Mohan Kumar is executive director at venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners. Kumar helped Texas Instruments set up its R&D centre in Bengaluru in 1985, and then worked with Motorola. Kumar has advised Norwest’s investments in startups like Attune Technologies, Capillary Technologies, CRMnext, Manthan Systems, Perfint Healthcare, and Zenoti.
He focuses on enterprise and software-as-a-service (SaaS) startups. SaaS firms offer software over the internet, and the user pays for the software only to the extent and duration for which the software is used, making it often significantly cheaper and convenient than the traditional method of software purchase and installation.
Q. We have been talking about SaaS for a decade and we still have not seen a $100 million revenue company from India. Many companies have been around for almost a decade now. Do you see a problem there?
A . We need to make a distinction between enterprise companies and SaaS companies. The SaaS companies in India came about in 2012. Cloud computing never took off in India until 2012. SaaS is a single code that can be deployed for thousands of customers without any customisation. That is when you drive economies of scale. The enterprise companies that started in India, like Eka, Druva, Manthan and others in the 2000s were not SaaS companies, but on-premise server companies. Some of these companies moved to the SaaS platform early this decade and they have lost a couple of years transforming themselves. Early this decade saw companies like Capillary Technologies, BrowserStack, Freshdesk, and Zenoti, which are true SaaS companies. I have met all of these companies for a potential Series A funding discussion.
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