“To err is human. But to really mess things up, you need a computer.” This is a line that is often said in jest. But anyone who has ever been associated with technology in general will agree that there is a semblance of truth in the aforementioned sentence. eTechies, a startup based in New Delhi, aims to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for all kinds of IT support and take away the pains associated with computers. We at YourStory caught up with entrepreneur Rohit Chaudhary, the CEO and Founder of eTechies to know more about this business idea.
If someone asked you to tell them about eTechies in about three sentences, what would you say?
ETechies.in is India’s first onsite and online technology service/repair provider and IT helpdesk for the residential consumer and SME segment. It’s a ‘one stop shop’ for all computer related problems.
How is eTechies different from other IT & ITES solution providers?
We are not a typical ITES or call centre business model. Our business model is a great blend of both onsite and online capabilities. We are an IT services company for organisations which do not require or cannot afford a full fledged IT department which adds up to their cost and eats into their resources.
We are the extended technology arm of our customers. Our call centre capabilities only act as a force multiplier to our feet-on-the-street workforce, spread across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida.
How did the business idea for eTechies come about?
We as a team have been around and have been doing this business for over a decade, for our international clients (Dell, Microsoft, HP etc.) and residential customers (in the US, Canada, Europe etc.).
In the last couple of years, we have been looking at the domestic Indian market with avid interest. The ever-growing need for dependable, world-class service to the Indian consumer and SME segment and also, the sheer absence of a qualitative support framework helped us makeup our minds that this was the next big opportunity.
Thus, we were convinced to put wings to our plans and to launch eTechies.in. eTechies.in’s mandate is to create a clear value differentiator and act on an opportunity to put processes, systems and controls in a totally disorganised business environment.
Our vision is to clearly be the single point of support for all “technical” issues, for all our customers in India. When anyone thinks of seeking technical support for any technological challenge, there should be only one service & contact number that comes to their mind, i.e., eTechies.in and 1 800 102 3311.
Tell us about your backgrounds.
We are three founding partners – Siddharth Bhatia (COO), Samarth Goyal (CTO) and I (CEO). The three of us are first generation entrepreneurs. We come from typical middle class families. We have worked together as a team, in large IT/ITES companies for over a decade.
I have over 18 years of experience spans across sales & marketing (Amul-FMCG), commodities futures trading (Olam International Limited), consumer services in US, Canada and Europe (Wipro BPO & Quatrro BPO), OEM sales (optical media at Moser Baer) and the formation of new BPO operations in India (erstwhile Spectramind and Quatrro BPO). I incubated LemonLearn eServices (P) Ltd. in 2010, specifically focussed on the under-serviced M&SME segment, to cater managed business services. I hold an MBA from Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) and a B.Sc from Gobind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar.
Siddharth comes with over 10 years of IT and ITES background in transition and operations. He has been responsible for some of the most successful campaigns for organizations like Convergys India & Quatrro BPO, serving end-users & clients like Microsoft, HP and MSN. He is also credited with being the core team member and a Service Delivery Lead (Technical Solutions Group) at Quatrro BPO, in setting up a unique offshore based online PC support service for consumers and small & medium businesses in US & Canada. Siddharth holds a BA(Honours) from Delhi University.
Samarth (Sam) also has over 10 years of IT & business reengineering experience under his belt. He has also been part of some of the most successful campaigns for organizations like Wipro BPO (erstwhile Spectramind) & Quatrro BPO, serving clients like Dell, Microsoft, AOL and also end-users. Sam holds a B.Com (Honours) from Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Delhi University and a PGDIT from Symbiosis Institute of Management.
Is there acceptance for your concept?
We are experiencing a healthy traction to our service model. The proof is in the exploratory/pre-sales business enquiries and next stage discussions that we are currently engaged with large- format product and services companies. The consumer and SME interest is already being serviced by us on a daily basis, by our centralized Quick response Team (QRT). We are only happy to see traffic increase by the hour/day.
Where do you see the IT & ITES solution provider industry and eTechies five years from now?
Indian IT & ITES industry (both internal & external interfacing) is already on its path of growth. I am most optimistic about the industry continuing to grow in the coming years.
One of the most obvious factors that determined the subdued impact on Indian IT/ITES industry during the most recent “global financial meltdown” driven recession is the Indian IT/ITES industry’s diversification into robust, domestic-focussed businesses.
Given the above scenario, I believe that, in the coming years, the growth of industry will clearly be determined by how closely it is plugged into the local economy. The Indian consumer and SME’s appetite for consumption is and will be unparalleled in the next 5 years.
Currently, there is low Internet (below 4%) and PC penetration (below 10%). But that’s changing and the 300 million-strong prosperous Indian middle class is all set to drive both Internet and PC consumption and usage towards a healthy double digit growth. eTechies.in is clearly set to ride this growth.
What is eTechies’ revenue model? Have you been funded yet? If yes, how did it happen?
eTechies.in’s revenue models are of the simple ‘pay per use’ and annual subscription of services variety. We received our first round of funding through an angel investment by Mr. Rajan Anandan, an active angel investor.
I first came in touch with Rajan when he had just relocated to India from the US to head Dell International Services back in 2003. At that time, I was responsible for the Dell Consumer Technical Services business at what was then called Spectramind Eservices (P) Ltd. It was later acquired by Wipro and rechristened as WIPRO BPO. I guess Rajan noticed me and my working style then and that impression left an indelible mark in his memory.
Thereafter, I moved on to Moser Baer and then to Quatrro BPO Solutions (P) Ltd. Meanwhile, Rajan too joined Microsoft India as Managing Director. Around October 2010, I had already set-up my new venture and at that time, Rajan and I connected again. We both got talking and he certainly was as excited as us in getting to understand our business model. The rest is, well, history, I guess.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
The real joy is in aiming big and making that happen through small victories every day! As an entrepreneur, every day is more exciting and challenging than the previous day.
Meeting your customer’s expectations, seeing your team motivated and growing in number, providing real opportunities for team members to excel and looking back to remember where we all came from are pure forms of joy to me.
This also helps me remember that being an entrepreneur is also not as easy and comfortable as it may seem to others from the outside. Trying to create value has its own sets of challenges. Dealing with the status quo, helping customers to demand more, breaking age old moulds are clearly some of the typical challenges that we face as a business.
How big is the eTechies team? Are you looking at hiring?
We are a startup and our team size is growing by the month. At present, we have a modest number of 65 employees on our rolls. Our team largely comprises of Direct Sales, Inside Sales, Technical Workforce (both field and online), Software Specialists, Product and IT Consultants. For the current spate of our growth, we’ve chosen to hire a mix of experienced and fresh resources. Now, on an average, we are adding about 20 new resources a month. This will only pick up as our consumer base & geographical coverage expands.
How has the journey been so far?
In the short span of 4 months, we have acquired more than 100 SME customers and more than 500 residential customers. We have handled more than 3000 service requests and serviced more than 1000 nodes/PCs.
On an average, we have helped our SMEs save upto 30% of their technology cost through prudent planning, negotiation with other third parties (on our customers’ behalf), execution of their existing systems/networks and regular maintenance of their infrastructure.
But the real happiness lies in our customers and SME clients being thoroughly delighted with a high problem resolution rate (greater than 95%) and an equally high Customer Satisfaction score (greater than 98%).
Let us know about your expansion plans.
We are currently focussed on establishing the Delhi/NCR market. In Delhi/NCR, we are currently operating a ‘hub and spoke’ model by setting up neighbourhood stores/technical hubs. As of today, we have set up India’ s first third-party tech support retail store at Janakpuri District Center, providing coverage to West & North Delhi).
Our other tech hubs are in Malwiya Nagar, providing coverage to South, Central, East Delhi, Noida, Faridabad, etc. and in Gurgaon. To further bolster our physical coverage, we shall be soon opening eTechies.in Noida. In the next three to six months, we will be expanding our footprint to cover other major metros, category A & B cities and towns. Our goal is to be present across the nation.
We at YourStory wish this young startup all the very best. To know more, check out http://etechies.in/. Also, do share with us your thoughts and comments about this story. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 4th March 2011 | Bangalore