SOAMatrix is privately held venture, based out of Bangalore, developing SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) products which promise quality. With an experience of around four years, the venture primarily utilizes the benefits of SOA in delivering products/solutions to the customers. Kalyan Kolachala, the entrepreneur behind SOAMatrix, talks to YourStory on how the venture came into existence and started creating its own space in the arena.
Kalyan Kolachala, an IIT-ian academically, has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry. After graduation, Kalyan went on to develop Software products in Silicon Valley and worked with a range of companies; HP, Sybase, Fujitsu, to name a few. Gathering valuable experience and testimonials, Kalyan returned to India and worked with Nokia and BEA Systems Inc. (acquired by Oracle). Understanding the customers actual needs, Kalyan went on to start his own venture, SOAMatrix.
SOAMatrix has grown in a short span of time and has partnered with many companies including IT giants like Microsoft, HP and Intel. Over to Kalyan Kolachala. Excerpts of the interview with Kalyan Kolachala.
Starting a new venture and running it through hurdles is no walk in the park. How did it happen?
I have worked with BEA Systems, which is the second largest company in its domain and has a turnover amounting to 16 million USD in India. Over the 8 years that I worked with BEA, I developed the skill set needed. But what particularly propelled me was ‘the realization’.
In my opinion, compared with the developers working in western economies, Indian developers are not duly recognized. Usually the work allotted to Indian developers, working in globally established companies, are leftovers and peripheral work which is not of significance. So I realized that with a proper team, I could develop products that would satisfy the customer’s needs better and I believe that we have being able to deliver that so far.
You had the drive, but many startups fail due to lack of funding. How did you manage it? How do plan on raising more funds?
The downside of starting a venture in India is that it doesn’t get funded unless success is imminent pertaining to the venture. Venture Capitalists who invest in IT startups tend to look for startups of a particular domain which they are familiar with. They don’t evaluate and assess the skill set or the technology behind the idea, rather they are result oriented.
Many Venture Capitalists are weary of Service Oriented Architecture platform. So initially we were not raking in funds from outside investors. Friends and co-workers from India and Silicon Valley, who were working on a mixture of products, invested in the firm initially. Since we have significantly proven our model and met with reasonable success, we are planning to go to the VCs for the growth capital.
Investors in US, Silicon Valley, prefer to entrust their money with startups which are based in US. We are planning on placing a representative in US who could correspond well with potential investors. That’s how we plan on scaling up.
How has the venture been recognized by customers and others since its genesis?
We are based out of Bangalore which is the technology hub of India. Though initially we didn’t have many customers, our products have impressed the clients with the value they bring, so the same clients in-turn did us a favour and brought more new clients. Our testimonials too helped us to win the trust of potential customers.
The best way for a startup to develop is partnering with other players who are already in the arena. As a technical and engineering company we have been recognized and have partnered with companies like HP, Intel, Microsoft and Schneider Electrics. We have worked with Wipro and Satyam to train their workers, equip them well and have helped them to scale their products and offer better products at a better pricing.
We have worked with AAI (Aircrafts Authority of India) and L & T on their power sector project, which is the first of its kind and uses the most advanced technology at present.
We have been shortlisted and nominated for several awards including SYS-CON’s ‘SOAWorld Magazine Readers’ Choice’ awards.
What platforms do you use to develop the products?
We basically use JAVA to develop SOA products. SOA products have their own advantages which are recognized these days. But we also work across platforms like .net and we have also used mainframe to work on several projects.
What would be your piece of advice to budding entrepreneurs?
I would request youngsters contemplating to startup not to skip a regular job for entrepreneurship just with the hope of making returns. Returns are important but what is more important is working for satisfaction. Play the game for the love of the game rather than just for winning it.
Be motivated. With respect to seeking funds, as the saying goes, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Enjoy the journey as you ride along with the right partners who will take the venture to greater heights.
Would you like to share anything else?
I have enjoyed my entrepreneurial journey and have been lucky to work with a faithful team. Everyone is a stakeholder in the company and a part-owner of it. Through your platform, I would like to thank everyone who has helped us.