Back in January 2012, Ramasamy had launched his first start-up ContractIQ – a mobile app development marketplace that he partially exited in December 2015. For him, any company who outsourced app development was a potential customer.
Ramasamy recalls, “We must have sent about half a million emails at ContractIQ to prospective businesses.” And they found it difficult and time consuming in reaching to everyone with half-baked information and that too without any reason. The logical conclusion, hence, was anything that sale reps did apart from closing a deal with a lead was a waste of time. This problem of finding validated deals wasn’t by any chance unique to Ramasamy.
In fact it still remains a global problem for sales teams to first wrap their heads around validating leads and then closing them. Started in March 2016, PipeCandy solves the former problem by analyzing around 50 million companies globally in retail, e-commerce, software as a service (SaaS), mobile and Internet. For e.g., it classifies and filters companies based on whether they are pure play e-commerce businesses or omni-channel and further down to what products they sell, how much traffic they get, what technologies they use etc.
Same goes for SaaS, where PipeCandy algorithms pick out true SaaS companies from the crowd of software service providers, platform as a service, logging as a service and other similar models that one may often source from start-up data and discovery sites like AngelList and Crunchbase.
“This educate the sales reps on customizing pitch.” PipeCandy has annual contracts with customers like Freshdesk, FarEye, and Zarget and the cost depends on the amount of insight or record a company seeks. The bare minimum to be paid is 50 cents and goes up to $2. “For e.g., if a company wants records of names and contact details of 1,000 decision makers of businesses, it will cost $500 (50 cents per record),”
A $100-Million Dream
This insight-as-a-service for sales data gives PipeCandy a head start in disrupting the way sales data is cracked. “Globally no company is looking at vertical specific insights for sales reps. Had we made this as a SaaS offering, it would not have been a critical differentiator,” claims Ramasamy.
But he is clear that in pursuit of his ambitions he wouldn’t sacrifice his personal life which often tends to be a case when launching start-ups – working round the clock, even on weekends - with no work life balance going for a toss. Ramasamy too at ContractIQ had ‘wasted’ around 14 hours every day including Saturdays. “When I look back, I find it stupid. None of that really matters.”
Moreover, since sales process in itself seems inherently boring and complex, Ramasamy got the name polar opposite to that where ‘Pipe’ suggests the sales pipeline approach and ‘Candy’ signifies the sweet and lively work culture. The potential for industry specific insights for better lead conversion is limitless and Ramasamy has full faith in the idea that it just cannot go wrong unless he does a really bad job.
And that’s why there is no plan B for him. “I would be very unhappy if we don’t become a $100 million company in six-seven years. I would not do another start-up and might become an investor.” PipeCandy is looking ahead to expand to other verticals like commercial real estate, healthcare, finance etc.
(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)