We are publishing the interview of Mr. Chaitanya Chokkareddy, CIO (Chief Innovation Officer), Ozonetel Communications Pvt. Ltd.
Please tell us about the founders of your company.
We are three co-founders:
- Murthy Chintalapati, CEO & Founder: He has more than 25 years of experience in embedded system, Networking Telecom, Semiconductor & Cloud solution.
- Atul Sharma, Cofounder & CTO: He is the catalyst behind the Kookoo platform, having over 15 years of experience building telecom solutions with reputed companies like Avaya, Cisco & Nortel.
- Chaitanya Chokkareddy, CIO (Chief Innovation Officer): I am responsible to figure out new technologies & products in the cloud telephony space which can be of use in Ozonetel.. He is an open source specialist and a speaker at various startup forums.
Give us a brief background of what founders were doing before starting the venture.
We have core expertise of telecom sector as the team delivered solutions around Avaya, Nortel, Tellme and AT&T. We have built complex solutions around Avaya for new telcos and enterprises like GE Money, Max NewYork Life etc. When we looked millions of SMBs and SMEs they were not in a position to afford these solutions. We built a VXML based hosted platform to address their needs. Then we figured out that there is an opportunity to build a open platform with APIs and allow others to come and build their own apps with voice resources integrated from our platform.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
We provide cloud telephony solutions means without investing on hardware and software businesses can start an IVR, monitor business calls, set up call center and can make innovative voice applications.
August, 2010 was the turning point as we launched KooKoo, the first cloud telephony platform in India with APIs and launched it at Unplugged event. New age startups like Zomato, Practo started seeing the advantage of leveraging the platform with access to telco resources across multiple cities instead of building telecom platforms on their own, which is complex piece to handle.
At the same time, we built couple of apps using the same APIs and launch CloudAgent, the first cloud based contact center offering in India. Conventional businesses like Trident Hyundai seeing the benefit of tracking sales and service calls to offer a better service to their customers. We solved a real pain point for these kind of SMEs as they have 10-15 outlets within Bangalore and management is not able to get a view of customer conversations with their sales and service executives. They got a plug & play solution without investing lakhs of rupees upfront. Their management could track all calls in real time and getting MIS reports online and into their email inbox without having to depend on any one.
This was the Eureka moment for us as there are millions of such SMB/SMEs looking for similar platform to address their customer engagement. Its just the question of creating awareness about the availability of such a platform.
How did you get the initial capital? What returns does it have? Tell us about the investors (if any).
We are a bootstrapped company with a bit of angel money coming in from Singapore based investors. Ironically, Indian VCs don’t have appetite to take risk if the venture is not addressing global markets. In a way, I consider that as blessing in disguise as we always were able to fund our new initiatives with internal accruals and managed the ops in a frugal manner with profitability as a focus. Now, we are all set to launch our service on a global scale to address US, Europe, APAC.
Please tell us about the Product / Solution. Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Our solution is completely cloud based, so you just need an internet connection and a chrome browser to get your call center started. It’s delivered in a simple pay-per-use model on a plug & play basis.
If you want to set up a call center with 5 agents. All your agents need a Chrome browser with internet and a mobile/landline phone to handle voice. They just have to log into our cloud portal and they are up & running to handle inbound & outbound calls after you configure the skills.
If you want to set up a distributed call center across 3-4 cities, with agents distributed, you can set up your call center and take it live in less than 30 minutes. You can monitor your agents remotely from wherever you are. That’s the USP of the solution.
If you have scaled from 5 agents to 500 agents in a single location or multiple locations, we can enable you with a Hybrid solution so that you optimize your technology costs. We enable your enterprise to handle multiple communication channels like Chat, Email, Social Media apart from Voice. You can seamlessly integrate with any CRM of your choice- be it Salesforce, Zoho, Zendesk or custom built in house.
You can rely us on to scale you from a start up scenario to a enterprise distributed scenario for all your customer engagement needs on multiple channel like voice, email, chat, SMS, social media.
What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? Uniqueness about your Startup.
We have solutions spanning the entire spectrum of business communications, whether its for an SME, for an enterprise or for a custom telephony solution. I can say that we are the only one to have robust cloud telephony platform with APIs and having coverage of 18 telecom circles. CloudAgent, is the only cloud based contact center solution which enables a distributed call/contact center needs and we can scale from 5 agents to 1000 agents thru a combinations of Cloud & Hybrid deployments which competitors can’t. Our customers selected us for our deep domain knowledge in telecom backed deep expertise backed with 24 x 7 support to keep their Ops up and running 24×7.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
We work on subscription based model. We did tried Free/Freemium model but it didn’t worked for us.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
SME – Business will not miss a single business call, even when they are not available or mobile phone is switched off , they will get a missed call alert. Can make the call professional with an IVR and setup 2-5 seater call center. On traditional setup, these solution is very costly and also have to invest on maintenance.
With Ozonetel, SME can get all the service without investing anything on hardware or software. Our basic plan starts @ Rs 999/month
How did you get your first customer?
August 2010 was the turning point as we launched KooKoo at Unplugged event. There we got our first customer Zomato.
What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Technology is a key for success and we continue to keep our solution up to date with the latest developments in the technology space. We recently integrated facebook & twitter into our call center solution giving our customers more channels to interact with their consumers. Our investment in speech technology also has brought us dividends – HUL’s speech enabled “Lo kar lo baat” campaign won a Media lion for its impact. Most of the revenue is coming from India as of now and we would like to expand aggressively to other countries.
We have tasted good traction from Europe and APAC in the form of inbound enquiries. Having established ourselves as leading cloud communications provider, we see an opportunity to launch globally and address the huge matured markets like USA, Europe and Australia. We will be going live with our international offering by end of this year.
Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?
We have grown exponentially over the years with more than 100% YoY growth. We have achieved 4m ARR purely out of India customer base which is a rare in SaaS space. We have more than 1000+ enterprise customers and 5000+ developers on the platform cutting across 20+ verticals. We see very serious adoption from enterprise customers like HDFC Life, SBI, HDFC Bank, Intuit, Monsanto, HUL. In terms of website vistors, we have 25k visitors per month
Any other information you would like to share:
We have been awarded by Nasscom, iSpirit, Deloitte, Frost & Sulliven at various points of our journey.
Thanks Mr. Chaitanya.