How this bootstrapped software company grew over 100 pc amidst COVID-19 helping SMEs, enterprises

Pune-based bootstrapped Josh Software was started in 2007. With a presence in the US and Dubai, the software company saw a 105 percent growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The COVID-19 pandemic enabled a never-before-seen digital adoption among Indian businesses from all sectors. 

Be it micro, small, or even large enterprises — embracing technology or digital means of operating business has been the highest amidst the pandemic.

Gautam Rege, Co-founder and Director of Josh Software Inc, a Pune-based software development company, says, “It might sound ambiguous, but the pandemic period was insanely good for tech companies. Our growth was 105 percent in FY 2020-21, and we are on the rising curve.” 

Founded in 2007, Josh Software provides sustainable tech solutions to SMEs, startups, and large enterprises across industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, insurance, education, sports, media, and more. 

Besides India, the Pune-based company is present in Dubai and the US. In FY 2021-22, the company claims to have clocked Rs 70 crore in turnover. 

In an interaction with SMBStory, Gautam discussed how JOSH’s product-based software service is helping businesses grow, scale, and streamline their operations.

Edited excerpts of the interview:

SMBStory [SMBS]: What made you start Josh Software? 

Gautam Rege [GR]: We started Josh Software from our shared passion for coding. My co-founder, Sethupathi Asokan (Sethu) and I — with our respective ten and eight years of experience in programming — decided to leave our corporate jobs and get into the sun.

We started Josh from ground zero, with absolutely no experience in marketing and finance. We had no investment, insurance, or family support, besides the initial seed money Sethu and I had invested. 

Since its inception, we have believed in a collaborative and community approach to delivering technology solutions, thus preferring open source frameworks.

 

Our struggles and challenges were immense. We had no office, we had to form an entity and set up a bank account. 

With a lack of trust in the industry, we had to build our community through continuous networking to get our first few requests. Additionally, we did not have any support or an earning member back home, and we had no option but to get onto the floor and start generating some revenue. 

 

It helped us learn and define who we are today. Soon, our work started to speak for itself, and our business kept growing majorly through word of mouth and inbound requests.

 

Today, we are a team of close to 400 people and counting, helping customers disrupt their industry through our innovative IT solutions. We remain a bootstrapped company, and we have never raised funds. 

SMBS: How does Josh help businesses, SMEs, and large enterprises? 

GR: A software services company, Josh specialises in outsourced product development, building solutions for businesses to facilitate high performance, scalability, and high-standard code quality. 

We are highly driven by innovation, disruption, and opportunity to learn — which sets the criteria for us with whom we want to work — irrespective of a funded startup, bootstrapped SME, large enterprise, or a large-scale business entity.

 

To date, we have worked with companies like Star TV, Tata Projects, and Rakuten, to name a few, and startups from the US, UK, Europe, Indonesia, Australia, India, etc.

 

Our core speciality lies in converting our customers' product visions into reality. We have built multiple products for clients. 

For instance, we provided an end-to-end software service to develop a B2C model for QuickInsure — a specially designed platform for buying motor vehicle insurance and third party insurance — where vehicle owners can buy insurance from the providers. 

Moreover, Groupbuzz is another successful client — a platform that organises various meetup activities for different groups. 

SMBS: What were the challenges? How do you differentiate from your competition?

GR: One of the perennial challenges in the software and product development industry is the lack of trained and industry-ready talent. 

At Josh, we prioritise upskilling for our entire team for a straightforward reason — the technology landscapes shift very fast, and not upskilling means becoming irrelevant.

 

We also look at colleges and campuses for hiring young talent, providing exposure to the industry while we train and groom them into the Josh DNA. 

While any Indian or global software development company can be termed as our competitors, we are different. To explain with a simple analogy — we prefer to be a team of highly focused artists working on a million-dollar painting rather than painting over 10,000 buildings at a cheaper rate and earning the same amount of money.

 

We believe programming is an art. We provide services to our customers, supported by lean processes and performance visibility, offering freedom to our developers to choose the right open source technologies to help build the products better.

SMBS: What is the market size for Josh Software?

GR: The need for technology is critical in almost every sector today because of the rapid digitisation across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated this, and the demand continues to grow. 

Traditional companies have found ways to navigate the digital world, while new-age startups are born tech natives. 

According to IBEF, by 2025, the Indian IT and business services industry is expected to grow to $19.93 billion.

 

At Josh, we aim to make a difference as a game-changer in the software industry by giving our customers and developers the freedom to experiment and build the right product.

SMBS: What is Josh Software’s revenue model?

GR: Our revenue is directly linked to the customised and solution-driven services we offer to our customers.

 

As a policy, we ensure to not create any IPs of our own as it all belongs to our customers. We treat each new idea we want to invest in differently. 

We set up a separate company, create specialised teams to look into the technology, growth, and strategy. At present, we have four such companies — 

· QuickInsure, an insurance broking agency 

· SimplySmart, an IoT-based smart home automation platform

· BidWheelz, an online live bidding platform for the used car retail industry 

· Clipp.tv, a Singapore-based media-tech company for events and video processing.

SMBS: What are Josh’s expansion plans? 

GR: Over the years, we have seen ourselves grow from a tiny office to a highly talented workforce. We are now in a hyper-growth stage as we chart out our future vision. 

 

By the end of 2025, we aim to be at least a $25 million revenue company, and we aspire to be IPO-ready by 2027. We have firm plans to scale in terms of people and revenue, but at the same time, we want to ensure to continue to stay grounded and work as one large family. 

Edited by Suman Singh

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