Apurva Mankad, CEO, ECFY Consulting Pvt Ltd
While dotcom burst in 2000 derailed many dreams, there were few who actually saw opportunity in web presence and launched their portals around the same time. Audacity of Hope! That’s how you define Apurva Mankad. “Any business, which is distributive in nature needs web presence,” says Apurva who worked for four years in e-commerce for different companies such as Satyam Infoway and Infosys before starting his own company ECFY Consulting Pvt Ltd in December 2000.
“It all started when Speedage Express Cargo came to Satyam for web-based applications for their logistics and supply chain,” says Apurva. “The company quotation was high and deal didn’t work out. However, I knew them from my Satyam days and offered them the complete IT solution at a very competitive price. It included web-based online tracking, online ERP, operations, billing, accounts etc.”
Apurva also continued with IT audit while building software for logistics and targeting prospective customers from shipping, transportation, and warehousing. “In 2004, I launched WebXpress, an IT solution for logistics and started targeting tier-II and tier-III logistics companies,” says Apurva.
Why logistics when most of the IT companies concentrate on BFSI?
“Because it is an untapped market in India and has tremendous potential for the future,” says Apurva. “Logistics contribute 13% of the total GDP and will be 120 billion dollars industry in India by 2011. With entry of MNCs and organised players in logistics and retail, there will be huge traction in warehousing, transportation and overall supply chain management.”
And IT services will be sought after for streamlining the supply chain. Apurva says that transportation and logistics currently comprise only 3.4% of the total IT solution market in comparison to BFSI sector, which commands 60%.
Today he provides IT services to more than 25 companies, including tier-I companies such as Reliance Logistics, Kuehne Nagel, Safexpress and Agility Logistics. He has developed four customised software products for warehousing, fleet management, transportation and, finance and accounts for logistics companies. Of all the four products, Apurva sees a huge traction in warehousing vertical in India.
“Warehousing is a must; it transcends users and services. Earlier companies used to have warehouses in different states because of varying state taxes and regulations. Now, with implementation of GST by 2010, there would be consolidation in warehouse industry and large warehouses will come up. All of them will need software for smooth operations.”
Apurva is also planning to branch out to Singapore next year and sell his product to logistics companies in other developing economies of Asia and Africa. “We are also developing software for mobile and PC devices where you can book the cargo, scan the barcode, finish all necessary documentation, and secure or supply the order over mobile networks,” says Apurva.
ECFY has a development centre in Surat and an office in Mumbai. Currently, it employs 18 people. The company did a turnover of Rs1.1crore in FY08.