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[Podcast] Shekhar Kirani and Krish Subramanian on building SaaS business out of India for the global market


Shekhar Kirani is a partner at Accel, and focuses on early-stage investments in SaaS, and has been involved with Freshworks, Chargebee, Zenoti, and ANSR among others. Krish Subramanian is the co-founder and CEO of Chargebee, which specialises in subscription management and billing.

Chargebee today serves customers in 53 countries and processes over $3 billion of annual invoicing by managing millions of subscriptions around the world. Bootstrapped for initial 1.5 years, Chargebee has raised $39 million over the last six years, and is comprised of a 400-member strong team based out of four countries.

Accel Podcast

The several success stories of Zoho, Freshworks, Browserstack, and Icertis, who have all reached several hundred million dollars in ARR with most of their product built in India give proof points for the possibility to build large scale SaaS companies coming out of India.

Unlike the 90s when software was a one-time sale, the subscription nature of SaaS pricing ensures that the interests of the customer and the software vendor are well aligned.

Today, there are over a hundred thousand software companies serving over two thousand categories, with over $500 billion spent on software purchases.

The SaaS industry is worth just $150 billion to $200 billion, so there’s another $300 billion of traditional on-prem software that needs to be replaced. Another opportunity exists in creating a product for the customers currently being served by custom software solutions built by large IT services companies. At the same time, new industries are seeing digitisation, creating more opportunities for building software.

In terms of liquidity as well, SaaS as a sector offers significant options – from an active M&A market and active interest from venture capital and private equity to fund growth to several examples of companies going public.

Krish ends by quoting Jason Lemkin, “In a SaaS business, once you cross $10 million with good momentum, you basically become unkillable because of the recurring nature of the business.”

Tune in to the podcast to hear more interesting insights from Shekhar and Krish.

Anand Daniel is a seed/early stage venture investor with Accel Partners.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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