Big Data, and smart and predictive analysis have all become extremely pertinent for most organisations today, and when Madan Ganesh Velayudham left HP, he knew he wanted to build a powerful tech startup harnessing them all. Starting up at the ground floor of his apartment, Madan, with ActOnMagic, now competes with deeply-funded organisations that have been in business for more than five years.
Bootstrapped for two years, ActOnMagic started as just a cloud analytics startup to predict and control customer churns for cloud services providers. The team has recently raised a seed funding amount from Jayabalan Subramanian, co-founder and CTO of NetMagic.
Starting a tech company in India
ActOnMagic has over 25 small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) clients using its SaaS platform, and is growing at 40 per cent MoM. It is also working with over five bigger enterprises, with over $250,000 in the pipeline. The team is also working with System Integrations in Sri Lanka, Morocco and UK to scale the reach in a cost-effective way.
“As it happens for every company, market pulled us towards data centre analytics, public cloud analytics and now to complete hybrid cloud management for enterprises. Today, CIOs, CFOs, and DevOps have become the centre of everything,” says Madan.
However, starting a tech company from India has its own challenges. Despite having 13 years of experience in building scalable cloud products and expert systems, Madan found that it was difficult to convey the value proposition to the prospects and, more importantly, to convince people to join the team. Nevertheless, Madan believes that it was a good idea to start up in Bengaluru, as the startup ecosystem is energetic.
“It was also difficult selling our products to enterprises, it was practically impossible to get the time of CXO’s to listen to what we trying to help them with,” adds Madan.
Selling the product
The team got its product certified by leading companies like Citrix and HP to help it sell through them. This was in September 2014.
On why he invested in ActOnMagic, Jayabalan says, “I saw things that I would have liked to see in the cloud that I had set up in my earlier innings. The passion, energy and focus of the founder too is another great contributing factor. I also saw the uptake of hybrid cloud and the usefulness of ActOnCloud.”
The first breakthrough the team saw was in December 2014, when it helped Dubai Telecom’s cloud business to upgrade its entire cloud to the latest version. By March 2015, the startup's product ActOnCloud's licence was sold to a Nepal-based cloud provider, unfortunately Nepal went through an earthquake, which had delayed their payments from the client.
The company found its mentor in Mike, who gave them feedback on the product, got them the Dubai Telecom's cloud business. That’s when they got their first revenue.
“I still have first Rs.100/- which I drew from the revenue. That Rs. 100 is very special. At this stage, the sales cycle was really killing us, so we chose to attract customers through our SaaS offering. Being an Indian company, it was difficult, in fact it still is to take online payments for our SaaS offering,” says Madan.
This was the time the team sensed that companies and the CXOs wanted much more than actionable insights or analytics. It then started adding controls and management features.
Product offerings and future
The team has four product offerings:
- ActOnCloud Analytics - gives actionable insights into managing the capacity across hybrid clouds
- ActOnCloud Billing, -lets enterprises bill their users AWS-style
- ActOnCloud Business Manager, a white-labeled product to let service providers to offer IaaS;
- ActOnCloud Management Platform, to manage virtual machines on private and public cloud platforms.
In addition to the above, ActOnMagic has its own SaaS layer for enterprise customers. In future, it plans to add docker and container ecosystem to address converged infrastructure needs.
Greg Fox, Director of Citrix Ready says that by taking part in the programme, ActOnMagic enables them to choose the highest quality user experience available today and the simplest means for making an informed product purchasing selection.
Jayabalan believes that they’re in the beginning of the journey in the cloud adoption story, with huge opportunity for service providers and consumers.
The cloud space
A multimillion-dollar opportunity worldwide, Big Data technology and services market is believed to grow at a CAGR of 26.4 per cent touching $41.51 billion by 2018. The IDC report says that by 2020, the B2B markets will enable a double-digit growth for real-time intelligences and data analysis.
According to an industry report by NASSCOM – in partnership with BlueOcean Market Intelligence, the analytics market in India could more than double from the current $1 billion to $2.3 billion by the end of 2017-18. The other players in the field include Indix, Sigmoid Analytics, Crayon Data, Germin8, Aureus Analytics and many others.