Pranjal KshirsagarJul 20, 2016 17:11:25 IST
While businesses in old License Raj India didn’t really care two hoots about what a customer thought about its after-sales service, it’s safe to say that the monopoly business model is extinct today. Consumers, and their perception and experience with a brand, can make or break the business. On the other end of the spectrum, an employee’s attitude and loyalty towards the brand he/she is working for is equally important. The introduction and proliferation of social media has taken this a step further as now customers (and employees) have a voice and platform to express their satisfaction, dissatisfaction, complaints and compliments. Harnessing this data would reveal a world of insight for companies and this led to Hamid Farooqui coming up with the idea of measuring satisfaction using online software with SoGoSurvey.
SoGoSurvey CEO Farooqui explains how paper-pen based surveys made the feedback collection process far more expensive, time-consuming and error-prone. Evolution of online survey tools has eliminates these drawbacks; and made survey creation simple, distribution quick and analysis accurate. “I founded SoGoSurvey along with my elder brother Suhail Farooqui. Together we previously founded K12insight, which offers cloud-based solutions to enhance communication between educators and community members and mouthshut.com which is India's most successful consumer review site,” shares Farooqui.
Currently there are around 70 employees working with SoGoSurvey worldwide. SoGoSurvey is funded by family and close friends. “We do not have any liability of third party capital. Also we started generating revenue right since inception which ensured smooth functioning and stability of our business,” Farooui says. The company follows a subscription based freemium model. The customers can use the survey tool by signing up for a free trial account and use it for real work and then upgrade to the paid packages, if and when they need advanced features or large number of participants. “We have been doubling and tripling our revenue year-on-year since commencement,” adds Farooqui. The total investment in the company is about $2 million. The company did not require any additional funding after that as it started to get good revenue by the second year of operations. “However, we may consider VC investments in future. The idea is to take funding from a VC who along with money brings expertise and experience to our company to take it to the next level,” reveals Farooqui.
Farooqui says that their belief is to offer the best product and support for low cost and customers will flock to them in droves. Most of their initial investment was spent in product development (approximately 60%). The rest was spent on infrastructure, equipment and hosting. “We are a highly focused software product company and invest heavily in developing world class Market Research software. User Interface and Usability gets a lot of attention in our company and we have a great team for this in India and USA,” says Farooqui talking about the investment in technology that the company is making.
Speaking of growth plans and the road ahead, Farooqui shares they are tripling their customer base every year since inception and expect to continue the same in 2016. Some companies using SoGoSurvey include major conglomerates like EBay, Citibank, UNICEF, Marriott, IBM, HP and FedEx. The company is currently focusing on India and Middle East to expand aggressively.
Farooqui says that when it comes to online survey software, users have had two difficult options. Either they could opt for the affordable, low-end, low-power solution, or the more powerful solution that breaks the bank. “We saw a need for a tool that would be high quality but for low cost and that’s how SoGoSurvey was born. And that’s not all. It comes with training and extensive support that existing customers are raving about. We're changing not just how you collect feedback in a secure, collaborative setting, but also how you fundamentally view feedback from customers, employees and other stakeholders,” says Farooqui when we ask him what sets the solution apart from the competition in the space.
Talking about growth plans, Farooqui says that when they started in 2012 with five people and had revenues of about $100,000. But revenue in 2015 was close to $5 million. Given the trajectory of growth, the quality of the product and services SoGoSurvey is offering and the potential for business in the industry, the company is aiming to be a billion dollar enterprise in next 4-5 years’ time.
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