Six months since Start-up Island featured “It takes two to tango”, the question of strong backing for innovative small businesses does not go away.
The story here in February tackled why it’s important for funding entities and entrepreneurs to view the business as ‘partners’.
In a growing ecosystem, there must be room for failure as well as the potential for strategic products and services to make headway with the brightest sustainable ideas getting fair investment and commitment from all stakeholders.
It is vital that investors not merely eye sectors that seem to bring quick bang for the buck. A varied portfolio that keeps the fire of entrepreneurial activity is key even as diverse product innovations and offerings are consistently fuelled. This is healthier for the larger economy over the longer term.
This edition of Start-up Island is dedicated to taking a closer look at what the investor-entrepreneur partnership can do for product-centered businesses. And how the focus for such start-ups can never move away from the product.
When Sudhir Sarma’s Network Solutions (Netsol) saw its two major acquisitions — Intel Technologies bought a part of Netsol first in 2001, and then all of the company was acquired by IBM in 2005 — Sharma went on to kick off FutureIP in 2009. The FutureIP investment umbrella caters to 4-5 distinct start-ups, including JaMocha Tech, a technology start-up. ProHance, a software solution that enhances workforce productivity, is JaMocha’s first key development endeavour.
ProHance comes in three versions and it is designed to correlate time spent and output delivered by employees and captures real-time work transaction progress. It helps identify areas where productivity can be enhanced and promises ROI of 15-20 percent in the first six months.
“It’s the equivalent of adding one new member for every 20 members,” explains FutureIP’s Sarma. On JaMocha’s ProHance, he says, “It’s not a snooping tool but rather an improvement tool. The architecture of the product is current and as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, it is relevant for any industry where increasing productivity is becoming more and more important.”
Product is king
Since starting out in 2009-10, JaMocha has rolled out the Basic and Plus versions of ProHance. Ae new version ProHance Pro will be released in a few weeks and it will address project management requirements. From output and time to tasks of every individual on a team can be tracked real-time. The earlier versions addressed individual productivity measurements and analysis.
With FutureIP’s commitment, JaMocha has managed to enlist 35 corporate takers with 30,000 licenses in production. ProHance seems to have then proven its capabilities in enabling efficiency in environments that are people-driven. Notably, JaMocha’s Indian clients outnumber those in other geographies with nearly 30 of its clients on home ground.
Says ProHance’s CTO Kishore P Reddy, “We are dedicating significant energies towards sales and marketing in other markets. In India, our clients are spread across the BPO, KPO and healthcare back-office spaces besides those in logistics as well as banking and insurance sectors. Our product will continue to bring in more transparency and, therefore, more productivity across all these industries.”
Over the next 18 months, ProHance will zone in on the US market. Says Reddy, “While that’s high on our agenda, some of the existing modules will be made richer. We’re keen on adding predictive analytics in project execution modules. We also want to support wider client devices. So we’ll move beyond Windows to Mac OS and tablets,” he says.
Intellectual property development isn’t an easy business. But with an investor-start-up relationship working well and the product always at the centre, success across markets is possible because promises can be kept.