Just a few days after launching the Pune startup pulse, we get this news. SaaS based accounting and finance tool ProfitBooks has reported a total of 1000 paying users in a short span of 5 months. When we first interviewed them, profit books had already acquired close to 100 customer and ever
since, the growth graph has taken a steep upward path.We spoke with Harshal Katre, co-founder, ProfitBooks, to know more about his journey so far, how the company has managed to achieve this growth and plans for the future.
Marketing - Some conventional, some unconventional
Harshal said that ProfitBooks relies heavily on online marketing -- "The usual Google ad words is what worked for us to a large extent. We've also had some influential blogs, such as your own, write about us as well and that has generated some great traffic onto our site as well."
Recently, Harshal also signed a deal with The Entrepreneur magazine. "It's a strategic partnership as most of the magazine's readers are potentially our clients as well. The deal entails that all our customers will get a year's worth subscription to the magazine and all new subscribers of the magazine will get a years worth subscription of ProfitBooks," said Harshal. He also added that this offer was very well received on both ends and they will be looking to push for similar partnerships in the near future.
Harshal's experience with the Indian SaaS product consumers brings about some interesting observations. He says, "I think our target audience is still new to the concept of SaaS based accounting tools. We face problems in places like pricing. Most SMBs are not used to annual fees. We've had so many people come up to us asking us for a fixed price for a one time payment, which was quite interesting to know."
This year's focus for Harshal and the ProfitBooks team includes setting up marketing and sales channels. He says, "If you look at Tally, their distribution channels are completely sorted. It is very strong and widespread. We've been trying to set up something similar for us, but honestly, it's been very adhoc process for us. If we are to build a strong network, then we need a more streamlined process while dealing with channel partners and that's one of our main priorities for this year."
Future plans: A feature add and international expansion
Harshal shared that ProfitBooks has generated a significant interest from slightly larger organizations as well. He said, "There have been quite a few companies in 200 - 1000 employee range who wanted ProfitBooks to also have payroll functionality. As we were initially looking at smaller companies, we didn't add this, but if there's a requirement for it, we should do that. That's one of the things we'll roll out in the coming months."
ProfitBooks has also generated a fair bit of international interest as well. "A lot of popular foreign blogs like PC Mag wrote about. In fact we were also placed in the top 10 SaaS products for 2012 in it, and so we've got a fair bit of interest from markets other than India. We're looking to cater for them as well, as we've now priced the product in dollars as well."
ProfitBook's growth is exciting to watch and they're making all the right noises which suggests that this growth rate will prevail, if not increase. At least, we hope it will.
We'll keep you posted with all the happenings at ProfitBooks.