An exclusive interview with ITVoice, Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Founder and Director of SquareBoat.
IT Voice :- Tell us about the growth of the company from its inception till present day?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- We started as a single member company (basically, just me!) from a small coworking space in Greater Noida. Hired a couple of interns because that’s the best I could afford. 4 years later, we are now a 25 member strong company.
IT Voice :- Explain the kind of service you provide to your clients when you have clients on board from various sectors like, Education, Finance and specially E-commerce?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- Our main role is to build and manage the entire technology aspect of the companies we are working with. Our role is primarily to help companies build really well engineered mobile and web apps for their business.
Personally I’ve had a long career of working with some of the best companies in India (like Slideshare/LinkedIn, Educomp and Naukri.com) and after running SquareBoat also for about 4 years now, we’re now in a position to offer some really solid advice to our clients about the do’s and don’t of mobile and web based businesses and we try our best to incorporate all our learnings and experiences into our products as well.
IT Voice :- What type of platform you provide to mid-sized startups through your web- based applications?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- We cover a wide variety of software, right from large scale enterprise apps to consumer based websites and apps. Both on web and mobile. Off late, we have also ventured into chat bots and voice based assistant apps on Amazon Echo etc.
IT Voice :- Among your web product which is being considered as hot cake and why?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- I think amongst all the products we’ve built, I find Hackr.io to be the hottest selling cake right now. Going online is the future of education and with products like Hackr.io, we are proving that it’s indeed the way forward. From a weekend project to an independent company with its own dedicated team working full-time, I think we’ve come a long way.
IT Voice :- How do you see mobile as well as Web-based application market in India as compared to the global market?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- I think although it’s a level playing field but startups outside India tend to work on more futuristic stuff (AI, chat bots, drones etc.) whereas Indian startups are usually more revenue focussed. I think that’s a trend that we will see for a long time to come.
The whole idea of Indian apps copying an existing successful business model from the west may seem like a copycat/me-too idea at first but if you think about it, it does make tremendous business sense.
IT Voice :- What is your target in terms of revenue as a firm for the current financial year?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- Prefer not to disclose. But we’ve doubled our team in the last one year and would be hoping to do the same next year as well.
After working with companies like LinkedIn, what challenges did you face while staring your own venture?
I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you’ve worked for startups all your life, then running one would be a piece of cake. Reality is completely the opposite. Each and everything is a challenge when one begins his journey. From the ceiling fan not working to the code not working, everything has to be fixed.
By far the most challenging aspect in a startup’s growth is to be able to balance all aspects of your business together. Growing revenue must be matched by an increase in team size – A disbalance there and either you have an unhappy customer or an unhappy bank account. Being able to offload and delegate work to the right people at the right time and being able to find partners/vendors/CA’s/advisors and then seemingly trivial stuff like a decent office space are all a part of the challenges that come along the way.
IT Voice :- What do you mean by saying ” product development company ” ?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- There are many aspects that make an app or website successful, not just the code that it is built of. We like to think of ourselves as a product development company and not just someone who can write code as per a spec.
As a part of the ideation and development process, keeping the product simple to understand, user friendly, really fast and reliable etc. are all of the different aspects that we keep in mind. Building products which are capable of attracting high volumes of web traffic and then converting them into regular visitors and eventually into paying customers are all a part of the development process for us.
IT Voice :- What are your future plans regarding development of your company?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- We have largely been startup focussed at the moment but we plan to expand into SME’s and larger companies this year. We do understand that such companies would always have their own IT teams so the idea is not to replace them but to complement them so that they can achieve results faster and better.
IT Voice :- Lastly as a Director of SquareBoat, how do you manage your employees?
Mr Gaurav Gupta :- I have a very hands-off approach when it comes to managing people. I just set the expectation and a direction and then leave it to my team to deliver the results. Of course, whenever they are stuck I always make it a point to be available for them and answer each and every query they have. Plus, we invest a lot of time and money in making sure that we have a great workplace and a great work culture which has cutting edge technology and a rather informal, relaxed atmosphere around. And, I can proudly say that they never ever disappoint.