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We hope to list company in a year or two: Uday Challu & Vishal Dhar

Mar 3rd, 2014
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In 2007, entrepreneurs Uday Challu, 50, and Vishal Dhar, 45, joined hands to launch iYogi, a Gurgaon-based remote tech-support company. About six years later, the 35-member team has grown to 5,000-odd, serving 2.5 million consumers across 10 countries. In February, iYogi raised $35million from a clutch of existing investors, as well as Madison India Capital. In an interview with Sudipto Dey, chief executive Challu and president (marketing) Dhar share the road map for the company. Edited excerpts:

How much did you raise in the current round of fund raising?

Challu: This is our fifth round of funding. Of the planned fund-raising of $55 million, we initially got $35 million.

Is this round a precursor to the company going public?

Challu: This late-stage funding is meant to augment growth and expansion. We hope to list the company in the next 12-24 months and see this as a benchmark for the next stage of expansion.

How much have you raised since inception?

Challu: Before this, we have had four rounds of funding, raising $80 million from investors such as Sequoia Capital India, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, SAP Ventures, Canaan Partners and Samaa Capital and Madison India Capital.

How do you plan to use these funds?

Challu: The funds will help accelerate expansion in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Earlier, we had announced a partnership with Telefonica in Spain to launch a co-branded service that gave Telefonica a new revenue stream. This is the first time any telecom company in Europe is introducing a tech support service of this type. Overall, licensing of our platform, Digital Service Cloud, to original equipment makers and our telecom practice will be our key growth levers and areas of investment. We aim to double our revenue and expand the global multi-lingual workforce in two years.

Tech support is a price-competitive business, with a low entry barrier. How do you keep ahead of competition?

Dhar: The tech support market is highly underserved. While there are several options for large enterprises, no one addresses the needs of small and medium businesses or end-consumers. Our differentiator is a platform that drives personalisation and support-automation. The prevalent offline models that have low-entry barriers don't meet customer requirements. Today, about half our support resolutions are automated through Digital Service Cloud. Our pricing can, therefore, be competitive.

How are your India services shaping up?

Dhar: For us, India presents immense opportunities, especially in the business segment. In the next one year, we foresee 10 per cent of our global revenues coming from India.

When do you expect your overall operations to break even?

Dhar: We have been operating in break-even for some time and have driven profitability. We hope to close this financial year with revenue of about $100 million.

Via Business Standard
Sudipto Dey