India's place in the global technology map would not have been possible without the IT services boom and contribution from the companies like TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Tech, said Girish Mathrubootham, founder & CEO, Freshworks, the first Indian SaaS startup to list in the US stock exchange, NASDAQ.
Speaking at the Day 1 of NASSCOM Product Conclave, Mathrubootham, said, “I truly believe that Freshworks is fortunate enough that we have the ability to be the first Indian startup to go public in the NASDAQ. And I don't think we are super smart, or we have something that nobody else has.”
According to him, this was possible because India has been a beneficiary of technological adoption, and the IT boom played a significant part in it. “So, we won't be where we are in the global technology map without all the contributions of the IT services leaders, whether it's Infosys, TCS, HCL and Wipro,” he said. These companies showed that it is possible to build global technology companies from India and become one of the largest employers in the country, he added.
In fact, the IT services industry is also nimble enough to acknowledge the changes happening and is focusing more on emerging technologies. Citing the example of TCS, Mathrubootham said that the IT major has created a new and emerging technology division and have partnered with Freshworks for the same. The companies have worked together for the last few quarters in over 50 projects.
“See traditional system integration business models were built on long projects, high value and multi-year contracts. But companies like TCS actually understand that there is change coming, this is not going to be in the way of the future. So they created this new and emerging technology solution and with Freshworks, this will be a velocity model,” he added.
This space is just ripe for technological evolution in India. “The world is going to feel the tremors of Indian SaaS,” he said. Even as the Indian startup landscape is maturing, there are roadblocks that the companies need to overcome.
One of the key challenges for growth is regulation. “We can do more, especially SaaS businesses, where you have customer credit cards on file. The RBI and payment infrastructure rules are not helping SaaS companies. I know they don't exist for a reason like to protect consumers from fraud. But maybe we should have a whitelist of good companies that are allowed to build their businesses,” he said.RBI recurring payment guidelines came into force in September, where banks will need to inform customers in advance about the recurring payments that are due. The services will be renewed only when the customer gives his nod. This has made subscriptions challenging for SaaS companies.