In disruptive technologies, what's small project for big IT firms, is big business for us: Vikram Gulati, Happiest Minds CEO
Happiest Minds hit the headlines two years ago not just because it was yet another entrepreneurial venture of MindTree co-founder Ashok Soota, but also because it had gulped down the biggest ever first round of VC funding in India. The company absorbed around $45 million, led by Canaan Partners and Intel Capital, in 2011. Moreover, within a short time span, it has already hit a revenue run rate of $20 million. The firm describes itself as a next-generation IT services provider, focused on harnessing disruptive technologies such as cloud, mobility, social CRM, analytics, infrastructure and security. VCCircle caught up with Vikram Gulati, CEO and MD of Happiest Minds, who talks about the path to IPO, change in strategy related to acquisitions, expansion plans and much more. Here are the edited excerpts.
You have a goal to become the fastest Indian IT services firm to reach $100 million in revenues. How do you plan to achieve that? Is that the milestone for the proposed IPO?
We made two separate announcements, but those got mixed up. We have said that Happiest Minds wants to be the fastest company to reach $100 million in revenues and secondly, we want to go public in the 6th or the 7th year of inception (2016-2017). At present, we are a company which has an annualised run rate of $20 million and not annual revenues of $20 million. We never mentioned $100 million revenues in 6-7 years. Those were two separate statements.
As a company, we are focusing on social computing, analytics and unified communication, which will be the need of our clients in the coming future. The technologies we focus on are cloud, social and mobility. What is small project for bigger IT companies, is big business for us. This is an opportunity that we are trying to capitalise on.
Where are you present globally and what are the markets which look attractive to you?
Besides India, we are present in the UK, the US and Singapore, and we are also looking at Australia. We wish to be present only in these geographies. At present, India looks like an attractive and big geography for us. We are a company focused on India delivery. About 94 per cent of our employees are currently in India.
Contract deal size in the IT industry is shrinking. How is that impacting your business?
That trend is good for us. After all, customers don't expect small companies to get those very large deals. As deals become smaller, you need smaller companies to cater to them and that is where we come into the picture.
For us, the deal size coming down is a favourable factor. Now we can service the clients more easily than we could have done for a large deal. Moreover, we are not competing for the same kind of deals that Wipro or Cognizant go for. We do compete with them, but in niche areas.
So do you mostly have large customers or small ones?
We have corporate IT clients who happen to be big companies (large to medium). But for product engineering, we mostly have small and medium companies because these are the firms who need help in that space. SMEs need more help and they are more focused on product engineering.
What are the targets and goals you have already set for Happiest Minds?
We are too early in the cycle to have specific targets for specific verticals and geographies. Right now, we are not looking at new verticals, though. We want to make it a success in the verticals where we are already present.
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