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India’s oldest SaaS community gets its first CEO

This is part of the SaaSBOOMi founding team's efforts to give a formal structure to its community-building efforts as the Indian cloud software ecosystem emerges as one of the world's biggest.

India’s oldest SaaS community gets its first CEO

Wednesday March 22, 2023 , 3 min Read

Key Takeaways

Raghava, a founding member of SaaSBOOMi and one of the key connectors in the Indian SaaS ecosystem, will move from Together Fund to focus solely on further building the SaaS community.

The organisation will have a governing council comprising seven members, similar to a company's board of directors, to lay down quarterly and annual goals.

SaaSBOOMi, a community for Indian software-as-a-service companies, recently announced the appointment of its first chief executive officer, Avinash Raghava, who was one of its founding members and has played a key role in the shaping of the Indian SaaS ecosystem.

Raghava, who was also a key member of the Together Fund, has moved out from the venture capital firm to solely focus on spearheading SaaSBOOMi. 

Together Fund was founded in 2021 by Freshworks Co-founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham and Eka Software Solutions Founder and CEO Manav Garg in 2021, with Raghava’s responsibilities including building a community around it.

“As the global interest in India SaaS continues to rise, we (as part of the SaaSBOOMi founding team) realised the need for a full time leadership role at the organisation and creating an independent governance council,” Mathrubootham and Garg said in a blog post titled, “Goodbye Avinash…Welcome Avinash”.

“This is the right step forward for SaaSBOOMi, which will continue to play a pivotal role in enabling the SaaS founder community,” they wrote.

Towards making the SaaS association a more formal structure, the community has set up a founding team that will own and ratify its bylaws, including the organisation’s name and operating model, as per another blog post by Suresh Sambandam, Founder and CEO of workflow automation platform Kissflow.

It has also set up a governing council, an ‘Apex Operating Authority’ equivalent to a Board of Directors in a for-profit entity. The council will have seven members–two founding members, two SaaS founders, two venture capital or ecosystem partners, and the CEO.

The first governing council comprises: Ashwini Ashokan, Co-founder and CEO of MadStreetDen; Eka’s Garg; Mohit Bhatnagar, Managing Director and Partner at Sequoia Capital; Shekhar Kirani, Partner at Accel Partners; Kissflow’s Sambandam; Vinod Muthukrishnan, Co-founder of CloudCherry and Chief Customer Officer at Uniphore; and Raghava.

The CEO will be responsible for the day-to-day operations while the governing council will lay down quarterly and annual goals for the organisation.

Avinash Raghava, first CEO of SaaSBOOMi

Avinash Raghava, first CEO of SaaSBOOMi, and one of the earliest champions of Indian SaaS startups

Origins of SaaSBOOMi

The roots of the current avatar of SaaSBOOMi can be traced back to 2012, when Raghava was working with small and medium enterprises, some of which were building software products, as part of the IT industry body Nasscom. 

These, however, did not garner the same kind of attention as software services firms Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, which commanded a lion’s share of the tech industry’s revenues.

Raghava, along with a few others including Sharad Sharma and Kirani, took up the cause of championing product companies and formed the Indian Software Product Industry RoundTable (iSPIRT) with the vision of making India a “product nation”. 

The group was strengthened by roundtable discussions initiated by Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies, one of the first SaaS startups to scale beyond $1 million in annual recurring revenue, a key metric used to gauge future potential and the health of a SaaS company.

A visit to Chennai and meeting with companies such as Zoho, Freshworks, Kissflow and Chargebee laid the foundation for India’s first conference solely for the SaaS community. After an unintended break, the same set of people came together to set up a formal association, SaaSBOOMi, in 2018. The foundation currently has over 3,500 SaaS startups as its members.

Edited by Feroze Jamal