“What Apple did for music, Netflix did for movies. Both these iconic brands had one thing in common - they didn’t create content, but built a whole new experience in the way content was delivered. They showed the world that creating quality content will only take you so far. Experience creates the emotion you need to connect with your users,” explains YegaKumarappan, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Chennai-based startup Paperflite.
Taking a cue from these well-known disruptors, Yega, Vinoth Kumar and Anant Bhat started Paperflite in 2016with the aim of disrupting the content marketing and sales enablement space.
The premise was that one size won’t fit all, and that it is important to pick and choose the right content to be delivered to the right audience.“Content marketing teams spend a great deal of effort and money to create quality content,but are challenged when it comes to delivering this via the kind of content experience that will keep buyers engaged,” says Vinoth, Co-founder and CEO.
He illustrates this by mentioning that today, in a B2B sale, the average number of decision makers have increased to 6.8. Consequently, the time it takes to close a sale has increased and even deal sizes have shrunk. Additionally, with traditional sales enablement tools, it is difficult to gauge what content resonates well with different sections of buyers.
A 360-degree view to deliver the right content to the right people
A SaaS platform for businesses to deliver an engaging content experience, Paperflite uses data and analytics to help businesses remedy this. The content performance analytics based on past usage, peer-analytics, and documents that have helped close deals in the past, help sales teams identify the right content to share. Paperflite automatically curates this content from across the organisation, makes it easily discoverable and enables teams to distribute it across multiple channels via emails and social platforms, without having to attach bulk documents. Once this content is shared with prospects through hyper-personalised microsites, sales reps are instantly notified when their buyers engage with their content, who they share it with internally and what sections they engage with the most. This kind of 360-degree view drives contextual conversations rather than generic follow-ups. Completing this loop, all the content analytics are passed on to marketing teams so that content marketers can instantly track their content ROI, what works and what doesn’t to help them create content based on user engagement.
The multi-platform solution is available across the web, tablets and phones, and also integrates with over 15 different marketing and sales tools across content management, CRM and other marketing automation platforms.
Describing the landscape they are operating in, Yega says, “Every platform that content sails through is undergoing significant turbulence. Multiply this complexity with new content types from 3D renders to AR and Interactive content. The current trajectory is leading us to a number of crossover episodes between channels and content types. Delivering content intelligence and measuring performance in this environment is not easy. Our ability to identify and trace the most efficient lines around these bends is critical to stay ahead and provide the best possible content experiences. We constantly work at keeping our platform and the algorithms tuned to adapt to emerging channels and their effectiveness in helping content owners maximize their ROI.”
From 2 to 26 customers in under a year
“Being a part of the NASSCOM 10,000 StartupsWarehouse is a critical milestone in our journey. We were amongst select group of eight startups to first move into the warehouse in Chennai. If I look back at our journey, NASSCOM 10,000 Startups has had a role to play in almost all of our significant milestones this far. We were introduced to our current investors through NASSCOM 10,000 Startups, and they also made our largest customer introduction. Being a part of their community events and exclusive enterprise connects has opened doors to a lot of sales conversations, which otherwise would have taken us months to reach the right decision-maker,” says Vinoth.
And the result is there for all to see. In just under a year, Paperflite has grown from two to 26 B2B mid-market to enterprise customers from across the globe. “The first few customers we acquired were through referrals and introductions. In the initial months, we focussed only on them to create a success story with our early customers. Later, we used these success stories to reach out to look-alike prospects with a strong value proposition on the results they could expect from using Paperflite,” he adds.
Their approach worked, and today, some of their key customers include Freshworks, a global leader in cloud business software, Datatracks, a market leader in compliance reports filing, and Konsalidon, a one-of-its-kind digital platform to connect organisations with consulting teams across the globe.
Quintessential content solution for marketing and sales enablement
The 16-member Paperflite team has people working across Engineering, Design, Marketing, Sales and Customer Success functions with offices in Chennai and Bangalore. As Chief Product Officer, Yega leads product vision, design and quality; Anant as Chief Technology Officer leads the product engineering team while Vinoth leads Marketing, Sales, and Investor Relations.
Anantdescribes one of the memorable moments in their startup journey.“All three co-founders have been with Cognizant for over a decade, and it’s a company close to our hearts. All that we learned is thanks to the amazing leaders we worked with. Leading from the front was Lakshmi Narayanan, the then CEO of Cognizant. We all admired him for his simplicity and warmth. The day we met Lakshmi at the NASSCOM office after starting Paperflite, and got a chance to explain our vision for the company and get his advice was truly memorable.”
In fact, the vice-chairman emeritus and ex-CEO of Cognizant is also one of the investors in Paperflite, which closed its first round of Rs. 2.5 crore in seed funding in January 2018. Ajit Kumar Chordia, promoter of Khivraj Motors and the Olympia Group, led the investment from The Chennai Angels (TCA). Other investors from TCA were Lakshmi Narayanan, Girish Mathrubootham, founder and CEO of Freshworks, T. R. Santhanakrishnan, CEO of Datatracks, and MithunSancheti, CEO of Caratlane. The round also saw participation from Like Mind Ventures.
“As content becomes the core for businesses to engage with their prospects and buyers, we want Paperflite to be a quintessential tool in every marketing and sales team’s stack to provide hyper-personalised experiences to their audience,” sums up Vinoth.