Subrah S Iyar, who spearheaded and co-founded WebEx, that was later bought by California-based Cisco Systems in 2007 a whopping $3.2 billion.
Iyar, who is now the founder of Moxtra, the on-demand collaboration app, spoke on the dramatic inflow of innovation in the Indian startup space.
The name "Moxtra" was coined combining the words "mobile" and "extra". Since it is a mobile collaboration platform, it allows the user to do more than what a mobile phone permits video conferencing, annotating files, sharing large files, etc while on the move.
How does mobile collaboration with apps benefit the startup scenario?
Mobile phones are around us and solutions like Whattsapp and WeChat are sort of the killer apps. So Messaging is driving the on-demand economy. What we are about is what is that on-demand business and its business people working with other business people.
So let’s say a sales person working with their managers and partners to close a deal and those kind of conversations require not just talking to other people but exchanging some documents, getting some signatures and approvals for people on the move.
So we are really about on-demand business and so on-demand business is starting and mobile phones has made on-demand commerce possible, doing business in the real-time, on the go. And that’s where mobile collaboration comes into play.
Where simple chat allows you to talk to each other, here one able to talk about content, whether the content be a legal document, purchase order and architectural diagram, so that’s what we do.
Do you see more clients using Moxtra going forward?
Absolutely, we now have 250,000 users in India, it’s been growing steadily and we continue to expect it to grow. Besides, people just using the application we have a lot of solution partners who add Moxtra to their application.
So somebody has an HR application, they want to add a messaging collaboration built-in , instead of going and buying it or building themselves , they are just adding it. So in the next two or three years we see an explosion, of Moxtra being used as a stand-alone app, but even more so in the context of other applications, for HR, business and CRM and other applications.
Currently, the start-ups using Moxtra are ZingHR, flipClass and Jiyo, company said.
What has really changed in the start-up space in India over the years from WebEx till Moxtra?
I think in the early days of WebEx start-ups in India were primarily providing software outsources and obviously that industry has taken off and is huge.
There was hardly any true innovation in those days , that has dramatically changed. There is a lot of solution provider applications and a lot of focus in the middle was only targeting other markets but there are now a lot of applications built for the India market.
What are the qualities that a company needs to get acquired by another company at a good valuation?
Honestly I can’t answer this question. That’s a very tricky game. To build a business to be acquired you don’t control the environment, right? Because again markets very risky game trying to build a business to be acquired.
Having said that, if you have some critical insight in the industry, let’s say the networking industry, you know you there are some missing products or components, so you can build it with the idea that you know this is not going to be a stand-alone business.
But it’s a nice add on, you can do it. But that starts with the original idea and that’s starts with some creative spark and that’s comes from your experience.
Take on a the rise and fall of investments in the startup space
I think a crash is very good, you need these waves. Because the highs attract a lot of money and the crash weans out the weaker players. SO people get used to that. There are people who prepare for being stronger. When the highs happen these strong companies are able to raise money at good valuations.