BANGALORE: He led the medical equipment business for GE in India; he helped Azim Premji grow Wipro
from a small firm with $150 million in revenues to a $1.4-billion
global outfit; he made smart bets at PE firm TPG, a few of which turned
multi-baggers in double quick time... and after 20 years of building
businesses for others, Vivek Paul , 51, has decided it’s now time to
build something for himself. And he wants to do it in a space where
there is a $2.5-billion market to tap into.
Paul’s first entrepreneurial venture, KineticGlue, is helping hundreds of employees at companies such as Dell India , Yes Bank and L&T Infotech collaborate better by using an online social medium. Essentially, KineticGlue will help every company set up its own ‘official’ equivalent of Facebook for employees—only it increases productivity, not eat into it. L&T Infotech, an early user of KineticGlue, has found that collaboration between 500 workers using this platform has helped it discover new revenue streams.
L&T Infotech, an early user of KineticGlue, has found that collaboration between 500 employees using this platform has helped the company discover new revenue streams. Unlike traditional email groups, wherein users interact with each other through chains of messages, corporate social networking solutions like KineticGlue enable project groups within companies to have open conversations, with each discussion thread linked to relevant topics.
This not only helps in forming focused discussion groups, but also breaks hierarchical barriers and encourages bright and less experienced professionals to participate.
The product, developed jointly by engineers at his former employer Wipro and a Bangalore-based start-up called Neev Technologies, is pitted against established larger rivals, including Salesforce.com’s Chatter and Silicon Valley start-up Jive. “Our goal is not to do anything small. Our goal is to build one of India’s premium, enterprise software company that is global,” said Paul.
“Salesforce wasn’t there five years ago, and three years ago nobody knew Twitter either. And in the world that I live in, being an incumbent is a big liability, the challenger always has the edge,” he added. Paul declined to name the angel investors backing the firm, but he said he would like to raise some venture funding soon.
After leaving TPG Capital in December 2008, Paul started thinking about raising his own venture capital fund. Around that time, companies such as Salesforce.com, Facebook and Twitter had started leading the consumer Internet revolution, and enterprise customers were exploring ways to apply the power of social networking within their organisations.
“One of the trends I saw shaking the world was that the consumer Internet revolution was just beginning and it was breaking a lot of paradigms,” he recalls. “There were a lot of them saying I would be the Facebook or Twitter of the enterprise, but nobody was bringing it all together in an integrated wrapper,” said Paul.
Already, customers such as L&T are seeing the benefits of collaboration within their employee groups. L&T plans to double its KineticGlue user base to 1,000 over the next few months.
Sudhir Prabhu, head, Oracle business unit, L&T Infotech, says KineticGlue has helped his group lower attrition among key professionals. Prabhu had also evaluated Jive apart from exploring internal collaboration tools.
“Knowledge sharing and collaboration is one of the top priorities for us and for any business. As part of that, we were looking for a tool to break down barriers between employees. We expect this user base to double in a month, after that we will take it across the company,” said Prabhu. More than 65% employees in the Oracle business unit have already adopted the platform voluntarily.
Increased collaboration is now helping L&T Infotech find newer revenue streams. The company is using content generated through various discussions in identifying new proof of concept centres for customers. “There are several soft returns, including more collaboration and even a reduction in attrition. In terms of hard RoI, I am looking at this as a project collaboration tool,” says Prabhu.
“Facebook is more towards outside, but we were looking for something that was more internal and aligned with business. As an IT company, there are several projects running at the same time, and there is a need to collaborate better on all of them,” he says.
Experts such as R “Ray” Wang, who is a partner at California-based enterprise consulting firm Altimeter Group, say Paul’s KineticGlue goes beyond the segments addressed by rivals such as Salesforce.com’s Chatter.Paul plans to launch his product in the US market over the next two months.
“We have enough customers in the pipeline to do a global launch within the next couple of months,” he says. You can also read it online here.
It has been a pleasure working with Neev
Technologies for the last couple of years. They
were quick to share our vision and ambition and
have continued to support our initiatives. In
addition to being an outsourcing partner, Neev
also brings in experienced consultants on
demand to solve critical technical problem when
required. We are also happy to have outsourced
our entire technology function to Neev
Technologies. Our products have been receiving
very positive feedback from our client, thanks to
the hard work that the team has put in
developing the solution.
Anish De, Managing Director
We loved working with Neev because they were perfect blend of experience and entrepreunership. That's what it takes to do outsourced product development for a startup.
Sridhar Turaga, Co-Founder.
Neevtech has been our valued partner in the area of Mobile Platform development (iOS - iPhone & iPad)
for nearly 1 year. I appreciate working with the team at
Neevtech because they are very open to different ideas,
different approaches and they are always willing to go
the extra mile to accommodate our unique needs
for Hong Kong finance trading environment.
Alvin Chan, Director
Our partnership with Neev turned out to be a most beneficial relationship. In just seven months, Neev developed our entire system from scratch and we were able to migrate our clients to the new platform before the end of 2009.
At the outset, would like to thank Neev
Technologies in helping us to deliver the Test
Automation project to our client efficiently with
excellent quality and on time. Your Test
Automation framework helped us integrate a lot
of the common functionalities very fast and
allowed us to deliver a comprehensive
regression test automation solution to our client.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank
Neev QA for the very impressive and high level of
professionalism shown all along the project
Srinivasan Natarajan Director - Delivery
Neev Information Technologies has in its core philosophy a dedication to service start-ups in their journey. The Management of Neev believe in truly supporting the entrepreneur in the journey and facilitate a higher probability for success, in whatever areas they could help with other than being a reliable technology partner. On ground, an excellent core team of Neevites apart from the agile development methodology helps in achieving the technology goals set forth to achieve.
Natarajan Subramanian, Founder - CollNext Solutions Pvt Ltd