As a kid, he built websites for money. Now his startup Regular.li enables attendance tracking with selfie
Regular.li app helps companies track attendance by matching an employee’s GPS location with the office WiFi.
Biometric attendance devices are passé, or will soon be. A Kolkata-based startup has come up with a unique solution to track attendance – an app that matches a person’s GPS location with (their respective) office. The app is named Regular.li, as it is a solution to use regularly! (The domain Regular.ly was not available.)
The brainchild of 25-year-old computer science engineer Avijit Sarkar, Regular.li aims to exploit the current trend of self-service mobile-first models in the human resources software space. It was his own experience as an entrepreneur that led Avijit to realise the need for a concept like Regular.li.
The eureka moment
Coming from a family that runs a 30-year-old medical equipment business, Avijit was groomed since a young age to be an entrepreneur. As a child, he designed websites for pocket money, and in his first year at college, he started his first venture Avifa Infotech, a BPO company that he scaled from three to 15 employees in a year.
Avijit recollects, “While running my IT service company, I realised what a pain it was to track my employees’ attendance. I was about to install a fingerprint device, but then an idea struck. All my employees owned a smartphone. So, why not make an app that can track attendance?”
Soon, Avijit designed an app that matches a person’s GPS location or WiFi to the office, that allowed employees to check in as soon as they walked in. The app also captured a selfie with every check in, and matched the location of the office with the device’s GPS.
“I had a real-time dashboard to see who was in and who wasn’t, and how long they had worked for. At the end of the month, I would simply pull out any type of report I wanted and get the payroll done easily,” Avijit explains.
After providing IT services for another year, Avifa’s focus shifted to building new technology based products, and Regular.li was its first offering. In August, Regular.li was incorporated as Regularli Technologies Pvt Ltd as an independent entity.
Idea turns into reality
Regular.li has been bootstrapped since the beginning. “I believe in a product that makes its own money. Early experiences have taught me to persist, even when things don’t seem to work out, keep pushing it till it does,” says Avijit.
Currently, Regular.li has 55 paying customers and a seven-member team that will soon be expanded.
Avijit says that being based in his hometown of Kolkata keeps costs down. “Since our product is global in nature, our location does not play a major role,” he adds.
However, getting together a team was difficult for Regular.li.
“You need to sell your product to everyone, not just customers, but also employees. Building a stable product took time and countless all-nighters. A solution like this has to be accurate and stable. It has to work seamlessly with every device on every platform, which was a testing challenge in itself. We used cloud testing solutions, which tested our app on multiple devices at once,” recalls Avijit.
Recently, Avijit’s cousin and ex-banker Abhijoy Sarkar joined as CEO of Regular.li. “He shared similar interests and passion as me, and when he heard about Regular.li, he jumped on board,” says Avijit.
Abhijoy brought in the knowledge the company needed for the domain, besides helping build the product. He takes care of internal processes and sales while Avijit, as COO, manages the technology and branding.
The HR software market is currently estimated at $14 billion globally. The Regular.li solution can be used by any organisation that tracks attendance and manages resources. But Avijit says the biggest challenge is reaching out to customers and gaining traction.
“We have just started out with marketing. We are trying to tap on to paid advertising, content, and email. Our major focus is on any company that tracks attendance, like retail outlets of Shopper’s Stop, Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, etc, and any company that has outdoor sales personnel or employees travelling for work,” he adds.
Currently, only focused on Southeast Asia and India, Regular.li aims to grow to other countries as well. “We want to build Regular.li as a full-featured mobile-first HR solution powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence),” Avijit tells YourStory.
Regular.li follows a subscription-based model, and users pay a monthly fee based on the number of members. The company has generated revenue of $5,000 since August 2017, and expects to break even by April 2018.
Although Regular.li competes with Zoho People and TSheets, Avijit says that Regular.li is the cheapest. By 2018, Regular.li plans to reach 10x customer base and a monthly recurring revenue of $20,000, he concludes.