200 countries and offices in 10, including the US, UK, and parts of Southeast Asia. Vserv was founded by Dippak Khurana and Ashay Padwal in Mumbai.
- Wingify: This SaaS startup in Delhi was founded by Paras Chopra in 2009 provide tech tools for brands to optimize their business online. Wingify’s flagship product, a website testing platform called Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), is used in 75 countries by close to 4,000 companies – including Microsoft, General Electric, and Rackspace.
- Wooqer: It helps people to structure work and measure results without SMS, emails, phonecalls, and spreadsheets. Founded by Vishal Purohit, it is based in Bangalore.
- Zoho: It has over 25 applications that power online businesses, productivity, and collaboration, serving the technology needs of more than nine million customers worldwide. From customer relationship management (CRM) to mail, invoicing, and web conferencing, companies use Zoho Applications to run their business processes and manage their information effectively. Founded by Sridhar Vembu, it is headquartered in Silicon Valley.