Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model, wherein a third-party provider hosts applications and makes these available to customers over the web. SaaS is one of the three main categories of cloud computing – the others are infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Let’s see in detail, how SaaS in the Spotlight: Leading Companies to Watch Out For
The Indian SaaS market stands close to USD 1 billion and is growing at a rapid pace. According to Tracxn, there exist 9,084 SaaS startups in India.
Some of the most successful companies in this space are Zoho and Freshworks. The latter’s annual recurring revenue has already crossed the USD 100 million mark, with more than 1.5 lakh customers. New-age SaaS companies are already raising the benchmark and there are several that are worth mentioning.
IBSFINtech is an Enterprise Treasury, Risk and Trade Finance Management SAAS Company; one of the Top 8 globally and the leader in the Indian market. Its award-winning Comprehensive, Integrated and Innovative solution enables the CXOs and Treasurers to enhance visibility, improve control, mitigate operational risk, drive automation and optimize business efficiency.
CM Grover, MD & CEO shared with TBC, “We will be shortly launching the SaaS-based treasury management solution for the Small, Medium and Emerging enterprises. The SME segment has been largely deprived of the efficient treasury and trade finance management solution and is majorly dependent on the accounting systems which cannot cater to their needs in this niche area.”
Their prestigious list of clientele is spread across verticals and geographies and includes JSW International Tradecorp Pte Ltd (Singapore), IMR Metallurgical Resources AG (Switzerland), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Future Group, Mahindra & Mahindra.
The company has won 7 International Industry Awards in the last 2 years. The latest being Global Finance Fx 2020 Awards, London and the Adam Smith Asia Awards 2019, Singapore. This SaaS is in the Spotlight: and one of the Leading Companies to Watch Out For.
Freshdesk is one of the world’s most well-known B2B SaaS startups from India. Headquartered in San Bruno, California and with an office in Chennai, its suite of products help teams better connect and communicate with their customers and co-workers.
Founded by Girish Mathrubootham and Shan Krishnasamy in 2010. Freshdesk is backed by high-profile venture capital firms including Tiger Global, Accel Partners, and Google Capital. It has an annual recurring revenue of USD 100 million, almost 2,000 employees across nine offices worldwide, and 150,000 clients including Honda, 3M, Hugo Boss, The Atlantic, University of Pennsylvania and Petronas.
Zoho is a privately-held company that makes more than 40 business software applications for sales, marketing, customer support, accounting, and back-office operations. Its three great brands; Zoho, ManageEngine and WebNMS, collectively offer SaaS (Software as a Service) products to companies across the globe. From the beginning, the company has focused on making superior-quality products and offering it at an affordable cost to its consumer base. This seems to have paid off for Zoho. Today, it stands as one of the world’s most prolific software companies.
Sridhar Vembu, the founder of Zoho, started the business as AdventNet along with his two siblings and three friends, in 1996 in Chennai. This 50 year old entrepreneur, a PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton, has boot-strapped Zoho for its entire existence with no external funding and no plans to sell or list the company. In his words, “We are a state of the art tech company with a very old-fashioned approach to company building.”
Today, Zoho has more than 350,000 paid customers globally with estimated USD 310 million revenue for FY17, as per a Forbes report.
Zoho plans to build a new 375-acre campus in Austin, Texas, which will also house its Zoho University.
This SaaS company utilises machine learning and IoT to help businesses streamline operations, sustainability, and maintenance. Co-founder and CEO Prabhu Ramachandran worked at Zoho for close to 15 years, and also headed its subsidiary WebNMS, before he started Facilio. In the words of Prabhu Ramachandran – “We saw the Smart Buildings and Facilities Management space was undergoing a rapid transformation with the global real estate and building management software market poised to grow to multi-billion dollars. As a product that integrates the three essential parts of a building – people, sustainability, and machines which centralises data and operations. We were confident about Facilio’s potential to transform how facilities were managed, enable maximum efficiency in real-time, and raise money as well.”
The startup raised USD 6.4 million from Accel Partners and Tiger Global, in 2019. And earned revenues of USD 1 million in its one year of operation.
Hippo Video, as the name suggests, offers a video customer experience platform that helps businesses engage with the right audiences through personalized videos. T Karthi Mariappan, Srinivasan Krishnan and Nilamchand Jain, all Zoho ex-employees, started Hippo Video in 2016. The company is registered in the US and operates from Chennai. In 2018, Hippo Video raised a pre-series A round of funding from early-stage investor Kae Capital. Kae Capital picked up 25% equity for this funding round.
Hippo Video can help businesses embed videos, send bulk email campaigns, as well as deliver detailed video performance reports. In addition, the company also helps with lead generation and Customer Relationship Management forms. Their strengths include online video creation, editing, and contextual integration with Freshdesk, Zendesk, Google Suite, and more. The product has numerous users globally and is backed by KAE Capital and Surge Ahead.
Paperflite starts in 2016 by three ex-Cognizant colleagues Yega; Vinoth Kumar and Anant Bhat with the aim of disrupting the content marketing and sales enablement space.
This Chennai-based, US incorporated SAAS company, helps businesses manage content across different departments to strengthen their marketing efforts. The software automatically curates and distributes content across multiple channels via emails and social platforms. Once this content is shared with prospects through personalised microsites, sales reps are notified when buyers engage with their content.
Paperflite, closed its first round of Rs. 2.5 crore in seed funding in January 2018. Ajit Kumar Chordia, promoter of Khivraj Motors and the Olympia Group, led the investment from The Chennai Angels (TCA). Other investors from TCA were Lakshmi Narayanan, Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks, T. R. Santhanakrishnan, CEO of Datatracks, and Mithun Sancheti, CEO of Caratlane. The round also saw participation from Like Mind Ventures.
VTION is a SaaS company that resolves issues in the media-based ecosystem. It analyses trends and consumer behaviour across a range of geographies and demographics. Using radio and audio metering, VTION tracks consumption patterns and creates requirement-based analytics, to stay ahead in the market. The software captures audio signals when an app or radio is turned on. The tool is particularly relevant for media agencies, brands, researchers and broadcasters, among others. In 2018, VTION raised USD 28,000 through AngelList India.
The way forward
Therefore in context of “SaaS in the Spotlight: Leading Companies to Watch Out For” there is a report released by Google & KPMG in July 2018 states the global SMB SaaS segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 36% over the 2017-22 period. In India, Chennai does more than a billion dollars in SaaS revenue. The article, ‘SaaS Nation’ says that ‘this is high quality revenue unlike ecommerce companies whose top line numbers are essentially gross merchandise value. SaaS revenues are in the range of 80-90% gross margin. The CoGS for SaaS is close to zero or negligible. It’s time for India to replicate this model across the country and position itself as a global leader in the SaaS marketplace.
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