[Startup Bharat] How this school dropout is building a Made in India alternative to Adobe Photoshop
In Gujarat’s garba capital Rajkot, Aslam Solanki is doing what most Indian entrepreneurs aim to do: thinking local and building global. With a vision to solve issues faced by digital designers, be it photographers, album designers, and graphic designers, Aslam has built automated design solutions.
Parent company InsideLogic Software product offerings include Album Sense, Visual Sense, and soon to be launched, Photo Sense.
According to Industry Arc, the global photo editing software market size is expected to reach $372.5 million by 2025. The market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 3.7 percent between 2020 and 2025. The photo editing software market is led by Adobe Photoshop, followed by players including Zoner, Serif, MacPhun, and Corel, among others.
“We are indirect competitors to Adobe Photoshop. But we are faster, better, and cheaper,” Aslam claims.
Building from scratch
Aslam bhai, which is what people usually address him as, dropped out of school in Class 9 after his family faced financial constraints.
“Mujhe aage badhke jo karna tha, uske liye graduation karna bematlab tha (For what I eventually wanted to pursue, getting a graduation degree did not make sense),” Aslam tells YourStory.
Working a nine-to-five job was never Aslam’s plan. He wanted to build his own venture. Right out of school, after working a couple of odd jobs, Aslam got interested in marketing. He picked up a few B-School textbooks, got himself familiar with the dos and don’ts, and went around seeking marketing jobs.
Towards the end of the ’90s, Aslam worked for individual digital background designers, helping them sell their CDs to studios in Rajkot. During one such sales meeting, an album designer said : “Man has reached the moon but there is still no automation in designing.”
That was Aslam’s aha moment.
In 2000, he started working on building an automated album designing software. In 2016, he incorporated InsideLogic Software and launched the software Album Sense.
Later, Aslam roped in industry experts to be a part of this 15-member startup. Raju Jayani manages Business Development, Hiren Joshi is responsible for Business and Channel Development, Yogesh Vachhani is the Tech Head, Munjal Solanki heads the Sales team, and Sarfarz Munshi manages Retail Sales and Finance.
Automating manual processes
Album designing is a cumbersome process. An average photo album takes about 300 photographs that fit into up to 60 pages. The whole process takes a photographer or album designers up to two days, if they are highly skilled, and more for amateurs.
Aslam has built an artificial intelligence (AI)-based album designing portal, Album Sense, which creates albums almost instantly. Additionally, it automatically colour corrects the images and comes with smart cutting tools.
“Album Sense helps save millions of man hours by automating the whole process,” Aslam says.
InsideLogic Software’s second product, Visual Sense is targeting SMBs who are looking to build their brands online. Visual Sense is an AI-based automated branding and social media design tool. It provides ready-to-use designs. Businesses just need to add their logos, colour scheme specifications, and other major details. The software remembers all these details and helps create branding and marketing designs based on these specifications.
The third product, Photo Sense, which the team plans to launch by late October, is an AI-based image editing and designing software loaded with 112 features.
The numbers game
For a single user, Album Sense is available for a one-time cost of Rs 5,000. For multiple-user usage, the cost is Rs 7,500. Album Sense boasts more than 10,000 paid users.
“We are promoting ourselves by participating in trade fairs held across the country. That is where we acquired our first customers,” Aslam says.
Visual Sense is available for Rs 1,499 for three years of unlimited design downloads.
Post its launch, Photo Sense will be available free of cost for the first three years. Users need to make in-app purchases if they wish to use the advanced designing templates. However, advanced features, without the automatic album designing portal, will be free to use, as of now.
“Products available in the market with the same features cost at least Rs 1,500 per month,” Aslam explains. After the first three years, Photo Sense will be available in a SaaS model; the team plans to charge an annual subscription fee of Rs 786.
According to the bootstrapped company, the customer base has been growing by 20 percent, year on year. Last year’s revenue turnover for InsideLogic was Rs 20 lakh. It is expecting it to grow to Rs 2 crore by 2022, post the launch of Photo Sense.
“We have re-invested 50 percent of the revenue in growth of the company,” the founder says.
Going ahead, InsideLogic Software plans to raise funds to expand to the global market. “We want to make an Indian product a world leader in image editing and designing,” Aslam says.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai