Deskera Gears Up To Champion The Cause of SMEs & Indian Startups
Deskera was honored with industry awards such as the 2016 Vanguard award for innovation and earning a name among the top players in the tech industry at Asia Enterprise BRAND Awards.
Deskera is a global provider of cloud-based software solutions for small and mid-sized businesses catering to more than 3000 companies and approximately 80,000 users across the globe. The company is headquartered in Singapore with a sizable footprint across India covering eight major cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune, with a global presence across San Francisco-US, Malaysia and Indonesia. We caught up with the Founder and CEO Shashank Dixit, to understand how Deskera cemented its presence in India and when it would be going into IPO.
Excerpts from the Interview:
Soumya Gupta: Share with us the journey of Deskera from a startup to a well-renowned company?
Shashank Dixit: Deskera, has come a long way. We have grown it from a modest accounting software to be a global provider of cloud-based software solutions, committed to championing the cause of small and medium sized businesses. We built Deskera, from a University dorm and today it has a presence globally with offices spread in San Francisco, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia The company has a footprint across India covering eight major cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Pune.
I attended IIT Kanpur (India), did my majors in mathematics and computer science and built Deskera during my final year along with four other institute colleagues —one of whom is my childhood best friend.
The journey had it all, peppered with working from my dorm room, sleeping at airports for days at a stretch, walking door-to-door to sell the software to SMEs and hearing a ‘No’ because the owners didn’t believe in the technology. The early days of entrepreneurship taught me a lot to pave the way forward
Despite the initial setbacks, I was determined to change how SMEs did their business with the product developed by us. The SME sector was in dire need of an enterprise software that would help them run their business end-to-end hence, persistence, coupled with hard work and enhancements in the product, finally paid dividends.
Soumya Gupta: So, Shashank tell us about Deskera and the positioning of your product, since, it has become such a big success story of our times.
Shashank Dixit: Deskera is a classic SaaS-player. We help SMEs scale their business through an end to end system; a platform that allows them to do their balance sheets and accounting functions and we call that ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). It works on cloud. What the SMEs need is a blue-print to do their business, and that's precisely what we developed. The blue print is based on ‘best practices’, or ‘ideas on how to scale’, or ‘solve their day-to-day problems’. And we help them on a daily basis to get all of this right, at a cost which is a fraction of what they would have to pay elsewhere, to any other traditional provider.
SG: Talk to us how it has been in terms of traction, customer base and market share/clients?
SD: Well, we have close to 80,000 users in the spot to hold and are proud to be the champions of SMEs. We have a big market-share of the SMEs in India A when it comes to small and medium shops submitting the tax paperwork, we fulfil all of that and much more. So, we have large number of clients from the financial or audit companies like Grant Thornton, KPMG and the likes of that However, Deskera products are designed to address the needs of a wide range of industries including trading, distribution, manufacturing, engineering, and construction.
Today, Deskera ERP covers 90% of processes one needs in a company – from book-keeping and stock-checking to payroll and human resource management. The simple-to-use technology provides solutions that help all types of companies manage resources more efficiently across departments, from operations to accounting to sales to HR, on a single platform.
Soumya Gupta: Who are your core team members, you always rely on?
Shashank Dixit: My Co-Founders team has great potential and have been with Deskera, since its inception and they are all my friends from IIT days with the right skill set
Somesh Misra-Co-founder & VP Operations
Brajesh Sachan-CTO & Co-founder
Paritosh Mahana-VP Engineering and Co-founder
SG: Talk to us about Deskera’s Achievements.
SD: In the past year alone, Deskera was honored with industry awards such as the 2016 Vanguard award for innovation and earning a name among the top players in the tech industry at Asia Enterprise BRAND Awards. Deskera was also selected as one of this year's Red Herring 100 Asia Winners and was featured in the Top 20 Finance Technology Solution Providers by CIO Advisor.
SG: What is your existing Monetization model like?
SD: Our selling strategy helps us encapsulate a 360-degree customer outreach. Due to our contract with resellers, we are able to get significant sales coverage without incurring heavy costs particularly in markets where we have limited presence. End customers secured through our re-sellers include organizations from various industry verticals including education, technology, and insurance. Indirect sales contribute to a major portion of our company’s revenue.
Direct sales is driven by both offline and online marketing and sales initiatives. The offline model involves marketing events, roadshows, and seminars. The online model involves qualified lead generation through activities such as organic search engine optimization, ad-words, email campaigns, and social media marketing.
In order to expand our present customer base we are increasing our online and offline marketing efforts to promote brand awareness. We are also trying to grow both our direct sales teams and indirect sales model.
SG: Can you tell us about the major challenges you faced in this sector?
SD: With our objective to reach out to the maximum number of SMEs and help them perform, we want to expand our footprint into the tier 2 cities in India. We have a well-defined strategy in place for this. We are adding to people to our skilled sales team and building a robust infrastructure in these local markets.
SG: Please throw some light on your future expansion plans for Deskera.
SD: Deskera has an aggressive global outreach plan for the next couple of years. Recently, the company set up an office in San Francisco, USA. A few months back, Deskera announced setting up a $50-million data center in Singapore. Moreover, several new software products are in the pipeline to realize the ambitious goals Deskera has set out to be a leading global player. You will hear more of such announcements in the near future.We are getting ourselves ready for an IPO soon and are waiting for the right time.
SG: What is your view upon the Indian economy going cashless?
SD: The success of the government’s demonetization exercise would depend on the adoption of cloud technology. There can be no cashless unless there is technology to support it. The gaps in implementation would have to be bridged through technology. Through the Union Budget 2017, the government will have to ensure that the technology to digitize India is in place, or else the initiative would not have the desired impact. The government must incentivize the adoption of cloud technology to make cashless economy a success.
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