From a rented cellar in Trivandrum to Silicon Valley
This is the success story of six young engineering graduates joining hands to do something different. In the context of Kerala, starting a company is indeed doing something different. They dared to do that and did it rather successfully.
Their story also shows if you dream big, you realise your dream. The start up that began in a rented cellar three years ago with one- and- a- half- lakh rupees has offices today in the Silicon Valley, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Trivandrum.
The product (Bounzd) they developed 17 months ago has been used by more than 500 customers across the globe and many of them are high profile.
They have also been awarded and rewarded by the industry handsomely.
The partners in this enterprise are Bushairusalam AP (CEO), Shiv Shankar M S (CMO), Krishnan R V Iyer (COO), Nithun K V(CTO), Bijoy B S (CFO) and Manudev (Head HR & Customer Engagement). Their average age is 27.
The year was 2008, and global recession had not reached India yet. They were engineering students in Thiruvananthapuram. When more than 90 per cent of the students in their class got placed and some of them got even three offer letters each, they thought it was easier to get a job than become an entrepreneur. They wanted the tough alternative. That was how the idea to start a company came to their mind.
The inspiration was in front of them. MobMe Wireless, the start up of their seniors was the first company incubated at the Business Incubation Centre at Technopark. The kind of hype and appreciation they got had a positive effect on these aspiring entrepreneurs, and they also decided to be entrepreneurs.
Shiv Shankar discussed his dream to start a company and be an entrepreneur with his senior Nithun.
As students also, they had always been involved in some activities from which they were making money. “I used to make Rs 1000-1500 a day by selling old mobile phones. Looking back, I feel I had this entrepreneurial streak then itself,” says Shiv Shankar.
What they did next was, when juniors started coming to college, they went to Tirupur and printed 800 T-shirts with the name of the college on it at a cost of Rs 37 each. They sold each T-shirt for Rs 250 and made a cool profit!
The first idea
With the One and a half lakh rupees they made as students, both Shiv Shankar and Nithun decided to start an online portal that helped students in placements. Four more of their friends also joined the group. They rented the cellar of a house and hired five people to write code as none of them were software professionals. The capital they had got over in six months' time.
Though their first idea turned out to be a disaster, they continued to do small software projects like web designing and were making revenues.
Bushairuslam, the CEO of the firm was of the opinion that the start up should focus on innovative products and on the “technology of tomorrow”. They also decided that 'unified communication' would be the domain of tomorrow. That was how Waybeo Technologies Pvt Ltd, was born. Then they approached the Business Incubation Centre at Technopark with a business plan.
In December, 2010, Waybeo got the initial support from the Dept of Science and Technology India with a seed fund and soft loan of Rs 25 lakh. They raised the first round of angel funding in early 2012 and a second angel round by an angel investment firm in December 2012 as FDI.
The first product Bounzd (www.bounzd.com), claimed to be the first such in the country was released in 2011. BounzD is an interactive widget for Web and mobile, which identifies potential customers. It is a live calling solution for generating inbound leads for businesses. Once integrated in the customer's web page, BounzD scans the nature of their customer's needs and wants. BounzD button can be put anywhere, from the e-commerce or corporate web site to online ads to blogs.
Bounzd was created with an intention to target the e-commerce companies in the US market. Unfortunately, they could not get a single customer from the US. Not accepting defeat, they started hunting for local customers. Within a year, they could add 100 customers from all over India.
Quite a few awards and recognition came their way in the last three years. Waybeo was selected as one of the top 15 innovative companies in 2012 by NASSCOM. It was also one of the "Nasscom Emerge 50 Companies" in 2012.
They have won the ISBA Performance Award in 2013 and the Red Herring Asia 100 Awards in 2011 and 2012.
In 2012, The Economic Times selected Waybeo as one of the top 5 start-ups from non-metros.
The flagship Product Bounzd was selected as one of the top 10 "Made in India Software Product" by Interop, IP4Biz and Nasscom.
Today, after 17 months, Waybeo has 500 customers from across various sectors and have some high profile customers like the Tatas, Sahara group, Mahindra, Godrej, The Oberoi group of Hotels, L&T, Lodha Group, Puravankara, Unitech, The Lalit Hotels, Shapoorji-Pallonji, etc.
In 2012, the company made a revenue of Rs 78 lakh. The plan is to cross Rs 1.5 crore this year.