Shashwat Srivastava and Shubham Gupta go back a few years to 2008 when they were roommates during their second year at the Delhi College of Engineering. During this year, the duo worked on a couple of research oriented projects together as a team. After graduation in 2011, Shashwat went on to work with Oracle for a year-and-a-half and Shubham joined SAP.
In 2010, Shashwat had developed an open source chat application while working on Google Summer Code of 2010. “There I saw the potential of providing this chat application as a SaaS model. I conducted a poll based survey and got positive response from the web development community. People were willing to pay for such a solution,” says Shashwat. What ignited the idea again was the fact that the duo landed up as flatmates while working in Bangalore. Shashwat has discussed the idea with Shubham and they were both excited about the prospects. Together, they worked on the beta release while simultaneously working on their day jobs. “We were working almost 20-hour days for a few months till we had the product ready late in 2012. We went full-time in February 2013,” recollects Shubham.
This is how their product, iFlyChat, was born. The main consideration behind the name was an easy to remember short phrase which goes with the vision and philosophy of the product and company. In iFlyChat, ‘I’ stands for internet based, Fly signifies blazing fast real time solution which helps their customer increase user interaction (and take their business to a new height) and finally Chat signifies the exact solution name.
What exactly is iFlyChat?
IFlyChat is a real time enterprise chat solution which can be integrated into websites. This chat product is provided as a service (SaaS). “It is highly scalable and responsive as everything is handled by our cloud based servers which takes the load off the client’s website. This helps developers focus on their actual project as we save them from the hustle of managing chat servers,” says Shashwat.
It has features like one-to-one chat, group chat and chat rooms, each of which is highly customizable. Chat can be integrated into websites in two forms — popup chat (like in Facebook) or it can be embedded into the web pages. On the backend, iFlyChat empowers chat administrators to moderate chat and its users in real time. Also, it is feature rich for the end-users which eventually helps in increasing the user engagement.
Launch and traction
“We started working on iFlyChat in March 2012 and launched the beta version in June 2012. We have been growing ever since,” says Shaswat. At present, iFlyChat has more than 6000 customers and the customer base is growing at a rate of 100% every six months. More than 10,000 developers have played around with our solution till date and the startup handles more than 500,000 chat messages daily. There is a good mix of small and large enterprise customers and they have some marquee users like Coca-Cola, General Electric, European Commission, MIT and Stanford, etc. “Our market consists of community websites — ranging from gaming and sports clubs to TV shows fan communities. iFlyChat is also suitable for online conferences, live events and dating/social networking websites,” says Shubham.
Team, funding and the road ahead
The duo shifted to Noida where their home is after quitting their jobs in Bangalore. iFlyChat is a lean team of 3 with a couple of interns who work with them during college and summer/winter breaks. iFlyChat is sustainable and the duo intends to stay that way for the near future. “We are proud to be fully self-funded! We achieved profit in the first month of our launch and are growing continuously. We are aiming for organic growth and want to take one step at a time,” says Shubham.
Talking about the vision, Shashwat says, “Our vision is to develop cloud based B2B software solutions especially for community websites in order to help their users connect with each other, increase user interactions and ultimately grow. We want to keep our products developer/user friendly and implementation cycle as short as possible.” They recently launched the browser app for mobiles and tablets and in the future, iFlyChat is looking forward to add more features like chat analytics, native apps for Android and iOS, etc.
iFlyChat has found a good market fit for itself. Its growth has been completely organic and the team is working quietly on perfecting the product. They’ve had an impressive start and iFlyChat is surely an addition to the list of upcoming global SaaS products from India.