[Startup Bharat] Surat-based Stackby is making it easy for SMEs to automate their workflows
Even as SMEs embrace digitalisation, they struggle with finding products that best suit their scale of businesses. Small firms do not have the luxury of having an IT engineer to on-board applications needed in the ordinary course of business.
While there is a plethora of software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups offering no-code, low-code products to SMBs, they cannot be adapted without initial onboarding.
This is where Stackby wants to make a difference.
The Surat-based cloud software startup was set up as a collaborative database SaaS venture that helps small businesses create and customise their business tools without any technical intervention. This means that any small company can sign up with the startup and start using its tools immediately with no on-boarding required.
Founded by Rachit Khator in July 2019, Stackby promises to bring structure and visibility to workflows, enabling easy collaboration among employees, and customisation specific to the company’s needs.
Rachit quit his corporate job in 2018, and returned to India to build Stackby after years of struggle in dealing with multiple spreadsheets and applications at work.
"The idea was conceived in 2017 while I was dealing with multiple spreadsheets that became cumbersome to manage, and I saw the need of software tools that empower normal end-users to build their own applications versus moulding them in vertical applications," he says.
Before Stackby, Rachit spent four years working in venture capital and product management for a large Fortune 500 in Michigan, US, where he led investments and worked with over 15 technology startups. He holds dual master’s degrees in Applied Physics from NIT Surat, India and Entrepreneurship from the University of Michigan.
Startups and SMBs rely on spreadsheets to manage their unstructured workflows, and tools like project management, CRM, or ERP that are available in the market don’t give the users the flexibility to customise.
"Teams and businesses end up using multiple tools to manage their data and collaboration for various functions. Over a billion people use spreadsheets, of which 90 percent of them use it to organise their work," says Rachit.
Stackby helps SMEs automate their workflows by bringing a familiar spreadsheet-style interface, functionality of databases, and business APIs like MailChimp, Clearbit, YouTube, Twilio, etc, in a single cloud-based platform that requires no coding knowledge.
Rachit claims that there’s no such similar product in India at present. Well-known SaaS firms like Zoho or Freshworks have a suite of tools that companies use mostly for structured workflows like a CRM.
"We are unlike structured CRM tools, as the database canvas built out is really determined by the end user and can be used across various use- cases, CRM being one. We have the vision to consumerise enterprise software," he says.
The startup enables teams to work in real time from across geographies. A nifty feature, Rachit explains, is connecting columns on spreadsheets to third-party APIs.
“The product connects to over 20 native integrations like YouTube, Clearbit, FullContact, Hunter.io, Facebook, Intercom, Alphavantage, etc to pull data automatically and push messages via SMS, WhatsApp, Slack to automate work,” he adds.
The first pay cheque
Stackby was soft launched at the RISE Conference in Hong Kong in July 2019, post which it acquired its first 10 paying clients only through word of mouth and referral. The insights from the early customers helped Rachit and his team to shape the product.
The startup’s first client was a small textile business that wanted to manage its export order production and it helped an ad agency that was managing campaigns to get automated reports from YouTube.
Stackby has partnered with Startup India to give Indian startups free access to the Stackby platform for three months.
"We did a global launch in January 2020 and we currently serve over 1,200 paying and highly engaged customers from 70 countries and growing by 10 percent week on week," says Rachit.
Rachit has invested $100,000 in Stackby from his personal savings. The US-registered startup operates out of Surat and Pune and has a team of 14 people.
Building a startup out of a Tier-II city is not easy. Surat’s technology ecosystem is in its infancy stage, as it hosts more service-led technology companies.
"It’s not done much. Many couldn’t believe we could build a product like this operating out of a Tier II city. But, nevertheless, where there is a will, there is a way," says Rachit.
The business model
Stackby has a freemium, recurring subscription-based model, where users can sign up for a free trial after which they subscribe to one of the paid plans, starting at $5/user/month for a freelancer or solopreneur, or $9/user/month for small teams.
The current clients for the startup include businesses in the US, India, the EU, and Southeast Asia across advertising, media, digital marketing, event management, coworking spaces, real estate segments, among others.
Stackby competes with SaaS companies like Zoho and Freshworks.
"We’ve built Stackby to give non-technical people power to computation and build their own tools to manage their work, their way. We are providing the building blocks," says Rachit.
The startup is looking to end calendar year 2020 with a revenue of $1 million.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)