How this startup is scripting data journeys of organisations

Bengaluru-headquartered data company BluePi, founded by Pronam Chatterjee and Kaushik Khanna, mixes platform approach with tech consulting.

‘Data is the new oil’ is a phrase that is bandied around constantly but something that is very true in the digital transformation stories of legacy organisations. A Dell EMC study says that only five percent of the world's organisations are truly digital, while the rest are yet to use data to make an impact.

A startup called BluePi uses its platform to help customers organise their data, help them establish the analytics framework and implement the use of data with AI/ML. Founded by Pronam Chatterjee and Kaushik Khanna, the company was launched in 2013.

The duo, who have experience working in large enterprises throughout their careers, initially worked together in Hewitt Associates before moving onto different organisations. In 2012, while Kaushik was working at Xerox services and Pronam was at VMWare, they came together to start BluePi because of data revolution.

BluePi Snapshot

"Organisations today need a much better, faster and more efficient way to deliver technology solutions to the customers and that's why BluePi is the answer," says Pronam.

The business

The Indian market is underserved by System Integrators or SIs so the founders realised that their startup can help companies use the potential of their data to scale up.

"Cloud was emerging as a technology at the time, and that enabled us to bring solutions to our customers much faster," says Pronam.

Most of the large organisations produce a lot of data, from customer interactions to transactional data. But as rapidly as internet and cloud technologies have grown, this has led to a deluge of data. Internal systems cannot organise and leverage data in decision making because they are built for data storage and slow interpretation. Then they follow outdated mechanisms of collating and analysing data, which lead to either total inaccessibility of insights or delays in most cases.

"We are a B2B organisation with a primary focus on media, retail and logistics. Irrespective of the industry vertical, our core competency lies in making cutting edge technology and data solutions available for our customers. For example, one of our recent success revolves around helping one of the largest retail firm in India implement AI-driven S&OP solution through BluePi. It is all about making real time decisions," says Pronam.

BluePi consolidates all assets of an organization, assesses data readiness and then prepares the company for business transformation.

"Once we have established the desired outcomes with our customers, our solution kicks in to help customers organise their data, help them establish analytics framework and implement AI for insights," says Pronam.

Being a bootstrapped startup, the first couple of projects were through their industry references. This was in 2013.

The first project helped showcase the company’s technical expertise in delivering complex projects, and netted themaround$500k. With that, BluePi started adding on more clients.

With advanced payments from clients, the company has been customer-funded and is a bootstrapped organisation. The founders invested less than Rs 50 lakhs in the business.

Being bootstrapped, the first principle they put in place was to be profitable from day one. Their business model is consulting plus the platform charge, which is paid through long term contracts. "That is why we have had to limit the risk exposure that we could build into our planning and execution. This reflects in our slow and steady growth trajectory. Other than this, I think, like any startup, we have had our fair share of ups and downs," says Pronam.

One of the key challenges that a lot of startups of BluePi's size face is acquiring, growing and retaining new talent. Every time they get an employee up to speed in building the platform, the employee goes on to join a larger entity.

Apart from the data stack, BluePi also provides consulting for app development, app modernization, big data and data science applications mostly on the cloud.

Over the next 18 months, the company will scale from 50 customers to 74 customers.

The company has an annual run rate of $2 million, and its rivals include Analytics8, Spins and Slalom Consulting.

Edited by Anju Narayanan