Retailers are dialling this SaaS startup to keep their stores in sync

Retailers are dialling this SaaS startup to keep their stores in sync
Vishal Purohit, founder and CEO at Wooqer
29 Apr, 2019

Boosting efficiency and productivity are common goals for most enterprises. To do this, they gather data and compile reports before drawing insights and spotting trends. But serial entrepreneur Vishal Purohit spotted a missing link. He noticed that there were no tools for different departments, which often work in silos, to share these observations and operate in sync. In 2012, Purohit decided to exploit this market opportunity by providing a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform called Wooqer.

Purohit already had vast experience in the technology segment, having founded firms such as Everse and CoreObjects. When he set about building Wooqer with a team of six people, his original idea was to bring advancements and ease of use in the consumer internet segment to enterprises.

"When we started, and to an extent today, employees in enterprises still faced a generational gap in the use of technology in terms of tools and enterprise software systems," Purohit told TechCircle.

Accessible via a browser, Wooqer provides a framework where these specific tools or systems can be created to make life easier for employees. From communicating to sharing files, all operational content and processes are hosted in one place with the aim of reducing back-and-forth for approvals and lowering the cost of implementation.

As Purohit puts it, Wooqer is like an enabler that adds a technology stack to the business stack in the form of an operations software suite which a customer can tweak to suit their needs.

Purohit said that when he tells people that his company works in the collaboration segment, they often confuse Wooqer with the likes of Zoho or even Slack. But he considers Wooqer to be a more evolved platform. "If you want to compare us with Zoho, then the best analogy I can give is that Zoho is like an app maker and we are like the iOS operating system," he said.

For the first 18 months or so, Wooqer conducted business out of India before expanding to geographies such as Palo Alto and Dubai. By the end of 2014, the firm had raised $6 million from angel investors in Silicon Valley.

"We realised which segment was truly global and this is how we landed into the retail business. We have a retail-everywhere approach," he said.

Wooqer’s client roster now includes more than 200 companies and 250,000 users across 14 countries. One of its biggest customers is retail giant Walmart, which uses Wooqer’s platform to sync activities such as tracking packages, inventory, merchandise and sales. In all, Wooqer’s clients now run more than 6,000 applications on the platform to assist with such processes.

Wooqer has also started exploring new segments such as banking and insurance. While banks are tapping Wooqer for ATM management and distribution, manufacturing companies are using the platform for sales enablement.

According to a MarketsandMarkets report, the enterprise collaboration market is expected to grow from $34.57 billion in 2018 to $59.86 billion by 2023 at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.6%. This market covers solutions such as enterprise video, enterprise social networks, project management & analytics, unified messaging and other services. Other companies such as Eidiko System Integrators, Pressmart, SPsoft and Zeroedin are also vying for a piece of the pie.

Purohit said that Wooqer needs to maintain an aggressive sales and marketing strategy to drive revenue while innovating on its SaaS platform.

"When we started our staff ratio was higher on the engineer or product development side but now the ratio has reached 50:50 between developers and business executives," Purohit said.

In India, the company has offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The southern city has the largest headcount out of a total of 72 employees. Wooqer is looking to increase its team to 200 people by the end of the year.

As Wooqer has expanded globally, India’s share in the company’s revenue has sharply declined from nearly 100% in 2015 to only around 40% now.

"By 2022, India will only contribute to 10% of the revenue," Purohit said, while adding that the India market would grow year-on-year despite the declining share.

WOAS Technology Pvt. Ltd, Wooqer’s India unit, reported a total revenue of Rs 16.03 crore for the year ended March 2018 compared to Rs 13.86 crore for the previous year. The company's losses also dipped to Rs 2.01 crore from Rs 3.30 crore in 2016-17.

Purohit said that while the US will be the largest market in the long term, Wooqer will depend on the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia to fill its coffers for now.

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