DronaHQ is slowly but steadily biting big off the digital transformation market pieDipti Nair
Enterprise mobility market in India is a growing one, and together with the digital transformation market, it promises big strides in the future. In a recent research, Microsoft, in partnership with International Data Corporation (IDC), stated that by 2021, digital transformation will add an estimated $154 billion to India’s GDP and increase the growth rate by 1% annually.
Mumbai-based Deltecs InfoTech Pvt. Ltd, which runs the enterprise mobile app platform DronaHQ, looks like the one with the first-mover advantage. Started in 2007, the profitable company raised $500,000 in the second round of angel funding from Kutchi Angel Network in February this year. It had earlier raised $500,000 from the same angel group in 2011.
DronaHQ is a digital experience platform for designing, developing, distributing, and managing modern apps that span across multiple digital touch-points like smartphones, smart devices, tablets, desktops, voice assistants, chatbots, browsers, and more.
It enables enterprises to quickly digitise existing systems or build new fit-for-purpose apps while securing their existing investments. It addresses the requirements of diverse enterprise use cases, including external-facing and internal-facing scenarios, to support a unified digital experience.
The 34-year-old founders, Jinen Dedhia, Co-Founder and MD, and Divyesh Kharade, Co-Founder and CEO, batchmates from Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Mumbai, have their sights set on becoming leaders in this growing market.
With a team size of 65, DronaHQ has clocked a revenue of $2 million. It has been a proven and stable platform of choice for many business leaders, including customers from a range of industries such as banking and financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, technology, FMCG, and telecommunications. The client list includes names like Colgate, LTI, Mondelez, Kotak Securities Axis MF, Pfizer, Wipro, Future Group, Essar, Tata Motors, and others.
DronaHQ is an ISO 27001:2017 & SOC Type II certified company with operations in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and New York, and works with over 10 SI partners. It has over 300,000 users across 100+ enterprise customers with over 1000 apps digitised on the platform.
While Jinen is a computer engineer, Divyesh holds an Electronics degree from the same college. The two even worked together in Wipro, before they decided to set up Deltech InfoTech.
In a conversation with YourStory, Divyesh says that they started off in 2007 when the startup ecosystem was just beginning to evolve.
“It was a time people understood the word 'business' more than 'startup'. Also, mobility was in a very infant stage at that time. Just as the market has evolved, we too have evolved since then, and even the challenges have evolved.”
Every startup goes through a similar cycle of challenges like cash crunch, building a good core team, facing international competition etc and they have been through it all. “Starting up is a journey and its best enjoyed when challenges evolve and they are solved with our own unique solutions,” he adds.
Excerpts from the conversation.
YourStory: You started out in 2007 when the enterprise mobility space was not as hot. How did you come up with the idea?
Divyesh Kharade: In 2007, when we started off by enabling businesses on mobile apps, we realised a few things:
- Enterprise apps were clunky
- Each app took a long time to build and launch
- Enterprises required apps at scale for employee services
- Managing multiple apps was a pain with the ever-evolving mobile ecosystem
- Security was an afterthought and always created a hurdle or had a trade-off with the usability.
We thought of creating a platform which took the heavy lifting and heavy engineering out of the equation for building apps. This enabled even novice web developers to build 'enterprise grade' mobile apps, as the platform took care of the 'real enterprise scenarios' and they could focus on functional usability of the app.
It enabled the enterprises to build great usable and beautiful mobile apps which were unheard of before, and hence launch successful mobile initiatives. This resulted in increased app budgets and more successful initiatives, and we let our customers handle multiple apps from a single dashboard.
So more than enterprise mobility, ideally I would like to call it digital enablement, simply because mobile devices are not the only place where we touch upon. There are a lot more, including IoT, voice bots and so on. Businesses want to look at digitalising and coming out with new-age devices, and whatever applications they may have. It can be as simple as workflow approval applications to complex applications like your reimbursements and so on. They essentially use our platform to do that.
YS: How is Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution addressing the management and operational challenges of large-scale organisations that have legacy systems?
DK: So why do organisations like Wipro need us? Let me give a background of how big tech companies function. The first way to go digital was to have web services which are considered legacy right now.
The second leg was to get it on the mobile devices. For example, they wanted to build mobile applications for their employees, their partners, their customers, and so on and so forth. The first challenge you face when you start mobilising these applications is how many applications will you eventually create for all the employees?
In a very dynamic changing environment, if you have an iPhone, and iPhone10 comes up or Android launches a new OS, or like you have Google Home coming up, Alexa coming out. So how many applications can these companies handle because updating these applications is a big pain.
For example, for Flipkart, which is developing a consumer application, it has to create and maintain a single application, and they have a huge team that does the single application. But if you look at an enterprise or a B2B scenario, they have 75-80 odd mobile applications and it becomes very difficult to keep on maintaining these applications.
So that’s where we step in. All we need to do is create it only once and companies are able to deploy it across all model devices that they want. Even if an OS goes through an upgrade etc., they don’t need to change the underlying applications which save a lot of costs. It also gives them an edge because all the new devices that come up, they’re able to touch those devices.
YS: What is the second phase of digitalisation that enterprises are looking at? What are your future prospects?
DK: We are growing in newer regions as well as growing up the value chain with our customers. We recently launched API Genie, which helps our customers to create APIs out of thin air without touching the underlying web app or code. The DronaHQ Dev-Ops suite, which we will be launching shortly, will let customers go through their app dev-to-launch life-cycle extremely faster and without hassles.
What API Genie does is it basically records all the user interactions on the web applications that they may be having currently, it can be any technology, any kind of language that they must have used, wherever it is hosted, it only records the user actions and automatically creates APIs for those systems, which can be accessed on a mobile app.
Most companies have legacy systems that they have deployed and mobilising or digitalising is like a huge investment for them. Our customers now see us as a full-fledged digital transformation platform.
YS: How do you manage data security for enterprises? You mentioned that security was an afterthought for them.
DK: We offer enterprise-grade security features. We try to address the rise in security threats with upgraded features in every new release.
YS: What has been the impact of your work on the customers and society?
DK: Our customers are
- Launching successful mobile initiatives at scale
- Seeing never before consumerisation of enterprises
- Lowering their cost per app at a scale which was never the case before
- Managing multiple apps with ease
- Tackling the dynamic mobility ecosystem without any extra efforts
- Seeing apps more secure than before
- Implementing a standard framework for apps where businesses can develop apps quickly
YS: What is the competition like and how are you dealing with it?
DK: Our biggest competition was bespoke app development and services companies. We piloted a DronaHQ partner programme that we started six months ago, and we selected a few Tier I, II and III services companies to work with, and we have been able to demonstrate a successful win-win 'system integrator' model in which everyone stands to gain.
YS: How has the startup experience helped you grow as an individual?
DK: Doing a startup is an extremely humbling experience. It has made me more disciplined, forced me to unlearn and learn newer things every day, be open to critical feedback. More importantly, I have learned to enjoy and celebrate the present and be ready with what the future throws up.