Cloud telephony firm Knowlarity makes its second acquisition, nabs Delhi-based Smartwards

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IdeapreneurIndia- What does your startup do?

Founder Ambarish Gupta

Founder Ambarish Gupta

Knowlarity– Knowlarity is the pioneer and leading provider of cloud based communications solutions to businesses in the emerging markets. A Gurgaon based company founded in 2009, Knowlarity’s products and services are actively adopted by more than 1 million users and is the largest provider of such services. Reflecting the true spirit of the ‘Make in India, for the world’, Knowlarity’s mission is to transform the business to customer communication industry in the emerging markets with personalization, automation, AI and analytics. Knowlarity’s flagship product is ‘Super Receptionist’, a plug-and play virtual contact center for a business. The company and has grown from scratch to a global venture with 300+ employees, 1000 partners and 8 offices in India, south east Asia and middle east. Continuous innovation and excellence has led to Knowlarity receiving many awards and recognition from media and industry. The company is backed by marquee investors like Sequoia Capital and Mayfield fund. Some of the key customers include Google, Amazon, Hero Motors, AirBnB, Uber, Practo, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, Gaadi among others.

IdeapreneurIndia– What is the market size and estimated amount of funding received in this sector so far or last year (whichever figure known)?

Knowlarity– Our analysis shows the industry is growing at the rate of 20% and is expected to continue with the growth in the coming year too. Reports suggest that the size of this sector in the country, with about 3 million SMEs in India; the industry players anticipate the market size to be more than $1 Billion.

In 2012, Knowlarity raised US$6.6M (INR 34 Crores) in funding from Sequoia Capital.
In July 2014, Knowlarity secured a Series B funding from Sequoia Capital and Mayfield for US$16 M (INR 90 Crores).
In November 2016, Knowlarity has raised US$20 M in its series C funding round, led by Dubai-based private equity firm Delta Partners, along with its existing investors, Sequoia Capital and Mayfield.

IdeapreneurIndia– How and when did the idea strike you?

Knowlarity– Small and medium size enterprises in India are the growth engine of Indian economy. Collectively they contribute $110 Billion of revenue with high growth rate and provide employment to 75% of workforce in India through the manifestation of the relentless entrepreneurial dreams. And, all these entrepreneurs run their business on that small piece of mobile phones.

Knowlarity started in early 2009 with a vision to enable SMEs in India with productivity telephony solutions. Since then, the company has successfully launched products that have been sold in various sectors of the SME industry worldwide. Knowlarity is focused to deliver simple and useful telephony products that help businesses to improve their bottom-line.

knolarity office

knolarity office

IdeapreneurIndia– Who are your competitors?

Knowlarity– Our competitors in India are:
– Exotel
– Ozonetel
– VoiceTree
– Drishti

Our competitors globally are:
– Twilio
– Grasshopper
– Avaya
– Hoiio
– Plivo
– Nexmo

IdeapreneurIndia– How is your product different from your competitors?

Knowlarity– We have our own proprietary cloud telephony platform which helps us in providing endless customization for our customers. Our ability to deliver a stable services even when transaction volumes are high builds trust with customers, ensuring repeat business.

We focus on innovation and have some of the brightest tech and business minds working on our cloud telephony platform, giving us the edge.

We have been able to leverage the built up domestic telecom capacity in India to our advantage, which allowed us to sell a world class product when expanding internationally. On the domestic front we’re far ahead of our competitors technologically. We provide business telephony solutions to both SME and enterprises to improve their productivity. Our solutions are designed for use across multiple industries, helping customers to leverage our domain experience in solving specific needs.

With pre-existing integrations with major enterprise SaaS software platforms, it becomes incredibly hassle free to use. Knowlarity business phone services work seamlessly with CRM, ERP, HR and other IT systems such as Sales Force, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Zoho etc.

IdeapreneurIndia– How do we stand out from our competitors?
Knowlarity :- Devoted to SMBs : We try to make on-boarding and using the product as easy as possible for non-technical SMBs
Scalability : we are the only company scaling to a million calls an hour in PSTN networks
– Sales and marketing : We have scaled our sales and marketing, acquiring over 500-700 customers each month
– Average ticket size for Knowlarity tends to be higher – we recently ran a comparison of Twilio vs Knowlarity, and our customers seem to be making 2x calls
Variety of products : We have packaged product for SMBs and extensive platform for enterprise customers.

We have structured our services around our customers – we understand that SMBs want to access technology without having to deal with it . Whether it is providing a single dashboard for managing multiple marketing campaigns at one go or providing SR App on Android, Knowlarity aims at maximizing user utility by providing simple yet powerful cloud based solutions.

Understanding the environment in which our customers operate have led us to make investments in areas that are crucial for our customers – a large support team, a large in-house consulting team and investments in reliability and scalability – that our more technology-focused competitors have not realized.

IdeapreneurIndia– What are your plans for next year?

Knowlarity- :

– International expansion
Currently, we are operational in 65 countries. We are focusing on the overseas market because of their matured cloud communication market. However, we value our domestic market, which forms a big part in our business. We take technology very seriously and have invested in R&D. Flurry reports that people are spending more time on business productivity apps (up by 119%). We have recently launched our SuperReceptionist app that has been well received in the market.

– Innovation and R&D/Engineering talent for product enhancement
As we mature as an organisation, we would like our ability to work efficiently and per employee productivity to improve. With that view, we plan to grow our employee strength at 15-20% in the coming years and maintain lean teams. Most of our growths will come through our investment in Technology and hiring Technology talent. We will be doubling our technology headcount in the next one year.

IdeapreneurIndia– What was the biggest challenge in your journey?

Knowlarity–  Two biggest challenges faced:
1) Regulatory Hurdles in India are a lot and sometimes tough to handle but we have managed to stay on top of them
2) Converting Skeptics to endorsers. Indian SMB is very skeptical of technology and change

IdeapreneurIndia– Tell us something about the co-founders?

Ambarish Gupta is the CEO and Founder of Singapore-based cloud telephony startup Knowlarity Communications. A graduate in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Ambarish also holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. A technocrat at heart, he believes technology holds much potential for changing how the world does business.

Ambarish has global work experience in business strategy, marketing, technology and organizational effectiveness. Ambarish developed Go-to-market strategies for Fortune 10 technology and insurance companies of the world while working for McKinsey & Company as a Senior Associate in the US. Earlier he worked at Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics, Germany as researcher in the area of Artificial Intelligence and as a Systems developer. He is passionate about the strategic application of technology as a tool for total business transformation, and in 2009, he founded Knowlarity, which provides business telephony software to some of the world’s leading corporations.

In his spare time, Ambarish can be found reading, listening to music, or tending to his garden. Extremely environmentally and socially aware, Ambarish believes advances in communications technology can help future generations minimize their impact on the planet, while allowing them to lead more rewarding and fulfilling lives.

As CEO of Knowlarity, Ambarish has used his excellent networking and people skills to gather together a talented and dedicated team that is responsible for the world’s best cloud telephony solutions. He believes in leading from the front, and is always available for advice – or a friendly conversation – to any member of the Knowlarity family.