Episode 179 / July 25, 2022

Building SaaS Behemoth From India To Global – Founder of Vymo

41 min

Episode 179 / July 25, 2022

Building SaaS Behemoth From India To Global – Founder of Vymo

41 min
Listen on


In Sales the stakes are high. And for company’s growth it is important to get it right.

Thanks to multiple options of Sales engagement softwares which streamlines the sales process through integrations which enables companies to combine their sales and marketing efforts to create personalized and automated sales journeys.

In today’s episode of 100x Entrepreneur, we have with us Yamini Bhat, Co-founder & CEO, Vymo; i.e An intelligent sales engagement platform for financial institutions.

Started in 2013, Vymo is used by 300,000+ Sales Reps across 65+ Enterprises such as HDFC Bank, SBI Life Insurance, and Sun Life Financial among others.

While most SaaS startups go global from Day 1, Vymo is one of the few Indian SaaS companies which scaled to more than $10M ARR with India Enterprises as clients.

During the episode, catch Yamini sharing why did they chose to focus on BFSI, how did they brought awareness for both their team and customers about their product and much more.


Notes –

01:33 – Intro

03:05 – Career background in Sales Transformation at Mckinsey which led her to Vymo

06:48 – Family background and getting into BITS Pilani & IIM Bangalore?

14:58 – Quitting Mckinsey and identifying the problem statement to startup

17:29 – Till Series-A being focused on a horizontal solution

20:53 – Zoho Sponsored – Prashant Ganti on Where do founders struggle with Payroll and how can they fix it?

23:04 – Milestones during Vymo’s journey

26:26 – Key challenges with team and customers early-on

28:56 – Convincing the first few BFSI customers for an average contract value of $350K

31:54 – Building a SaaS behemoth from India and then expanding globally

36:16 – Her 0 to $10 Million ARR playbook for SaaS-entrepreneurs in India


Read the full transcript here:


Yamini 0:00

I think somehow the DNA of the company is aligned to that kind of model. You would hire a very different group, if you’re running a developer tool kind of business versus SMB SaaS versus a large enterprise SaaS, then we have salespeople on our teams who understand that it’s going to take two years for them to break through a public sector account. And the point is, the two years are not casual, you’re not sitting for two years. There are literally five to ten activities you’re doing every week on each of these accounts still, to bring you there. So the DNA is aligned to this.


So I don’t think we get jittery about the fact that these are eight to nine months sales cycles, etc. We know that we need to put in that effort and chip away at it. And we plan accordingly. So it’s not like the unit economics of Vymo look any different from some of the best SaaS companies in the world. On some of our KPIs, we are actually in the top 1%. And we just have to chip away at this. There’s just a different model and playbook you deploy across teams.


Nansi 1:02

Hi, everyone. Before we begin, I would like to share that this podcast is brought to you by Prime Venture Partners. An early stage VC fund led by Amit Somani, Shripati Acharya and Sanjay Swami. Prime is often the first institutional investor in category defining tech startups in FinTech, SAS, healthcare and education, such as Mygate, Quizizz, PlanetSpark, Bolt and Glip. To know more about Prime, visit


Siddhartha 1:33

Hi, this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia. Welcome to 100x Entrepreneur Podcast. Today I have with me someone who has built a category in b2b software for financial institutions. Welcome Yamini Bhat founder of Vymo.Yamini is a graduate of IIM Bangalore, then worked in McKinsey for six years. She has global experience in McKinsey. And when she wanted to build her own company, she wanted to, I listened to one of our previous talks back in 2018, in which she said she wanted to sell to C-suite an enterprise software, because that’s where her edge became in McKinsey talking to C-suite, solving problems for them. Welcome Yamini to the 100x Entrepreneur podcast.


Yamini 2:21

Thank you so much Siddhartha, excited to be here.


Siddhartha 2:25

Listeners, What we are going to discuss in the podcast today is the zero to 10 mil ARR. playbook. If you are a SaaS entrepreneur, any entrepreneur and want to build, a playbook or learn how to go to 10 mil ARR, what are the different hurdles, bottlenecks that you can face during your journey, especially in this market, when July 2022, we are fearing a recession or recession is almost there, there could be none better than Yamini who has built a giant software company, more than 10 million ARR, present across Asia Pacific and Japan and US and now is looking to go triple the revenues and the number of customers in the next two to three years.


So Yamini, my first question to you is, before you became an entrepreneur, what were some of the thoughts, the backgrounds that you accumulated, the experiences that you accumulated, that led you to entrepreneurship.


Yamini 3:20

So a lot of what we do at Vymo today, predominantly got the learning or the thought process kind of came from my time at McKinsey. That’s for me, of course, I do have a co-founder Venkat, who spent about the same amount of time roughly a little more than five years at Google. And so a lot of how he thinks of product design and engineering comes from his background over there. Now, in terms of the problem statement, we pick the industries that we picked. At McKinsey I’ve done a lot of work on sales transformation, with some of the largest enterprises, and I’ve done this work in Asia as well as the US. Most of these were financial institutions, but they were also telco healthcare, kind of customers.


And across the board, McKinsey usually works with some of the largest companies in the world. The problems there from a scale were massive. So large, massive distributed sales teams with 5,10, 20, 200, 1000 sellers spread all over, all around the geography. As you keep growing the team to be able to achieve higher and higher growth goals. Your Productivity falls down very steeply. And the only tools we saw being used were on tighter and tighter controls and tighter and tighter management and reporting. Which, again, any sales, any smart salesperson knows how to game, So there was not enough real information on what sellers were doing on the ground, to be able to really, factually say here is what will move the needle significantly and consistently and then there were tools missing that could help you drive bottom up transformation, it was very top down, which requires a lot of energy, which has many points where it could break down. One bad manager and you just can’t get through to the team below.


So Vymo was built with the intent to drive bottom up sales transformation in large enterprises. We chose to go vertical in our play here, because the way an insurance agent sells insurance or your wealth manager advises you on your lifetime wealth Management is very different from how a tech company sells software. And there are enough horizontal solutions out there, which try to get to the 10-20% of the problem statements just like CRMs provide a very good customer, 360 And a web based cloud based database. But they are very, very thin in terms of being able to provide a salesperson 360 view of what sellers are doing, what’s working, not working and how to coach them.


So the goal was to go vertical, because the sales models are very unique. In some of these verticals, the volume is huge in terms of the global scale of how many salespeople or institutions there are. And the market is only going to grow hundreds of times bigger than what it is today. Because financial inclusion across the world. If you see the range of financial products that exist for a family, household, individual or a business, we’ve not even scratched the surface of what needs to be in position to be used by customers, target customers. So huge, vertical, non existent solution space. And we found the chance to, and of course, as we grew, we realized that this was a massive category with more than 10 billion addressable markets that we have stumbled into and happen to be pretty uniquely positioned. And at that point in time, it just seemed like it was a very big problem without a solution that’s out of the box out there. So those were the learnings from me or Google that we brought to the table.


Siddhartha 6:47

And Yamini, let’s take a step back. Tell us about your family background. What did your father and mother do? You choose IIM Bangalore, Mackensy, how were these choices made?


Yamini 7:00

So mom is a homemaker. She comes from a family of 11 kids and education was valued. They lived in a very rural part. And they used to travel quite a bit of distance to get to the schools and colleges, etc. She studied biology and wanted to be a marine biologist. But also post her marriage, once she had a kid, her first kid. I’m one of three. She was insanely focused on making us successful versus pursuing a career, that was her individual choice. And even today, she gets a lot of joy just because she derives the most joy by spending time with us and doing things for us. So that’s about Mom, Dad worked with NABARD, it was a public sector bank then privatized. They helped finance rural projects and livelihood projects.


So NABARD spearheaded the whole transition as an organization towards for example, modernization of Indian agriculture, a lot of the watershed projects or soil erosion limited like borewells, canal irrigation projects, or even seed savings and crop rotations, multi cropping, commercial, cash cropping, all of these were propagated by NABARD and I have been able to watch his work from the sidelines. I had the chance to watch from silence for nearly 15-20 years and could see how his work at grassroots all the way till he became like one of the top 10 leaders there, how decisions that they made really influenced livelihood at the grassroot level. So that’s my background. That’s their background, but as parents, in general, we moved around a lot because that was the bank. So we kept moving.


So dealing with ambiguity, trying to find my place and new situations, etc, I think kind of became natural. The thing that helped me the most coming out of my childhood, is the fact that at no point in my life did my parents ever make me feel like I was different from my brother or women could do less or that girls need to behave in a certain way. And that’s very unique because now I look back and now I hear everything that is going around. And when I started getting into a professional career, there was so much noise on equality, discrimination, biases, etc. all of that was new when I was hearing about it. Because I never felt like anyone told me I was any different before that. And therefore being cocooned from all of this so early on, I think, has given me the confidence that actually took me through the last 10-15-20 years in terms of this journey, I was not worried about failing or just leaving over any high paying job and trying to do something that I wanted to do, etc, like, that confidence kind of took me to where I am today.


Siddhartha 10:08

And what about the subsequent choices on BITS Pilani and IIM Banglore?


Yamini 10:15

Yeah, so it was that I was the top of my batch in board exam in 12th and BITS was a very natural journey from there. I didn’t apply for any of the IITs at that point in time. And BITS just seemed a natural place to go to. Dad always wanted me to aim high. But like I was really not shooting to be the topper, it just turned out. And this was just a great place to go to. BITS itself was amazing in terms of the experience that we had there, we were 200 kilometers away from a pizza joint from anything, in fact, so there was a lot of, and BITS has a very, very unique model in how academics run there. Classes are not mandatory attendance is not mandatory, you get to choose amongst six, seven different professors for every course. It’s like a timetable that you have to create for yourself, you have to bid for professors, you have to bid for courses.


So there is so much independence and trust that they place in you that you also have to hone your judgment on what you want to do. You constantly have to think and question you’re not just being given a timetable or coursework that you have to get through, you have to think about what you’re going to pick. And you’ll have to think about which Professor, what time of the day, if you want a window of two hours nationwide when they can take a nap, you have to optimize for that and you can. The interesting thing was that you could optimize for a three day weekend. You could optimize for any of these. And so being given the choice actually pushed a lot of people to be creative and thoughtful in what they chose to do and how they chose to spend their time. And therefore I think so many entrepreneurs come out of BITS Pilani even today, I think that is Stellar and how they build that out.


From BITS I interned at Bhabha Atomic, then I interned in France, I had a job offer there, I wanted to come back to India, and my parents wanted me to do the usual thing MS and go to the US, all my friends and most of my batch mates left and average salary coming out of BITS Pilani at that point was $6,000 per annum. An average fange entry level job was $60,000 in the US. So naturally, all our Gold medalists left. And it kind of felt stupid to stay back. But I’ve worked in the US, I’ve worked in London, I work in Paris. So I know that every place comes with its pros and cons and it just feels like India has so much potential and opportunity. And some of our best brains are leaving. So who takes care of making this place better. So I think it’s partly stupid, partly patriotism, partly just, I don’t know, mindfulness that made me stay back.


From there, I did my MBA at IIM Bangalore. And from there, I actually wanted to go to public services. With public services the problem was, you have to finish your MBA at IIM Bangalore, and then you have to give UPSC and that’s a commitment in itself. So that was the path I was taking. And along the way, the guidance was that, in general from people who were in the IAS, some mentors that my dad connected me to, their guidance was to have a bit of work experience and understand what the world is about before jumping into public services and be more mindful of what I was trying to solve.


So I decided to look for, go through placements, etc. Worked with Goldman Sachs in London during my internship. I had an offer, decided to come back, and join McKinsey. McKinsey gives you opportunities to work with the government on public sector projects. It was a great experience, and I had the chance to sit down with some of the MPs. So a lot of learning from there. Ultimately, when I had the chance to start thinking seriously about UPSC, and commit myself to it. My understanding of myself was that temperament wise, I was not the person who could wait for 20-25 years to earn my right to have impact in a bureaucratic setting. I was not the temperament that would be successful over there.


So I spoke to a lot of mentors in the industry. And their whole point was to focus on things that I know really well. And that can create a lot of value. And focus on building something in that space, and earning credibility, creating wealth. Which can be repurpose to solve some of the biggest problems of our times. And that led me towards the path of entrepreneurship. Long story.


Siddhartha 14:58

And when you decide that you want to quit McKinsey and build something, how did building a CRM solution for large enterprises come into picture, you would have various options. And being a consultant, you will study each market very objectively, you will not be tied to a personal problem which most entrepreneurs price to solve.


Yamini 15:19

Definitely, So I did the whole framework 2 by 2, what am I good at, What do I know really well, and then the 20 Plus sales transformation project. What will people be willing to pay a lot of money for, which is people were paying millions of dollars to McKinsey to solve that problem. So somewhere, I found a big enough bubble and went through the whole process, but also worked very intuitively. Because of the whole MBTI framework, I’m a very, very intuitive person, So it did seem like this was top of mind for CXOs. And me and my five year career doing 21 sales transformation projects is marketing and sales. It’s by itself a signal that this is such a big problem. And I’d work with some of the largest customers that McKinsey had.


So I definitely went through that process. Now, Vymo is not a CRM. We are a sales engagement platform that sits on top of CRMs. Therefore, it was the intersection of what I know really well, and that people will be paid a significant value to solve. And is anyone else doing it? It didn’t seem like so it’s a new category. And that fit bang into the DNA that Venkat and I have, because we are not good at being someone who tries to make something. Existing bees make it smoother, cleaner, better, cheaper, etc. We were more excited by Hey, this has never been done before. Enterprise Tech has very minimal adoption, salespeople don’t like to use any tools that will push them to report anything, and usually are one of the most skeptical lot but they’re also the largest part of someone’s workforce engagement is crucial. So how do you now define user adoption? How do you drive that in such a large user base, such a large skeptical user base? That seems like a meaty problem and Venkat could put his Google mind to it, I could put my McKinsey experience on creating value ROI for customers, etc. to it. And I believe we have built out solutions, which can deliver massive 20-50 times ROI to customers within three to six months, which is usually unheard of in large enterprise software.


Siddhartha 17:29

And you mentioned in offline conversation before the podcast that till series A, you are a horizontal solution, sales solution.


Yamini 17:41

So we discovered a lot of things in the journey when Venkat and I started this company, SaaS in India was not a very prominent thing. There were two companies, Zoho and Freshworks. Today, there are 2000, probably more. So we were just figuring this out as we went. And there was the whole segment, we had to discover, mid market versus large enterprise. We knew clearly that we were solving for enterprise, so SMB, or developer tools were not what we were building. So the journey went from realizing what we are building and the r&d involved to do this. We really need committed long term high growth, large enterprises, we need that volume. So discovering that this is a large enterprise play that we wanted to do took us nearly a year now, after four or five launches, deployments and experimentations.


Then we ran with horizontal play for two years, nearly. All the way from 30-40k deals to 100k deals, average contract value. And discovered a lot of things like a lot of our customers at that point were series A funded startups, after we raised funding and realized that many of them are just figuring out their process. So giving them a best in class process. They need their own journey to arrive at it. Many of them did not survive up to their own series B or C. So there was a massive amount of churn and a lot of wasted energy. So we wanted to look at organizations which were on the fastest growth path and survival was not there. Again, we went even more upmarket, started going to the number one to three banks, number one to three insurance companies, etc. And also we realize if you want to deliver sales outcomes, not just CRM is, for example, a single view of a customer, It’s a very easy to use database of customer information, that you can plug and play into many things. It’s a system of record, whereas Vymo is a system of engagement.


And to be really relevant to an end user you need to solve their journeys very uniquely for their journeys and that’s why we when we realize we want to go deeper into certain journeys and let’s pick journeys and verticals which are massive for the world. And we learn that in large enterprise BFSI as such as nearly 40% of Microsoft’s or Gartner’s earnings in a way. So it seems like the largest vertical with the most IT budgets, very high mode because they are very risk averse. But if you’re able to solve for those compliance barriers, then you become one of the few who has cracked that space. So invested heavily and decided to jump into that all of this was almost, pre A, we just decided to go up market. So series A post resale trying to walk the market was what we were doing between A to B is when we took the call on going much more deeper into a vertical. Post B was the journey of going international.


So that’s what our different life stages look like, post b2c was only about going international, breaking into seven countries outside of India, etc. And now is when we are at the inflection point on a lot of these new markets. So now here on the journey is about execution for growth.


Siddhartha 20:52

Dear listeners, before we dive further into the podcast, I would like to welcome Prashant Kunti, Head of Product Management at Zoho payroll and Zoho book. Prashant, What trends are you observing in the payroll and HR space?


Prashant 21:07

Thanks Siddhartha. So first off, with the pandemic induced remote working. So that’s something that has caught on and a hybrid working, a distributed workforce is here to stay. So this affects the way a company’s HR and Payroll departments operate. And so this introduces complexities while a distributed workforce is good. It introduces payroll and HR complexities as well. Secondly, we are going to see more and more in the emerging area of compensation and payroll analytics next to what I’m seeing is more and more embedded. The first regulated embedded banking, payroll systems connecting with banks, more and more banks, more and more banks coming forward to integrate with payroll systems. And so do insurance providers so that the convergence between banking insurance, FinTech and payroll that’s going to happen, also expect more AI and ML going to be incorporated into payroll as well.


That’s not something that comes to your mind at the very beginning when you think about payroll, but we are going to see payroll assistance that employees can interact with to understand their compensation details better. And finally, we’re also going to see a lot more payroll being more deeply integrated with various other systems, not just from the transaction point of view, but to help with better decision making across organizations.


Siddhartha 22:55

Thank you, Prashant. Dear listeners, you will find more about Zoho payroll in the show notes. Now let’s further continue with the podcast.


And can you describe 2013, at what point you achieved certain milestones like the first 1 million ARR, what year you achieved that, how many customers it took you for the three to five million journey?


Yamini 23:18

Yeah, the first person we hired was in 2014 or so. And then Venkat and I were mostly on paper doing napkin design work, then from 2014, it took us about late 2016, late mid 2016 is when we raised our series, and that’s when we were getting close to like 700k or so in ARR. Then from there, we grew about more than 4x, four and a half x sources over the next two and a half years, two years or so. And started focusing like at that point in time 70% 80% of our revenue became BFSI in that journey. And then we raise Series B. And since then the international focus and two and a half, three years after is when we raised series C.


Siddhartha 24:08

What revenue milestone or customer milestone were you at when you raised your Series C?


Yamini 24:15

At series C we were about 45 customers and had already crossed that 10 million threshold you were speaking about.


Siddhartha 24:24

And you never raised the round before your Sequoia 5 million round.


Yamini 24:29

No we’ve not done seed or angel.


Siddhartha 24:32

So it was your own and Venkat’s money that went in.


Yamini 24:33

We actually didn’t really put much of our money into it. Venkat and I, we never spent our money on this. I think it’s probably coming from the middle class mindset. We just tried to get the customers to pay and started hiring once we are paying customers. Actually, even today, we go to the market for fundraisers once we have figured out and finished our experiments and we really know that these are the three things we need to do for the next two years. Now let’s push for it. And it’s mostly for that execution that we raise. So you’ll see that there are longer and longer gaps between our fundraise cycles. We actually take inspiration from a few companies like Vmart which only raised 4 million in its entire life before going to IPO. In fact, Salesforce only ever raised 65 million before going to IPO.


So some of the best companies actually become cash efficient fairly quickly. For us, the reason we have raised three times has always been because large enterprises have massive sales cycles and therefore payback periods are longer. Going international, every country has a large sales cycle. And again, for large enterprise kind of targeting, the go to market is nearly one and a half to two years for breaking into any new market. Because putting a team in place ramping them up as a six to eight month process pipeline, marketing that converting to pipeline, converting to deals is another 9 to 12 month process.


So you need that much investment before you make dollars out of this. And therefore that’s where most of our fundraisers have gone into that investment we need to make before these things take off. And we wanted to do multiple of these at the same time, multiple countries, etc. But otherwise, unit economics itself is pretty solid for Vymo. We have 153%, net revenue retention, we have our sales efficiencies more than one. So our unit economics are pretty strong. And our burn therefore is relatively controlled.


Siddhartha 26:27

And in your journey. What would you describe as some of the toughest challenges have been till now?


Yamini 26:33

Part of this, I think if we will do this again, definitely we know a lot more about SaaS, including the fact that it’s called SaaS now, I wouldn’t know SaaS when they started. There is a lot more talent in the market today than when we started. The amount of effort we had to put in to educate not just customers about this category, but the need for it, the pricing, battling the mindset on, being a cheap product coming out of India versus actually being a more expensive product than some of the global options that they were evaluating. Many of these, and then people, we had to create talent initially, we had to take bets on generalists.


And really, like they invested in us and we invested in them, and we grew together and figured it out. The talent we have today, the leaders we have today, are Some of the best in the SaaS world. So that we had to kind of build from almost zero base. There was no one with large enterprise SaaS experience who had sold BFSI into a vertical globally. So those were some of the bigger challenges we had to chip away at. But I don’t think there were days or nights when we were like, Oh, my God, this is crumbling. What do we do? We didn’t have to go through that.


Siddhartha 27:52

And did the longer sales cycle deter you?


Yamini 27:55

I think somehow the DNA of the company is aligned to that kind of model. You would hire a very different group, if you’re running a developer tool kind of business versus SMB SaaS versus a large enterprise SaaS, then we have salespeople on our teams who understand that it’s going to take two years for them to break through a public sector account. And the point is, the two years are not casual, you’re not sitting for two years. There are literally five to ten activities you’re doing every week on each of these accounts still, to bring you there. So the DNA is aligned to this.


So I don’t think we get jittery about the fact that these are eight to nine months sales cycles, etc. We know that we need to put in that effort and chip away at it. And we plan accordingly. So it’s not like the unit economics of Vymo look any different from some of the best SaaS companies in the world. On some of our KPIs, we are actually in the top 1%. And we just have to chip away at this. There’s just a different model and playbook you deploy across teams.


Siddhartha 28:56

And I believe your average contract value would be somewhere between $100,000 to $300,000. Today.


Yamini 29:03

It’s actually more than that. I think somewhere $350,000 to $400,000.


Siddhartha 29:07

So initially for your first 10 BFSI customers, How did you manage to convince such a high paying software, which is sitting on top of yours?


Yamini 29:18

Yeah, so it was not easy. Many of them spent much less on the CRM itself as a whole. But one of the things that made us choose BFSI is that their sales cycles are small. They sell insurance policies or wealth management products within two to three weeks. So these enterprises when they even have to spend $1 Forget about what they’re spending on us. On top of technology, which is already recognised like a CRM. They understand the pain, they understand that there’s a huge gap. They wouldn’t believe that a startup will solve this where the biggest cloud SaaS company in the world, not AWS. Like Salesforce has not already solved it.


So it’s tough for them. believe that we can do it. And therefore, usually, initially, to build our credibility in this category, we had to do pilots. We always were clear that we would only do paid pilots so that customers are committed to success too. And we need to make sure that within a four to eight week period in a POC, we are able to show outcomes, actual sales increase. otherwise, on what basis would we ask them to pay us $2 When they’re spending $1 on the CRM. And we built the product out in a way that we were able to do that. And they saw results that they’ve never seen before, they did not see results that they’ve not even think they could expect just from how they set targets for their team. These were like 3x better than targets they were originally setting for that team.


So that’s what drew conviction, our first BFSI customer, in fact, when post the pilot after almost a 4x increase in lead conversions after two, three weeks, when he asked for approval for Vymo. He was told to deploy the CRM and do whatever he could with the CRM and not buy something on top. He actually gave Vymo’s purchase order and his resignation letter to his boss and said sign one of the two. You can’t give me a target and not give me the tools I need. And that was very scary, even for us because someone put their career on line for us. And it recently happened for one of our first customers in the US also. Where they asked for Vymo or said that they would resign.


So that’s what told us that we were doing something really. And then we stuck with that. But we had to prove it to the customer. And therefore adoption and fast ROI at fast launches have been part of our DNA and how we built out.


Siddhartha 31:54

Yamini, you built YMO in a very counter intuitive way. Whereas most SaaS entrepreneurs, what they try to do is start selling in the US first and then expand into other geographies. Whereas what you do is build a SaaS behemoth in India, then go to APJ. And now you have finally early signs of success in us. Why was that?


Yamini 32:16

So when you depend on your segment play, when you’re targeting SMB, you’re usually also marketing through Google ads. And when you’re mid market, you’re marketing yourself through content, and therefore your reach is pretty global, it can be pretty global at a marginal cost difference to you. For a large enterprise you play every account lead, you have 1000 target accounts, or 10,000, or 5000, or whichever way, and then those are split by geography. And therefore, you need local presence, you need local presence of not just sales, but also pre sales, and potentially customer success, business development, etc. To be able to break through these large accounts. These are fortune 5000-1,000 companies, and 1000, probably a million other companies are targeting them.


So you need to get onto the radar, it’s a very focused play, and requires local presence. Now, if you see our journey, very naturally, our goal was to build a product company out of here, that was something that Venkat and I really wanted to do to build a company that could create opportunities that our gold medalist could stay back for in India. So that’s something that we are extremely proud of. And that’s how the product and engineering got built out of India. Now in the process of experimenting and finding our feet, we ended up onboarding two of the top three banks in India, two, three of the top five, six insurers in India, etc. So we found our product market fit very, very quickly. And if you look at the growth that is happening in Asia at this point in time, typically, what do you expect from a SaaS company at that stage, you expect a 4x growth year on year, then you expect 3x, and you expect 2x.


And all of that was happening for us right off the bat here. Which was very economical, also in a way that we were getting to a 1 million scale without even having to step out of one city in a way. And that is a large enterprise SaaS play. Even if you look at today, we have more than $10 million in business coming just out of Asia. And that is expected to double this year again and potentially double even next year. So if you look at this, you can see that the growth potential that is happening over here would make any SaaS company or SaaS investor want to have the same play Of course, the largest TAM for us will probably be in the US usually 60% of the CRM market and let’s assume that that’s how even the new age technology will play out. Asia is growing fast. We will hit all our SaaS growth KPIs just off the bat in Asia. But the US success will give us the shot at being a one million dollar company in revenue one day. And that’s why that market is important. And that’s why our entry into that market and huge focus at this point in time.


But even outside of that the fact that Asia will continue to double in its growth year on year is such a sweet muscle to have. And the unit economics are fantastic even here. This is not something that many folks would have believed even five years ago, in fact, it was one of the biggest skepticism we received from investors, just the fact that, hey, you’re starting in Asia, will you be able to sell in the US, our first US customer ended up being Berkshire Hathaway. In Asia, we have 74% daily active usage . We ended up having 85% daily active usage, so our numbers only became better over there. But that skepticism has been very, there are reasons for that, because Asia is expected to be a much more of a much lower price point market, it’s expected to be a much smaller TAM. But I do think the world is changing in terms of where high growth will come from. And Asia is changing in terms of what they’ll be willing to pay for value.


Siddhartha 36:16

Yamini if you have to share some parts of your playbook, How to create a 10 mil ARR SaaS company, for those SaaS entrepreneurs sitting in India, selling to India and then globally, enterprise SaaS large ECVs, how to do it, what would be your 5 to 10 points?


Yamini 36:34

Yeah. Wait for, very, very large enterprise customers. For example, Amagi is another PR company that sells into streaming large streaming companies, for them Hotstar, for example, would be a massive account. Similarly, unless you’re selling to very large enterprise SaaS, I’m not sure starting with India and trying to go global should be the playbook, you can just start normal, If you’re doing so we just start global, how does it matter whether some be certain and make sure that your global right from day zero. The guidance might be to never go to one geography first. Every product is unique. Its target market, ICP, is unique. I have seen SaaS companies whose ICPs are public sector utilities, and there is no way you can sell a consistent product to public sector utilities in Asia at this point in time, but in the US, you would have 3000 Such companies that you can sell into.


So it depends on what you’re building and who you’re targeting, and where your customer is sitting. we sell to the largest banks and insurance in the world. And AXA operates in 60 plus countries, So it’s a different story. And it’s unique to us. Just in terms of this zero to 10, or any playbook, Initially, your story is always about product market fit, Which segment what ticket size, whether it’s a vertical, whether it’s a horizontal, who you’re selling it to just trying to figure out that one you can sell at a at the price that will be, win win for both of you second, that you can do it a 10-20 times. And after that you’re looking for repeatable growth.


My biggest playbook for growth has been to invest a lot in the kind of people you hire in your company. I spent probably 100 hours finding the right person and 10 hours managing them later within a year. So over invest in the kind of talent you bring. And that’s huge. That’s what gives you massive leverage and being able to shoot for bigger and bigger goals. That’s definitely one big learning for me. We have always been, we have become very talented in how we operate at this point in time, top down.


Second thing would be if you’re the larger enterprise plane, your growth kind of depends on how quickly we get to the bigger and bigger markets. So if you can start in the US on day zero, go ahead and do that. Each market in a large enterprise takes you almost 18 to 24 months to break in and get to that stable growth on. So budget for that, plan for that, and have those expectations both internally as well as to your investors, so that no one is disappointed and no one is looking for quarter results within the first quarter. That doesn’t happen in the large enterprise play. So that’s the second one budget for it and stick with it right straight through with it. Second, what’s been truly if you’re working in a new category, which has been our journey, it’s very, very important that you are constantly focusing on your customer, way more than you’re focusing on what is competition because there are a lot of adjacent categories which might be able to, try to solve what you’re trying to solve and position a product to the customer 1/10 The cost because it’s an adjacent category for them. It’s a sweet add on for them, and they don’t even give the best products, but they might have other capabilities, which are not things that you want to build.


So don’t try to replicate what someone else has.Pay less attention to competition, but pay like 100,000 times more attention to your end user and customer. That’s extreme, and the entire DNA of your company has to be aligned to listening to the customer. And trying to understand what the customer’s problem is and finding the solution. Never let the customer write your product roadmap, let the customer explain the needs and you find out what is the right way to solve it.

So those were the three things that have been very, very big learnings for us through our journey. And again, our journey is unique. It’s a new category. It’s a very large enterprise, and it’s a vertical play. So things will look different if you are doing a global SMB play. But for anyone doing plays similar to us that would be my guidance.


Siddhartha 40:52

Thank you so much, Yamini. I know we are constrained by time and would like to dive deeper into each of the areas that you mentioned during the podcast on how you built it, Especially the team part, how you invest like 100 hours before you hire a person and 10 hours then managing them. But thank you so much for sharing, your experience, your playbooks, your learnings in life. Really appreciate that. Thanks for being on the 100X Entrepreneur podcast.


Yamini 41:18

Thank you so much. My pleasure being here. Thank you.




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