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In a computer-driven era, adopting or learning new software can be taxing and time consuming. On an individual level, a simple click on YouTube tutorials or calling up a friend who is proficient with the software can do the trick. However, for enterprises with thousands of employees, the situation to deal with a new software or facing an error is expensive and not welcomed. Customer relationship management (CRM) software used by enterprises across sectors to onboard new customers can be onerous to use.
Understanding this pain, Khadim Batti and Vara Kumar in 2013 founded a SaaS-based solution provider startup Whatfix. Based in Bengaluru, the startup in February this year raised $32 million in Series C round from Sequoia Capital.
In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Batti, chief executive officer and co-founder of Whatfix, talked about the startup built based on a feature from an earlier venture and what the future plans are.
From SearchEnabler to Navigator
Batti and Kumar have known each other for the past ten years before donning the entrepreneurial cap. Both of them worked together for Huawei Telecom where they looked after the DPI and BI solutions. Building the BI product line up from the scratch encouraged both of them to build something on their own. Thus, the two quit the Chinese telecom company in 2010 to start their own venture in 2011, SearchEnabler. The startup then focused on small medium business(SMBs) and helped them to be discoverable and enhance their search and social media visibility on their own
“Our hypothesis of ‘do it yourself’ (DIY) for small businesses and charge them $30-40 per month and get millions of businesses online didn’t go as planned,” added Batti.
Batti said small businesses failed to understand the return on investment (RoI) from their platform and demanded for a hand-holding guide rather than DIY solution. This realization made the founders go on their toes and brainstorm with new ideas. Finally, they landed on a feature called Whatfix which upon clicking will help a SMB owner to fix an issue on their CRM. Both of them saw a significant rise in interest among the businesses owners about the features. In order to scale, the company then set up a community where upon searching users/customers were able to get any type of solution required for their businesses to shoot up.
Batti said they were getting multiple queries from previous customers for a customized and private ‘WhatFix’ feature that can be used to guide their users and help their business grow.
“Till this time our intention was never to build Whatfix as a company. It was only supposed to be an extra feature to help our previous customers,” he added. However, both of them realized the market potential in the space and understood they could disrupt or rather support the training industry with it.
As there were only two of them handling the organization, they shut SearchEnabler and shifted their complete focus on Whatfix
What does Whatfix do?
In the initial days, Whatfix was helping small businesses or simplifying user onboarding in SaaS-based companies. However, the scale at which they were growing was not impressive. Soon they realized that enterprise software that gets deployed in any enterprise companies, they are usually customized and tailored. Both the founders understood that the general training the employees received were not enough to handle a custom built software. “Why not Whatfix can help these enterprises to ensure these software are adopted efficiently by the employees?” asked Batti.
This is when Whatfix changed their customer base and moved from SMBs to big enterprises.
Currently, Whatfix’s platform provides product adoption, user onboarding, employee training, self-service support and performance support for companies using enterprise Web applications. The platform allows SaaS application users to create interactive walkthroughs, or in-app guidance flows that can lead users through a task on the application. Training instructions are provided via interactive guides for a seamless on-boarding process in all enterprise areas such as HR, CRM, ERP, accounting and more.
Batti claims the platform has truncated the training time by 60 per cent, the companies are seeing a drop of 50 per cent in tickets raised by their employers, and more importantly individual productivity shot up by 10-15 per cent.
Among its 500 customers globally, 100 companies are Fortune 1000 companies. Some of the reputed company names that Bati shared include Experion, Manforce, Cardinal Health and Cisco’s BMC. Whatfix’s 70 per cent revenue comes from the US and 20 per cent are generated from western European countries such as Germany, Netherlands, France and the UK.
The company has also gone for a strategic alliance with third-party software implementation companies such as Accenture, Infosys and others. These companies implement tailor-made software for their customers, recommend Whatfix or help them to deploy it as well. Apart from these, the company has also collaborated with the software vendors. Batti said these alliances are contributing 25 per cent of the revenue now.
Batti said while at the beginning the growth numbers fell a little, soon the companies understood the importance of digitization. Batti said while they were expecting to grow at 300 per cent in terms of revenue, before the onset of the pandemic, the company has now revised its target to 220 per cent. Currently, Whatfix is growing at 100 per cent. Since June, the company has hired more than 50 people. Batti said enterprises have started using their platform as it is helping them to train their employees remotely as work from home has become the new normal.
According to him, there were few new customers onboarding due to the limited cash crunch, but the company saw a significant rise from its existing customers. For instance, if Whatfix was present in three verticals earlier, now they are helping the company in six verticals due to the pandemic. Batti said the pandemic has also let its customers come up with new usages of Whatfix. Giving an example, Batti said their Australian government client Moorabool Shire Council has integrated certain COVID-19 guidelines on its website. Batti said these are some additional use cases that organizations are implementing due to the ongoing pandemic. The startup during the pandemic has launched its desktop, iOS and Android versions to support organizations across the sectors. The company has also rolled out its automation beta, to improve individual’s efficiency.