The software-as-a-service (SaaS) ecosystem in India has had a fantastic run, especially in the last one decade. Today, it is home to unicorns and hundreds of emerging startups. According to the July 2020 collaborative report titled Riding the Storm: Towards the Giant India SaaS Opportunity by Nasscom, SaaSBOOMi, and Zinnov these emerging startups the country’s SaaS revenue reached $3.5 billion in the FY2020. Nasscom added that of the total revenue reported by Indian SaaS companies, 75 percent of it was achieved through global sales. The report also stated that by 2025, the pure-play India SaaS industry has the potential to grow to $13-15 billion, reporting a 6X growth.
SaaS Central: Powering a new growth journey for Indian SaaS startups
Given the unprecedented adoption of digitisation in the post-COVID world, domestic technology talent, entrepreneurial mindset and remote selling becoming the norm, today Indian SaaS startups are poised to tap further into the opportunity in the global SaaS market. However, to do so, those in their early stages will need to understand how to build the right technology stack, build winning teams, raise capital, or which market to go after.
To enable early-stage SaaS startups to tap into this growth opportunity, Prime Venture Partners and Amazon Internet Services have come together to introduce SaaS Central. The 10-week online programme has been designed to support SaaS startups in India that are building for the global market. With a focus on SaaS architecture, product management and go-to-market and industry connect, the programme will further accelerate the growth journeys of startups. The 10-week programme is scheduled to begin in the first week of October and conclude in the second week of December.
The sessions on SaaS Central will cover aspects such as Thinking Global from Day 1, go-to-market (GTM) strategy, tech and architecture, product, packaging and pricing, sales and marketing, team building, fundraising and pitching, among others. These sessions will be led by leaders from Prime Venture Partners and founders of established SaaS startups and leaders from the AWS SaaS Factory programme. An initiative designed for AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners, AWS SaaS Factory has been enabling startups looking to accelerate delivery of SaaS on AWS solutions. It provides access to SaaS solution architects and business leads who guide and help accelerate delivery of SaaS solutions on AWS in addition to technical and business content, best practices.
Helping startups make inroads into the global ecosystem
“India has proven that SaaS Startups can build in India and sell in global markets from day 1,” shares Prime Venture Partners’ Amit Somani. The Bengaluru-based early-stage VC fund, led by serial entrepreneurs Sanjay Swamy, Shripati Acharya and Amit Somani, Prime Venture Partners has been instrumental in identifying, mentoring SaaS startups that today continue to attract large markets. In fact, the VC fund has built a very strong thesis on SaaS. Out of the 24 startups the VC Fund has invested and mentored till date, 11 have been SaaS startups. This includes startups such as Perpule, Survey Sparrow, EzeTap, Traxcn, Happay, Synup, MyGate, Hackerearth – each category creators in their own right.
Amit shares, “As a Venture Fund that closely works with startups, we know what it takes to build a SaaS startup in the early days. At SaaS Central, we will bring in these learnings, mentorship, expertise and guidance for startups and help them better understand key aspects such as how to build the startup, how to price the product, how to build different teams – from engineering, products, sales to HR, how to raise capital, etc. We will mentor the startups in the business fundamentals. This when coupled with AWS SaaS Factory’s Go-To-Market access and their SaaS tech expertise, the programme becomes highly relevant and helpful for early-stage SaaS startups.”
Today, SaaS startups in India, turn to AWS for its ability to provide low-cost, reliable, and secure foundation for businesses. AWS SaaS Factory in particular with its broad range of business and technical enablement resources is helping startups build, migrate, and optimise SaaS on AWS. And at SaaS Central, AWS will further enable the startups part of the cohort to leverage the technical expertise of the AWS SaaS Factory leaders and AWS’s access to global markets.
“With a global presence, we have a in-depth understanding of the developments and requirements of the different SaaS markets. This coupled with the Amazon Internet Services’ go-to-market support, will equip startups to tap into the business opportunities in different markets, says Gaurav Arora – Head of Startup Ecosystem, APAC, Amazon Web Services.
As mentors of the programme, AWS SaaS Factory leaders will play a critical role in guiding and helping startups accelerate delivery of SaaS solutions on AWS while maximising innovation and agility of the SaaS solutions. “Today, enterprises, established startups as well as emerging startups across the world are built on AWS Cloud. So, we come with a strong understanding of what kind of architecture or tech stack power winning SaaS solutions. Mentors from SaaS Factory will guide participants through the breadth and depth of tools and services available on AWS to enhance the features, cost, and management profile of their solutions and facilitate a faster time-to-market,” says Gaurav.
According to the collaborative report led by NASSCOM, the global SaaS industry market is expected to touch $400 billion in the next five years. With the growth, the sector is likely to see disruption and new opportunities. A programme like SaaS Central will play a key role in enabling young startups to make inroads into one of the fastest-growing sectors.