effiKC-Featured Startup of the Month

bizxchange.in interviews Soubhik Dawn, the founder and CEO of effiKC about his experience in starting up and the difficulties faced by him. The detailed interview can be found at:

http://www.bizxchange.in/u47/S-90P-90A-20101223201012221841222306418115T-90N-/Start-up-Zone—Featured-Start-up.html

The transcript of the interview is as follows:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

EffiKC provides effiTRAQ, a GPS tracking and fleet management system. This system allows businesses to provide tracking services to their local client base and also enables them to get route violation alerts and detect fuel theft. It is not only loaded with features for the supply chain industry but also comes with an easy-to-use graphical interface for regular users. Founder Soubhik Dawn, a Stanford graduate, is all set to make effiTRAQ one of the most used GPS tracking platforms in the world

By Mridula Velagapudi

Starting out

Since his days at Stanford University, Soubhik was determined to have his own set-up. “The idea was to work for a while after my Masters and save enough to sail through the initial days of my start-up. After spending a couple of years at Shell Oil, Houston, I started trying to convince my friends about the idea of owning a business. However, I found that they were too comfortable in their regular jobs and thus I decided to proceed alone. I finally quit my job and returned to India to start my dream,” he recounts.

Ideation

“I observed how the cities were trying to improve the public transportation system. This proposed an opportunity for GPS-based real time positioning systems that could be used to provide accurate location information of public buses and their expected arrival and departure information from any bus-stop. Being one of the first entrants, I realised that I would be able to capitalise on this emerging market segment and create sufficient technology barriers for future players.” This is how the idea of providing commercial Location Based Services (LBS) turned into effiKC.

Challenges

Having the business set-up in Kolkata did not work in his favour initially. The main challenge came in acquiring the manpower. It was difficult to convince people to join a start-up because of their laid-back mindset. “Since the company’s focus was on technology and I did not have much experience in the domain, it was tough to get the right people in place. However, the economic slump proved to be a blessing in disguise and I was eventually able to get a bunch of talented youngsters to help me in my initiative,” Soubhik adds.

Once the product development got rolling, he faced a new challenge in demonstrating credibility. “It turned out that the governments, which needed this new-found technology, required minimum business credibility and a constant revenue stream. Being a start-up we did not possess either. Moreover, when we approached clients in the non-government sector, they were not willing to risk venturing into new technologies to manage existing processes,” he adds.

Funding

“Funding has been solely from my savings. So far I have invested around 8.5 lakh. Besides, I have applied for a grant under the MSME Scheme and would also be looking for investor funding in the near future,” he says.

USP and Model

EffiKC has tie-ups with vendors in China and Taiwan for providing and supporting hardware requirements. EffiTRAQ is a feature rich application and comes free for up to 100 vehicles. “Our revenue comes from any support or from any customisation project that a client asks for. Moreover, once the client’s business volume increases beyond 100 vehicles, we make money from the additional vehicle licenses. Our product is suitably positioned to meet the requirements for small businesses worldwide and helps us generate revenue once they start growing,” he says.

Competition

“Currently we do not have market competition. We provide effiTRAQ as an enterprise vehicle/personnel tracking software. Our pricing model differentiates us.

Future

EffiKC plans to generate additional revenue through location and customer specific advertisements embedded into the effiTRAQ system. They would like to add mobile phone tracking applications for corporate and social networking. EffiKC is also working on other new technology products to diversify beyond the LBS vertical.