With technology playing an ever greater role in our lives today, consumer spending on technology and tech issues such as connecting to the internet, subscribing to online services, mobile communication, and multimedia has risen. Along with it, comes the frustration to to ensure they work seamlessly all the time. But now there’s breed of entrepreneurs who have seen an opportunity for on-demand third-party tech support services for consumers and small businesses.
iYogi is one such Indian brand that sells tech support services online to users of computers and other gadgets. Vishal Dhar, President Marketing and Co-founder says, “We started with the US as it is the most mature market in terms of technology adoption. We differentiated ourselves by making our services available instantly, and at a price point that was extremely competitive.”
Started in 2007, iYogi now offers services in United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, GCC states and in March 2013, it launched services for the Indian consumer and SMB market. iYogi currently deploys over 5000 Tech Experts serving more than 2.5 million users across 10 countries.
Uday Challu, CEO and Co-founder says the idea came from one of his earlier entrepreneurial ventures. “Back then, the delivery model for on-site tech support services wasn’t scalable. Achieving consistency in the customer experience was very hard as we were dependent on an individual’s capability, training and experience of delivering solutions. In all that time, the idea stayed with me and I kept an eye out for anyone who may have launched a viable, sustainable and affordable model for tech support,” says Uday. By the time 2007 came around, two things happened simultaneously. Computers and devices had become IP enabled so that problems could be resolved remotely, and the technology for remote assistance had been perfected. Vishal and Uday met on a flight and got talking about the opportunity that existed. The conversation clicked and iYogi was a logical progression from there.
An Economics major from Delhi University, Uday has 27 yrs in the IT industry. After he cofounded the first third party desktop support business in India in '86, he went on to set up Concordia consulting in '99. Concordia was established to help companies which had cross border ambitions in technology. He also led Newgen software, and today continues to be on the board of leading event management company Wizcraft. Before iYogi, Uday also co-founded IQ Resource along with Vishal, a niche outsourcing company with a focus on B2B media.
“When we started operations, we provided support for only PCs and 32 software applications. Today, we have expanded to PCs, MACs, Servers and support over 500 software applications. Our scope of support has also expanded from simple break fix support to usability assistance and more recently assisted buying,” says Vishal
One of the first challenges was that there was no plug and play platform for the consumer and SMB market that existed- something that was required for the proposed model. iYogi had to build one that could be deployed across a heterogeneous environment, and enable the provision of personalised support through multiple touch points. “This was an enormous task, which required serious investments, and every start up faces resources challenges. But we decided that without the infrastructure we couldn’t and wouldn’t move ahead,” says Vishal.
IYogi is currently at around $100 million in terms of revenue in just 6 years. Over this period it has resolved over 13.5 million incidents, and receive over 20,000 service requests daily. The company has had four rounds of funding and have raised around $72 Million from investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Canaan Partners, SVB India Capital Partners, SAP Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
IYogi plans to double its headcount from the existing 5000 over the next three years and also plan to increase footprint in Europe, APAC and Latin America Markets. It foresees 10 per cent of the global revenues to come from India over the next one year. “We look forward to exciting opportunities that exist in the consumer, SMB as well as the enterprise markets.
With our tech support services across the world, we are well poised to tap the consumer and SMB markets in India now,” says Uday. As technology evolves, the need for efficient tech support will also increase. Therefore, the company also plan to launch a cloud-based security and tech support application.
“Enterprise segment is a new area we are targeting with the opening up of our Digital Service Cloud platform for OEMs, telcos, technology retailers and BPO companies. The market is estimated at $ 100 Billion globally and at least Rs 20,000 crore in India. We are already in talks with some of the telcos in India and globally and are positive of the results,” says Uday.