Have some workable prototype to show the prospects to convert your Idea to Revenue
Jyotirmoy Chakravorty(JC) Co-Founded Ubona along with Vishal Lal and Umesh Singhal in 2008. JC used to work in the mobile and telephony industry when GPRS came into India but it was clumsy to do anything on mobile. He recollects that if someone wants to get stock quotes from different phones, it used to be a mess and JC & Team used to spend their time in solving those problems. They thought it will be a great value proposition, if someone can lift a phone and say what they want and get it. That is the mission of customer experience. It should be easy for the consumer to interact with the phone and they wanted to make things pleasant and easy for the customer. The team developed the product and Ubona delivers outstanding consumer interaction experience with it’s world class technologies. Uboan has a very scalable and shopisticated telephony infrastructure on the cloud comprising of many state of the art technologies like speech recognition, audio fingerprinting, speaker verification, recommendation engine and many other advanced telephony functions. Ubona’s offers services for large enterprisers and consumer companies who in turn serve their consumers with Ubona services.
They created the first version of their computer vision product, deployed their service in Bangalore where people came dial in and name a restaurant and the system will translate the voice into text and would connect the consumer with the restaurant. They did not have a revenue model in this but wanted to make the consumer experience happen. Then slowly, the reality started to sink in where they had to raise money to scale this and also figured out that they can make money based on the popularity of the application. They realized that going the B2C way of building a network and monetizing through the community would be a deep pocket game and they decided to go the B2B way and selected telecom operators as their segment. He took the first customer engagement very seriously and began delivering value and they became his sales people and began referring him to other customers. He looked into all their contacts in the past they had met professionally and got connected at the higher level and created their customer value proposition for them and created the best presentation and they could win their first sales and after that they had a great reference from them and they also got their investment through that. First customer was Tatasky
The first customer was TataSky.They knew about the call-centre and he contacted the customer support head and articulated the value proposition and said that they can filter 50% of the calls which can be addressed by automation. This helped him arrange a meeting with the top management and they demonstrated their hotel product and extrapolated that to the telco industry. Because they had something that worked, the customer believed. To allay their concerns about the new product, they did a POC for 3 months to give them confidence that this will work for their industry and did not charge and these three months were important because this helped them make TataSky dependant on the product and upon success, the management realized the value of the product in terms of cost cutting and increased customer satisfaction and they bought it immediately. They can figure out things fast and the only objection was on price. They reduced the price for the first customer because price used to be a guess work at that time because the category and the product itself was new and hence they were unable to predict the right price and quoted 1/3rd of the total cost incurred by the customer to begin with.
On the outreach to prospective customers , JC used to do lots of cold calls but in a well thought out manner. He writes contextual emails and always cold calls at a senior level and always gives the person an url for them to see and believe what he talks. He understood this trick because he also receives lots of cold calls and emails but none of them motivated him to reach out to the sales person as they were very generic. JC says that cold calls has to be supported by something relevant to their prospects. They got almost all their customers with cold calls only where the founders only sold and emailed. They made every touch point of the sales cycle relevant to the prospects. They start with a friend in a company and move above to increase their speed. Using the personanlized sales methodology, JC was able to convert his Idea to Revenue.
Ubona currently has around 60 people where almost all the telecom operators are their customers and this also includes various leading e-commerce players like Flipkart, Homehop18, Myntra, Airtel,Tata, Aircel, Vodafone, Policy bazaar to name a select few. They do approximately 100 million transactions every month. They have raised funds from Capital18 and have raised first round of funding. Reliance has also invested in the company. They have been featured in the Delliote fastest 50 as a topper for the last 3 years.
JC’s Advice to early stage founders – Always have a strong team(with complementary skills having good relationship and trust), Have a great value proposition(know clearly that it has value whatever you do) and Ruthlessness in Implementation to do what you commit to. It is not so important to raise lots of money but raise enough to lead a peaceful life and provide value to consumer and become self-sufficient and become profitable.