The Bengaluru-based startup aims to address the knowledge gap in terms of market opportunity and competitive scenario in the areas of AI, Blockchain and IoT
Gaurav Vasu wanted to start up while still in his early 20s, but took on a job, as advised by his mentors, to get some implementation experience which would help him build something that is sustainable and resonates with CXOs. A decade in IT companies and consulting startups later, he saw that market information on emerging areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet of things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, and Cloud was inadequate as there was was lot of data but very little decision insights.
This prompted him to finally take the plunge, and build a business around it. Bengaluru-based Unearth PrivCo was launched in January this year and provides a database of critical market information - ranging from entrepreneurs to investors and companies.
This also began the journey of building a network, where Gaurav worked with CXOs, vendors, clilents and partners while working for HCL Technologies and Accenture.
Having worked with consultancies like Knowledge Faber and Zinnov in their early days, Gaurav says, “Meeting a diverse set of customers made me understand their requirements while multi-tasking in a startup gave me a better insight into human nature.”
The startup aims to compete with Tracxn, Owler, Zinnov and CBInsights globally as well as a few large consulting giants in the space.
“From my corporate experience, I realised many niche technology startups were trying to sell a solution without understanding what the customer really wanted,” he says.
"Similarly, I saw data aggregators and consulting firms trying to sell data to these startups, niche enterprises and VCs, however, nobody was trying to provide specific answers to help them drive key decisions," he says.
This fundamental gap led Gaurav to create a knowledge platform that could answer many of their queries. He refers to Unearth PrivCo as a persona-based curated decision analytics engine. Anybody interested in market information in segments such as AI, IoT, Blockchain, and cloud will be able to get it, he adds.
“Today, a lot of people go to Google to find such information, which is not curated or verified,” he asserts.
Unearth PrivCo also aims to provide other services targeted at the investor community. It is a curated question and answer platform where queries such as whether one can create a fund in the area of HR tech or is Travel Tech space heavily funded, are there any exits in a particular segment, etc, are answered. Additionally, persona's like sales would gradually come from second year onwards once a lot of critical curated data is added in the engine.
“The need for a curated Q&A engine arises because there are a lot of platforms, but one has to figure out the information available. We provide curated decision insights,” Gaurav says.
Unearth PrivCo has a backend database of about nine million startups globally and 30,000 plus startups and private companies in India. It claims to have around 500 unique data points based on various parameters ranging from financials like reveneu, growth, profitability, to sales like ROI on SG&A, sales efficiency ratio to marketing like life time value of customers and talent metrics like product versus platform to truly identify disruptive non-linear product startups. The platform's strength lies in co-relating insights.
Gaurav believes the insights will be apt for disruptive industries such as fintech, HR tech, edu tech, healthtech, and traveltech.
For now, Unearth PrivCo is focused on startups that are looking at the next stage of growth multiple. This would also include mid-tier IT companies with revenues ranging from $500 million to $2 billion, that are keen on getting into these newer technology areas.
According to Gaurav, the company provides a 360 degree view. For example, if an investor needs information on Blockchain startups, Unearth PrivCo will provide details on the number of firms in the space, at what stage they are in, how many are in pre-money valuation stage, how many are in the commercial launch stage, etc. However, the boundary lines are very clear as it will provide only market-related information and will not give any insights on the different kind of technologies in these emerging areas.
Unearth PrivCo has built an AI engine, which helps in pulling out the structured and unstructured data. This also includes primary and secondary resources with its research team. Curation experts sift through data to provide analyses or insights. Finally, all the data is crunched to bring out different types of correlations - for example, the valuation multiple of startups in a particular segment.
The company has three members on its rolls and in addition, also have consultants working with them.
The consulting and advisory space is crowded with the presence of large global consulting firms such as KPMG, Deloitte, EY, PwC, and McKinsey.
Gaurav says many of these firms provide expensive solutions and few other early entrants provide data without any insights. His focus will be to help the vast number of startups to grow and evolve to build sustainable growth focused businesses with relevant market insights.
In addition to the insights provided by the company, it is also looking to disrupt the pricing structure. Its prices are based on a subscription model where startups can access its reports at as low as $100 per month and going up to $1,200 per annum for valuation reports. For those looking for complete market information, financial analysis and consulting, reports will cost about $9,000 per month.
The bootstrapped startup is currently targeting the Indian market, and plans to expand to the US, Europe, and Israel over time. The database is ready for the US and Israel to start a query-based engine but the fcous is to enhance and build the technology platform over the next 12 months. The consulting market is estimated to be around $1.2 billion and growing at the rate of around 10 percent per annum.
Gaurav says the startup has already started providing advisory and consulting services to a few startups and is also in talks with a large consulting firm to launch a benchmark service, where it will talk about industry peers, competition etc. The biggest challenge, however, has been to convince prospective clients that they are in for the long term.
In the next six months, the startup also plans to its platform for investor community for testing where they can generate India centric insights and compared the performance of their funds in select areas of technology.
Gaurav says that the company is in talks with investors for seed funding but evaluating if bootstrapping is the way to go for early stages till platform gets built.
The Unearth PrivCo founder claims he has already received good traction in the Blockchain and AI space, and it is just a matter of time before they can provide end-to-end advisory and consulting services.
In fact, it should be hosting its first close room conference on "emergence of blockchain in employee background verification industry in India" in less than three to four months which has participants from end customers to background verification firms and blockchain startups with commercial use case in the space.