Why these ex-Freshworks executives decided to start up in the document management space
After working for the likes of Freshworks, Sameer Goel and Rishi Kulkarni had the opportunity to compare how businesses operate and function both in India and the US. And they found one common problem in companies of all sizes - operations.
“While people were determined to focus on the problems to solve, they were caught up with day to day operations. This is where Sameer and I got together to solve, to simplify everyday businesses for entrepreneurs,” says Rishi.
It led them to start Revv Sales, headquartered in the US and Bengaluru, in 2018, which offers an all-in-one document management system to help individuals and teams run their business
Rishi points out that while different archetypes of Indian SaaS companies have emerged, one pain point that has remained is ‘software usability’ within businesses — leading to a lack of user experience that one expects from the mobile versions (or mobile applications) of the Ubers and Facebooks of the world.
“We decided to focus more on the hard parts of running a business. How could we provide business owners - consultants, solopreneurs, freelancers, team managers, lawyers - an application that would give them check-in tools like Envoy, the ease of document signing like DocuSign, Dropbox for storage, and AI for data extraction from documents, and which was yet as simple as sending or collaborating on an email. Revv as a business, as an idea, exists to solve that problem,” says Rishi.
He adds that documents remain an essential aspect of any business, as it cements relationships, builds trust, contains information and data around every dollar in and out of business.
The workings of the platform
Revv is a no-code product. Its document builder enables users to draft, store, and work with documents that are both human-readable and machine-actionable. With Revv, documents are smartly organised, created, reviewed, shared, and e-signed in one central place.
The platform helps navigate and analyse complex counterparty documents and reduce dependency on experts.
It can also be integrated with business systems such as CRM, payment systems such as Stripe, and many other apps via Zapier, or use the native API to build your own dashboard.
You can even link tables directly to Google sheets to import data into documents.
The key features include — an in-app template library, segregated by type, industry and sector; one can view, accept and sign documents on mobile; real-time updates of recipient actions; an all-in-one tool that eliminates the need for multiple apps and improves efficiency by managing, sharing and requesting e-signatures online.
Solving for an ever-existing problem
The founder duo had realised that most of the existing software stacks had their own limitations. They continue to be expensive and out of reach for startups and SMEs.
Having been in the front end of the customer support industry, they experienced firsthand the challenges of employees, colleagues and customers using such software in day-to-day activities.
So, their concerns remained around affordability and user experience.
“We wanted to tackle the problem of document-centric processes and eradicate it with Revv, an inexpensive freemium business software that did not require extra tools, extra hours and even extra resources. We wanted to take in all the aspects of a business and build Revv as software that simplified things from a product perspective, from a communication and marketing perspective and finally, enable every entrepreneur to run their business seamlessly,” says Rishi.
The startup has an employee base of around 50.
Market and differentiations
According to Mordor Intelligence, the global market for document management was valued at $5.51 billion in 2020, and is expected to touch $11.7 billion by 2026. There are platforms like Google, Folderit, Crown, and Document360 in the space, to name a few.
Speaking of their differentiator, Rishi says, some features set them apart. “Some of these are as basic as adding attachments as Notes in a document, or the ability to upload PDF files directly into the application (usability), but then the feature that sets Revv apart completely from the competitors is Metalens,” says Rishi.
Unlike the existing legacy players where the information must be fed manually for each document, Metalens is a true machine learning fueled process.
With Metalens, the only things the user has to do is upload the document, and the model learns and builds itself to become better. It solves data extraction (relevant information) and identifies potential discussion points from any document.
These extracted datasets can then be reused in workflows, feed information to downstream apps, and in general optimise business processes. This feature optimises cost, scales up individual (or team’s) capacity, reduces downtime, increases revenue, making your business process fast, agile, efficient, and scalable.
The pricing model is built on flat free, monthly, and annual fees which are designed for users to pay as they increase their consumption of the product.
Revv’s key clients continue to be tax consultants, sales enablement and digital marketing companies, and larger distributions.
The COVID-19 impact
While the initial direction of the product targeted the US market, it did get affected due to COVID-19, impacting the early revenue and traction. However, the pivot to build Revv as a product-led freemium business model has seen great success.
From knowledge workers to consultants, freelancers, solopreneurs, and operator owners from the United States, Revv currently has more than 4,000 businesses using the product with over 500 highly engaged power users.
This segment is identified based on their activities in Revv, like their document usage or even retention.
And, within this power users’ pool, Revv also currently has tens of paying users. Revv eventually aims to cross $5 million dollars ARR in revenue by the end of 2022.
The startup has raised funding from Lightspeed Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Arka Ventures. It has so far raised $5.7 million dollars in Seed and Series A rounds in the last two years.
He adds during the pandemic, the founders have looked at everything they do for their team from a health perspective (mental and physical safety). There has been a change of pace, timelines, and conversations at the workplace.
Rishi adds the current uncertain situation has drawn up a lot of opportunities. With many business operations going online, the adoption of e-signatures grew tremendously.
"There has been a huge interest in e-signatures, in fact, we have onboarded close to 100+ clients in the last six months. In the last few months alone, we also introduced the e-sign via a SMS feature wherein the sender can send the signing ceremony link to his recipients via SMS,” says Rishi.
Now, Revv wants to be the document process automation platform for small and medium businesses in the US, as well as other geographical locations. The aspiration is also to move up to mid and upper levels, and once this has been conquered, eventually move into the enterprise level.
“Revv aims to revolutionise what is documents, the formats, and ultimately, how the world will look with no documents especially where four billion people carry mobile phones. Its goal is to make users relook at documents just like they would while reading the next message on WhatsApp,” says Rishi.