Umesh Sachdev, 33, knows a well sophisticated way to work the steps. The co-founder of Uniphore Software Systems, a little-known, Chennai-based startup that is known to use technologies like speech recognition for lending a hand on enhancing user experience for enterprises that manage to get hold of a formidable brand ambassador who also performs duties as an investor, mentor and salesman, as an all-rounder. Back in December 2017, Cisco’s ex-chairman, John Chambers acquired a 10% stake in Uniphore.
Following then, the startup has been functioning on the dice. Virtually, in every media briefing in India, the Silicon Valley, Veteran, spoke fluently of Uniphore’s potential. Previously in 2018, shove by Chambers, Sachdev planned to shift the base to Silicon Valley. Awards, accolades and big-bulge customers followed through the course. The deal implemented by the startup sized to become larger even as its business cycles became smaller. Uniphore, that presently, reports to more than 100 enterprise customers universally and also assists to more than four million end users, signed as one of the biggest US-based insurance MNCs as its customer, last year. “We grew 300% last year and are set to maintain pace this year,” claimed an upbeat Sachdev.
Uniphore’s state is at an inflection point. Further, in three years, Chambers expects Uniphore’s revenues to surge from $9 million in 2018 to $100 million, placing more than 500 people on staff. Like Uniphore, startup India, is also at an inflection point. “B2B startups are the next big thing to watch out for. Most of them do not require too much money and we will see a different measurability index emerge for them,” claims Arun Natarajan, founder of Venture Intelligence. Even though their size stand out clearly, yet, many aren’t household names and surely never will be. “Startup ecosystems evolve in phases. Typically, B2C comes before B2B. Since 2017, India is seeing a dramatic shift towards B2B. We will see creation of big technology product startups,” stated Atit danak, engagement manager, Zinnov.
Therefore it seems, B2B startups have a very different expectations from their investors. Though money remains a grand factor, “B2B startups want investors to open doors and bring domain expertise,” states Sateesh Andra, managing director, Endiya Partners. Further Rastogi sums up, “We are engineers so we understand product and technology well but not enterprises. Our investors understand it well and that helps.” Hiring top seasoned talent for a rarely-known startup is an expected challenge. “There is lot of affinity for young engineers to join B2C where brand recognition is high,” says Rohit of Darwinbox. Considering special, strategic and pedigreed investors like John Chambers and Ratan Tata, help developing the ambience out of the box, yet, a better understanding of the dynamics within B2B startups, is critical.
“Sales cycles can be as long as 10 months. Many investors don’t fully understand this. Their B2C philosophy ‘take more money, grow faster’ doesn’t work here,” further claimed an entrepreneur who mentioned not to be quoted.