Bootstrapped Merrchant aims to make day-to-day running of businesses simplerSindhu Kashyaap
Merrchant is a one-stop software suite for the operational needs of all businesses.
At a glance
Founders: Navrajvir Singh Chhabra and Ishaan Mishra
Year it was founded: 2016
Problem it solves: Data management
Any executive, manager and CXO would define running day-to-day business functions and activities as a fine balancing act.
Navrajvir Singh Chhabra faced a similar situation. Logging into different websites for different business functions like maintaining accounts was frustrating, and Navrajvir wanted a universal software that would minimise his coordination efforts in an efficient, cost-effective manner while safeguarding information.
This was what led to the birth of Merrchant, which works as a one-stop software suite catering to the needs and requirements of different organisations from small businesses to large corporations.
“Our mission is to provide the world’s best freeware cloud-based business software suite for all the operational needs of all types of business,” says Navrajvir. Managing accounts is time-consuming, error-prone, costly, and can compromise security.
Accountants who rely on books of accounts can become overloaded with the volumes and miss vital information when burdened with too much information. “And while other softwares like Xero and Zoho have reduced the hassle of accountants, their inability to integrate necessary business functions together gave birth to Merrchant,” says Navrajvir.
In that sense, Merrchant claims to have everything — accounting, payroll management, bills, invoices, bank account reconciliation, human resource management, and customer relationship management.
Using the cloud
On Merrchant’s portal, data is sent to the cloud, where it is processed and returned to the user. All functions are performed off-site, and not at the user’s desktop. “Working on the cloud makes it easier to get real-time reporting and visibility through the user’s organisation, with greater mobile capabilities and collaboration.
The cloud software updates financial information automatically and provides financial reporting in real-time.
Every time a firm grows, it encounters greater software license and maintenance costs, as well as new licenses and fees for the database, systems management, and other software. “With Merrchant’s freeware cloud solution, businesses don’t get stuck with permanent, expensive equipment, and licenses. Also, our cloud portal requires far less maintenance than other traditional counterparts as Merrchant’s server providers keep complete backups, updates occur automatically, and users do not have to deal with the hassle of downloading or installing updates on any computer,” says Navrajvir.
Merrchant offers cloud-based business operating systems, multiple enterprise accounts, easy login and sign up, multiple languages, email integration, data encryption and backups, open API, easy migration, user roles management, accounting, bank statement reconciliation, multiple currencies, professional quotations, purchase order generation, file attachments, intelligent inventory, HRM, CRM, project management, vault, PoS, intra-company connector, reports, subsidiaries, expense claims, time-tracking, mobile and tablet extension, GST fillings, and much more.
The team and challenges
Once the idea for the software product took root, Navrajvir roped in Ishaan Mishra as the co-founder. The duo had worked together when Navrajvir was with Ishaan’s previous venture — 19 Again — an ecommerce platform, and later the duo worked to launch Raletta Technology, a deep core service-based IT company.
With Merrchant, the duo had other problems. They realised businesses still depend on traditional methods of accounting, like maintaining books or at the most, using the Tally ERP software. Says Navrajvir:
Almost all small and medium businesses refuse to switch to easier methods of carrying out business, and hence convincing them is anything but easy.
Apart from that, gaining initial traction was tough because people in India tend to stick to customary methods, so naturally, people were hesitant to try Merrchant. However, the biggest challenge for the team was from strong international competition like Xero and Zoho, both of which are well-established, billion-dollar organisations with better resources and capital.
Advantages and differentiator
One of the biggest advantages for Merrchant is that it is free for a user, as the company makes money through advertising income. The team adds that Adsense pays the company Rs 0.26 for every impression. It has a few billable services, the team also makes money through YouTube and its blog, and has data as a source of income.
Merrchant competes with larger SaaS players like Zoho, Xero and even FreshWorks in some places. Bootstrapped Merrchant adds that its product is different in the sense that all financial data is stored on the cloud in a single unified ledger, which enables users to work in the same set of books, regardless of the operating system or their location.
“All an MSME needs is an internet connection, and Merrchant is ready for them. However, Merrchant is primarily focusing on the small to medium-sized businesses rather than large businesses because large enterprises generally prefer to have a customised ERP and payroll systems,” says Navrajvir.
Merrchant plans to soon have a mobile app for iOS and Android devices, allowing users to use almost all the features available on its web-based application. The team also aims to partner with payment gateway solutions such as PayPal to allow employees or invoices to be paid online directly. In the near future, Merrchant also plans to develop its own e-wallet.
The team is looking to build relationships with GST departments worldwide, so that individuals can easily file taxes using Merrchant’s portal, which can constantly be updated with changes in tax structures or tax laws according to the country. It also aims to tie-up with educational institutions by providing them with free education accounts. This model is currently used by Indian ERP monopoly Tally ERP.
Merrchant will launch a deep core barcode feature integration in the future as barcoding inventory reduces data entry work load. It also plans to launch its own email server. “Merrchant will add country-wise convenience bill payment application to the portal which will enable users to pay electricity bills, phone bills, internet bills, water bills, etc., through Merrchant portal,” concludes Navrajvir.