“India will grow to be a $10B revenue industry by 2025 (8% of Global SMB SaaS)” according to Google Accel Report, 2016. In 2016, A joint study released by Google and Accel Partners made a forecast that ‘Emerging Indian startups could become large Enterprise SaaS markets over the next decade. A few years forward, A Tracxn study reported that the number of SaaS-based startups in India has tripled over the last five years, from 3000 in 2014 to 8,336 as of 2019.
7,864 – that is the number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups that were founded in India between the years 2010 – 2019. Isn’t that a significant traction? And this is just the beginning.
The growth witnessed by Indian Startups like KiSSFLOW, Zoho, Chargebee, and Troop Messenger makes the India SaaS story an even more interesting one.
Google-Accel Report also stated that:
- India has changed the global fulfillment landscape
- The economy is ready for product-driven SaaS-startups.
- India has required developer horsepower to build SaaS
- The Indian workforce is ready to acquire an incremental skill to move to a new role product.
- India has the highest potential talent for Inbound Sales engine
All of this does imply that India has been a great market for SaaS startups to set-up a base.
What Makes India a SaaS Powerhouse?
The above facts represent a picture of India being a massive SaaS solution provider. But the question is, what makes India, a potential global SaaS hub, hitherto a software powerhouse? There are multiple factors that have played a role. Let’s check them out:
1. The Success of Local SaaS Companies:
Thanks to companies like Freshdesk and Zoho, India made a mark globally and gave a chance for many more software-based products to spring up.
2. Rapid Transformation of IT world
With the IT world undergoing a massive transformation, more and more organizations are moving to the Cloud, and in that process, providing a boost to saas companies in India, who can deliver their products all around the world. Cloud has changed the entire paradigm of software purchases.
3. Years of experience in IT and BPO services
India has years of experience in the IT and BPO services, which is finally paying off. Since Indians have been doing B2B consulting work for years, the transition to SaaS has been easy for them. Indian consultants have a critical requirement and deep domain knowledge.
4. Skilled product managers
Other than world-class engineers, India also has enough skilled Product Managers. They quickly adapt to new insights and product learning and that has significantly helped the SaaS capital of India.
5. Low-Cost Platform
Another factor that has contributed to India becoming a SaaS powerhouse is a low-cost platform. For example, to generate revenue of $2 million in the U.S, a SaaS startup would require funding upto $10 million. But in India, the same revenue can be generated with funding of $4 million.
The Rise of Indian SaaS Startups
Given the current crop of SaaS startups in India, it’s safe to assume that SaaS-based startups in India have the potential to take on their global counterparts.
But we don’t only need to rely on assumptions since top SaaS companies like Chargeebee, Zoho, KissFLOW and Troop Messenger are actually competing with their counterparts head-on. By providing state-of-the-art products and quality customer support, Indian startups are surging ahead of global competition.
The first generation of SaaS companies in India has already proven its ability to sell SaaS products to the world, remotely from India. The geographical barriers are no longer a constraint, as long as the product, buying experience, and customer support is good.
Freshworks: Feature-packed SaaS product suite
- Technology Impact Awards for Company of the Year 2019– Growth Success
- Collaboration Solution of the Year at UK Cloud Awards 2018
- G2 Crowd’s Best Software Awards 2019
- Great User Experience Award for 2018
- Expert’s Choice Award for 2018
Freshworks, as a SaaS customer engagement company, offers a suite of SaaS products that include Freshworks, Freshdesk, Freshchat, Freshteam, Fresh Market, Freshservice, Freshsales, Freshcaller, Freshconnect, Fresh Status, and Freshsuccess, Freshping, Fresh Release.
All the software within the suite is easy to set up, ready to go, and they require minimum customization. Backed by world-class customer support, Freshworks has gained the trust of over 150,000 companies to run their business globally.
- CRM Software.
- Business Intelligence Platforms.
- Video Conferencing Software.
- Project Management Software.
- Expense Management Software.
- Online Backup Software.
- Accounting Software.
What made Freshworks a Success?
– Making their products look attractive for business looking for value against expensive alternatives
– Providing free support over phone and Email
– Providing a seamless customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle
– Hiring employees who worked on their core strengths
Troop Messenger: Potential Game-Changing Team Collaboration Application
- Best Office Chat Application of 2018 by TechTimes Journal
- Intra-Office team collaboration
- Impressive and Intuitive UI/UX design
In the world of Slack and Skype, Troop Messenger, a SaaS product, has managed to create its identity as an affordable alternative to Slack.
Troop Messenger, developed by Tvisha System was lauded by TechTimes Journal as the best office chat application of 2018.
Intended to provide businesses a user-friendly Slack alternative, Toop Messenger is a compact application with a wide range of useful features. It is one of the recent additions to office chat apps, combining secure collaboration with IP ownership and easy accessibility.
- Multi-Message Sharing
- Advanced Filters
- Global Search
- Screen Sharing
- Instant Chatting
- Audio/Video Calling
- Burnout/Confidential chat window
What made Troop Messenger a Success:
- An advanced filter which allows a user to filter a file, images, videos, and a message, on a single click instead of searching the complete chat.
- Self-messaging feature which helps a user a message or save any file instantly.
- Round the clock 24/7 support services for any kind of technical assistance.
- Cross-platform enabled: Available on Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, and Browser.
Time Dynamo: Attendance Management Software
- Shortlisted by NASSCOM among most innovative product
- Known as one of the best workplace biometric attendance systems
Time Dynamo, a SaaS product developed by Tvisha Systems, is one of the most popular work-force attendance and leave management systems. Developed as a B2B SaaS product, Time Dynamo can capture workforce attendance in real-time, through varied sources, enabling managers to fix attendance issues and eliminate human error.
It generates customized and actionable reports at assisting in deciding overtime leaves, hours, permissions, and periodic attendance.
- Attendance Tracking
- Biometric Integration
- Payroll and HCM Integration
- Analytics and User Report
- Compliance Management
- Attendance Management
- Scheduling Details
- GPS tracking
What Made Time Dynamo a Success?
- Fingerprint Scanning Integration: Compatible with all biometric devices
- Iris Scanning Integration: TD is equipped with an IRIS scanner, the most tamper-proof system of recording an employee’s attendance.
- Face Recognition System: To ensure verified and authentic attendance of employees and to eliminate chances of proxy attendance
- Automated Backup: Automatic leave administration which saves transaction costs and precious time
- Workflow configuration: Empowering employees to record their time
Web Engage: B2C Multi-Channel Marketing Automation
- Case Studies of E-commerce brands like Flipkart and Myntra
- Case Studies of Banking and Finance brands like Bajaj Finserv and Cover Fox
- Case Studies of Classified and Listing brands Sulekha.com and Shine.com
Founded in 2011, WebEngage is one of the most popular B2C Multi-Channel Marketing Automation, which has enabled businesses to establish personalized experiences on a large scale. It helps businesses craft personalized and contextual campaigns to engage their customers through SMS, In-app messages, Push-Notifications, Emails, and more!
- Analytics: Actionable insights on users, active campaigns, and engagement channels
- Segmentation: User segmentation on the basis behavior and persona
- Engagement: To converse with users via Emails, Push Notifications, Web, Facebook, and SMS
- Personalization: To personalize communication and drive brand loyalty
- Journey Designer: Intuitive drag and drop interface to map the workflows
What made Web Engage a successful SaaS startup:
- Strong Product pipeline based on data and machine learning
- Raising funding from VC firm, Social Capital led by Chamath Palihapitiya
- Partnership with Capillary Technologies
- The data-driven approach helped WebEngage attract investment
KissFlow: Digital Workspace
- Clients like Pepsi, Airbus, Michelin, Jet, Casio, and Disney
- Awarded as a 2018 Top Rated Rapid Application Development/Low-Code Software by TrustRadius
Indian SaaS sector has a hero who has inspired many entrepreneurs – Suresh Samnbandam, the founder of 5-year-old SaaS startup ‘KiSSFLOW.’
Popularly known as a business that follows the philosophy of ‘Keeping it Simple, Stupid,’ KiSSFLOW has captured the world business process management market and has served over 10,000+ clients including brands like Michelin, Pepsi, and Airbus.
This India based SaaS startup is now running on an ARR of $10 million as their revenue began to climb with deal with large American corporations.
- Process Management: No coding needed, Integration friendly, easy to use interface, and real-time analytics.
- Case Management: Flexible workflow that puts users in complete control with features like ticketing, bug tracking, service request, and helpdesk.
- Project Management: Manage projects with an intuitive approach and get accurate data about your projects.
- Collaboration: Easy collaboration with features like secret channels, surveys, power search, announcements, and file sharing.
What made KiSSFLOW a successful SaaS startup:
- Self-service platform simple enough for business users to configure without any technical or programming requirement.
- drag-and-drop interface with more than 14 types of fields to create a perfect form.
- Using DSM approach, KiSSFLOW is selling its software in 121 countries
- KiSSFLOW doesn’t require expensive consulting services like its competitors.
Chargebee: Subscription Management Platform
- Winner of 2018-2019 Cloud Award: Best Payment, Finance or Billing Solution
- YourStory Tech30 2013 alumnus
- Clients like Study.com, Freshworks, Doodle, Envoy, and Percona
Chargee, as a subscription billing platform, was founded by KP Saravanan, Krish Subramanian, Rajaraman Santhanam, Thiyagarajan T., in 2011. This 8-year-old startup today consists of over 150 employees that are operating in Chennai, Amsterdam, and San Francisco.
In January 2014, Chargeebee received investment from Accel. In 2017, Tiger backed them. In March 2018, Insight Partners made fundings, and In August 2019, Steadview Capital made the investment and doubled its revenues.
- Acquire faster: Choice of pricing models, Advance & Proforma Invoices, and Smart discount campaigns
- Upsell better: Unbilled charges & Meterages, “My Account” self-serve portals, Addon recommendations, Auto Proration & Calendar Billing
- Retain predictably: One-click “Pay Now” options, Smart Dunning to recover revenue, Segmented notifications, and Pause and restart the subscription
- Scale with confidence: Tax support: EU-VAT, GST & more, Smart Route across gateways, Multi-language, Rev Rec & deferred revenue reports, and 100+ currencies.
What made Chargebee a Success?
- Savvy online marketing
- The emphasis that Software isn’t “service”, it’s “support”
- Investment in Studying Sales Learning Curve
- Guiding their business with the 6Cs of finance: Committed Monthly Recurring Revenue (CMRR), Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV), CMRR Pipeline (CPipe), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Churn, and Cash Flow.
CleverTap: Mobile Marketing Platform
- Best Mobile Marketing Campaign (Gold)
- Bronze Stevie® Award for Business Technology/Best Marketing Solution
- Most popular companies powering digital content alongside LinkedIn, Spotify, Netflix, Google, Apple, and Twitter
- Recognized among the top 25 entrepreneurs leading the future of technology
CleverTap, a Mobile Marketing platform, helps business to develop long-term relationships, valuable partnerships with their customers by providing them with two things:
- A platform where they can engage their users at the right time, on the right channel, and with the right message.
- Real-time behavioral analytics so the businesses know who their customers are and what they want.
- Customer Data Platform: For brands to understand how their customers are interacting with their brand and then build marketing strategies that can enrich the CX.
- Automated Segmentation: To segment users on the basis of intent, preferences, frequency, and recency.
- Campaign Optimization: To develop powerful CX using triggered campaigns, machine learning, intent-based segmentation, machine learning, and journeys.
- Audience Analytics: Cohort Analysis, Uninstall Tracking, Flows, and Funnels to help a better understanding of users.
What made CleverTap a Success?
- Establishing a Company-wide Corporate Culture of Customer Success
- Using the Best Technologies Available- for Issue tracking, communication, and analytics
- Creating, Measuring, and Improving their Success Metrics and KPIs with MRR, MRR Churn, Average First response time
- Working thoroughly to improve their Average resolution time
- Communicating, Documenting, and Internalizing
Zoho Corporation: Cloud Software Suite and SaaS Applications
- Privately Owned
- Flexibility to invest in R&D
Founded in 1996, Sridhar Vembu and Tony Thomas launched ‘Vembu Software From a small apartment located in Chennai. Vembu went on to become Zoho and became one of the successful SaaS companies in Chennai.
Zoho offers a unique suite of software that can help a company run entire business with a lot of things like:
- Customer relationship management system,
- Salesforce automation application,
- Multichannel Sales Management tool, and more
Over the years, Zoho has crafted dozens of SaaS products, and they offer them all under a single integrated Suite, called Zoho One.
- Some of the Zoho products include CRM, Motivator, SalesIQ, Docs, Connect, Creator, Campaigns, Mail, Chat, App Creator, Invoice, Expense, Support, Reports, Books, Inventory, Service Desk Plus, Recruit, People, etc.
- All of these products can be integrated or used individually to manage sales & Marketing, Business Process, IT & Help Desk, Email & Collaboration, Finance, and Human Resources.
- Zoho gained global recognition with their products competing with likes of Google’s cloud, Microsoft, and Salesforce, and they managed to do it all by sitting in India, without requiring any external funding.
Cloud Cherry: Customer Experience Management Software
- High Performer Saas (Spring 2019)
- Top 12 CX Champ 2019-2020 Winner
- Top 10 Fastest growing SaaS by Academy Ocean
- Partnership with CISCO and NIELSEN
- Best Tech Startup of 2014 at the CII Startupreneurs awards
CloudCherry offers one of the most comprehensive and state-of-the-art customer journey mapping solutions. It is used by several CX-brands to measure their KPIs with the CloudCherry customer delight score and Net Promoter Score.
It provides brands with Omnichannel, real-time, SaaS-based customer experience management software that helps businesses track, improve, and measure customer delight.
- Customer Journey Mapping: Track the KPIs and take your KPI’s beyond the single touchpoint view
- Predictive Analytics: Dig deeper to find what’s truly driving your customer’s experience
- Open API platform: Integrations to support a 36o-degree view of your customer experience
- Actionable Insights: Turn data into measurable actions
- Key Metrics: Find KPIs and measurable metrics
- Question Builder: Create and Send surveys easily
- Dashboard: Point-n-click insight center
- Text Analytics: Retrieve the frequency of words used, KPI’s based off of text themes, sentiment, and text theme.
What made CloudCherry a Success?
- Click-configure-deploy product model
- Simple monthly based subscription model
- No upfront fees and set-up implementations
- Real-time data collection, data analytics, issue of re-addressal notifications
- $1 million funding from IDG Ventures India and The Chennai Angels
Is it safe to bet on Indian SaaS Startups?
SaaS has become one of the most secure and scalable business models. SaaS product’s subscription model offers companies constant cash flow. Moreover, such businesses are protected by revenue generated from the expansion of existing subscribers and recurring subscriptions.
Globally, the SaaS market has substantial revenue potential and is expected to grow at an annual CAGR of 18 percent. The current best saas companies in India have immense potential to take on their global counterparts.
These companies are well-placed and well-equipped to transition themselves as a large enterprise that can thrive in billions of dollars of revenue, not to mention the fact that India will have a much larger share of world SaaS pie by the year 2025.