"The Office Fridge Is Always Filled With Beer Bottles!"
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First there was a bellboy that ran from doorstep to doorstep carrying a bill of your business to another awaiting payment for its goods and services. Then there was a dedicated accountant, who’d manage your books as well as track your supplies and customer deliveries. Then came the digital age saving virtual logs and e-mails, but who could have predicted the annoying bloatware that came along with it? The constant debate of choosing which software to utilize, ensuring integrity and non modification of digital documents and ancient searching facilities made it better but nowhere near perfect.
Finally, in the era of Software as a Service (SaaS), companies can not only pay for the service to work on the web, but streamline tracking, reminding and integrating transactions – all into one convenient app which follows same pattern of other accounting softwares in the market, such as Tally.
We exclusively interviewed Ashwani Rathore, CEO and co-founder, Prakash Nair, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer and Harshal Ingale, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of India’s first e-invoicing technology provider, Spider-G, over their business venture and their struggles popularising the new function.
They say behind every entrepreneur is an employee who lacked the patience to pursue a regular job. What would you say were your beginnings?
Ashwani Rathore: After completing my B.Tech from National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Allahabad and my MBA in Finance from Asian Institute of Management, Manila, I started my career in 2005. I worked with IT major Cognizant, and then a product company Talentica Software. It was here that I got tempted to the prospect of being in absolute control of my life. In 2007, this idea came into reality and “Moms Kitchen”, a food e-commerce and aggregator venture got formed. We successfully ran it for three years and sold it off.
Harshal Ingale: I’m an Electronics Engineer from VIT Pune University, and was in my 2nd year of engineering, where I researched in VLSI microprocessor designs that produced one of the few working asynchronous microprocessors in the world. 5 patents are in process for the work done.Prior to SpiderG as a Co-Founder, I started Abstracte Technologies, a semiconductor startup focused on research and commercialization of advanced VLSI design techniques. With over 9 years of experience in software and design techniques, a large part of my experience is involved in identifying and providing unique technologies for the SME’s.
Prakash Nair I’m a mechanical engineer from University of Pune and an MBA from Asian Institute of Management, Manila. My experience from Misumi India where I was in charge of the marketing entry strategy & sale of mold components in Western India region along with working with Demag Cranes & Components, in the sales department in Karnataka and Maharashtra really gave me an experience of the industry first hand. My current role in SpiderG has helped me to immerse myself in the sales and operations space within SME’s. My past experience working in sales made the transition smoother.
Did you create a need in the market or address an already existing need in the market through your business?
Our parent company Gladiris Technology started in December 2013 and started selling open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to Small and Medium Businesses. Working with these companies and interactions with their entrepreneurs revealed that an ERP software alone couldn’t address their problems. Six months of research later, here we are.
What did your preliminary research conclude?
Surprisingly, one of the biggest problems for SMEs is working capital mismanagement, which arises due to lack of on the go information into one’s own business and its transactions with customers and vendors.
- Improve cash visibility and its management
- Exchange smart invoices, purchase orders and other documents
- Have organized communication with other businesses as well as internally over specific transactional documents
- Seamlessly integrate with existing systems like Tally & SAP
Is there a story behind the name “SpiderG”?
In SpiderG ‘G’ stands for our Parent company Gladiris Technologies. Long term objective of SpiderG is to form a network of “connected” businesses the way a spider creates its own strong net by weaving. This name will always give us an inspiration to spread our network and get connected strongly.
What is your business model? Please share numbers of founders, your users (customers), products/services offered and current business size
As Indians, we realize how reluctant Indians are to pay for even the finest services anywhere. That’s why we adopted a freemium model for our business, giving the first user free and marginalized payments for the following users.
How is the funding coming along?
We secured an angel investment round of $ 40,000 in April 2015. We have been using this funding for product development and hiring appropriate resources. We are in the process of raising our second round of funding for product refinement, sales and marketing.
What do you think clicked with the investors for this funding?
It’s an untapped multibillion opportunity in b2b SME space and we are rightly poised to gain a significant market share thus it excites the investors. Imagine us aiming to be the Facebook for businesses. Just to give an analogy, Facebook has just digitalized our social space and SpiderG is digitalizing two companies’ interactions with each other and thus leading to formation of a network in the process. Once this network grows to a sizable number, it can be a platform that can be leveraged by other service providers and enterprise application developers. The concept itself attracted investor to invest in our business.
What is your office culture like?
- Movie Talkies : SpiderG employees make sure that they will watch one movie together every month in the theater.
- Friday Fun element: Company employees relax over beer and snacks in the evening while watching movie. SpiderG office fridge is always filled with beer bottles!!
- Brokerage of the rented property for employees: SpiderG takes care of rental house booking brokerage if any employee who is staying far wants to relocate nearby to office. This leads to save the traveling time of an employee and employee can go home and come in case there is any emergency/requirement
- Yearly holiday trip: If a particular employee does a good job throughout the year SpiderG make sure that deserving employee will get a holiday trip for which tickets will be taken care by SpiderG team.
- Easy approach for leaves and flexibility in office timings: Everyone is provided with laptops and internet data cards so there is no need to come to office if there is any other commitment. Everyone has given deadlines for particular projects and if they complete it before the deadline they can opt to take leave.
What changes have you experienced in your own self since the day you started the business till now?
Professionally, I have developed far more patience and avoid taking emotional decisions. We have a grand vision but we set small “achievable” milestones that keep us motivated and marching forward. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!