How HRTech startup Fitbots scaled up its business across the globe within three years

Founded in 2018, Bengaluru and Singapore-based Fitbots is aimed at helping businesses adopt the OKR framework.
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If you are familiar with the startup ecosystem, then chances are high you might be familiar with the term OKR - ‘Objectives and Key Results’. In simple words, OKR can be understood as a collaborative goal-setting framework used by businesses to track their goals.

Used by companies such as Google and LinkedIn, among others, to drive growth, Bengaluru and Singapore-based Fitbots aims to help businesses across the world adopt the OKR framework.

Image Credit: Fitbots

In 2018, former Mindtree employees Vidya Santhanam and Kashi KS launched Hizen Intelligence Systems, better known by its product and brand name Fitbots. The duo launched the startup to provide an internal career management platform but later pivoted into OKR management as they realised the gap and issues related to teams understanding a company’s direction and strategy.

Since its inception, Fitbots has expanded across India, South East Asia, and Europe. It counts businesses such as Talview, Sharechat, Nazara Digital, LoanTap, Solv, Will Group, Appknox, BrightnetworK, and Digital Commerce Intelligence, as its clients. The startup is now looking to expand its operations in the US market.

Earlier this year, the startup raised seed funding from Icarus Feather and the WorkPlace Accelerator. Fitbots was a part of YourStory Tech 30 in 2018.

The workings

Vidya says, at Mindtree, Kashi was an enterprise architect where he built CRM systems with scale to 100 million users. Vidya was part of the leadership building and talent management team.

“The synergy of technology, people, love for data, and how data can move organisations is what brought me and Kashi together to think about Fitbots. But our eureka moment came a little after we started Fitbots because we realised that companies spend a lot of time in individual performance management, which gets companies nowhere. The real business velocity happens when teams come together and align with company strategy and that’s when we became interested in OKRs,” Vidya explains.

The Fitbots team currently has 12 members and is looking to add more members to its product and engineering & sales teams.

[Image Credit: Fitbots]

Helping businesses manage OKRs

According to Vidya, Fitbots helps client businesses drive OKRs for them through its SaaS platform and coaching methods.

“OKRs are new to many...teams many times do not know how to practice OKRs. So the first thing our platform does is help teams understand what OKRs are. Our OKR assistant helps teams write high-quality OKRs. Secondly, it makes leadership reviews effective because all realtime data is available over the dashboard. Thirdly, on the entire element of collaboration and exchange of comments, feedback, and appreciation can happen on our platform. So it is an end-to-end OKR management platform,” she explains.

The co-founder clarifies that OKRs might be completely a new concept for some teams so they can also take training from certified OKR coaches using the Fitbots platform.

“We have over 40,000 OKRs crafted on our platform with 1,500 teams, and we have 30 percent of customers who have been driving OKRs through Fitbots for 18-24 months,” she adds.

She explains that the platform saw higher adoption amid COVID-19 as it helped provide clarity to the teams about their goals and outcomes while working remotely from home.

Fitbots also has blogs, videos, and online study materials made from scratch by the startup for businesses to help them get a basic understanding of the OKR system and raise awareness about the concept.

Speaking about the journey while starting up, Vidya explains the company majorly targeted startups because they mostly understood the importance of the OKR framework. However, Fitbots had to educate the market in the enterprise segment regarding the concept.

Illustration: YS Design

Business and plans ahead

Speaking about the business model, Vidya explains that organisations need to subscribe to the Fitbots OKR SaaS platform and opt for a plan depending upon their needs.

Apart from this, businesses can opt for the add-on coaching option to learn about OKRs in case the concept is completely new to them.

She reveals that the co-founders alone have together coached over 450 teams and certified over 150 professionals in the APAC region.

While she declined to disclose information about revenue, she claims, “Our revenues grew 3X from 2019 to 2020, and our deal size grew from $2,000 to an average of $5,000. We also moved to acquiring deal sizes averaging $30,000, running large-scale rollouts for our clients.”

According to a report by Verified Market Research, the OKR software market is expected to reach $1946.88 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 13.73 percent from 2020 to 2027. Other notable platforms such as StaffCircle, Engagedly, and Range, among others, are also looking to tap into the growing global OKR software market.

After raising its seed funds earlier this year, the startup is looking to deploy the funds for scaling up and product building.

“We have got updates in our product to ensure that the data and insights are used well for our customer’s success. We are also deploying it for growth as we expand to the US market.”

Edited by Megha Reddy

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