Indore-based IT product and services company EngineerBabu’s founders were looking for mentorship when they first met former founder of Indianroots Rahul Narvekar. All they wanted was the guidance of a serial entrepreneur who would act like a ‘big brother’ and bring in solid frameworks for their bootstrapped venture. That’s precisely why Rahul, who had recently co-founded Scale Ventures, decided to fund them.
EngineerBabu has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Pune-based Scale Ventures for their two-month-old subscription-based B2B IT products platform. Founded in 2014 by Mayank Pratap Singh, Aditi Chourasia and Avdhesh Pratap Singh Solanki, EngineerBabu now plans to scale up its client base in countries such as the US, China and Japan. This is also the first investment of Scale Ventures, who found potential in EngineerBabu’s temperament for business.
Scale Ventures Pvt Ltd was recently founded by IIM Ahmedabad alumni- Rahul Narvekar, former founder of Rathi Strategic Ventures Nilesh Rathi, and Ritesh Malik.
“I was especially blown away by their intent and their personality. I was in touch with Aditi, and was thinking of launching a co-working space in Indore. While visiting here, we all met at their office and they seemed very keen on learning from my experiences. I realised that here was a two and a half year old startup that’s bootstrapped and didn’t build a business in order to get a valuation. When I shared it with my partners, we all agreed that this was the kind of business we would want to not only mentor, but also finance,” shares Rahul.
First engineer from his village
Mayank (28) happens to be the first engineer from his village Tikamgarh, so he quickly earned the name EngineerBabu. In a bid to help other engineers get jobs, he created a Facebook page that went viral, earning 2.5 lakh users in just two months. That’s when Mayank decided to quit his MNC job and founded EngineerBabu. Later, his best friend Aditi (26) joined him, followed by Avdhesh (28), and the trio created another profitable venture, MotorBabu, a vehicle servicing startup based in Indore.
“However, we couldn’t truly become a products company since that required a lot of investment. We then focused on delivering services to the clients. But the IT sector today carries its own difficulties in terms of growth; there’s too much saturation in the market. Innovation is the only charm in the market today. Yet, there was a gap. Many IT services companies were not able to convert leads or interact with clients properly. So we decided to curate such companies, converted leads for them and connected them with those leads,” shares Mayank.
“We worked with many startups, and helped them build awesome products till they got investments. As a result, we started getting clients from references, and we got the tag of the most startup-friendly IT services company,” shares Aditi.
“But how would business come for us from this kind of model? So then we created a subscription-based platform, where we connected filtered clients to companies with the required domain expertise. We selected the best companies from India (calling them Spartans), who were excellent in delivering work. In addition, we also created an AI-based requirement gathering platform to collect project information from clients,” adds Avdhesh.
Right now, EngineerBabu’s new subscription-based platform has more than 250 paid subscribers, and has earned more than Rs10 lakh in monthly revenue in just two months.
The pain point of all entrepreneurs and Tier-II talent
“The biggest challenge that many entrepreneurs face today is that most investment is in a template- mode. You have to be the Amazon or AirBnB of India. Investors trust a successful business model and often search for look-alikes or equivalents because they know it’s a tried and tested formula. We have two such instances of this: LetsBuy and AskMe.com– both followed the VC instruction, and when the VCs changed their mind later, they had to shut down,” shares Scale Ventures Co-founder Nilesh Rathi.
“We wanted to build something that was more about EQ than IQ. There’s immense talent in Tier-II cities, the founders just don’t know the formal business jargon or they cannot do the narrative very well. That doesn’t mean they don’t know how to do business. EngineerBabu’s founders may not speak a sophisticated language, but they have a viable business model that’s filling a major gap in the IT services industry,” adds Rahul.
EngineerBabu aims to employ the investment towards acquiring more customers and improving the services of their new subscription-based B2B platform for IT companies. They plan to open sales offices in all the metro cities, along with the US, the UK, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. In addition, they have plans of making a robust AI-based platform that would make their project development a lot easier.
According to Statistica, in the 2014-15 financial year alone, the IT industry in India generated an annual revenue of around $120 billion, out of which the majority, $98.1 billion, was generated in exports, while domestic revenue totalled more than $20 billion.
In addition, the IT-BPM sector, which is currently valued at $143 billion, is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.3 percent year-on-year to $143 billion for 2015-16.
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