Top 5 lessons from the enterprise SaaS panel at TechSparks 2021

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India’s SaaS companies are leading the way in growth, with many turning into unicorns – so much so, that Indian SaaS enterprises could be unlocking a $1 trillion opportunity by 2030.

To get a better understanding of the growth of the sector, TechSparks 2021 saw a panel discussion on ‘Enterprise SaaS: The secret sauce to success’. The discussion powered by SAP saw leaders like Vaibhav Khandelwal, Co-founder and CTO, Shadowfax; Vasant Sridhar, Co-founder and CSO, Ofbusiness; Vishal Chaudhary, Co-founder, Zetwerk; Adarsh Kumar, Co-founder and CEO, TagBox; Prayank Swaroop, Partner, Accel Partners and a SAP spokesperson.

Here are the five key lessons:

Understand who your customers are

Building SaaS in India for the world is entirely different from building SaaS for SMEs. Vasant said that while building for India, SaaS entrepreneurs need to realise that there isn’t a large SME base that can pay a lot. But when building SaaS out of India, enterprises need to layer it with other solutions to maximise the value proposition. Adding to this, Accel’s Prayank said that patience is key while working with entrepreneurs in India as Indian customers take a long time to buy products. So relationship building is important.

Technology can help hyperlocal distribution systems

Vaibhav of Shadowfax explained that the team’s focus has been to create a local distribution set-up. Using new-age technologies like AI, the team focuses on speed to ensure that fulfilment happens on time. For TagBox’s Adarsh too, technology plays a key role. TagBox leverages IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence for supply chain monitoring.

Vishal added that in the future, software as a platform will provide the highest level of reliability and transparency in complex supply chain jobs.

It is essential to notice market trends

Vasant, who recently launched their lending vertical OXYZO, says that understanding market trends is critical. He said, “We realised if you're providing raw materials, you need to provide it with some kind of credit term. There is stickiness in credit, great repeat in credit and margin in credit. If you're running a business by providing credit indirectly, you can’t raise equity and give that as working capital.” The Zetwerk story isn’t too different either. The team went from being a SaaS platform to a B2B marketplace, and this move too happened due to their interactions in the segment and understanding what people want.

Startups need to upgrade their technology when they grow

SAP’s spokesperson said that various new-age companies have adopted SAP’s technologies. He said, “Many B2B startups have started approaching us, finding a better way to integrate with our SAP core system and products. We work with them in taking those solutions along SAP’s core stack to the market. We are seeing tremendous demand from across segments such as manufacturing, supply chain, supply chain finance.”

Being an early mover in spaces will be important

Vaibhav thinks the trend of building SaaS from India for the world will change in the future. “While it will grow, there will be a demand for building for India and Asia,” he said.

If you’re looking to hit hypergrowth, innovate at scale and nurture global ambitions already, check out Project Nakshatra by SAP.


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