[Startup Bharat] These entrepreneurs from Ranchi started up to digitise non-tech businesses
Data analytics or data management is considered an essential element in tech companies. However, when it comes to traditional industries, it is still in a nascent stage.
While working for large tech companies, Aayush Agrawal, Shaurya Poddar, Shreyansh Jain, and Udit Poddar realised the stark difference between how technology companies manage their operations and data versus how traditional verticals like mining, manufacturing, infrastructure development, and others manage these operations.
This led to the formation of a consulting enterprise in 2017 to solve the data management challenge in these traditional verticals with the aim to increase information discovery. Registered under the name Pragyaam Data Technologies, it eventually evolved into a B2B SaaS company named Grid in 2019.
“Grid was founded to solve the problems of scalability, long timelines, unreasonable costs, and user acceptance issues that businesses faced with the customised software/tailor-made market, and on the other hand the rigidity of readily available domain specific ones,” says Udit, who is also the CEO of the company.
The startup is a no-code platform that builds online database and process management workflows to solve customers' data gathering, management, and discovery challenges.
Starting up in Ranchi
Having worked in technology companies after graduation and coming from families in traditional business verticals like mining and manufacturing, the co-founders realised the difference between the way information is managed in these companies vs the traditional verticals.
Adding to that, when they attended a meeting of the JSIA (Jharkhand Small Industries Association), they understood the concerns of the attendees over the unavailability of any robust technological support to their businesses. This is when the co-founders started the groundwork and market research to formulate Grid.
Shaurya says they started out in Ranchi for two main reasons. “Even though Jharkhand has seen strides of development in the industrial domain and the growth of the traditional business community since it’s foundation, it has not benefited much from the technological advancements in the past decade as seen in the other regions of the country, thereby giving us a great place to conduct primary research and learn about the industry requirements.”
Another reason being Ranchi was the hometown of all four founders. Hence, it provided the required network and easy access to the market for their initial leg work.
Aayush, Udit, and Shreyansh have been friends since school. While Aayush, a Computer Science graduate, has worked as a data engineer in Citrix and LogMeIn, Udit is a graduate in Economics who has worked as a data scientist in startups such as MuSigma, SocialCops, and Quizizz. Shreyansh studied mechanical engineering and has worked as a data scientist in MuSigma. He was also involved in MSME tech consulting in Ranchi.
Shaurya, brother of Udit and a graduate in management, has worked previously in Google’s sales team.
A MarketsandMarkets report suggests that the global enterprise data management market size is expected to grow from $77.9 billion in 2020 to $122.9 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 9.5 percent during the forecast period. Startups like vPhrase, Pisquare and Actify Data Labs also offer data analytics to different industries.
Udit says, “Less than 26 percent of digital, transformation initiatives succeed, and in traditional sectors, it is even lower. The root cause of the failure boils down to two reasons – it takes high execution time from idea to actual implementation, and lack of employee buy in due to complexity in the solutions delivered after various iterations.”
Grid primarily aims to solve these two challenges. The platform helps deliver Web, iOS, and Android-based solutions for digital initiatives and these solutions are also highly personalised for users.
Co-founders (L-R) Shreyansh, Udit, Shaurya and Aayush
“Enterprises typically are onboarded on Grid when they are trying to solve a critical operational challenge or are looking to digitise their workflows using mobile applications that are customisable for their processes. These processes and flows can be set up on Grid using an array of no-code features and the same is then integrated to their existing technology infrastructure (if any),” says Shaurya.
Each process/data management application can then be personalised for various employees based on the actions they are required to take in the enterprise value chain.
For mid to large enterprises, Grid acts as an extension to their ERP that is integrated natively, is extremely versatile, and completely mobile enabled.
“We charge our customers based on the number of users and the deployment model they opt for. The pricing, however, varies depending on various factors,” Shaurya adds.
Business and more
Grid raised its first round of seed funding in June 2020 from Singapore-based venture firm, Startup - O Ventures, at a valuation of about $1 million.
Since the launch of Grid last year, the startup claims to have acquired over 20 enterprises - ranging from extremely traditional verticals like mining and manufacturing to BFSI and retail. “Our customers are spread across multiple locations and are typically multi-location companies with expansive geographic presence,” says Udit.
Grid claims to have grown over 300 percent YoY in revenues and has been profitable till FY20. This year it projects a growth of 50 percent. The team also wants to grow Grid into an enterprise data management platform with a voice enabled data discovery engine and aims to acquire at least 400 customers over the next three years.