This Serial Entrepreneur is Making Big Bucks From A 'Boring' Business
Sreevathsa Prabhakar, founder and CEO of Servify, shares his story of making a 'not-so-cool' business successful. Prabhakar divulges how he made his 'operationally intense' business commercially successful and won the trust of investors.
Mumbai-based Servify is one of the world's largest after-sales service and engagement company. Founded in 2014 by Sreevathsa Prabhakar after his first entrepreneurial venture—The Service Solutions—was acquired by German major B2X, Servify in a short span of time boasts of partnership with over 45 companies. Some of them are OnePlus, Godrej, Panasonic and Reliance Jio. The journey has not been a bed of roses for Prabhakar. He shares his experience of making Servify work.
The Stumbling Block
With a background in the service industry working across big brands such as Nokia, Tata, LG and Samsung, among others, Prabhakar realized that after-sales services are unreliable and unorganized. He saw an opportunity in this inefficient and dissatisfactory situation. "After-sales service is not a "sexy' business vertical, and it is operationally intense. So, one faces multiple challenges in building such an endeavour," says Prabhakar. The company was born as an end-to-end service lifecycle management mobile application for electronic products.
To make his venture work, Prabhakar had to trump over various obstacles. He shares, "The perception is mostly that the margins are lower (in after-sale businesses) as they are operationally intense ventures. Everyone is interested in selling a product, very few people want to get into after-sales service. I faced fundamental issues such as getting good people to join the venture, finding investors who understand such complex business."
To fight all odds, Prabhakar placed his bets in design thinking and technology. He spotted that many problems no longer stay if we adopt and apply technological solutions."I applied a design thinking attitude coupled with a technology layer and our inherent asset-light structure to fight the odds. It yielded results and drove significant efficiency," claims Prabhakar.
Prabhakar leveraged technology to bring multiple players in the ecosystem together. Entities such as repair centres, inventory systems, contact centres, logistics providers were brought together under one roof using technology in Servify. "We connected the disparate entities, eliminated inefficiencies and brought radical transparency across the board."
The tech solution showed its magic in no time. In less than four years, Servify has been able to both establish itself and achieve scalability. Prabhakar shares his another business hack, "We achieved scalability with a minuscule escalation in operational costs."
When the internal operations of the company fell in place, finding an investor became easy. Servify presently boasts of successfully raising three rounds of funding, the latest one being a $15 million funding from Iron Pillar. It also has Blume Ventures and Beenext as its existing partners. Servify is now a multinational company present in 30 countries.