The number of cloud based solution players in India are increasing and this is further supported by the VC money being put in companies (over $5 billion were invested in 2014). This along with other factors has made software much more affordable for SMEs and thus increased the demand for it. Also, the market has been fragmented until now with help required for installation and personalised servicing. However, now the rise of the cloud based solution is making the software market organised and this is what led Ankit Dudhwewala and Piyush Patel to start up Software Suggest- a business software recommendation and discovery platform.
Hailing from a business family, Ankit always wanted to go the entrepreneur way. His family had been in the pharmaceutical industry since generations. However, during his college days (around 2005) he wanted to start-up an IT venture. His entire family is still in the pharmaceutical industry and he is the only member to diversify into IT industry. During his tenure at the pharma company, they decided to implement ERP software in 2008. Even though the process started in the same year, they had to change three vendors and could find a good match only in 2012. As a result, apart fromthe direct monetary loss, the company lost important data, had to train its 500+ employee multiple times and lost key customers also. The problem was lack of information on various software options available and absence of review on the service quality of the vendors, coupled with the disparity in pricing. It was then that he realized the need for a software discovery platform like SoftwareSuggest in India.
SoftwareSuggest aims at simplifying this process of software selection and helping small and medium business get the right software in the first attempt. “Our biggest USP is being the sole platform in the space. In the US, there is Getapp.com, Softwareadvice.com & Capterra.com. However, these companies don’t have product specific to the Indian market which gives us an edge over them.”
SoftwareSuggest has two facets to business: The vendors who sell their product on the platform and the small and medium businesses who buy products and give revenues. Their target customers are small and medium enterprises. Large enterprises have established software options like Oracle and SAP. However, for smaller enterprises, there is no feedback mechanism on the plethora of products and hence decision making is difficult. Thus they aim at helping in the decision making process. In the last month SoftwareSuggest had companies like Reliance, National Deface Academy - Pune, Rupa and other 1500 companies looking for help on making the right software selection.
“We earn revenue by promoting Software companies. We promote them on the blog and website through advertisements. We also connect prospective buyers to software companies and bill them on a monthly basis," says Ankit. At SoftwareSuggest, they have to ensure both the ends meet. For their startup to work, both the software vendor and the software buyer need to be present on the platform. The website will be useless if either is missing.
“We have recently introduced a Peer Review system on the website. However, reviewing software is not very popular in India. In the short run, we aim at motivating SMBs to submit reviews of the software they use. This will help us increase the effectiveness of SoftwareSuggest for our users," says Ankit. The platform is still in beta but has seen encouraging traction. Give it a spin here- Software Suggest.