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Product Name: Hug SmartWatch

Name of Organization: Hug Innovations

At the helm: Raj Neravati

Year of Incorporation: October, 2014

Website:  Hug Innovations 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security and lifestyle


“I could not have imagined that Foxconn, the company which manufactures Apple products, will one day be our own manufacturing partner for the Smartwatch. The fact is that all through the company’s journey of hardships, I remained persistent, didn’t give up and created a world-class product and organization”.

--Raj Neravati, Founder and CEO, Hug Innovations


Innovation: Hug Innovations has developed the Hug Smartwatch, which is not only a promise of safety, but also the world’s first gesture-controlled device. Hug innovated a wearable Smartwatch with an SOS button that a person in danger can press. The watch sends an SMS with a live tracking URL to the family and friends. When people click on the URL they can track the wearer in real time. Interestingly, the watch has customized maps to show the user the nearest hospitals and police stations—basically emergency services they can contact if family and well-wishers are not available.


About the product: Besides the safety story, the Hug Innovations Smartwatch has several features such as gesture control that can be used by wearers to turn up the music, dim lights, play console games, switch presentation slides or fly a remote controlled drone! It also serves as a kids, fitness and pet tracker.


The journey so  far: Greatly impacted by the Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi in 2012, Raj Neravati  decided to relocate to Hyderabad, India from the US and look deeply at the issue of women’s security.  Hug Innovations came into being in 2014, as a promise of safety.


The journey was challenging for the company from the very start, since its Founder, Raj Neravati, did not have the necessary hardware background or deep hardware knowledge and there were no accelerators to guide or support the company. Building the right team in fact was hard and Raj Neravati had to let go of people and even replace the team.


Way forward: Hug will be adding smaller products to meet the needs of specific audiences. From a platform point of view, the company has envisioned an IoT platform that can control any device through gestures and has invited application developers to create apps that can run on its Open developer platform.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 


Innovate or Disappear

Posted by NASSCOM Product Moderator Nov 13, 2017

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud


Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud was our first speaker immediately after the inaugural. He was rather excited to be at NPC Bangalore and share some of his insights with us. Before that, our Emcee briefly touched upon the success of products which only have a cloud presence.


The most important thing about innovation and we have often said it, is about building a certain culture which is supportive of this philosophy. In San Francisco about 10 years back it was a hellish experience to get a cab from the airport late at night. Rude drivers, exorbitant rates all added to the commuter’s woes. Then suddenly in 2010, things changed dramatically with the advent of Uber. Issues which hounded travelers suddenly became irrelevant. Lyft and Uber combined, employ over a million drivers today. Very few industries are known to have created 1 million jobs in 7 years. Then there’s the example of Google Home, which has changed lives beyond imagination. Simply by talking into the device, one can get the best of services in the comfort and confines of their homes without human intervention.


Some of the things that AI is able to do is simply remarkable. It’s not only solving big problems for us but adding finer details to our daily lives which makes it all so worthwhile. Boundaries are getting pushed and all this is being done with lesser people. Twenty-five years back NASA had in its rolls (including network of partners) about a million people. Today SpaceX is able to send a spacecraft with just over 10k people. Not to mention the massive drop in cost from 1 billion dollars to about 38 million $ today. The price point is also a critical parameter to be measured. Tesla is yet another example – a company which has been around for only 7 years is more valuable than GM. A single battery charge can make the car run for 280 miles. Innovation is certainly about fixing massive problems but at the same time there are numerous examples of small incremental changes being effected which have raised customer experience and expectation by leaps and bounds. As mentioned earlier – boundaries are getting pushed ceaselessly. He gave numerous other examples including those of Apple & Netflix. These are companies which not only disrupted the market but did not rest on their laurels. And, ever since they have continued to raise the bar and set new industry standards. Innovation, is far from a one-time exercise. Also, it’s not about “if” any more, it is an imperative and the question is “how”:


  1. It’s about smart talented PEOPLE who can get out of their comfort zone.
  2. CULTURE is about creating an environment where people are enthused about giving their best. Right down to the minutest detail – food being served, workstation design & benefits being offered.
  3. Focusing on DETAILS will bring in the “WOW” factor.
  4. Make sure you AIM for the MOON. Goals have to be stretched, even so that 70% of the target achieved would create high benchmarks.
  5. PERSISTENCE – it takes time!


Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Atul Jalan, the CEO & MD of Manthan. 


Atul Jalan held us in thrall (at NPC Banglaore) right from the time he strode up on stage confidently and started talking about the future, which seemed overwhelming at times.


He said, the kind of change that we have witnessed in the last 10 – 15 years is phenomenal. Moreover, what was experienced 50 – 75 years prior, pales in comparison. And finally, the change which will come about in the next 10 – 15 years will be nothing short of spectacular – something which may well be in the realms of our imagination now. The possibilities that Science can offer are being leveraged to the hilt and brings humans a step closer to playing God.


In process, technology has absorbed its own complexities to make life easier for us. AI, many opine, is the new electricity and cuts across nearly all industry verticals. And, this is happening at such a rapid pace that there seems to be a hubris around it! The truth is, we tend to overestimate its short-term benefits and underestimate its long-term transformative power. AI was first heard of in nerdy circles in the 50s of the last century. Its commercial applications didn’t pick up as was expected and had to go through a very long Siberian winter. And now it’s here, and how!  


Data is the by-product of Social Media and the fodder for Deep Tech. Data captured through sensors is yet another prominent source. It’s leading to Cognification of Everything which is a most interesting mix of bio & info organisms. Smartphones today are more powerful than Supercomputers of an earlier era and with constant drop in prices, they are within bounds of most people. Advancement in Neuro-Science is witnessing a steady integration of bio and computer science. As AI comes of age, it makes us ask age-old and yet profound questions: Who am I? What is it to be human? What’s the construct of our mind? If the brain is akin to hardware then mind may best be compared to software. Till now, the questions about self were seen through the ‘limited’ lens of philosophy. As AI gets perfected, we are preparing ourselves to answer these questions through the lens of Math & Science. The next big leap, soon to come by, is going to be a very big one! Hopefully, we can put technology to good use and weed out pain, diseases to create a better society.  

Homo Sapien 2.0 can attain three shapes: that of humanoids, or recreated through genetic engineering, or simply, cyborgs. It isn’t such a stretch after all if we are to imagine the future from today’s construct – humans perpetually glued on to their phones today, give the impression that we are part machine-like already. The emphasis here is our heavy dependence on machines to run lives for us. The life of the great physicist Stephen Hawkins embodies the combined impact of what neuro & computer science can achieve. Strapped to a wheel chair because of a debilitating disease (yet his mind remains the sharpest) he is able to move around with the aid of advanced technology which can read his mind and take commands directly. Life per se, is a matter of random selection. But, through genetic re-engineering can we create humans with only the desired characteristics – exactly the way we want them to be and eliminating chance factor. Is that desirable? Or is it re-imagining God?


Certainly, many jobs will be lost because of AI. Let’s not even pretend otherwise. On a lighter note: when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, horses lost their jobs and never really got them back. In history, nobody has lost jobs like the horses did. Perhaps! But the caveat: the burden this time will be on man and not on the beast. Having said that, newer jobs will be created which will require application of better skills and humans will be more gainfully employed.


He also touched upon the sensitive area of sex and humans. Robots which talk and even listen attentively. Sometimes, more attentively than spouses! In fiction, we have already seen humans fall in love with non-human objects and there’s a possibility that someday this rarity may become more common. He jokingly remarked, “in future if I run away with your sex doll then would I be tried for running away with your wife or stealing your car?” It was a rather hilarious observation to make, as we all guffawed. New rules for the new man.


As we step into unexplored realms, a new code of ethics and morality will have to be written. Human progress is made on 2 distinct threads: the ability to invent stories and to tell them!             


Arguably, man is the only animal which doesn’t yet know what NOT to do. It’s this constant itch which made man out of monkeys.


Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

 Product Name: SmartMoo

Name of Organization: Stellapps

Year of Incorporation: 2011

Website:  Stellapps

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Agriculture

At the helm: Ranjith Mukudan (CEO and Co-Founder), Ravishankar Shiroor, Praveen Nale, Ramakrishna Adukuri, Venkatesh Seshasayee


 “The start-up journey is not like a sprint. It is a marathon. There is need for a plan  and build stamina for the long-term. Start-ups  should expect  the journey to be arduous”

--Ranjith Mukundan, CEO and Co-Founder, Stellapps




Innovation: Stellapps decided  to foray the dairy sector, an innovation in itself, which has made it the first of its kind, end-to-end dairy technology solutions company in  India. Stellapps’ launched its SmartMoo platform, which is capable of supporting data arising out of tens of millions of liters of milk through milk production, procurement and cold chain flow across millions of farmers.


About the product:  The company developed an IoT platform SmartMoo that supports sensors in a plug-and-play fashion and develops apps in the way other app stores do. The company took a use case-centric approach where it developed the platform and then the app that which would leverage IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Mobility and Data  Analytics to improve Agri supply chain parameters.


Journey so far: The company began in 2011 with five co-Founders who were working in technology and telecom companies.  It was incubated by IIT Madras in 2012 and began by examining various use cases, where it could leverage IoT as the tech platform.  Stellapps decided  to focus on the dairy and agri verticals as by their very nature, both segments lent themselves to auto data acquisitions from remote areas and could exploit the true strength of IoT. When the company set up operations, it had to face many challenges including lack of domain expertise, and the issue of support  and maintenance, particularly in remote areas which took up time and as costly.


Way forward: The company will be exploring other emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa which have similar supply chain issues as India. It will also focus on taking its products in to developed markets too and looking at other agri produce, besides dairy.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

SaaS products have truly ushered in the era of "on-demand" software, giving customers an incredibly easy option to rent software products through a use-and-pay subscription model instead of purchasing the entire software.
However, despite the dramatic growth and success of SaaS products and the extensive features they deliver, there are still many examples of challenges in the SaaS ecosystem. Acquiring customers is not the trouble spot, but retaining them has become the core challenge of every SaaS product organization. Moreover, while common challenges such as smooth customer on-boarding, market fit, user experience, focusing on the right audience, and right pricing have been main points of discussion, we often ignore one of the most integral elements - enabling effective product adoption.
The Paradigm Shift in Organizational Precedence for SaaS Product Adoption
SaaS product organizations have woken up to the relevance of an effective product adoption strategy in minimizing customer churn and catalyzing effective customer engagement. It's becoming increasingly clear that the more your customers are confident about your SaaS product improving their business outcomes, the longer their association with you. And what better means of driving this confidence than a robust product adoption roadmap!
The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), which has been successfully benchmarking technology services for over 2 decades, has clearly captured this paradigm shift in organizational priorities.1 Right from a smooth on-boarding experience to extensive education services, SaaS product organizations are now looking at smart customer adoption strategies that set the stage for a long-term and positive customer experience.
With the goal of getting every user at the customer's end on board with the SaaS product, a smart adoption strategy should always consider a layered approach.  A step-wise and role-based learning and certification model of education services (from on-boarding to granular learning, assessments and smart documentation) ensures a structured mode of adoption. This effortless transition across the gradients of certifications - from low to high to effective - ensures that every user acquires the desired skill sets at each level and translates into performance.
In addition, robust data-enabled insights and in-depth analytics provide the organization and customer a clear visibility of the effective penetration of the adoption initiatives - both in terms of the number of users and the extent of product-related knowledge they have gained.


Certification Model of education services in SaaS production adoption


Image source: 


Three Examples of Outstanding SaaS Product Adoption Strategy

Three leaders of the SaaS ecosystem - Workday, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) -   have set incredible examples of this certification-based SaaS product adoption strategy. Let's check out their unique approaches to understand what a comprehensive SaaS product rollout should ideally look like.


Workday2 places immense importance on training, delivering anytime training in any format, accessible from anywhere. Their adoption strategy places end-users at the center of the change process, encouraging them to adaptefficiently to the new system through an exhaustive collection of training packages.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit3 is elaborate, has multiple user-based options, and is up-to-datewith their latest release.Their kit includes an extensive collection of textual content, screenshots, videos, audio transcripts, interactive sessions, quizzes, job aids, templates, guides, tools, and resources.

On-demand support

In addition to the adoption kit, Workday also delivers instant access4 to 24*7, bite-sized content highlighting specific functionalities as videos, libraries, and other online references as continued learning right from the user's workspace.

Role-based training

Workday also includes a detailed in-person or virtual classroom training with role-based syllabi5 conducted by expert instructors - these include classroom lectures, demos, activities, and assessments.


Workday enables an encouraging learning environment through its focused accreditation programs and courses that include written tests and certifications6 at the end of the program.



Salesforce7 is the leader of the SaaS world; hence, their adoption strategy is comprehensive, with extensive options to learn across the board through classroom sessions, online training, or any customized, organization-specific approach.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit8 has multiple choices - from guided learning journeys and short, crisp learning modules to specific learning projects and elaborate skill-building certifications. The options are categorized based on role, level, and products, with elaborate metrics that proactively measure the success of user adoption.

On-demand support

Salesforce too includes well-organized, bite-sized, open learning formats9 - each of these packages includes a collection of specific functionalities, ending with a test-yourself feature that challenges the learner with interactive challenges andpoints of achievements.

Gamified experience

Salesforce includes an option named trials10 - treasure-hunt exercises that chart the user's path across skill sets that can be gained through Salesforce. The point-based assessments that allow users to gain points and use them for a prize draw are definite attractions.

Pain-free on-boarding

Salesforce starts the adoption journey early - by creating awareness and communicating the goals and advantages of transitioning into the system even before the implementation stage. They then create organization-specific change management strategies that vary across roles and functionalities, with tools that assess the training impact.11

Training talent

Salesforce has exhaustive resources - the trainers12 - who lead user adoptions. They identify the key people or champions within the organization who can take forward the change initiative and train these trainers for a smooth adoption across all users of the organizational ecosystem.

Role-based curriculum training and certifications

Salesforce also includes online and classroom training sessions13 with role-based curriculums for empowering users with the expertise they require to manage Salesforce. The certifications and credentials provided after completion of the course are recognized across the globe and are a distinct advantage. They also have a partner ecosystem of universities and other agencies to train students in Salesforce.


Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS14 has an extensively elaborate adoption methodology encompassing every end user scenario and skill advancement perspective. Its unique feature is the AWS training and certification portal - a centralized and comprehensive collection of training resources that provides expertise across all aspects of AWS. They also use their authorized training partners to deliver in-depth training in AWS offerings.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit15 includes a wide gamut of training and certifications, workshops, videos, and hands-on practice sessions or labs in live and simulation AWS environments across multiple languages. Clearing each challenge in the learning quest enables the user to earn quest badges that are valuable credentials in the user's resume. The content is always updated to match the pace of innovation and interact with experts easily to clear immediate questions.  

On-demand support

A simple approach helps users select their preferred training module on the portal and enroll in the training sessions of your choice.16 Alternatively, the labs and short videos on specific topics deliver immediate information to users who are looking for urgent guidance on the go.

Pain-free on-boarding

The entire package of AWS documentation delivers systematic guidelines on how to get started and helps you plan your entire role- and function-based learning roadmap right from the word go. A well-structured training program helps you build your skill set and gain certifications as proof of knowledge.17 Organization-specific on-site training also helps customize the adoption packages.

Training talent and certification

AWS-certified trainers are certainly in demand since the most popular AWS adoption programs are expert-delivered, detailed training courses.18 These certified experts are associated with organizations, or they are individuals who choose to build their expertise in AWS. These trainers are part of a large global community with unique facilities including access to events, certified stores, AWS logos, and digital badges. The certification roadmap includes stage- and role-wise levels with assessments ascertaining the knowledge and skill set that the user has gained at each level.



All the three organizations have clearly prioritized SaaS product adoption on par with their design and development initiatives.

The adoption-driven SaaS strategy of these organizations follows a common thread across multiple features. They have a well-catalogued adoption kit that not only covers every learning and adoption aspect but also offers a wide gamut of options for customers to choose from. Their pain-free customer on-boarding and performance support features also enable a positive customer experience. These organizations understand the value of on-demand support not only during the initial implementation stages but also across the entire life cycle of the SaaS product.Their adoption strategyis hence structured in a user-friendly learning format - from structured curriculums to bite-sized quick-learning options. Certifications and gamified treasure hunts catalyze interest among customers and encourage learning.

In addition, all the three organizations have focused on building a strong community of users - peers, leaders, and influencers - who share ideas, create resources, solve the problems highlighted by members, and engage through discussion forums, training sessions, and talent nurturing.

The three leaders of the SaaS product ecosystem indeed validate the relevance of a proactive and seamless adoption strategy to enable successful SaaS implementation.

So, when are you getting started on streamlining your SaaS product adoption journey?




To help the IT and IT enabled products and services industry in India to be a trustworthy, respected, innovative and society friendly industry in the world.

That's the vision of NASSCOM and they are for sure living by it. In fact, If "Walk the Talk", fits any organization, then NASSCOM is one of them for sure! 


Last 2 days, I was at the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017 organized in Bangalore. It was a great experience to hear from the industry's prominent personalities about the latest technologies, products and companies that will fuel the 4th Industrial Revolution and what kinds of businesses will lead their adoption. I am taking this opportunity to share my enriching and exciting experience of last 2 days at NPC2017. Summits at NPCNPC had the full coverage of the latest and greatest topics, which are relevant now than ever, including BlockChain, IoT, AI, ML, ChatBot, Cyber Security including providing a platform and ecosystem for startups to showcase their products and meet the angels. As you would very well assume, there were multiple tracks running in parallel, so I can shed light only on the ones I had the opportunity to participate. The keynote was by Shashi Seth, SVP Oracle on how to fuel innovation in your company, and leapfrog the competition. I then chose to follow the DeepTech Summit, starting with a talk by Prof. Sitharama Iyengar Sundaraja, Director, Florida University. The Professor shared his opinion about the 4 industrial revolutions, followed by Prof. Sunitha Sarawagi, IIT Bombay, who discussed about the current state and future direction of research in the field of AI and ML. Before the lunch, Sriram Rajamani, MD Microsoft India did put up an awesome demo of how IoT, AI, ML can be deployed together on smaller devices also rather than only on high end servers. The post lunch started with a workshop by Prof. Dishan Kamdar, Deputy Dean, ISB and he focused on how to Get To Yes from your stakeholders and competitors, in case of a conflict or negotiation situation. The whole session was very energetic and useful, and everyone loved it. Kishore BiyaniI specifically remember what he said which is also very true "We like people who 'like us' or 'are like us'"! Then I was lucky to get the seat in front row, for the 2 inspiring talks by 2 inspiring leaders Noah Raford, COO, Dubai Future Foundation and Atul Jalan, CEO Manthan Systems. The audience were overwhelmed by the thoughts and vision they shared for the future of humanity. The day ended with the Visionary Kishore Biyani, CEO Future Group, sharing how his organization is imagining, designing and creating the emergence of New Retail. The day 2 started with a dynamic session by the powerful Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Founder Narayana Health, when he shared how technology and innovation can make quality and effective healthcare economically accessibleDeviShetty



As part of the workshop of the day, author and storyteller, Joseph Prabhakar shared his secret recipe of story telling, which can be used as a very powerful tool persuade, sell, convince and lead while communicating with team members, stakeholders and customers. One of the highlights of the second day's session was also the "LiveFunding" event beautifully moderated by the all-in-one serial entrepreneur Ajeet Khurana. He along with 16 angels, created a platform for connecting the budding entrepreneurs and investors. samsunAvanish Sahai, VP ServiceNow was invited to share his expertise on how to build a world class ecosystem including all stakeholders, customers, vendors, partners and employees alike. And then, we had the social entrepreneur Atul Satija, Founder of The Nudge Foundation, who has shown to the world that how important and easy it is to create a huge social impact through technology and product innovation by helping the underprivileged. Everyone in the plenary session felt connected when Dipesh Shah, MD Samsung India narrated the story of how listening to consumers has helped them change the face and perception of India Center and put on global minds within and outside the organization. Finally, The Jonty Rhodes, the great cricketer came on stage and not surprisingly, the whole hall was so full that there was no place to stand. Luckily I was in the second row;). Jonty shared some very interesting stories in order to pass many key messages. I have been able to capture most of them and they are...

  • JONTYBe the initiators in whatever do, to be successful!
  • As a manager, you don't have to be leader in every aspect, but you need to identify leaders in your team and let them take the responsibilities
  • 'Perfect practice' makes you perfect, not just practice
  • If you don't try, you will never succeed
  • Give freedom to fail, or they will get into comfort zone
  • Every single contribution counts, so never think you are not important

And that's how great the start of my weekend was . Congratulations NASSCOM for organizing a very successful NPC 2017 with attendance from top digital CXOs across verticals and regions and Best of Luck for NPC 2018.

These illustrious startups won the NASSCOM EMERGE 50 Awards at the NPC,2017. We are bringing you the ones that made it to the League of 10. 

Product Name: BalanceEye

Name of Organization: Cyclops MedTech

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website: Cyclops Medtech; Balance Eye

Vertical/Horizontal Play: MedTech/Healthtech

At the helm: Niranjan Subbarao, Dr. Srinivas Dorasala, Dr. Ravi Nayar



“NASSCOM has been phenomenally helpful in our journey. We were part of the 10,000 Start-ups program and multiple other NASSCOM initiatives that have got us visibility, industry and investor attention”.

--Niranjan Subbarao, Co-Founder, Cyclops MedTech


Innovation: Cyclops MedTech, a medical technology start-up, works on vestibular, surgical and eye tracking solutions for the masses. The company was conceived with the idea of developing an innovative Vertigo diagnosing device that was affordable and democratized the way the disease was Vertigo was identified, treated and reached the maximum number of people.


About the product: The company’s cutting-edge, complete balance assessment platform Cyclops BalanceEye is an assessment tool that encompasses hardware, software,  and Machine Learning module on the Cloud. The device comes backed  with the experience of clinicians (vertigo specialists) and engineers specializing in computer  vision, image processing and embedded system design.


Journey so far: The journey began for the company in 2012, when one of its co-Founders purchased a Vertigo diagnostic device from a French company. Six months down the line it stopped working and there was no support available for the device. The choice was then to buy another competing device at Rs. 15 lakhs, or develop one locally.  The company felt it could add more value to what was already available to many doctors. It used its clinical expertise and in-house engine to build the product. Initially, the company faced challenges in the areas of hardware design and development, testing, funding and building infrastructure.


Way forward: Today, Cyclops has 50 installations of BalanceEye and its turnover is reaching the one crore rupees mark. The company is looking to close the year with 125 installations and a top line of Rs.  3.5 crore. Going forward, it will be focused on scaling up in India, the ASEAN countries, the Middle East and in  Africa.


See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

Bala Girisaballa

SaaS Summit at NPC

Posted by Bala Girisaballa Oct 17, 2017

This year NPC is bringing top minds in the space of AI, ML, VR, AR, NLP, and SAAS. Unlike 5 years ago, today the question of businesses using cloud is no longer a debate. With cloud adoption becoming mainstream, the business models are shifting from licenses to subscriptions.


With this, businesses are increasingly adopting SaaS to reduce their operational costs, go to market faster, and with deeper customer insights, deliver a whole new level of value and experience.


India is at the centerstage of this shift. Our ecosystem’s sum total of decades of experience in delivering services and products to global companies means we now have the critical scale and expertise in product management, data, design, development and operations. According to a joint research report by Google and U.S. VC firm Accel Partners, by 2025, India is likely to become a $10 billion revenue industry with 8% share of the global SaaS market making us as one of the top SaaS startup destination.


Hence it is only befitting to have a dedicated track this year at NPC on all things SAAS!

This track will bring SaaS leaders and key ecosystem players on the stage to decode the SaaS opportunity for Indian startups.


We have planned for some high-quality discussions and talks with thought leaders & startups from the industry who will share their distinctive perspectives on the
 global opportunity and how to crack it.

Manav Garg (founder Eka Software) will start with a keynote on - Why this is the right time to build a world-class SaaS startup from India followed by a video address by Sridhar Vembu of Zoho.

A VC Panel to discuss on Unlocking AI through SaaS will host

Vasan SubramanianCTO Accel,
Manish Singhal, Founding Partner Pi Ventures,
Rohit Kumar, founder Sigtuple &
Aditi Awasthi Founder Embibe as panelists.


Two VCs and two startups will give a holistic view of how VCs & startups are looking at the role of AI in next-gen SaaS startups. Some quick trick & hacks will be shared as part of our light talks sessions on

  • Achieving PMF and measuring it by Ashish of Posist & Manisha of Loginext
  • Hard things about Customer Delight and how critical it is - by Piyush Shah of Imobi & Anshu Verma of Intuit.

Next up,
an Enterprise Panel to bring out the learnings and case studies of the enterprises adopting startups, get them to talk about how they have on-boarded, signed-up for SaaS, bring out the experiences of startups selling to Global
 enterprises, SMBs, & Indian customers.

Closing the summit on high note will K Ganesh of Growth Story - a serial entrepreneur and investor & Sridhar Iyengar of Zoho

We look forward to meeting you there and to be part of this great beginning of a revolution. 

Attend the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017, Bangalore to learn about SaaS, world class technologies and products. 

The agenda at NPC this year is very different, its topical, provides you varied perspectives and help you shape your business ahead. Do download the agenda outline and see how we interweave key themes in different formats. The event features leading Indian start-ups that are scaling or have built world class technology and products. Hear from some of the top minds and foremost leaders, both India and Globally, in AI/ML/NLP, AR, VR, SaaS, etc including from Research & Academia. block your seat now and hear these 10 themes that matter the most to you.

  1. AI- is the biggest disruption in our lifetime and NPC takes a holistic view of how this will reshape the future of products. Attend the Deep Tech Summit wherein you hear about Data is tomorrow’s fuel, Synthesizable AI; Aifi Summit wherein product companies and customers demonstrate their adoption of AI; VC Panel that talks of investment in Frontier Tech; Keynotes on When Machines become human, Unconference discussion and much more..
  2.  Saas -  Is India emerging as the melting pot for world class SaaS products? Attend the SaaS theme at NPC though a dedicated summit, keynote with SaaS unicorn and an unconference wherein you get to ask all your questions and debate with your peers.
  3. Enterprise Products - While a lot of attention is given to the B2C sector, it’s interesting how enterprise products in India are maturing and innovating. Learn more about the Future of Enterprise products through the lens of the VCs, Digital CXOs and product founders who have scaled their ventures.
  4. Made in India, Made for the World – Global MNCs are leveraging India for building world class products – NPC hosts some of the best engineering leaders from Fortune 500 companies who share their experience and strategies to build India as a product hub.
  5. Money matters – You read every day about billions of dollars being raised, but are struggling to raise your first or next round. NPC cover the funding lifecycle through different formats – Live funding session, Angel connect and VC Connect. Get your first million or your next Series round through NPC.
  6. Verticalised products - Do you build horizontal or vertical products, how do you scale in a vertical sector, what are some key trends shaping these sectors – NPC brings you focused discussions and connects for Fintech, EdTech, Healthtech, RetailTech and Smart Cities.
  7. What’s new in tech - : NPC looks at the technology shifts and what it means for an entrepreneur building products – attend the blockchain summit, the IOT connect, the futurist keynotes and build your business to the next level.
  8. Go to market strategies – NPC brings you the best speakers that will share tips and strategies on go to market strategies for getting customers, expanding in global markets and building your brand.
  9. The Innovation Ecosystem – What is unique about India’s innovation ecosystem, what can we learn from global ecosystems in Israel, US, Japan, how do collaborations work between startups and enterprise, role of corporate accelerators.. we cover all this and more at NPC
  10. India’s Digital Dream – Indian government, enterprise, SMB and consumers are all adopting digital at a different pace. How is this fueling innovation in India. NPC for the first time has a dedicated focus on the India opportunity through dedicated CXO panels, CXO connect and keynotes with distinguished leaders who have built successful businesses in India. 

 Attend the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017, Bangalore to learn about world class technologies and products. 

Your startup will need solid sales management expertise to scale. Very rarely do founders have prior experience of scaling and managing a large sales operation. You will probably need to hire a VP of sales to scale -- the question is, when?  Any mistake is very expensive. Too late and you miss out on the all the growth, with resultant opportunities to raise capital (at a higher valuation), and you might even concede market lead to a faster competitor. Hire too early, and not only do you have an expensive resource draining precious early-stage capital, but we have seen numerous stories of rock star sales professionals failing in a startup (more on this later), especially when hired too early. Stakes are high. So how do you decide the right time to bring in a VP of Sales?


Well, to start, definitely not in the beginning. When your product or service is in a nascent stage, founders need to sell. The best definition of sales I have come across is: “transference of feeling from the salesperson to the prospect”. To transfer the right feeling (confidence in your product), you need to first have the feeling. Who except the founders has the feeling in the beginning?  By definition, nobody except the founders can sell in the beginning. Only you understand the intricacies of the product enough to adapt your pitch on the fly. Only you can make a promise which the product might not deliver today, but can with a quick adaptation.


Most importantly, in the beginning, before you have a credible, validated product with referenceable clients, you have to sell yourself, your own credibility -- which no hired professional can do for you. If as a founder you are unable or unwilling to sell -- you are not ready to be an entrepreneur.


So have to sell the first few customers. Reach out to your personal network and start from there. Tell a story. Create a pitch and keep refining it (often on the fly as you are listening to your customer), till it works reliably and repeatably. When you find a story that works repeatedly across customers, develop it to a level where others in your team can deliver it and add reference points (such as customer validation, and ideally, customer success stories) that create credibility.  This becomes your sales proposition.


Until you create a sales proposition, you can’t think of hiring a VP of sales. The sales proposition ought to have been proven at least at a small scale. This proven pitch should have already gotten you your first few customers. You need to have figured out how you handle the objections. Understand (to some degree) what profile of customer will buy your product. Know why and how you’re winning or losing.


Once you do all that, a VP of sales knows better than you how to scale up. He or she will create and professionalize the sales management and process. They will refine the pitch, build a pipeline, organization and process, and scale up a rate you were unlikely to achieve on your own. But he or she cannot get you your first few customers. That’s something only you can do.


When it comes to hiring, don’t just fall for the shiny resume. In my experience, the best indicator of success for a VP of sales (or for any hire, for that matter), is their attitude towards the company and the job. They have to respect the company and the opportunity, and look forward to the challenge. Remember that sales is a transference of feeling. If the candidate does not respect the company, they cannot sell effectively and will fail, and even their prior contacts will not convert. Always hire character and attitude, superior attitude will always trump superior skills.


While you are waiting for the right person, you can start with hiring a sales manager and sales support team. A founder should manage sales till a good candidate can be found. Develop the team, take help from advisors on sales management, and continue to scale. This reduces your risk of hiring the wrong person at a huge salary and regretting it later.


Lastly, seek help. Seek referrals, a referred candidate is far more likely to succeed than a headhunted candidate. If this is your first time hiring someone for an executive position, get help from advisors and mentors. Salesmen are supposed to be good at selling and that includes selling themselves. So, be wary. Take your time. Do not compromise on character and attitude and you will generally build a strong company.

As NASSCOM 10,000 start-ups presents the second edition of India Fintech Day (#FintechIn5), the themes for this year's event clearly highlight that Fintech is no more a new phenomenon. In fact, we are no longer just talking about digital payments, which was every coffee table's discussion last year, particularly after demonetization. We are now in the new era of technological disruption, which even goes beyond SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) to spread out to artificial intelligence, blockchain, regtech, alternate lending and a lot more. Do attend the event, but if you are not able to, download this 4-pager document on Fintech Landscape as covered in NASSCOM Strategic Review FY 2017, to get the key highlights. 


(P.S - this is part of a paid report, and we are giving out for free, don't miss it)


Also, don't forget to follow #FintechIn5 on twitter for event updates and insights!

There are a lot of innovation driven early stage entrepreneurs who want to leverage technology to solve a problem and build a revenue generating business out of it. However, building a business is no child’s play - there’s the need of deploying a lot of resources of various sorts.


Step in incubators and accelerators !


Every entrepreneur will find themselves grappling with many different programs available today.


Why choose this, and why not choose that ?


Here's an attempt to break it down.

Let’s try to understand the basic differences between a startup incubator & a startup accelerator

startup accelerator is a fast track program lasting 4-6 months, at the maximum and is for the startups who are looking to find a platform that enables rapid growth in terms of customer acquisition, product refinement to target a greater audience, or expansion, whether global or pan India.

Some of the Accelerator programs in India are Jaarvis AcceleratorGHV AcceleratorGSF Accelerator10000 Startups etc


startup incubator, on the other hand, has programs longer than 4-6 months, closer to the range of 8-12 months, attempting to handhold the startups which are still working on the ideal product, apart from market validation at scale

Some of the Incubation programs in India are thinQbateESpark ViridianAxilor Ventures, Bennett Hatchery etc

Instead of focussing on the “Why” let’s first focus on the “How” i.e How to enroll for the startup incubators?

Most startup incubators & accelerators have their application form on the Website itself, linked to an “Apply / Apply Now” button on the homepage. Some of them host their applications on other portals like F6SGustLetsVenture etc and one has to do a free registration on the portal first and then fill up the forms, as requested.


The application form asks the questions about

  • the Problem,
  • the unique solution,
  • ‘why would people pay for the solution’ aka the Value Proposition,
  • ‘how will you make money’ aka the Revenue Model,
  • the Technology Stack,
  • the Team,
  • Validation from the target group (people who will use the product/service the startup is working upon) / pilots if it’s a B2B model / paid or free users if it’s a B2C model, and
  • Entry Barrier i.e ‘what prevents any other team of entrepreneurs from doing the same thing as you are’ etc.

Some of them also ask the applicants to list out what they think are the three to five business metrics/KPIs” which are crucial to the startup’s success for the next few months. It is also advised to keep handy a brief presentation having less than 8-10 slides mentioning all the details along with the financials (which can be a simple spreadsheet depicting the revenue, expenses, projections, fund utilization etc.)


How most startup incubators/accelerators select the startups

  • Team: The team should ideally be cross-functional, having the desired execution capabilities, a clear understanding of their business model and the flexibility to pivot. Well balanced teams consist of different Co-Founders leading different aspects of the business say Product, Technology, Business Development, Sales, Operations & Finance etc with each Co-Founder sometimes also handling multiple domains.
  • Sector: Each incubator/accelerator has some specific sectors in which they think they can add value, though some of them are sector agnostic as well. It is very important for the entrepreneurs to understand this fact as it helps them determine the long term capability of the startup enabler as well.
  • Stage: We define the stage of a startup either by the maturity of its product, whether it is at ideation, developmental or deployment phase or in terms of revenue as Pre-Revenue, Early Revenue, Steady Revenue & Growth. Most startup incubators accept the startups who are at the Prototype / Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage and rather give the Ideation stage startups a miss.

Post submitting the application form, the incubator team/selection committee evaluates it, followed by a round of discussions with the entrepreneurs to understand things to a greater depth. If convinced, the incubator then presents a TermSheet to the entrepreneurs, which is essentially a document containing Terms & Conditions with respect to the Investment & Incubation Services. Please note that the Term sheet is a non-binding agreement, and a comprehensive Due Diligence process follows which ensures that all the Legal, Financial & Company Secretarial compliances, as well as certain business hygiene practices, before signing of the legal definitive agreements. Once the definitive agreements are through, the startup is legally onboarded as an incubatee.

Now let’s focus on the ‘Why’ or rather the ‘What’ i.e What the need of a startup incubator/accelerator is, also enabling the startups to judge the right fit between themselves and the incubator/accelerator

  • Mentoring: The most important aspect of business incubation is the one-to-one access to the domain experts, Mentors, Technologists, Growth Hackers, Industry Veterans, who not only help the entrepreneurs on various aspects including but not limited to product, marketing, team building, fundraising etc but also enable them to understand 'what not to do’ to be a successful venture.
  • Capital: There are certain incubators that invest upon the onboarding of the startups, there are some that invest at the graduation while there are some who don’t make any direct capital investments at all and rather believe that the incubation support is necessary enough to enable the entrepreneurs to raise funds at the right time from the right set of investors.
  • In-house Team: Equipped with an in house team, a good incubator, works closely with the incubatees as an extended arm to their own team mostly on a shared allocation basis. It is always prudent to get introduced to this Team because they are the people with whom a startup will be spending their most time mostly and they are the people who will enable the startup to succeed
  • Business Opportunities: The network effect which an incubator introduces enables potential business opportunities for the startups. The startups should do an initial research concerning the quality of the network that the incubator brings in.
  • Infrastructure: Access to office space is the most common & tangible aspect of all Incubation / Acceleration programs, the suitability of the space to the entrepreneurial team in terms of the design, aesthetics, functionality, ambience and flexibility in working hours as well as the reachability for potential clients and investors is an important for the startups to consider.
  • Service Partners: Collaboration is Key. Most good incubators have an affiliation with various Service Providers to meet the needs of the incubatees in the leanest manner. Some of these service partners may include Legal, Financial, HR, Cloud deployment, Travel, Product Development tools, CRM, F&B, Events & Logistics etc. Typical examples being IBM GEPAWSTracxnLetsVentureF6SFlock etc.

In conclusion, most of the Startup Incubators and Accelerators are doing their best to encourage early stage startups by providing them the resources to succeed. However, it is also imperative for the startups to realize that which startup enabler is the best fit for them as it is for the startup enablers to understand that not every startup is a “me too”.

Fundraising is one of the hardest jobs a founder will have. An average VC invests in one out of a thousand proposals they receive. You could spend months of time and effort and still have a very low probability of success.


I always advise founders to not chase capital unless it is essential to their success. In the early stages, capital is rarely the critical success factor. Time spent on customers and product is usually far more productive. Revenues is a much cheaper and faster source of capital, and more importantly, provides real validation and momentum. You should defer fundraising till you are ready to scale a validated proposition. Very few business models are critically dependent upon capital. Unless your model is (one of the rare ones) critically dependent on capital, your time is much better spent building the venture.


For fundraising success, credibility is more important than the idea. An investor will not hand over a large sum of money for just the promise of a possible return in the future, unless they trust you. They have to trust your integrity, competence and commitment. Demonstrate these qualities before and during the cycle.


Whenever you are ready to raise funds, avoid these common mistakes founders make in fundraising and pitching:


  1. Underestimating time & effort
    The cycle of fundraising demands your time and a lot of effort. It is is very tempting to start if you get a mail from a fund or see a event which promises to connect you to investors. Realize that to take the process to completion will require months of near full-time effort. Many times, the founders underestimate this and get stuck in the whole process. The venture suffers as a result. You should plan upfront for the time fundraising will require, and it’s better for one of the founders to be dedicated to fundraising and out of daily operations for the cycle.

  2. Drawing out the fundraising cycle
    A long drawn fundraising cycle is very taxing on the entrepreneur and the venture. Further, a long fundraising cycle creates a negative impression in the market, as investors assume that the company is unable to raise funding and is therefore flawed. Whenever to choose to engage with investors, run a well-planned and finite campaign. Identify all potential investors you want to reach, find a reference, connect and follow-up, and give yourself a defined timeline to close the process (either way), else you risk getting stuck in perpetual fundraising. Get advice on the process.

  3. Cold-calling investors
    Usually, founders are not linked with investors which is why they resort to cold-calling. This is a bad idea because you’re very unlikely to get anywhere this way. Investors rarely look at a proposal that has not come via a trusted reference. Fundraising is all about credibility. You have to build your credibility and network to reach out to them.

  4. Overcomplicating your pitch
    If you have not captured the investor’s interest within the first few minutes, they are likely to lose interest. What sells is a succinct story. An investor makes up their mind in the first few minutes of your pitch. The rest is just validation. So, keep it simple and compelling.

  5. Not being able to tell your story
    If you follow the templates and try to put in everything that you might think should be there in the pitch, you will probably end up losing the investors. They invest in future potential, a big idea, which can only be communicated by a story. Be a storyteller. Be engaging.

  6. No bottom-up sales projection
    A bottom-up sales projection puts your targets into context. This is something that every investor looks forward to, in a pitch. Saying things like “if we capture even 1% of this market” is the sign of an amateur.

  7. No customer validation
    If you’re launching a product or a service, you must have a clear understanding of the people who would want to use it. Customer validation verifies that the problem your product or service plans to solve actually exists and customers are willing to pay for it. The most successful entrepreneurs have talked to a lot of customers and tried to understand their unmet needs.

  8. Chasing competitors and awards
    Your startup is attempting to solve a problem for customers. . You will win or lose on the opinion of the customer, not on the opinion of competition judges. No serious investors gives much credence to most startup awards. Competitions are fun, you can even learn by participating occasionally, but remember that any time spent on chasing an award is spent away from your customer and product. Choose wisely..

  9. Obsessing over valuation
    The three most important factors in fundraising are: timing, quality of the investor, and the terms (other than valuation). Valuation is a distinct fourth. These other three factors will make much more of a difference to your journey and outcome than valuation. While valuation has to be reasonable, don’t obsess over valuation. In fact, raising money at too high a valuation is often harmful later as it increases your chances of a down round..

  10. Asking the investor to commit First
    Several entrepreneurs believe they have a wonderful plan, a team ready to quit their jobs and start, everything ready, just waiting for an investor to commit funds for them to start. They will be waiting a long time. An investor will back a committed team, ideally with momentum on their side. . Only when you start, get customer validation and start building a business would an investor be interested in you.

Digital Marketing Strategy For Global Product Startups


A Product, no matter how good, will succeed without great marketing. Great product companies like Druva, Freshdesk and Zoho have also been great at marketing. This post will leverage my experience of growing a $1,000,000 business with $1 investment and highlight global online marketing strategies that work effectively within the budget constraints of early stage startups. We will focus on the following stages of the buying cycle:


  • Awareness (Not Relevant)
  • Consideration (Focus)
  • Decision (Focus)


At consideration stage customer is looking for the right solution and company, 72% of the customers start their search in Google. There are 2 ways to be visible on google;  SEO and Adwords. Its inbound way of generating leads which is your 1st option, and 2nd is hunting where you can select your prospects which is not the case in latter. So let's start looking at the 2 options in detail below:


Inbound Lead Generation


The first step is searching for the right keywords, you can start with Google Keyword Planner. We can use tools like Spyfu and Semrush to look for competitors keywords and Google Trends tool which gives you keywords which are rising or are in top searches, with regions where you should target specifically.


Take the final keyword list and design the campaign using one keyword per Adgroup strategy with 3 variations modified broad, phrase and exact type. Using this strategy you will see 3X savings from the day 1 of your campaign. Also keep landing pages relevant for each adgroup to ensure higher quality score which ensures minimum spent. You can use Unbounce to design your landing pages, also use tracking URL’s and hidden fields in the form to capture important information like keywords etc. relevant for your business. Before launching the campaign add negative keywords to respective Adgroups and campaigns to ensure maximum ROI.  Keep optimising the campaigns by regularly adding negative keywords and making single keyword adgroups from search terms that have shown conversions. For large campaigns use tools like wordstream to automate the process.


Simultaneously design the remarketing campaigns for Google Display and Facebook-Youtube Video for brand recall as it affects overall conversions and its 22% cheaper that the average cost per click. Now after 3-6 months of concrete data from adwords you will exactly know which keywords are giving you business conversions. You can use those keywords to optimize your landing pages to rank in the search engines organically.


Outbound Lead Generation  


Firstly we need to nail down our customer personas, which means defining the demographics of our target audience specifically:


  • Industry
  • Geography

  • Company Headcount
  • Function
  • Seniority Level


We’ll need to 2 tools to start the process of making database Linkedin Sales Navigator & any email finder tool that works for you. Once the database is made, please verify the emails through tools like leadwash or use this method from Hubspot. Design the 4 set of emails including an intro mail describing your services with USP’s, and then 3 follow up emails.


You will need 2 more tools namely Gmail Account for Business or Personal & Gmass for drip emails. Connect your Gmail account with Gmass and upload your mails with unsubscribe option. Schedule it over the period of 20 days following 3-12-5 rule or whatever works. As per our experience you should see 1-3% response rate depending on your quality of database and industry.


With these 2 techniques of lead generation Inbound Marketing and Hunting you will be able to grow your business with minimum investment. If you aggressively implement these techniques you will definitely see staggering success in your business. Please feel free to get in touch for any queries and share your experience with us Broadcast2World.

As a startup needing growth capital, it's important to know that all capital is not created equal. The kind of capital you're raising often dictates what you use it for.

During my 10+ years in venture capital and angel investing (at Canaan Partners from 2005, and as a founding member of the Indian Angel Network), I've spoken to scores of founders looking to raise equity to fund their businesses. Especially in the B2B space, with long payment cycles, this would often be to help manage working capital as the company scales.



But it's important to realize - venture equity is often the most expensive source of capital there is. With the kinds of IRRs that venture funds target, your investments of equity capital need to generate very high returns, and deploying equity in working capital creates a drag on those returns. Further, very few startups actually land up raising venture capital to scale their businesses.


Debt, on the other hand, is far more suited to low-risk investment areas like working capital.

Traditionally, it is not an easy task to raise debts for startups. As amateur companies without extensive track records, with asset-light businesses that do not allow for collateralized loans, it’s difficult to convince traditional banks / NBFCs to lend to you.

But that’s changing now.


Thankfully, there's now an option - pure-play working capital financing.

One such example is Indifi, an SMB lending platform, that is offering working capital financing to B2B startups.


So how do we get around the low vintage and time to profitability?

We’ve structured our solution to finance you against your receivables from regular / reputed corporate buyers. This is how we mitigate the risks that traditional financiers see - by taking into account your buyers' profiles, and the strength of your relationships with them.


Whether you’re a bootstrapped startup looking to grow steadily, or a seed / Series A stage startup with strong growth potential - if you have strong B2B customer relationships, you can now access debt financing with ease.

How does it work?                    

Much simpler than raising equity capital! All you have to do is share your history of business with regular reputed B2B customers you are interested to avail working capital against. We use that to assign a credit line, which can then be drawn in the name of future invoices to those customers. We advance you a large part of money due on those invoices, and then recover the money when the customer pays you. Voila!



So save your equity for the right investments – to power 10x growth initiatives. And use debt instead, for incremental opportunities and working capital.


Article contributed by:

Alok Mittal, CEO, Indifi

Write to invoicefin@indifi.comto learn more about how we can help.

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