Meet 4 women entrepreneurs who have built SaaS platforms to address various issues
India is increasingly turning to building software and mobile applications to tackle various challenges and opportunities, from addressing business efficiency to facilitating payment and leisure activities.
It has spawned a lucrative market for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that is expected to cross the $50 billion mark in the next 10 years, weighed by large demand and supply, according to a joint report published by Google and Accel Partners.
Largely driven by engineering, inside sales, and product management, SaaS startups make up most of the startup ecosystem. Women entrepreneurs are also betting their stakes and developing software-based solutions.
Here are four such entrepreneurs that are developing SaaS-based products for everything — from helping SMEs retain their customers to digitising student housing processes and empowering digital designers.
Madhavi Shankar, SpaceBasic
Madhavi Shankar was well-exposed to the startup culture in Australia. When she decided to start up in India, the entrepreneur saw that the country was a little behind in terms of digitisation, especially the way universities manage student housing and most functions manually.
This observation led Madhavi to start SpaceBasic, along with co-founders Indu Navar and Aiden Bingham. A SaaS platform, the trio is working to digitise hostel management in India while also facilitating seamless communication between management, students, and parents.
The founders dedicated about six to eight months for market research, got in touch with around 20 to 30 universities and colleges, and more than 100 students, before starting up in 2017.
Headquartered in California with an office in Bengaluru, the startup is heavily customer-feedback driven. So much that the entrepreneur has details as to how many complaints have been raised or how many bulbs have been replaced so far.
Ankita Garg, Enthrall Labs
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can easily lose their customers to big-box retailers. However, Ankita Garg saw that technology can help such businesses retain customers and establish customer loyalty and founded Enthrall Labs with co-founder Amitabh Mehta in 2017.
The B2B startup’s HyPerk SaaS product helps offline businesses such as convenience stores, restaurants, salons, pet stores, and bookstores engage with their target audience effectively.
The startup provides each business with a unique invite code, which can be given to its customers to become a member. The SaaS platform enables member customers to view store catalogue, pre-orders, receive offers, manage subscriptions, and use the store’s e-wallet.
The duo is currently working on expanding their reach without increasing variable costs. Based in Bengaluru, its services can be availed by retailers and restaurants on a subscription basis.
Kausambi Manjita, Kubric
As most businesses and organisations are looking to engage with their customers on digital platforms, Kausambi saw that effective communication through design was inevitable.
Seeing this opportunity, she founded Kubric, a SaaS startup that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to empower a designer to increase his/her efficiency by 10x, in 2018.
The platform helps digital-first companies to quickly adapt and engage with audiences on various platforms with videos, photos, GIFs, and memes.
An MBA graduate from the Indian School of Business, the entrepreneur counts on startups like Swiggy and Dunzo and companies across North America and Singapore among its clients.
The SaaS startup has also worked with ecommerce giant Amazon on the annual The Great Indian Festival sale of 2019.
In the same year, the startup secured an undisclosed amount of funding from venture capital firms Lightspeed and Accel Partners as part of its seed round, which was closed last year.
Vidya Santhanam, Fitbots
While working in the talent management and HR space for 15 years, Vidya Santhanam realised that disengaged employees cost over $500 billion annually to organisations.
This realisation led her to become an entrepreneur with Fitbots, a SaaS platform for performance management and engagement check-ins. Founded in 2018, the startup claims to be highly employee-centric and deliver great talent insights to business and HR leaders.
However, the entrepreneur mulled over the idea of starting up for a year and dedicated a considerable time on research and interacting with people to determine the right product-market fit.
Today, the startup is looking for global expansion and prioritises the security of company and customer information while achieving its goal aligning all teams towards the business outcome.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan