CADashboard by MindChipps helps CAs and CSs better manage their clients
Running a startup or any other business is not an easy task. In addition to the daily challenges of building a good product, marketing and selling it, the founders have to take care of legal obligations as well. For someone who is ill equipped to juggle many challenges, it can become difficult to focus on the important things.
Though focussing on the product, sales and marketing is important, it isequally important to focus on the legal aspects. MindChipps Consulting has come up with a solution to help Founders, Chartered Accountants and Company Secretaries. Here is their story :
The three of them worked together in TCS and used to discuss business problems and how IT could help solve those problems. They subsequently moved to different companies - HP, Wipro and Infosys- but whenever they met they talked about starting on their own. Meanwhile, they travelled and worked for customers in the US, UK, Australia for a few years and finally in May 2010, they started MindChipps with the aim of providing IT solutions that would help solve business problems.
MindChipps has a team strength of 24 members, besides the three founders. There are 12 team members working on CADashboard, five in sales andmarketing and seven in product development and support.
Their flagship product, CADashboard is a communication, collaboration and compliance platform for CAs, CSs, legal professionals and SMEs in India. Their goal is to make CADashboard a more accessible platform for startups and CAs.
Pain points they are solving
While working with their Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary, they observed some challenges:
- Never ending regulatory compliance dates and CAs, CSs were always short of time to complete work.
- Increased government compliance with zero tolerance, penalties and late fees by government.
- CA/CS and their SME clients are seldom on the same page, regarding status.
- High employee leaves/turnover for CA, CS.
- Lack of financial discipline – key for business growth for SMEs.
- Single source of truth missing - impossible to get previous information, communication history.
Market size and opportunity
With the Indian government’s e-governance drive, plans to bring all tax services online and to have compliance with zero tolerance; it is important for all CA, CS professionals and SMEs to start using IT systems that will help them to be compliant on time.
Network with Indian Chartered Accountant Association (ICAI) - The team has developed strong relationships with the ICAI and other influential professionals and feels that this will help in getting good customer references and feedback about the product.
Sunil believes that the most important learning was to quickly unlearn a lot of things that one had used in large corporates. Having come from large corporates, the team members held an expertise in many areas which came in useful in their product journey. But at the same time, there were lots of areas where they had to make adjustments. Startups have to be agile and hence need to have lean processes and quick deliveries.With dynamic market scenarios, entrepreneurs have to come out with product releases quickly –often weekly and, in some cases, twice a week. Here are some takeaways that founders shared with YourStory :
- Your product is worth what your customer thinks. It is important to talk to your customers, understand what they really want and incorporate that in the product road-map.
- Many Indian customers do not give frank feedback directly. So you need to understand what they are really trying to say by reading between the lines. You also have to identify who the real customers are and spend time with them.
- You need to know the latest trends in your area of business.
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In 2011, MindChipps had built a desktop product for a specific market segment. The product was doing reasonably well and they had sold more than 80 licenses in six months with only one sales person. They had reached a stage where potential customers had started calling them up to buy the product.
This product was dependent on government policies and there were some changes in the policy wherein there would have been direct impact on their business in the immediate future. Understanding the risk, the team decided to discontinue the product. But after taking the decision they continued to support their existing customers for more than a year and still continue to support them if there are any queries.
Some of the team’s recent milestones include :
- A functional sales and marketing team. The sales engine is set now and they have started signing 100 firms a month.
- They have more than 440+ CA/CS firms with1300+ users managing data for 9500+ clients.
- Their product development and support team is in place and they have been working on the product for a year. As they understand product architecture well, they are able to release new versions quickly.
Having spent the last 12 months in perfecting the CADashboard product, especially in western India, they are planning to expand now and the aim is to spend the next six to nine months taking the product pan India.
To achieve faster growth and traction, they plan to transition from 'face to face' sales to online sales. They are also working on a mobile app for CAdashboard, which they are planning to launch by the end of December 2014.
Another area of focus is maintaining and improving their existing customer service standards. The CADashboard team also informed us that they are in advanced stage of discussions with few VCs to raise funds to cater to a pan-India audience.