SaaS startup Worqa wants to simplify workflow management for Indian SMBsSohini Mitter
In a cluttered enterprise market, Worqa wants to be the easy, efficient and economical workplace automation software that goes beyond mere messaging.
At a glance
Founders: Bharath T Rameash, Kishan Sakhuja
Founded in: 2016
Based out of: Chennai
Services: Workflow management solutions
Sector: Enterprise tech
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
With more and more organisations spread across locations spanning cities, countries and continents, and business processes becoming increasingly nuanced, ‘workflow management’ as a concept has gained significant ground of late.
Umpteen tools and softwares for task management, employee communication, information access, real-time workflow tracking, HR practices, etc. have flooded the market. The popular ones, of course, are Slack, Zoho, Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, Google’s G-Suite, Flock (closer home), and more.
The workflow management sector is projected to grow from $3.51 billion in 2016 to $9.87 billion by 2021, according to MarketsandMarkets. It includes software and services that are messaging-based, web-based and suite-based. While some reckon that the good old email can never be replaced or the uber-convenient WhatsApp is sufficient, several organisations struggle to streamline their processes in a cost-efficient manner and often end up making business decisions based on “assumptions”.
Or so believes Bharath T Rameash, Co-founder and CEO of Worqa, a Chennai-based SaaS startup that aims to break down workflow management to the lowest common denominator as opposed to compulsively adding features to make a software more complex as most existing players seem to do.
Bharath, and his co-founder Kishan Sakhuja — both decade-old marketing professionals — set up Worqa in 2016 and after nearly two years, launched the beta version of their product in January. The founders claim that Worqa has signed up over 250 companies already, and its focus has been on tens of lakhs of small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) that are not automated.
While Worqa operates out of India’s SaaS hub, Chennai, it has roped in clients in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand too. The startup has an ambitious target of signing up five million customers globally by the end of 2018.
What led to Worqa
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Bharath and Kishan turned that philosophy into action. Worqa was born out of a need to solve workflow issues in their own organisation, Instellar Tech, reveal the founders.
In a conversation with YourStory, Bharath says:
“We found automation to be a big problem while we were running companies. To know what your colleague was working on was based entirely on assumption. We used many softwares and those were either expensive or difficult to use. We wanted to build something for ourselves.”
Bharath and his team sampled multiple products and services, some out of necessity and others out of curiosity. He says, “We tried 99 percent of what was available in the market. Most of them were essentially messengers that claimed to be project management software.”
Hence, Worqa came about with the one-line objective of delivering the “most simple” and effective workflow management experience to corporates. “It was born out of a real need in our own office. We tested the product with our own people,” Bharath reveals.
The product and pricing
Worqa is a B2B app that automates processes, integrates content, enables real-time communication, does task and attendance management, generates reports and analytics, tracks workflow and performance, and more — all in one common, transparent, user-friendly dashboard that is accessible to all.
It is a subscription-driven service and is available on iOS, Android, and web. Worqa, however, is free to startups with ten or less members. This is a part of its attempt to “encourage startups” to use workflow management software. Organisations with more than ten employees have to pay $3/per user, $2/per user and $1/per user for monthly, quarterly and yearly subscriptions respectively.
In essence, Worqa incentivises bulk usage.
Bharath explains, “We are substantially economical when you compare us with the competition. We offer a multitude of features that go beyond just communication. Many of these giants have tried out Worqa for themselves as we discovered from the email ids that signed up.”
So, how did Worqa arrive at the “multitude” of features it offers, and ensure it remained simple and user-friendly?
Bharath tells YourStory,
“We tried to address the question: Why do people not use software? What is it that they don’t understand? The more features you add, the more complex a software is. Eventually, you end up using less than half the features available. So, we wanted to look downward and simplify it instead of looking upward and adding value.”
India’s ten lakh SMBs, most of which do not use workflow management software, are Worqa’s key customers. It is an untapped market, the founders say, and taking this enterprise solution to SMBs is a bit like setting up a bank account for the unbanked.
Bharat says, “The likes of Salesforce and Zoho have targeted large or mid-tier companies. Others are using only WhatsApp, email, and Google Sheets. But, WhatsApp is not an automation software. It is free, easy, and great for information sharing, sure. But these are built essentially for social communication and not office communication.”
Establishing the need for workflow management tools in SMBs is Worqa’s primary task. “We want to focus on organisations which have 25 to 75 employees,” says Bharath.
He says that a lot of digital marketing companies, logistics and retail firms, and pharma companies are using the software. These organisations need “geo-based modules” in real time, and Worqa offers them that.
Is there any startup that does not face a talent crunch?
Worqa too is not untouched by the problem despite being located in the SaaS capital. Bharath says,
“When you are a small team, acquiring the right talent is always a problem. Making them stay for a couple of years is a task. Every member then becomes a key player.”
There is also the funding issue.
Worqa’s founders think that talent is “never keen” to join bootstrapped companies. “They think their future is not secure,” says Bharath. Hence, it is imperative for Worqa to reach a stage where it can look at VC funding and attract the right talent along with it.
Until now, the startup has run on $300,000 out of the founders’ pockets. But for it to reach scale and global visibility in the cluttered enterprise tech market, it needs, what Bharath refers to as “the VC infrastructure”.
He adds, “There are plans to set up a design and engineering unit in the Valley too.” The funds ought to flow then!