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Ramkumar and TechCello - SaaS Enabled Multi-tenant Application Platform & Gartner 2011 Cool Vendors

Thursday December 01, 2011 , 5 min Read

Ramkumar TechCello

“Start early, finish strong”, “Early bird catches the worm” and the likes have been doing the rounds ever since. But, I’ll try and look at the flip side of these sayings. Starting up early is good, but you haven’t missed the bus if you haven’t plunged into a startup as soon as you graduate. Alongside TechCello, I’ll chart the career graph of entrepreneur Ramkumar, who has a cartload of experience thrusting his ventures forward. Ramkumar is Director, Product Management and Marketing at TechCello, which was recently awarded an award of excellence by Amazon AWS at the Cloud Conclave 2011 and TechCello was recently featured by Gartner as one of the Cool Vendors in Web Computing.So what does TechCello do that has managed to get them so much recognition of late? - “Techcello is a Cloud based, SaaS Enabled Multi-tenant Application Platform that can be used by both Enterprises as well as ISVs for building new applications or for migrating existing applications to a unified platform. Multi-tenancy, data isolation, data scoping, access control, configurability, ability to customize, performance and scalability are all engineered right in to the product. All the necessary plumbing, operational and infrastructure features are available as ready to use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. Developers can easily use and extend them without having to reinvent the wheel. They can instead focus only on building the business related functionalities”, explains Ramkumar.              

This would come off like an alien language to somebody not so technologically evolved like me, so he boils it down to the bare bones and elaborates this as,” It is like a giant multi-storeyed structure being constructed with pillars and roofs (A Framework structure with a Strong foundation and raising all the way up to say 20+ floors), our platform provides similar framework structure for software development. As you can use the same framework structure to build residential, commercial or even a mall, similarly you can build any software application using our Cloud and SaaS enabled Application Platform. It gives you complete freedom and flexibility to design your application the way you want, but all the engineering and architectural challenges have been taken care of by our Cloud and SaaS experts.”

Before becoming an entrepreneur, he had dabbled in diverse fields such as HR Services, Financial Services, Electronics, and Industrial Automation. With over 23+ years of experience 15 of which was in the Chennai based Murugappa group, he is a vital entity to TechCello along with Shankar, the founder and CTO and Jothi, the chief Architect. The trio is at the heart of the 10 member strong TechCello team which now generates revenues in excess of USD 100,000. So what is the revenue model behind the big number? “We sell developer and production licenses for our product. We also have Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) support and Source code licensing options”, comes the simple reply. No frills; just a powerful value-adding product.

Apart from this, Ramkumar is also the founder and CEO of Mango DVM, an Angel capital funded company in the digital music space, which just completed a third round of funding. Some of the Angels in Techcello and Mango DVM are common and that is why he appears in these multiple avatars simultaneously. A very strong business acumen is also needed for such endeavors and he attributes this to the values of Murugappa group where he worked for 15 years and “I also owe a lot of my success to Indira Gandhi National Open University, whose B-Com and MBA Curriculum had prepared me for entrepreneurship better than what an IIM would have possibly done”, reveals Ramkumar.

Techcello was started in 2009 and as they were funded by Angels, the focus was on building the product and not on marketing or events. Now that the product has grown wings, they do a lot of educational and training webinars on the subject of Cloud, SaaS and particularly on the challenges of Multi-tenancy to market the product. The participants of these webinars are then followed up with a demo, followed by free trial packages and training and the sale is made if the product meets the demand. The point to note here would be that all of this is done over the net. TechCello has managed to sell to some huge names like - Germany based, InVision, which is a large Workforce Management Software and a leading US based HRO has also used the product to build their Benefits Administration Platform.

So are there any roadblocks or bumps along the way? After a bit of pondering, Ramkumar says, “The cost of events and sponsorships are prohibitive. This is one. And the other is that we need to build awareness among CTOs, CIOs, Architects and Developers about our platform. These are some of the hitches I see.” To combat this and scale operations, TechCello is in the process of raising Series A round. “The .NET developer community is 10 Million strong. We are looking at a Billion Dollar opportunity. Since our product is suitable even for applications hosted on-premise and private cloud, we can scale fast, irrespective of the speed at which adoption happens in Public Cloud and SaaS”, adds Ramkumar and along with this optimistic note, the cloud had poured all that it had and we called it a day.

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- Jubin Mehta