We met Anshu Goel, founder and CEO of Alphalogic Techsys Limited, a Pune-based bespoke software consulting firm which has recently announced an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Startup Platform. In the interview, Anshu discussed his journey as an entrepreneur, India’s startup ecosystem, and his plans for growth after the IPO. Below is an abridged text of the interview.
Interviewer : What makes Alphalogic different?
AG : We have delivered over a hundred products to a global clientele from across 12 countries, including the US, UK, Australia, and India. These include products for Fortune 500 companies, small and medium enterprises, and early stage startups. I think what sets us apart is the fact that we are a people first company.
May it be our investors, customers, or team; we value people the most. We spend a lot of time and energy in understanding the challenges our customers face, or the personal goals of our team members, and align to that. We channelise maximum growth to the company, employees, and shareholders by being lean, transparent, and sincere.
Interviewer : You were only 24 years old when you started Alphalogic. That was a decade ago. Now, Alphalogic is gearing up for an IPO. You must have had an incredible journey.
AG : Absolutely! I come from the small town of Chandrapur from Maharashtra. I did my engineering from Pune, and was at an early stage of my career when I started Alphalogic. I was 24 years old at the time, full of ideas and energy.
I wanted to be a job creator and not a job seeker. It was the year 2008, and global recession was causing turbulence in businesses worldwide. We were able to thrive though. I took a small rented space, and with one more employee, launched the startup.
Our first client was a UK based organisation. They wanted an SMS integration done to their software, which is quite common today, but was a new technology back then. We wanted the client desperately, and underquoted our pricing by many folds. We were able to bag the deal for ninety dollars, and worked for several days to get the work done.
Over the next few years of operations, bigger clients joined and trusted us. Some customers stayed with us for years together, bringing in business and the opportunity to learn and grow. Then in 2013, we moved to our own office. This was a big move. We had some big clients at hand, and were bootstrapped and profitable. We still are. Our books reflected that.
And now the IPO, which is a big milestone in the journey so far. So yeah, the journey has been incredible. And it has only begun.
Interviewer : You have Dr Ganesh Natarajan and Bhupendra Singh Rathore joining the Board of Advisors of Alphalogic. What expertise will they bring to the table?
AG : Dr. Ganesh Natarajan is the founder of 5F World, and has led the success stories of APTECH and Zensar Technologies. He has a deep understanding of technology and business, and comes with a serious canon of experience. Dr. Natarajan will help us achieve greater growth, and develop better client reach.
BSR, on the other hand, comes with an incredible leadership and coaching experience. He will help us set long-term vision and work towards fulfilling them. He will help build a better culture for the company so that we are better prepared for the future.
Interviewer : Would you like to share some interesting projects you are working on currently?
AG : We are really excited about what AI (Artificial Intelligence) is capable of, and many of our projects are in the AI domain. We are a firm believer in the blockchain technology, and are also currently researching and working on a blockchain technology that will help with peer to peer lending, allowing users to give their existing tokens as collaterals. This is one of Alphalogic’s internal pet projects.
Interviewer : How does a startup go for an IPO? What is the process?
AG : IPO is a dream come true for any company. It means that your company has matured. Its processes, business, revenue streams, and teams are in place; and you are willing to take off. Before going for an IPO, the founder must be clear on what he or she wants to achieve through an IPO. It is like opening the floodgates of many things that you need to handle.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has launched its own startup platform to help startups enter larger capital markets. For an IPO, the company should be at-least two years old and its net should be positive. There are other guidelines a startup needs to follow, which can be looked up on BSE’s website.
Going for the IPO itself is about an eight to twelve month process. You need to identify your merchant banker, conduct capital restructuring, auditing, and then submit the draft prospectus to BSE. BSE conducts its own due diligence, after which an advisory committee interviews the promoters on their intent, finances, etc. Once you clear that, you receive the approval for listing yourself in the BSE Exchange.
Interviewer : Now that you are going for an IPO, what are your future plans?
AG : Alphalogic has had a ten year long bootstrapped and profitable journey. It is among the first startups of its generation to get listed in BSE. Our next big goal is to get listed in the BSE main exchange, which we want to achieve in the next two years. We want to be a part of the Nifty, the BSE share market sensex.
For that to happen, on an immediate basis, we plan to raise more capital through equity infusion. We will expand our business by tapping new clients. We witnessed a 120 percent growth last year. By 2020, we plan to triple our workforce and expand our operations significantly.
IPO will also give us greater exposure, credibility, and increase our valuation. In fact, we are also open to inorganic growth opportunities. If we encounter a suitable merger or buyout opportunity that aligns with our vision, we would be open to such options as well.
Interviewer : Has the government’s Startup India initiative helped?
AG : Oh yes! Thanks to the initiative, startups now mave better ways of raising funds, and garner greater respect. Earlier, there was nothing called ‘startups’ in the official lingo. There were large companies and small companies, but no startups. Today, both the government and people understand that startups are not about the size of the organisation, but the idea it is built on.
Today, companies with one employee or five employees are also seen with greater respect. Earlier, they were looked at as merely consultants or freelancers. This is a sea change in narrative and attitude towards startups, which will go a long way in paving the way for India’s businesses.