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How a 16-year-old friendship blossomed into a startup

Tarush Bhalla
22nd Aug 2016
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Jaspal Singh Sethi (33) and Jaspreet Singh (33) have been best friends for the longest time.

Knowing each other since college, they admit that working together on a project was always a thought.

The time seemed right when Jaspreet, the technology guy, shifted back to India from the Silicon Valley in 2012. Having discussions and bouncing ideas off each other, the duo only got serious in early 2015.

Jaspal (who owns a tax firm) faced a unique problem then. He couldn’t spot an affordable ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution, which managed the needs of tax filing and payroll management for small and medium sized businesses.

The team at Workzippy
The team at Workzippy

This led the duo down a path that eventually saw work rolling and them first choosing to address the bigger pain point of tax filing. Launching their tax filing platform Taxzippy in July 2015, the focus was to disrupt the conventional non-intuitive systems of IT returns with technology. After attracting some key users, Jaspal chose to take the next step towards the broader idea.

Helping along, Jaspreet, who took inspiration from his years in the Valley, lent a polished approach to launch Workzippy in May 2016. Taxzippy was integrated with the latter and the aim became to provide a holistic experience to enterprise users.

Holistic experience?    

So essentially, as the founders describe it, Workzippy is a complete software ecosystem, where employers can manage their day-to-day HR functions. This includes payroll management, health benefit rollouts for employers (to employees) as well as streamlining expense reporting, salary data management, attendance and tax filing for employees.

On the platform, employers only need to update employees’ information once, and the backend running on autopilot pushes all recurring payrolls automatically without any other trigger or input. On a desired set date, the money automatically gets debited from the business’ account and gets credited to individual bank accounts.

But calling themselves a payroll expert, what happens when there is a bank holiday approaching? Jaspreet replies by saying that having integrated with a bank holiday template, the system reminds the employer well in advance when the payroll is approaching. This helps employers plan better and give a heads up to their employees.

Other employee management tools include calendars, time sheets and expense management to understand the daily workings of the business. Further, the embedded analytical capabilities of the platform also help employers with historical data and analytics, throwing light on the costs (for salaries) and other workings.

For the employees, the backend also comes integrated with a financial marketplace where companies (in bulk) or individual employees can buy insurance products directly, without have to go scouting for them.

The revenues

Workzippy has several avenues for the earning of revenues. They offer clients a range of plans to choose from, ranging from the startup plan (a self-service plan which is free to use for companies with no more 10 employees) to the payroll plan (another self-service plan for which the company pays the Workzippy Rs 25 per user) and the manager plan (wherein Workzippy deploys a manager to handle the payroll of the company, for which a company pays Rs 3,000 for every 100 employees). Also, when any company buys bulk insurance on the platform, the firm offers the Workzippy platform to them for free. Tying up with direct insurance providers, the startup provides best quotes of these financial products to employers, based on their needs. Workzippy also yields a standard commission on the same.

Aiming not just at SMEs, revenues for Workzippy are also generated from their accountant plan, where accountants are given access to the platform to run payrolls for their clients. The accountants pay an annual package of Rs 10,000 for up to 25 companies.

At present, the firm has more than 15 companies (encompassing over 1,200 employees) using their application, of which close to four startups are paying users. Some of the Workzippy’s clients include Lean Apps, Wembley Paints and Josh Technology. The firm is also looking to tie up with incubators such as T-Hub and 91 Springboard.

The firm also makes money through its tax filing platform, Taxzippy. While self-filing on the platform for users is completely free, expert-assisted filing costs Rs 600, with intervention from a CA or a tax expert.

The Workzippy backend
The Workzippy backend

The Future

In the future months, Workzippy will be working to release an Android app, possibly by next quarter. The firm is also looking to enter the wealth consultancy space, offering tax saving products to users in the coming six months. The focus moving forward for the six member team is to make the application more personalised.

Further, the data collected from employees will lead to showing consumers the right products.

It is also looking to integrate statutory compliances for companies in areas of TDS returns filing and ESI returns.

The market

It is predicted that the cloud ERP market in India is expected to grow at 25.4 percent between 2015-2020. Further, a report by Market Search Engine states that the SME segment is expected to drive the sector more than large corporates.

However, a tax filing platform is no longer a differentiator owing to the multiple competitors running to claim market share. There is ClearTax, Makeyourtax, Tax2win amongst others. However, the major difference being that the mentioned platforms focus solely on tax filing while Workzippy focuses on being an ERP solution.

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