Several bootstrapped startup success stories in India have propelled many to seriously consider entrepreneurship. And most realise that the key to the success is not about chasing ideas but translating existing problems into a business model.
Surat-based Vipul Kapoor is one such person. He once came across an NRI motel owner who complained of the challenges he faced to keep pace with the fast-moving techie world. On digging further, he discovered that motel business owners in the nearby villages of Surat were unfamiliar with technology.
A Veer Narmad South Gujarat University alumnus, Vipul started eZee Technosys in 2005 along with Aeijaz Sodawala and Hitesh Patel out of a tiny room in his house in Surat. eZee today offers a complete range of integrated solutions to the hospitality industry catering to the requirements of hotels and restaurants.
The company's clients include hotels, motels, resorts, clubs and small hotels. For the restaurant point-of-sale (PoS) system, they target restaurants, bars, cafés, bistros, fast-food joints and other food and beverages services. eZee Technosys caters to more than 6,000 clients.
“The NRI who shared his pains of managing hotel became our pilot customer,” recalls Vipul.
eZee Technosys offers a suite of products to its clients, including eZee FrontDesk, a desktop-based hotel management solution; eZee Absolute, a cloud-based property management system (PMS) that simplifies hotel operations and helps boost revenue; eZee Reservation, an online hotel-booking engine that allows the hotel to receive online bookings from the hotel's website and other sources; eZee Centrix, an online hotel channel manager to manage rates and inventory distribution on various booking portals, website and Facebook page. Additionally, eZee BurrP! is a desktop-based restaurant management software and eZee iMenu integrates with the restaurant's PoS and digitises the traditional menu.
eZee iFeedback is an online guest feedback management system, while Appytect allows hotels to get their hotel app on Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
The trio bootstrapped the company and along with the product development, engaged in outsourced jobs like website designing and SEO initially to survive.
On the importance of getting the IT right, Hitesh (43) says,
Cloud computing helps us reach out to more markets and distributors. Customer centricity is at the core of our software development. Our IT team works closely with clients and resellers at every stage of development constantly upgrading and updating products.” He is a post-graduate in Computer Application from Veer Narmad South Gujarat University and brings 18 years of experience in the field of marketing, sales, HR, admin and accounts.
According to the Hotel Management Software (HMS) BuyerView 2014 report, 54 percent of hotel management software purchasers in the industry are independent small to mid-sized hotels. A majority of the hoteliers are inclining more towards the latest software, leaving behind the manual management of their property.
In order to ensure the smooth functioning of the hotel, hoteliers are now incorporating hotel management and property management software. The software helps to keep track of the online booking systems, banquet services, inventory management and bill processing.
Sensing the potential and the prospective growth of this market, a handful of players have embarked into the space. To name a few of them, Aatithya Hotel Management Software optimises the real-time operational efficiency of hospitality businesses, Innkey is an integrated cloud-based hotel management system and Hotelogix is the next-generation cloud-based system for managing small and mid-sized hospitality businesses.
With 170 team members, Surat-based eZee Technosys has its branch sales and support offices in Goa, Malaysia and Indonesia. Additionally, they have more than 100 channel partners spread in more than 60 countries.
For the past seven years, the company has been growing at a CAGR of 55 percent. It follows a subscription-based revenue model (monthly, quarterly, half yearly and annual subscriptions), starting from Rs 1,995 to 3,445. This year, the company has achieved the revenue of $3 million and for the upcoming fiscal year, it is expecting to touch $4.5 million.
We gain 40 percent of margin. In order to push our sales to the next level, we are now exploring offline marketing. We have explored inbound leads and digital marketing. We are now opening various sales office, going to expo, establishing outbound sales team and door-to-door marketing,” says Vipul.
In the next two years, the company plans to build a team of 300 people and expand to Middle East, Africa and Europe.