Choosing an entrepreneurial route is never easy for folks who straight come out from college. However, smooth sea never made skillful mariner. I recently wrote about trend of starting up in early twenties, something that has been catching up in India as young guns are diving into entrepreneurship rather than go for lush corporate jobs. Ankit Jain, who is in his early twenties, decided to launch his own venture – Voicetree after brief stint at startup incubated by IIT Chennai. VoiceTree’s flagship product MyOperator is a simple call management system designed for businesses and organizations, which is based on an in-house developed cloud telephony platform TIRE.
On starting up and traction
From college days, Jain decided not to go for an MNC jobs but try something more challenging. Though he admits that launching or working for startup is tough decision as you attract wrath from family and friends initially. “The idea of ‘Voice’ has always remained with me as the single most important factor accounting for most of the ‘communication’. Additionally, the scale of a voice-based technology fascinated me to do something in cloud telephony segment,” says Jain.
Launched in March this year, MyOperator has over 600 registered users including 200 paying clients which include Aam Aadmi Party, Aamrapali O2, Lenskart, Snapdeal, Shop.IRCTC, Berger Emulsions, Allschoolstuff and Network Bulls including others.
VoiceTree Differentiators and Challenges
At present, the cloud telephony market is dominated by players like Knowlarity and Exotel, however MyOperator has some striking differeniators. Unlike its competitors, MyOperator enables businesses to set up their call management system within a minute, without going into any configuration. “VoiceTree differs from its competitors on the fundamental that we emphasise on the experience of 90% of users who do not look out for extra functionality in the very start. We understand that when the major chunk of SME market use internet only for an e-mail, it is too much to expect them to understand exactly how their service would work,’’ says Jain. Owing to its simplicity, about 22% of MyOpperator’s customers have shifted from its competition.
Getting early employees is a daunting task for any startup, and we have also struggled to find team members at the beginning, who are comfortable to work from one bedroom apartment, says Jain. Hiring novices worked for Voicetree as Jain believes that fresh minds can add much value to a startup rather than the experienced, who have high expectation in terms of salary and other perks. “The initial challenge was definitely to build a team. It becomes all the more challenging when you do not have a big pocket to sustain and develop a product. In the beginning, we had focused on services, which gave the company some freedom to evolve. I still believe team is the first and most important product an entrepreneur needs to build,” adds Jain.
On turning profitable and future plan
Its very rare when a company turns profitable within two quarters of its inception without burning investor’s money. Voicetree claims to become cash positive from last month, and Jain attributes tight control on expenses and advance payment for turning green from red. “From the beginning we have tried to keep the outgoing ( expenses) lower than incoming, and this helped us to attain profitability early,” says Jain.
When it comes to future plans, MyOperator intends to double its team size in next two months on business and product development fronts. At present the company has presence in Delhi (NCR) only, however it will soon have base in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. “Our target is to serve 500 clients by the end of this year,” concludes Jain.