Taking a cue from his own experiences in the IT industry, 34-year-old Shivanesh Shanmugam launches automated platform to connect buyers and sellers of technological products, solutions and services
Are you struggling to source experts when it comes to information and communication technologies (ICT) products, solutions and services? The problems of searching online for reliable suppliers are many. Just dealing with innumerable leads for quotations can be a task in itself. On the other hand, if you are a supplier with domain expertise in ICT, there are chances you are unable to reach potential customers.
Taking a cue from his experiences in the IT industry for over 10 years, Shivanesh Shanmugam, 34, in January 2016 founded DAVOVI, an automated platform that manages procurement processes and connects verified buyers and sellers of technological solutions. DAVOVI is an acronym for data, voice and video.
“Being a sales representative, prospecting using the feet-on-street method was tiresome and frustrating. Those days, I felt the need for a company that could provide verified leads of buying customers that would help suppliers meet, negotiate and close orders,” Shivanesh says.
Vertical-based search engine
Chennai-based startup DAVOVI’s aim is to simplify the procurement process and create healthy competition among qualified suppliers for the benefit of the buyers. The company is currently bootstrapped with the founder initially investing Rs 11 lakh put together through bank loans and minor savings.
Shivanesh struggled to design the product as it was unique. Most of the investment was spent on R&D and eight months later, in August 2016, the product went live.
The online vertical-based search engine helps enterprise buyers to find local and global manufactures, resellers, service providers, system integrators and service providers for ICT products, solutions and services. It enables technology buyers to identify verified suppliers by using specific search filters based on geography, skill sets and buying criteria.
DAVOVI claims to have over 100 suppliers on their platform. An equivalent number of buyers have started using the services, the company says.
But Shivanesh didn't spend much on marketing as he – and others – used the feet-on-street method to meet suppliers and buyers.
Success is now coming his way.
The company has over 12 subscription-based customers and more are in the offing. The firm posted its first revenue – Rs 25,000 - within six months of starting up and DAVOVI has been consistently generating revenue since then. Till now, a more than Rs 3 Lakh has been generated.
How it all started
Shivanesh, who has a MBA degree, went on to work with companies like Siemens, Kramer and other mid-sized firms.
He made some compelling observations while he was employed in the IT business. He noticed that there was no designated marketplace for ICT products and services. He initially planned to build an app with the help of a developer friend and by deploying his management skills.
“I integrated my plan for a marketplace and an app, and started building the website. Another incident that inspired me to start DAVOVI was that while researching startups like Zomato, Naukri, Ola, Airbnb, Snap deal, Flipkart, Bookmyshow and OYO, I noticed that all founders claimed to have created technology aggregation platforms for their industry. I knew that there was no such technology aggregation platform for the technology industry itself. And I knew this was my calling,” Shivanesh says.
How did the name come about?
Shivanesh wanted a name that would resonate with larger audiences and represent the industry.
“Any technology in the world has its base architecture built on data (information), voice or video. So we decided on DAVOVI (an acronym of data, voice and video). We also trademarked our brand,” he says.
The company is presently run by Shivanesh and Lakshmi Chandrakanth, director of technology and services.
What sets DAVOVI apart from the others is that the company sells itself as the only vertical-based marketplace in India with a core focus on the technology industry. In fact, Shivanesh calls it the first mover in this space globally and says suppliers listed on their platform have umpteen advantages.
“We help them increase their business leads along with a rise in sales and revenue while keeping the cost of sales at a minimum,” he says.
The company charges suppliers in two ways. The supplier can choose a time-based subscription or pay for every lead generated by using the platform. As of now, DAVOVI does not charge buyers.
Bringing the ICT sales cycle online
Shivanesh’s vision for DAVOVI is to bring online the entire sales cycle of sourcing, consulting, bidding, procuring, supply chain and finance of ICT products, solutions and services. He aims to disrupt the traditional way in which companies procure goods and services through digitisation.
The number of startups in the Indian IT market is on the rise. According to a report by NASSCOM and Zinnov (January 2015), India is the fourth largest base for startups globally. The rise is attributed to unique solutions being offered by Indian startups in global whitespace opportunities like the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, smart hardware, business intelligence and others.
A robust growth is expected to continue over the medium term, with compound annual growth rate forecast at 11.6 per cent for 2015-2019.
DAVOVI believes that the estimated market size of the ICT industry globally is more than $3 trillion. Clearly, a lot more to do for Shivanesh and his team.