Scaling a SaaS Business with Grit
Like Amit Mishra, Scaling a SaaS Business with Grit, Humility and determination may the only way to succeed if you come from the Slums Amit Mishra comes from the town of Amravathi in Maharashtra.
Before we understand how Amit was able to make the giant leap from Slums to a multi-million $ SaaS Business, let take a small detour.
The tale of 2 slumdogs who made it
Slumdog 1 – The Unlikely Winner
The opening scene in the movie slumdog millionaire shows a host and a young chap in the hotseat. The young lad in the hotseat seems to be getting answer after answer right. The host aware of the lad’s upbringing in slums is almost convinced that he is cheating his way. The rest of the movie is about the young lad’s story and why he knows what he knows.
Slumdog 2 – The Unstoppable Winner
The movie Gully Boy which inspired by true events and a true character released to a lot fanfare. Not just because Ranveer Singh, one of India’s hardest working actors played the titular role but also because of the rags to riches story it portrays.
Gully Boy Murad is battling his internal demons, his fledgling romance with Safeena and his parents well intentioned moves to make him a white collared lad. Murad, from the slums of Dharavi, occasionally stands in for his father who chauffeurs his elite masters. Torn by the class differences and his emotions, he starts rapping. He ends up becoming a successful rapper all due to his context. He eventually ends up having the life he envies becoming an unstoppable winner.
Slums are economic engines
Slums in India and elsewhere were an outgrowth or a collateral outcome of rapid industrialization. Mumbai with its many textile mills is home to thousands of slum dwellers who formed the bulk of the workers in the mills. The mills have all but been replaced by swanky glass and concrete modern buildings but the slums remain.
Dharavi, supposedly the World’s largest Slum is an economic powerhouse. Economic output is estimated between $600 million to $1 Billion, with over 1 Million people.
Scaling a SaaS Business with Grit
With the background that we have now, lets see how and why Amit’s story is a giant leap. Originally from a family of teachers, Amit grew up in the Slums of Amravati in whose schools generations of his ancestors as well as his parents taught.
Forever taunted by his mother to do something vocational, Amit decided that he would do something that would outstrip everyone around him. Most people with his background would opt for a comfortable life. Of one working for a “multi-national company” in air conditioned offices. Or better yet, if an opportunity presented, move overseas. In spite of having the opportunity to do both, Amit did something different.
Amit’s Grit is what made iMocha successful
From a life where he does all his schooling till 10th grade in Marathi and refuses to relocate overseas as he loves to live in India, Amit’s down to earth attitude and dogged persistence in solving a problem has made iMocha a big success skill assessment. In a nation where skills are sold for a song, iMocha is a breath of fresh air. This is a heart warming story unlike any other.
Here are some excerpts from the Episode
So my first company was IT services company, IT services engine, and in three-four years did a good job. Grew that company to around 100 people in IT services and with customers from Middle East-India, and of course US. In my five years of IT services entrepreneurship career, I was able to create 450 freshers jobs in that five years.Amit Mishra 05:34
Skills are the future
The basis of my businesses is I’m into skill assessment, business type. Over a period of time, I represent that skill as by dollar. So a person will not be known by a degree he possess, but by the skill he possess over a period of time, and that has started happening already.
And there won’t be any blue collar white collar, it will be a new color, and color of skills. So in future, according to me, and it’s started happening already, there won’t be any computer engineers further, it will be our data scientist, our person as a cybersecurity professional Cloud Manager…Amit Mishra 23:10
So for example, I’m in Amaravati and a lifestyle in Amaravati to a lifestyle in Pune, to lifestyle in New York is altogether different the same way, if you’re solving a problem of Westerner, even the solution provider gets a lot of money. And that is what India needed that time.Amit Mishra 27:28
Shelf life of skills is becoming shorter
After talking to customers, what we realized that the next interesting thing that there is, the shelf life of a skill, which was previously 20 years is becoming lesser and lesser, it is only 3 to 5 years.Amit Mishra 36:47
How we grew iMocha
We created a five pages website, started writing some blogs, and for two months – zero revenue. Created interview product, created Assessment, created search Engine content.Amit Mishra 51:04
Sage advise and Our innocuous Growth Hack
I happen to talk to Krish of Chargebee, Krish told me a guru mantra. He said – “Make sure that whatever you do, you need to have Two External links – linking to you every day, and make sure it happens daily”. So I got a blogger, a Fresher, what just Answering on Quora and just keep on doing something to our page and we waited for leads to come.
Infact, we put a $49 month on month package on the website and in the second month we were doing it we didn’t get a single customer. Instead we got a call from Tech Mahindra which is a giant. But my only sales guy at that time was a junior sales guy who said let’s go meet Tech Mahindra. I said no, let’s have a DNA where we serve global customer we won’t go and meet them in person.Amit Mishra 51:04
If you do analysis, then there are always some customers who are easy to sell, easy to solve, are successful with you, having advocancy potential and can do advocacy for you.
So if you keep applying this 5 formula – easy to acquire, easy to sell, easy to serve, expansion potential and advocacy potential, then you find out that four out of the seven eight segments is the segment which I should go after..Amit Mishra 1:00:56
Here is what the word cloud for the episode looks like
Amit D Mishra (@amitdmishra) | Twitter