The Software as a Service (SaaS) market in India is growing like never before. Thanks to immense success of the Zohos and Freshworks of the lot, India is reportedly set to become the SaaS hub of the world in the next few years. And given its prospects, the investor community too, is betting on this market.
With Zoho and Freshworks emerging from Chennai, this city is now being considered the SaaS destination in India. According to some reports, Chennai does over a billion dollars in SaaS revenue with over 10,000 people working in the industry.
But with the opportunity that SaaS presents, other cities and startup ecosystems too have been taking notice and are starting to capitalise on it.
A case in point is Hyderabad. Hyderabadâ€™s startup ecosystem has been growing exponentially on the back of initiatives taken by the government, IIIT-Hyderabadâ€™s CIE, T-Hub and Telangana State Innovation Society (TSIC). While technology is what its been known for, entrepreneurs, ecosystem players and investors now want to build a stronger SaaS ecosystem in Hyderabad.
According to Ravi Narayan, CEO of T-Hub, the SaaS model is a way for startups to reach foreign customers, develop solutions for them, while doing marketing sales from here. â€śAnd we dont need to put in large capital requirement to develop something and then market and sell the product in a global market. It gives us an opportunity to really get to global markets at minimal costs using cloud technology to their advantage,â€ť he says.
Ravi says that SaaS isnt a Chennai-based phenomenon alone. It can be applicable to startups wherever they are in India and the opportunity for them to grow is pretty much the same everywhere.
â€śHyderabad also has its fair share of SaaS startups around and there are have been meetups as well. Now with Freshworks looking to set up development centre in Hyderabad, there is a lot of renewed interest,â€ť he adds.
Investors too, are eyeing the SaaS space, such as Endiya Partners, which is also playing an integral role in building a SaaS ecosystem in Hyderabad.
TSIC, along with T-Hub, organised a meetup for SaaS entrepreneurs in January, to come together and discuss tactics, strategy, scaling and the life of SaaS startups and learn how to get to the next stage and build great SaaS businesses. This was then followed by another meetup done with Amazon Web Services and Endiya Partners in March.
â€śThere are grassroot efforts taking place with entrepreneurs, former entrepreneurs, VCs, etc. And everyone was very excited to be a part of it. The idea is to create quality conversations and meaningful connects. T-Hub was involved too, but it was primary was TSIC,â€ť Ravi says.
Where the scope lies
Ravi says that while there have been some B2C SaaS companies that have come out initially, B2B Saas is where the opportunity lies. And given that B2B SaaS hasnâ€™t reached that level of maturity yet, there is immense scope for startups in this space.