This Hyderabad startup enables ecommerce and D2C customers to take data-driven decisions and drive growth
Cousins Krishna Chaitanya, Abhiram Kolli and Balaji Kolli in 2016 founded Hyderabad-based Saras Analytics with one vision: to make data a strategic asset for businesses.
“Doing this requires deployment of multiple tools, resources with varied skills, and a leadership team committed to data initiatives. However, given the complex nature of the challenge, few companies would claim to be successful in their endeavours, barring those that are well capitalised. Many don’t even get started. We wanted to change this dynamic.
"We are building a company that lowers the barriers for companies of any size to become data-driven,” says Balaji, Co-founder and Head of Growth.
Years later, Saras Analytics has made a mark as a data management and predictive analytics company of note. The startup’s products enable any business to easily consolidate data into a data warehouse, effortlessly report and analyse data, and sync it to tools that the business teams rely on.
The startup's products empower analysts and business teams to work independently, quickly, and efficiently, without having to rely much on IT or Engineering teams.
The products include Daton, a cloud data pipeline with 100+ connectors. Analysts, data scientists, and (data) engineers can use a simple-to-configure interface to replicate data to their data warehouse in minutes and without having to write a single line of code.
The second product, Halo, is an ecommerce analytics and insights platform. Powered by Daton, it caters to the unique needs of ecommerce and DTC businesses. Halo is designed to help a business with no analysts or lean analytics teams to get end-to-end business intelligence and data activation capabilities.
“Our consulting teams help customers to craft their data strategy, implement data quality measures, stay abreast with key metrics, and leverage data to grow,” says Abhiram Kolli, Co-founder and Head of Halo.
Krishna was an enterprise architect at Oracle, focusing on business transformation, data integration, data warehousing and business intelligence. Meanwhile, Abhiram worked as an architect at Credit Suisse, building data products for investment teams, and Balaji donned multiple roles in analytics working with Fortune 500 companies before gravitating to the world of business development and sales.
The trio realised that turning data into dollars was a team sport, and required using different tools and resources with different skills to have a shot at success.
“Companies that we consider data-led understand these needs, invest in technology infrastructure, and hire the right data team. However, most companies struggle,” Balaji says.
While a few data-led companies talk about leveraging machine learning to predict customer lifetime value and churn, many are struggling to even be data-informed, i.e. have their key business metrics automated and delivered to them in near-real time so that decision makers can rely on data rather than instincts.
What happens then? Many companies end up not reaching their true potential. “We saw this dynamic time and again in our careers as solution architects and analysts, and felt a need to address this gap,” Balaji says.
Making a difference
Saras Analytics helps remove the barriers that prevent businesses from becoming truly data-driven. D2C or ecommerce businesses use numerous SaaS applications, resulting in data silos that prevent them from truly understanding business performance and identifying opportunities for growth.
“We struggled with the same issues as a consulting team in the first two years of our journey, resulting in repetitive, manual, and counter-productive work. We couldn't find any market solutions that addressed this issue holistically, and decided to create our own,” Abhiram says.
The bootstrapped startup now has a team of 110 people based out of Hyderabad, and is growing fast. It launched its first product, Daton, officially a year ago and the second product, Halo, a couple of months back.
The founders have invested around Rs 3 crore in the business so far.
“Our customer base consists primarily of DTC and ecommerce brands, and the ecosystem of companies that support these brands. Any business that delivers any service online is a great fit for our products and services,” Abhiram says.
The co-founders say the startup reported an annualised recurring revenue of over $2 million for FY21.
“We are profitable and aiming to double our revenues in the next three quarters,” Abhiram says.
The way ahead
Balaji believes the market is massive, running into tens of billions of dollars as innovation in cloud technologies has made it really inexpensive for customers to own their data.
“Many businesses are yet to realise this change in technological landscape, and we believe that it is only a matter of time before a completely new set of customers start to adopt cloud data warehouses. We already see this trend in many of our customers who a few years back would have never thought of taking on a data warehousing initiative. Whether a company has a mature analytics team or no analytics teams, we have a solution that fits their needs,” he says.
The data management and predictive analytics startup claims to have more than 100 customers, including the likes of Mama Earth, Athletic Greens, Plum Goodness, Candere, Levi's, Mensa, Tumi etc.
“A majority of our customers are based in the US, with some customers in India, Europe, South East Asia, and the Middle East. As we expand, we will continue to focus outbound efforts in the US and India, and the Middle East,” Balaji says.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many retail businesses and created an opportunity for new D2C brands and brand aggregators to emerge, forcing traditional retailers to go digital more aggressively.
Saras Analytics claims to have grown more than 6X in the last year and is “poised for further growth”. The company aims to hit $4 million in revenues by the end of this year and acquire over 250 customers.
Daton competes with the likes of Fivetran, Stitchdata, Airbyte, Hevo Data, and internal IT teams. Halo’s competitors include Glew.io and Daasity.
“Our differentiation lies in our ability to support customers at any stage in their journey to become data-driven and at any budget,” Balaji says.
“We are looking to end March 22 with $4 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and reach out for funding. Until then if there is any inbound interest, we are talking to VC's,” Balaji says.
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