Building a global B2B startup - Learnings from Krish, founder & CEO of ChargeBee
ChargeBee is a billing platform for your subscription business. Their aim is to assist their clients manage, retain and grow their business. ChargeBee is a Tech30 alumnus that has raised two rounds of funding from Accel Partners in 2014 and private angel investors in the US in 2012. YourStory got in touch with Krish Subramanian, Co-founder of ChargeBee to learn about their progress.
Growth over the last couple of years
Talking about the growth, Krish says,
At the time we showcased in TechSparks 2013, we were a small team of about 10 folks with about 15-20 beta customers. Two years hence, we have hundreds of customers worldwide with some of the fastest growing startups as customers in SaaS and e-commerce. We are 30-member strong now with some of the best minds working on the problem.
ChargeBee processes over $50 M USD of customer revenue annually and are growing at a very healthy pace in terms of their revenue and processed transaction revenue.
Going global, some tips for upcoming entrepreneurs
“If your startup is solving a globally relevant problem, going global is a no-brainer decision as you will find that the sales cycles are much shorter and customers are used to Do it Yourself (DIY) solutions,” says Krish Subramanian
His suggestions in the context of B2B solutions.
-It is much easier when you have the entire world to sell to, than a limited demography. Of course, it will stretch you in terms of time zones, but that is the fun.
-Respond to enquiries in minutes and thrill them with detailed emails. Let your passion come through with fairly detailed, helpful customer support than ‘salesy’ emails. Everyone loves a genuine helpful conversation. This is the key to winning trust of potential customers.
-Invest in a clean, well-documented open API. Lots of customers like to read up & do the integration themselves.
-As an extension of that, build lots of tutorials, videos and help documentation. Facilitate and get out of the way.
-Measure engagement of everything, including videos using tools like Wistia. Google Analytics is your friend to understand which documents are being read most to clean up and fix things.
-Most underestimated aspect is content marketing. Creating educational original content for your target audience is the best way to build SEO & get your company before your potential customers. It all adds up over time. So start pushing engaging and useful content early.
Krish feels that there are a hundred more small things that an entrepreneur in this segment could do, but these are absolute must in his opinion to come across as genuine and trusted to sell globally from here.
Current challenges, what's on the roadmap?
The biggest challenge in growth stage is to strike a fine balance between needs of existing customers, while staying honest to the company’s product roadmap. It takes a lot of time to learn what to say ‘NO’ to.
Krish feels that for a vertical solution like theirs, it is very tempting to address all the markets because customers tend to come from everywhere. They currently focus on very specific markets. They have penned down their thoughts about managing product roadmap & delivering scale / features for existing customers here.
Thoughts on TechSparks and the experience
“Being showcased in an event like TechSparks is a great validation in your early stages. We need more of that in India. It also helps generate lot of inbound interest from folks who want to join your organisation and of course potential investors,” says Krish.
Krish also went on to share how networking at events in early days really helps get the word out in the ecosystem and help find some enthusiastic early adopters, without too much difficulty