KS Sreeram began programming early in high school and is at it for over 20 years now. After graduating from IIT Madras, he co-founded Tachyon Technologies and was a part of it till 2011. Later, he started Clay Labs to build software products for itself and third parties (clients). The startup takes up end-to-end work which involves understanding the client’s problem, designing and developing a complete solution.
“Generally people look at product development in a very narrow way. While some think it’s all about cool technology, others have a perception that it’s about great design. But the reality is that you need to do a great job in many different aspects,” he says. According to Sreeram, great products are results of balanced design, engineering, technology and UI. If you are weak in any one of these things, then the product is going to be handicapped.
You may wonder why Clay Labs does client work and internal products at the same time. “Some startups do client work with the aim of simply funding internal products. We don’t look at it that way. We love doing client work because it exposes us to a
wide variety of domains,” says Sreeram. Such exposure helps Clay Labs to get a broader perspective on product development and the business of software. Our strength as a product development firm grows from doing client work. “It is also a rich source of ideas. In fact, most of our ideas for internal products came to us during client work,” he adds.
Creating an awesome product can’t be done overnight, maintains Sreeram. It takes a lot of time, skill and hard work to deliver product that can compete globally. Clay Labs starts with understanding the clients’ pain-points and then study, analyze, brainstorm, design, execute and deliver the best solution to enable their business plans.
Sreeram is the sole founder of Clay Labs and the initial team consisted of people who he had known and worked with for a long time.
Clay Labs designed and developed Ticketgoose’s query system right from user-interface redesign to show search results visually and intuitively. “Anticipating the escalated demands of the enhanced frontend, we proposed and implemented several backend infrastructure modules, including an advanced caching system and an event-driven networking stack for real-time updates to results,” adds Sreeram. As of now, Ticketgoose is the only site to show the seat availability map in a bus-layout with every result, and they are considered innovators in their field.
Clay Labs also developed MultiCall, a highly scalable telephone conferencing system, and Helpdesk Pilot, an online support desk ticketing system. While MultiCall includes a conferencing server to mix calls that can handle 100,000 simultaneous calls on consumer grade hardware, Helpdesk Pilot helps companies to eliminate security vulnerabilities and make the product more modular, adaptable to modifications.
The Chennai-based startup works with very few clients on large and long-term projects. Its major clients include Tenmiles, Ticketgoose and Telekonnectors (MultiCall). In fiscal year 2012-13, Clay Labs had posted revenue of Rs. 1.2 crores.
In future, Clay Labs plans to hire more talents and take up more complex assignments. So far the company is bootstrapped and not looking to raise funds.