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The Messaging Bellwether Rajdip Gupta, an early mobile application development and telecom enthusiast, foresaw the mobile-led disruption in telecom industry.

By Sandeep Soni

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From an early mover in messaging space to among top five global SMS aggregators, Mumbai-based Routesms has come a long way in the messaging and voice application program interface (API) market.

Working as a Project Lead for IBM's smart home applications and system design in the UK in 2003, Rajdip Gupta, an early mobile application development and telecom enthusiast, foresaw the mobile-led disruption in telecom industry.

This in turn also meant of SMS as potentially an enormous communication platform for companies and banks to use it for various applications like one-time password, reminders, requests, promotional messages, transaction confirmation through alerts and notifications to its customers.

Much to the dislike of his family and friends who thought of leaving an IBM job was a "stupid" idea; Gupta started Routesms Solutions in 2004 as a messaging company.

"I left IBM because I felt the urge of starting something of my own and fully utilize my expertise in telecommunication. My family and friends couldn't understand my mission and vision but now they believe in me. I never thought what will happen if I fail because I could return to job anytime but there was no looking back for me," says Rajdip Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Routesms Solutions.

The result of that was quite surprising, even for Gupta. The company clocked Rs 1 crore in revenue with 20 percent profit margin in the first year itself routing 200,000 messages using its API. Gupta says that since companies wanted this technology, and Routesms was among the first companies to enter the market, it was able to hit the Rs 1-crore revenue mark.

But with early success in the first year, Gupta had his lessons on failure too. The start-up successfully got an international bank as its client that required its messages to be delivered within 10 seconds to customers. Gupta, in all his passion to get more clients diverted most of his investments away from technology and servers, which eventually cost him that bank.

"It taught me to invest more in technology," says Gupta. In 2010 however, Routesms again got that bank on-board. Cut to 2015, Routesms is working with 115 mobile network operators, latest being Norway-based Telenor and more than 80,000 clients across industries – e-commerce, BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance), etc.

Routesms has already got to its credit star-studded client list including global communication giants like WeChat, Viber, Skype and Facebook. "This is the biggest achievement for us. People believed that European companies like SAP and SyniVerse provide better service and an Indian company could not do that," says
Gupta.

The company has bootstrapped so far. However the transformational growth for Routesms came in 2012 when the company started its India operations. "Despite being a huge market, I always ignored India because of the price war.

Earlier, if you sent 1 billion messages, you could hardly makeRs 10 lakh; so profitability was low. But since 2012 when the price went to 25-30 paisa from 1 paisa, we started doing business in India. While we were doing Rs 100 crore in revenue earlier, but Indian operation has added significantly to our top line," says Gupta. Within three years, the company has reached the revenue of Rs 55 crore in India.

What next for Routesms?

Gupta says that the company would be foraying into Ghana, Cameron, Kenya, Brazil, Columbia, Cambodia and Vietnam next year. More importantly, Routesms has been gunning for its IPO from quite some time now and is set to list by August next year and raising Rs 600-700 crore.

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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