Entrepreneur Harsh Gulati, Thinking Hut, on their consulting business & their latest offering, an Interactive Child Care portal

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Harsh, please tell us what Thinking Hut is all about.

Thinking Hut is in the business of changing the world leveraging technology. We bring in the strong capabilities to consult our clients on various aspects of IT and deliver managed projects. We are also investing to create our intellectual assets in the space of healthcare and education, the two key emerging sectors in India. Thinking Hut has a vision to innovate, invent and be "thoughtful". Our punch line aptly says – “Think-Act-Deliver”.

How is Thinking Hut different from other consulting firms?

At Thinking Hut we understand customer’s business especially Retail, Logistics, Healthcare, Education and Telecom verticals and can add value to their existing processes and business needs by leveraging our technology experience. Our process led approach helps us to deliver our customers a predictable, quality deliverable within time and budgets. Our customers are assured of getting the quality output equivalent of a large IT services organization but at much lower price points. Also we have come up with some very innovative engagement models, we are not only working with our customers on transactions and value based pricing but also ready to invest with them into their ideas. This not only helps smaller companies and budding entrepreneurs but also helps us to build a nonlinear revenue stream on an on-going basis. It’s a risk reward model and we are willing to take risks.

How did the idea for Thinking come about?

It all started with a casual discussion among friends which I believe is true in case of most of the startups where a group is involved. Our intention was to innovate and leverage technology with a difference so as to bring value to the customers. With around 70 years of collective experience with customers across geographies (America, Asia and Europe) and functions in the IT industry, we felt, we were ready as a group to leverage our combined educational, financial and intellectual capabilities.

It was also the right time to take the plunge from the market perspective. Global expenditure on IT was picking up, and so was the internet penetration in India which is our target market for Education and Healthcare Consumer offerings.

Tell us about your background.

We are a group of Engineering and Management graduates, who had successfully scripted careers in one of the leading IT companies in India, Infosys. We have worked across Delivery, Sales, Marketing, Account management and Partner management for various clients across Americas, Europe and Asia. The founders complement each other in terms of the capabilities required to build and grow an organization.

Talking specifically about myself, I am an engineering graduate from GBPUAT, Pantnagar. I have more than 13 years of experience in the area of Business Development, Account Management, People Management, and Project & Program delivery. In my past corporate role, I was heading Sales for Retail & Services vertical and also managing the Strategic Alliances & OEM Relationships for Infosys in the Indian market.

Let us know about the tie-ups that you have.

We strongly believe that in order to grow in today’s world, it is extremely important to build a strong partner ecosystem, an ecosystem which continually feeds, strengthens and grows. We are a Microsoft Bizspark partner today and are in process of building our ecosystem.

We have two primary lines of businesses, IT services and IT Products, and the tie-ups and partnership required for both these lines are different. For example, we are aligning with Social Organizations and NGO’s working in Child Health space, Hospitals and leading Paediatricians for our offering in Healthcare sector.

Where do you see Thinking Hut five years from now?

We want to be one of the 50 fastest growing companies in India in terms of revenue and profitability. We strongly believe that our focus on IT enabled business services for consumers will help us grow much faster.

What is your revenue model? Are you looking at fundraising?

Our services line of business has started picking up and our revenue model ranges from T&M to Fixed Price to Value and Outcome based. As of now we are not looking out for any external funding. Till now it was an investment from the founders itself and we will continue to do so in our products. Funding is very important but I believe when and for what is also very important. We are able to sustain ourselves today and our target is to hunt for funding when we plan to go to the next level, which will be probably an year from now.

As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?

We are still in the early days, so we might not be in a position to say much but it feels really great to work for you. You get the personal satisfaction, of doing what you wanted to do, creating jobs and solutions for others.

There are definitely challenges especially when you are in your early days, your work ranges from that of a peon to the president in the company but you get the kick, which got lost with time, while working in a cushioned environment for someone else.

How big is your team? Tell us a little bit about your team.

We have more than 15 people in our team today, definitely not a small feat to achieve for a 6 month old company. Our target is to be 100 by the end of this FY.

We have a combination of Engineering and Science graduates with masters in computers. Their experience ranges from 1 to 5 years, which is the right mix to execute any project within time and with desired quality.

Let us know about your expansion plans.

We are aggressively looking out to acquire as we believe we need to reach a critical mass before we can leverage our relationships in the Enterprise space globally. We are looking out for SMBs with product offerings on the revenue side. Apart from that we are looking to expand our presence in US through strategic alliances.

Anything else that you want to share with us?

In last 5 months we have achieved more than 15 customers (in India, US and Philippines). Our focus on cloud applications (Azure and Google) leveraging .Net and J2EE technologies and open source technology platforms like nopCommerce and OfBiz for E-Commerce applications and Joomla and Drupal for Content Management Solutions has helped us to offer cost effective solutions to our customers. We are working on building our BI practice and soon will be in a position to offer ready solutions to our customers. Our AchchaBachcha offering in Consumer healthcare space will be launched by Q3 this year. AchchaBachcha is an Interactive Child Care portal that will have tools and comprehensive information for parents to monitor and track their precious one’s health and overall growth. Parents looking out for right child care resources and searching for information will have to look no-where else.

For more details about this business, please visit http://www.thinkinghut.com/