“Creating Better Software”
The overall success of a company in a software dependent arena depends upon the quality of the software they employ. The software may not always work according to plan and the weak link is inevitably identified as the process they utilize. Siddharta Govindaraj is a young entrepreneur who has not only identified this chink in the armor but has also come up with a way to ensure that your software will be the best it can be. Silver Stripe Software Pvt Ltd is the factor that will guarantee that your product will function without any bugs.
Business Idea – Siddharta says that poor process is the bane of the software industry and explains how they help in deleting this problem saying, “One of the endemic problems in the software industry has been the large number of software failures due to poor process. We help software companies deliver better software. We have developed a project management tool to help manage software projects. In addition, we provide training and consulting on software delivery.” Silverstripe’s "Silver Catalyst" product is a part of the "Tools For Agile" suite.
“We sell our project management tool. We have a SaaS version where we get paid monthly, and for larger companies we sell them an on-premise version of our tool. We also charge for supplementary services such as training and consulting.”
What sets them apart – You might be wondering how exactly a management tool can benefit software development and Siddharta has a ready answer. He says: “Our differentiator is that we are the only project management tool that looks at project success beyond tracking a schedule. Software projects face multiple risks, and schedule risk is only one of them. Are we building the right product? Do we face any technical risks? Do we face any quality risks? These are the questions that we are trying to answer.”
Future Plans – Siddharta states that his vision is to “scale up revenues 10x in two years.” He also adds “The primary bottleneck right now is reaching the right customers. We are looking to reach them through online marketing initiatives – social media, newsletters, inbound marketing.”
His entrepreneurial journey – As an entrepreneur, Siddhartha feels: “It's pretty exciting to know that you are really making a difference for someone.”
His desire to be self-employed stems from his own experiences with startups: “Ever since I graduated from college I've been working in startups. So this was a natural course of action.”
His target market is not the easiest to cater to and Siddhartha had his share of troubles: “So far our challenge has been to develop the “right” product – something that there is a market for and that people are willing to pay for. We did this by making many many releases and using feedback to guide the product roadmap.”
“We made so many mistakes. The biggest has related to not being very clear on differentiation and positioning and being muddled in the marketing message. This is also something that has evolved as the product direction took shape.”
Present projects – Silver Stripe Software has been making ends meet quite well and Siddhartha confirms our report that they are running on their own revenue. They also have a few projects in the pipeline, which promises to sustain them for quite some time. Siddhartha exudes confidence while explaining, “We released our product in March last year. Since then we have got 8 paying customers. We've used the last year to validate and fine tune the product. This year we will be focusing on scaling the customer base.”
“I think getting the first paying customer is always hard. We're pretty satisfied that we have enough revenue coming in to be profitable.”
Entrepreneurial lesson – It is Siddharta’s observation that “The startup ecosystem in India is still evolving. The challenge for an entrepreneur in India is access to the knowledge required to successfully run a business.” However he adds that if you are determined to become an entrepreneur then “Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Everyone makes them. Use it as an opportunity to learn and move forward.” To help the startup ecosystem, Siddharta founded the Open Coffee Club in Chennai a year ago. The club meets on the first Sunday of every month and attracts college students, young entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, and veterans in the startup space like Dorai Thodla and Vijay Anand. It is the most popular informal entrepreneurial network in Chennai.
Silver Stripe Software and Siddhartha have a firm grasp of what is required of them in order to be successful. We believe that the day is not far when every software company would be using their process management tools to make a better product.