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Everyone talks about the position and revenue a scaled-up company holds and generates today, not many think about the expedition that gained them the reputation. Each company starts small- think Google, HP, Disney or Harley Davidson, big names now but all began their journey in either a garage or a shed.
Curious to know their success mantra? The entity that boosted their startup was majorly their product, vital to induce growth and bring a massive difference to the company’s success rate.
Scaling a business refers to setting the stage for enabling and supporting growth in your company. It means having the ability to grow without being hampered. It requires planning, heavy funding and the right systems, staff, processes, technology and partners. Though the gap between a startup to scale-up takes years to bridge, only a few actually cross this bridge and step their foot on the other side.
What if I told you there’s a company that is scaling mightily without the backing of any investors or external shareholders?
This is the story of Keka, an Indian HR automation software company that rose from 1 to 3000+ customers within 4 and a half years of its existence with no requirement of any funding, becoming the leader of its domain during the process.
Nothing comes easy in this era where the word competition is inculcated into every sphere of the professional world. Keka and the journey it embarked on since it was a startup has every element of an inspirational echo for all entrepreneurs and young CEOs who are aiming to drive their business to reach the goals they have set for their dream project.
Reliving the startup journey
Established in 2016, Keka was created as a result of the limited and inefficient options available for the HR needs of the founder’s earlier business house. This frustration due to the lack of productive software gave birth to Keka. They knew the intricacies of the HR arena and worked towards tackling each problem as it comes. In its early stages, Keka determined the product-market fit and gained trust with its clients to work towards a positive contribution margin.
Not many startups manage to survive and succeed without the cashflow from investors, however, Keka set records when it bagged 450 clients in just one year. The product’s efficiency and the company’s service were evident through the figure it obtained that eventually helped build trust in the market.
There was no fear of losing the Golden Goose aka the investors and Keka set off for a wild ride with their own set of morals, plans and blueprint of actions.
The growth accelerated soon after their initial customers flourished with the implementation of their software and the word of Keka spread far and wide.
It is vital for startups to incubate their firm to allow the funding to reach the right stabilization factors essential to scale the business. A slow and steady growth happens when the product becomes fit to solve the core problem of its creation, leading to the road of product expansion.
Treading the scaleup pathway
Scaling has been linked to several ways of transforming a business to attain growth. However, it is vital to realize that scaling differs from growth. Growth is slow and linear while scaling is expanding the business in terms of efficiency, productivity and revenue at a much faster pace. It is about capacity and capability.
Keka grew rapidly due to the efficiency it offered as opposed to the clunky interfaces that the existing software companies owned. India was witnessing this kind of software that stood on par with international entities for the first time. The company opened a window of possibilities for organizations who were struggling with their HR needs and couldn’t find software that best matched their unique necessities.
It managed to achieve a figure much bigger than its competitors within a short time of entering the Indian HR market. The thirst for productive and easily adaptable HR software was quenched with Keka, which acted as an asset to maximize efficiency.
The propellant of the company was its software that was co-created to suit all sized companies having different requirements, ultimately making it a one-stop solution for every HR need.
Today, it offers a variety of features for companies to focus on their employees, leaving cumbersome activities of the HR domain to Keka. Making complex arenas like payroll, recruitment management, performance management, attendance and several others easier to work with, Keka’s implementation helped organizations gain traction in their domain while bringing value to the nation.
However, no story is complete without the mention of the protagonist’s hurdles. Keka had its share of ups and downs too. When the pandemic casted a shadow over the world, companies started sacking workers- directly impacting Keka’s revenue. The organization was resilient, and employees had volunteered to take pay cuts, but it was not necessary.
Within one quarter of staying put on its course, the tide turned, and the market responded to Keka’s willingness to stay strongly invested. Speaking about the path they chose and the agenda they had during these times, the founder, Vijay Yalamanchili said, “We took a leap of faith, gathered from years of experience and a strong instinct of landing safely on our feet, to invest in core activities even further. This included expanding our product even more to empower our customers.” Things took a turn for the better within 3 months and Keka was thriving again and how! The company recorded double the revenue growth generated in 2019, exceeding all expectations.
The lockdown period robbed them of their customers that had to shut down their companies due to the uncertainties surrounding the difficult times. However, when they bounced back to business post the tough phase, they returned to Keka with the trust they’d developed for them.
The company aims to expand its features list by developing a learning management system, aiding it to become a complete HR management suite. The half-a-decade long run in the HR market and the reputation, trust and love it has gained has made Keka synonymous with the epitome of a successful startup. The versatile software makes it simpler to solve any problem statement with an effective solution.
Keka’s dedication to solve every HRMS problem including those not addressed enough like the HR training brought them on top of the heap. Embarking on their next journey, the company aspires to change the perception of the Indian HR fraternity, helping the community to break the stereotype of HR and the human resource world and bring the much-needed revolution.
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