Bootstrapped for three years, this marketing automation startup is eyeing $10M revenues in 2017-18Aparajita Choudhury
The growing Internet population in both developing and developed countries has opened multiple business avenues for online marketers. With social media becoming the preferred choice of customers in terms of engagement, companies today need to be very agile to respond to various platforms.
Being a hardcore marketing professional for many years, Manjunath G N found marketing managers to be spending more time on execution rather than delivering effective results. Wishing to come up with a platform where content updates can be done on the go, he launched Clusterzap in 2013.
A marketing automation platform, Clusterzap helps companies streamline their marketing activities, build web portals, user experience, campaigns, demand generation, improve sales performance, measure results and Return on Investment (ROI) on the go.
We work on SaaS model where the customer has to pay in advance to subscribe to our platform and is billed annually,” says Manju (32), a B.E from New Horizon college of Engineering, holding an MBA from ICFAI Business School and Fellow from IIM-B. Earlier, he worked with CommScope Solutions as Marketing Head for India and SAARC regions.
Clusterzap has 60 customers including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large corporates across hospitality, manufacturing, e-commerce, consumer products and entertainment.
Clusterzap consists of a programmatic content management system (CMS), content and campaign automation (social media and blogging), email automation, analytics and marketing intelligence. Programmatic CMS helps users create web portals, promotional micro-sites, landing pages, web analytics, page insights for keyword research with live tracking of competitor’s keywords.
Clusterzap’s marketing automation module comes equipped with digital asset manager, central task repository, reporting, and user management access and task collaboration, which helps manage all campaigns with proper workflow.
Clusterzap has the deep drive into web analytics, email analytics, social media analytics, full funnel analytics, blog analytics, campaign analytics, attribution reports and competitor analytics. Users can use Clusterzap as a single marketing channel to gather all data, understand consumer behaviour, engagement and experience,” says Clusterzap Co-founder Nikhil M S (35), who brings 15 years of experience in building software products specialising in web architectures, solution architecture, complex workflow solutions and web services.
Poor experience sometimes work as a self-motivating tool towards a new dawn. While working at his previous company, it took ten months for Manju to understand how to use the competitor’s product. Similarly, the respective marketing managers failed to use that competitors’ impenetrable platform. Hence the organisation ended up burning a significant amount of money in implementation and training.
The incident triggered Manju to dig deeper into the complexities and develop a basic product roadmap. He then discussed the idea of Clusterzap with Nikhil, who has the experience of developing the architecture of similar product. Soon they decided to develop a unique CMS, which, after two months, turned out well and was ready for Proof of Concept (PoC) test.
The duo handpicked companies 10 companies to target from the Middle East Africa, USA, Singapore, India/SAARC and rest of Asia Pacific region. A few days later, one of the top hospitality players from Middle East enquired about the product. It took almost one year to shape up the product while developing the specific module.
Started with a seed capital of Rs 10 lakh, Bengaluru-based Clusterzap has been bootstrapped so far. Currently, it has 15 employees and ten channel partners across Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon. According to Manju, two venture capitalists and a financial body have expressed interest to invest in Clusterzap.
The company is also in the process of getting into a joint venture with Government of India to contribute in its digital marketing initiatives. It claims to be growing by 100 percent month on month. Clusterzap geographically intends to expand to USA. Moreover, they have signed up with new partners for Middle East and Africa region.
According to a report released by Google and early-stage investor Accel Partners, Indian SaaS companies are expected to reach the $10-billion revenue mark in 2025. At present, India has over 500 SaaS startups earning a revenue of $600 million. The report also identifies relationship management, data visualisation, and marketing to be one of the sectors with the largest opportunities in the near future.
Even marquee investors have come forward to validate some of these startups. Delhi-based customer intelligence and marketing automation platform for e-commerce Betaout has raised $1.5 million in pre-Series A funding, led by Beenext, Stanford Angels, Letsventure, Chennai Angels, Hyderabad Angels, and Mumbai Angels.
Blueshift, provider of ‘segment-of-one marketing automation’ solutions for consumer marketing companies has raised $8 million in Series-A round led by Storm Ventures along with existing investor Nexus Venture Partners (NVP).
“This year, we will focus on utilising the potential in India/SAARC/Asia Pacific regions to get good revenues. In parallel, we will target US market and work closely with the clients to better understand their expectations and deliverables to span out a good penetration roadmap,” says Manju.
Clusterzap is expected to hit a monthly sales runrate of $100,000 by July 2016 and is eyeing to touch a revenue of $7.5-10 million in the next fiscal year.