Gokul Singh is a chemical engineer from IT-BHU with over 12 years of experience in IT industry. He worked with Wipro Technologies for five years and then with Microsoft for another six years. At Wipro, he worked for and lead projects for clients from across the globe like American Express and JP Morgan Chase. At Microsoft, he was part of the team that built Windows.
While living in a gated community in Hyderabad that had around 1000 apartments, Gokul saw how people in his complex struggled to maintain data and carry out day-to-day operations. So thinking about how the world is moving towards cloud-based offerings and taking into consideration the requirements of housing societies, coupled with his extensive IT experience, he came up with the idea of ApnaComplex. Once he found a partner (Raja Sekhar Kommu from Wipro), who has been thinking of a similar idea, they decided to take the idea to fruition in early 2010. In 2010, ApnaComplex was selected among the top ten products launched at Product Launch pad at NASSCOM product conclave 2010.
ApnaComplex is a SAAS based product, hosted on the cloud. It is a mini ERP for housing societies or gated communities. The software has four aspects; accounting, management, communication and billing.
It has a full-fledged accounting system with an interface that is very favorable to people who don’t understand accounting. The accounting system has two views, one that a layman can use and another that an auditor or an accountant can use. Any person with a very basic understanding of accounting(like expenses and bills) can enter data into the system and the back-end converts it into double entry accounting, which is the actual accounting methodology followed here in India.
The software lets you do income and expenses management. The other aspect, which a lot of complexes grapple with is, every resident in a complex owes money to the Residential Welfare Association. Tracking who has paid and who has not paid, how much money they owe, how long they have been defaulters, sending email reminders to them, and etc. is easier with our software when compared with systems like Tally. I should say that all accounting systems like Tally are made for book keeping and they are not made for the kind of follow ups that housing societies need.
There are two major financial reports for any book keeping, income-expense statement and balance sheet. These are reports that auditors approve and submit to the legal authorities. Our system can generate these reports at the back-end, while the interface we give to the user is very simple.
A complex is like mini city in many aspects. Our software can be used to manage the data of the complex, like for example, owner’s details, tenant’s details, parking lot management, visitor’s details, asset details and many such things. Our software automates any regular communication to the residents.
We have a subscription based model. We charge per unit(apartment) per month.
I and my co-founder Raja Sekhar Kommu started ApnaComplex. We have been operational for close to a year. We are a team of six people. While we have our offices in Hyderabad and Bangalore, we have clients all across India.
Our biggest challenge was establishing credibility. As we deal with a lot of personal data, building trust was very important for us. Marketing has been a challenge too.
Any plans to raise money
Right now, we are not actively looking to raise money
We have around 70 to 80 customers at various stages. And they are spread across multiple cities in India like Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad and Delhi.
Other players in market
There are a couple of players who have similar offering, but, the differentiator in our offering is the accounting services. On accounting front we have capabilities which none of the other players have. Accounting is the core need of housing societies and that is where we excel.
Potential for growth in this market
Potential for growth in this market is big. It is a very nascent market right now and there are no established players and hence there is a lot of scope for growth. We hope to have the early mover advantage.
Future plans for scale
Market in India for this product is very nascent. We plan to up our marketing efforts. We are planning to do some campaigns to raise awareness about this product.
We are constantly on the look out to strengthen our team with bright people in both technical and marketing/sales streams.
Joys as an entrepreneur
There is no better joy than seeing the twinkle in the eyes of customers when they see the product. And getting feedback that it helps to reduce their workload, improves compliance and governance of the complex, it is mission accomplished
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Don’t get struck up in nitty-gritty, if you believe in an idea, go for it! If you aspire to be an entrepreneur, you should be ready to get out of your comfort zone. You will have to make a lot of sacrifices on the personal front and you should be ready for it.
Don’t plan too much during the product planning phase. It anyway won’t turn out as you plan it to be. You will have to reinvent the product 10 to 15 times. So don’t be afraid of failure.
Please visit our website and check out our product if you are living in a gated community. Give us a chance if you can and we are pretty sure we won’t disappoint you.
We at YourStory will follow the ApnaComplex as it grows.. while we request all our readers to check out their website and tell us what do you think of this new enterprise?