When we decided to add Kochi to our bouquet of cities this year for TechSparks 2013 (have a look at the 3 hot startups from Kochi) we had a decent idea about the numerous startups that’s come up in the state of Kerala in the last couple of years. Here, we put spotlight on one of the startups that embodies the spirit of entrepreneurship.
Meet Abin Jose Tom, the founder of Webandcrafts – a web solutions company that provides companies with web designing, web development, graphic designing and internet marketing services. The firm started in Chennai in 2009, then shifted base to Thrissur, Kerala last year in May 2012. Abin started his entrepreneurial journey even before he could finish college. It all began when his college authorities assigned him the responsibility of creating a website for the college. Abin was only 19 at that time, and that opportunity gave him the chance he had been waiting to prove his skills. The website that he created for his college was widely appreciated by all and that further boosted this young man’s intent to startup on his own. While he was still to come up with a business plan, he registered the name ‘webandcrafts’ as a trial space for him.
As a youngster he discussed his ideas to startup with his friends, but didn’t get much enthusiastic response. Abin credits Joseph Mattappally, a social worker and director of Indian Thoughts for showing his path and believing in his dream. Joseph motivated Abin to startup and, finally with the help of four of his classmates, Webandcrafts took birth. “As students, the schedule proved to be very hectic for us – as we had to manage both studies and work. We didn’t have many resources at our disposal and the innumerable established web development companies were tough competition,” admits Abin about the early days. However good looking classic designs and prompt after sales service, helped Webandcrafts carve a niche for itself in the market.
Webandcrafts mainly helps hosting websites and has the distinction of being the “first hosting provider in Kerala with payment gateway,” claims Abin. Today the startup has successfully hosted over 2,500-plus websites. The startup currently has a client list of over 500 clients, including Australian construction company Strong Force, Thomson and SMR, which Abin counts as their most prestigious clients.
Webandcrafts today has 15 employees, who take care of different aspects of the business like designing, programming, marketing & sales, philosophy and literature. Joseph Mattappally continues to mentor the team and they have a senior designer Clint Antony, who Abin says has played a key role in the startup since inception in 2009. The startup registered a turnover of Rs 80 lakh within its first year of service and Abin says they continue growing from strength-to-strength.
“Yes the the business has not been the same since we started. There have been many odds while marketing ourselves, as people had a bad impression of hosting providers in and around Kerala, our quality and support was questioned. But our ability to service the client 24x7 and the ability to resolve the queries in the best way possible has cemented their faith in us,” says Abin. However, besides its large list of client or customer satisfaction, Abin considers his greatest achievement to be molding a team of youngsters that others will envy upon. “The bonding among the team is so intense, that it is visible through the work we deliver. The team has equipped itself to compete even with the best in the industry and the thirst to continue to acquire knowledge is the driving force, which keeps strengthening them,” says Abin proudly.
The company currently is based in Thrissur, Kerala, but over the next five years Abin wants to become the best hosting provider in the country and employ over 100 employees. “We would also love to inspire young minds and give talented people a platform to present themselves,” he says.