This Jammu entrepreneur is bringing 'order' to startups with his unique blend of tech and modern philosophyDipti Nair
There are as many helpdesk software products available today as there are probably stars in the sky. An infinite number.
From our very own world-class Freshdesk to Kaseya to Zoho Support, the global helpdesk automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR exceeding 49 percent from 2015-2019, according to a recent report published by Technavio.
Indian Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, on the other hand, are expected to reach the $10 billion revenue mark in 2025, according to a report released by Google and early-stage investor Accel Partners. The report states India has over 500 SaaS startups currently, collectively earning $600 million in revenue. Globally, SaaS is expected to become a $132 billion revenue industry by 2020.
Thus, when 31-year-old Bhanu Pratap Singh Slathia, who has been running a service startup, Ladybird Web Solutions, since 2009, decided to develop a helpdesk product that’ll help his clients effectively manage their businesses and customer queries, it made perfect sense.
The product, Faveo, which derives its name from Latin, meaning ‘to be favourable’, is specifically designed to cater to the needs of startups and SMEs empowering them with a state-of-the-art, ticket-based support system. “In the coming months, we want to focus all our energies on this product and stop our service platform altogether,” says Bhanu. At present, though, most of his revenue comes from his Bengaluru-based services business that includes web solutions, designing e-commerce websites, web hosting, and so on.
In today’s competitive startup scenario, customer retention is one of the major challenges. Handling client query diligently is all the difference between retaining and losing a long-lasting relationship. Bhanu says, “My company is driven to providing tools for managing consumer queries for strategic insights and helping companies take those decisive decisions.”
Built on Laravel Framework on PHP & mySQL, Faveo has been integrated with six platforms, and every month, there are one to two update releases with new features and platform integration.
Open source and free
What differentiates Faveo from other helpdesk softwares is, one, its open source code, which is free. They have a pro version, where they provide tech support and integration with other platforms. “The advantage of open source is that a client can modify it based on their needs,” he says.
According to Bhanu, their pricing helps set them apart. “Many other helpdesks and SaaS-based applications charge per user per month, which for a small startup or SME is a very heavy price. We are offering it at a one-time price for life. And though updates are available for the first year, after that the customer will need to renew for another year, but the system will continue to run,” he explains. Another advantage, says Bhanu, is that they do customisation for the client at an extra cost.
The future features to be added include a cloud version, chat application, and mobile apps. “Essentially, I want to capture all the lines the customer reaches a business whether it is through social media or email, basically one point of contact,” he adds.
Order in a dog-eat-dog world
With 12 people in his team, Bhanu says his main objective with this product is to help add value to organisations, especially startups, so that they can bring order. “One of the reasons startups fail is because they are not organised,” says Bhanu, adding, “It is this value of discipline that I want to bring into the system.”
And in his case, it is a lesson that he has learnt the hard way. Having spent his childhood in a hostel in Dalhousie, mostly isolated from the “real world”, Bhanu says, after he finished school, “I realised the real world was very harsh. No one cares for the other. I started questioning my purpose in the scheme of things.” Bhanu belongs to Jammu and Kashmir, and his parents live in Jammu.
Though business comes easy to him, considering his father is a business person, Bhanu says he was a mediocre student while studying at an engineering college in Bengaluru.
To realise his full potential, Bhanu was drawn to philosophy, particularly modern-day philosophy, which, he says, is based on the fact that you can practice it. As a volunteer and teacher at New Acropolis school of philosophy, Bhanu is connecting the different dots of his professional and personal life to bring order. “What I believe is that when you bring value to one part of your life, it will flow into all the other parts,” he says. A CRM for the soul, perhaps?