IT spending in the BFSI industry has been increasing all over the world in the last two decades. According to industry reports, banking and insurance sector, IT spending alone is expected to hit approximately $200 billion by 2017-’18. Tapping the opportunity of services in this industry, Ashish Katkar and Ashwin Ramjas co-founded Verinite. Ashish and Ashwin had worked together in the past, and both shared immense respect for each other’s capabilities in the payments technology space. They started Verinite with the aim to become an end-to-end technology consulting and services player for the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services & Insurance) industry in emerging economies.
Ashish says, “We felt there was a gap wherein the technology needs of small and medium-sized banks in emerging geographies were not being addressed. Verinite can play an integral part for these banks through its domain, technology and product expertise.” He strongly believes that Verinite would not have reached where it is today if it were not for his early team members which include Lokesh Parakh, Vinay Visvanathan, Debasis Mohanty and Sankhadeep Chakraborty.
He says, “Their belief and trust was the main reason why Verinite could be what it is today. We proudly say Verinite was co-founded by this team of six technologists who wanted to make a difference in the way technology services were delivered and move engagement model from labour arbitrage to innovation arbitrage. Lokesh and Vinay have now moved on to pursue their other dreams, but will always be an integral part of our journey.”
Verinite found a segment of clients (small and medium-sized FIs which includes banks, NBFCs, third party payment processors) whose technology needs were unaddressed as most of the IT services players ended up focusing all their attention on the big FIs. These SME FIs needed necessary help from a technological perspective to allow them to compete with big players in their region. “Along with expertise in traditional technologies, we brought together expertise in mobile, analytics and information security to give the SME FIs an edge,” says Ashish.
What does Verinite do?
Verinite is a technology consulting and services organisation with expertise in cards, payments, core banking, lending and information security domain. Most of its clients fall in two categories - FIs & ISVs (product companies). They help FIs with-
- Consulting – help them choose right off-the-shelf application to enable their particular business line
- Application Implementation - help them design, develop, test, implement, maintain and support technology applications. This could involves legacy, web or mobile applications.
- Independent Quality Assurance – help with functional, performance, automation, security testing of the applications
And work with ISVs on the following:
- Development - converting product idea into a technology solution
- Testing – by being the independent testing arm of product companies
Selling in the B2B space
B2B sales is not an easy challenge to crack. Getting the first few clients and retaining them can be the hardest part of this problem. For Verinite team, it took two months to get their first client. It was easy; their first client knew them for long, so was happy to do business with people he trusted. It started with a small project and the relationship eventually grew into a long term partnership.
Currently, their clients are spread across Kenya, Tanzania, UAE, Qatar, UK, India, SEA, and etc. Verinite team shares two of their sales tips for B2B market in India:
“Sample to ample – we gave a sample of our services in order to get ample of customers. This was critical to us because we were new in this market, and wanted our customers to get a flavour of the differentiated service we were offering.
Give a customer more than they have asked for – this is a perfect way to garner a customer’s loyalty. Do not just solve the only issue being presented, but look beyond the scope-see bigger picture- and offer a cohesive solution that includes the problem that has remained ignored, as well. A tremendous amount of trust gets established and you become the go-to-organisation for the customer.”
The way ahead
Verinite has received funding from angel investors. It’scurrently sustainable using internal accruals. Ashish says that they do not see any need for investment till they hit the revenue run-rate of INR 12-15 crore. Their expected revenue for FY 2014-15 is INR 4 crore. “For growth beyond these numbers, we will definitely look at raising external funding. In the long term, we are looking to develop our own technology products and solutions to augment the services business. Meanwhile, we will continue to expand our services business in geographies like East Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific, as that’s a large addressable market.”