Editor’s note: InSync Solutions Ltd. provides ecommerce solutions for online retail businesses. Many software services companies in India are evolving to products companies. Atul Gupta, founder and managing director of InSync Solutions Ltd., describes how InSync made this transition.
SandHill.com: When did you launch InSync as a services company, and what led to the switch to a products focus?
Atul Gupta: We launched in October 2005 in Kolkata, India. At the time it was the only prudent career choice for me, as I was unwilling to work as an employee.
InSync was made to be a service company targeting small and midsize businesses (SMBs). But after four years we realized we couldn’t build a sustainable business with services. There were too many challenges. So we changed direction in the winter of 2009, switching our focus to products and incorporating the learnings we had gained up to that point.
SandHill.com: Did you also encounter unanticipated challenges when you started out as a product company?
Atul Gupta: Once we changed gears and became a product company things started to fall in place. The challenges we have encountered since then are not related to building great products and delivering them to customers; our challenges since then are related to non-core activities of running the company.
SandHill.com: What steps have you taken to overcome the challenges of an entrepreneur dealing with running a company?
Atul Gupta: Having a strong management team / leadership team is very important, and it is equally important that they bring in unique skills on to the table.
SandHill.com: Please describe your products and their differentiation in the market.
Atul Gupta: Our Flagship Product is SBOeConnect, which integrates SAP Business One ERP and Magento eCommerce. SBOeConnect has gained good traction in the market so far. We have acquired the business of more than 100 Magento merchants globally with 95 percent customer retention, which means the customers benefit from our product.
SBOeConnect is the number-one choice for an ecommerce platform among SAP Business One users. Our market focus is on SAP Business One ERP users in the retail industry.
As to differentiation, no other ecommerce solutions have the capability of back-office ERP, and none of the ERP systems so far have been able to come up with a compelling ecommerce solution.
Businesses need to use multiple systems to be functional. We help businesses keep their investments in multiple systems intact and yet be efficient by integrating these systems.
SandHill.com: Why did you decide to focus on the SMB market?
Atul Gupta: We did not have any experience in catering to large enterprises. Penetration into that market was a challenge. SMBs desire to have solutions that large enterprises have but at an affordable cost.
SandHill.com: How does the pricing work for your products compared to competitors?
Atul Gupta: We offer a free trial and have more than 20 customer references, which makes it comfortable for business to buy our solution. SBOeConnect is inexpensive as compared to a typical integration project approach.
SandHill.com: Is there a story behind your company name?
Atul Gupta: Not really, we just thought that InSync would be a nice name for an IT company. Incidentally, today our flagship product actually does keeps multiple systems “InSync.”
SandHill.com: Who are the investors behind your company?
Atul Gupta: We have used only the founder’s family funds.
SandHill.com: What will be your company’s focus over the next 12 months?
Atul Gupta: Our focus is now on increasing new customer acquisition and continual product improvement.
SandHill.com: Please describe the most interesting meeting you recently attended or recently led.
Atul Gupta: The 1M/1M pitch fest held in Kolkata. This was the first time I did a thorough self-assessment of the company and got the business validated by experts.
SandHill.com: What is the most interesting way you have used social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to acquire customers or employees?
Atul Gupta: Very early on we created a group in LinkedIn for our ecosystem. This effort has given good results.
SandHill.com: Who do you admire the most in the business world?
Atul Gupta: Richard Duffy, SAP Business One evangelist.
SandHill.com: From your observation, what is the most challenging aspect of innovation, and how have you overcome that challenge at your company?
Atul Gupta: Execution holds the key, and we have overcome by trying hard. Most of the time if we try we are able to execute.
SandHill.com: Please describe one of your company’s lessons learned and where it occurred in the time line of your product development.
Atul Gupta: Product development is an incremental learning every day. The key lesson we learned is that a product must address a pain point of the customer. It makes selling the product easier. It’s very important to have satisfied users of your product on board and their recommending your product wherever needed.
SandHill.com: What is the best advice you ever received?
Atul Gupta: If you try then you have a chance to get it.
SandHill.com: What is your top advice for first-time entrepreneurs or startup CEOs?
Atul Gupta: Focus is very important. Products help you to focus. You may have to pivot your product idea as the products that get early traction are more likely to take off; others may not be a great idea. Finally, plan and work on your plan — it works.
Atul Gupta is founder and managing director of InSync Solutions Ltd. He is responsible for developing and implementing the strategic plan for the company. Prior to founding the company in 2005, he was involved in building an IT services startup in Bhutan, which he managed to successfully scale in three years.
Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor of SandHill.com.