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2008 Financial Crisis Did Not Stop These Indian Entrepreneurs From Taking Up The Challenge

2008 Financial Crisis Did Not Stop These Indian Entrepreneurs From Taking Up The Challenge
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Aneesh Reddy, Krishna Mehra and Ajay Modani launched their start-up at a time when bankruptcy had hit the Lehman Brothers. The time was not favorable per say, but that did not clip the wings of their entrepreneurship ambitions.

In an interview to the Entrepreneur India, Reddy reasoned that a financial crisis was possibly the best time to launch a start-up.

A little before the crisis, Reddy and his partners decided to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. Accordingly, they started sorting out their finances and other issues of their respective, previous jobs.

The trio, all in their early twenties then, was not baffled by the fears of an unexpected storm.  “The simple way of looking at it was to conquer the fear — what if the start-up did not work? And the simple answer was we would wound up the project, take a couple of competitive exams to qualify for higher business education. The risk didn’t seem too high, we went ahead and took up the challenge,” Reddy added.

He is the co-founder of Capillary Technologies that provides OmniChannel Engagement and Commerce solutions to help consumer brands increase their customer reach, engagement, sales and loyalty. The solution services his company provides include CRM & Loyalty, E-Commerce, Marketing Cloud, Customer Analytics and O2O Commerce. Capillary Technologies provides assistance to 150 million consumers, aids in the functioning of more than 20,000 stores and helps in the implementation of 250+enterprise e-Commerce globally.  

Set up in 2008, the company presently owns 10 global offices with a 700-member strong team. The company is backed by Warburg Pincus, Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Norwest Venture and American Express Ventures.

‘Getting Our First Five Customers’

Recalling the moment when they got their first client, Reddy said, “We met 50 customers before coming up with our first line of code. We were reasonably shameless and went around meeting a number of people. We went store-hopping and some of the store managers would fix our meetings with their senior executives. Over 30 of them spoke about the problems they were facing and we got our first set of five customers.”   

“We started writing our first code only when we were sure that these five customers would pay for it,” he added.

Talking about the current state of dwindling IT jobs, Reddy said his is a product services company and they do not require bulk recruitment.

First Round Of Funding From Alma Mater

Aneesh Reddy referred to Capillary Technologies as one of the very few fortunate companies, which had cash in the bank even before starting out. As students of IIT Kharagpur, Reddy and Mehra had helped set up an entrepreneurship cell at IIT a year before they graduated in 2005. “After setting up the cell, we approached the sponsor research cell that granted Rs 5 crore to be invested in 30 start-ups.”

“So, when we launched our start-up, we could not think of any better place to seek help and approached the same cell at our alma mater for funding. We were readily helped with our first cheque of Rs 15 lakh. IIT Kharagpur actually owned 4 per cent of the stake when we started. The authorities sold about half of it a year ago for a million dollars,” Reddy added.

On the possibilities of IPO/merger, he said anything in this regard would happen only after three years, if at all, without specifying what would he prefer the most. “If we continue to grow at this pace, we might just want to stay as an independent company,” he added.

Reddy was one of the keynote speakers at the SaaS talks organized by Kalaari Capital in Bangalore last week.

 
Edition: June 2017

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