Make investments in anything you strongly believe in, make every effort under your control to see it give you returns and persevere.
That’s exactly the hypothesis I started Think201 with and FY 17–18 validated it big time. A choice between starting a “product” or a “service” company, raising “external funds” or keeping it “100% bootstrapped” were some of the many decisions I made in order to learn the game my way.
FY 17–18 can be marked as a milestone year in the timeline of Think201 since it’s inception with the revenue growth of about 200% and team growth of 100%, still staying under the umbrella of a lean team.
Last year was a year of great learning on almost every front a startup has to deal with. To name a few:
1. Technology — Being a tech startup, we faced many technological challenges in finding sustainable and scalable solutions for our clients and also in-house for making our team’s lives easier. We designed and developed a user-network algorithm which is filed for a patent and is awaited. We started identifying inefficiency at intermittent points in our process and resolved them through technology. We also got our hands into R&D for OCR with some volunteer initiative towards integrating IOT in our office space. We also did a couple of tech disruptions for our old clientele products as a discretionary call as soon as we realized that there’s room to improve the product performance. It would be unfair if Vivek Pandey — the Engineering Head’s burnt midnight oils go unacknowledged in taking up new technological challenges and implementing it on clients’ or in-house projects. Our technology team, being passionate about product building, they ended up developing WalFin — a Pocket Expense Tracker (P.E.T), in less than a month.
2. Design — Technology clubbed with a great design is a great enabler in product design and development. Our Chief Design Officer — Kewal Krishna, has been able to ensure to not only keep up with our design standards but to take it to next level. We were reached out for UI/UX prototyping of few products considering the design strength we have possessed as Think201. UI/UX and graphics —custom illustrations and icons add to the uniqueness and originality of the work we have delivered and we want to consistently challenge ourselves under the design leadership of Kewal.
3. Operations — A heart and soul of any company that decides the delivery efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This, in turn, was achieved by trying to eliminate non-value adding steps in achieving the final goal, minimising communication gaps among the team members through right tools and process. To tell you the truth, somewhere in the middle of the year, we were not spared of problems of growing company in operations with the decision to stay a lean team as well. We resorted to our tech team themselves to provide us tech-enabled solutions — that’s how our team started to innovate and provided us with quick tools as quick and easy solutions such as OpenThreads (for Project Managers to communicate seamlessly among our clients) and Echoza (allowing teams to coordinate and co-operate seamlessly towards the success of the product). We came up with a DND concept to allow team members to work focussed and undisturbed for any requested timeframe. Kudos to Yashaswini S Prakash — the Chief Operations Officer’s operational competency helped the company change gears as required over the course of the year.
4. Business — We added a couple of new services to the Think201 business line — UI/UX Prototyping (Delivering user persona and UI/UX mockups for products), Infrastructure Consulting (such as minimising server costs on AWS) and Technology Consulting. Akash Agrawal — Chief Products Officer brought his business insights in coordinating with the team to ensure the business needs of the products, be it clients’ or in-house, are met first hand. We started working on a project for technology inclusion in the Right to Education Act with a Not-for-Profit Organisation based out of Delhi and were able to deploy the system to be used by Govt. of Uttarakhand in a record time of 4 months. You can check out the case study for the same.
In July, we also spun out a dedicated Digital Marketing wing in the name of “First Launch” with the philosophy of bringing harmony between “Marketing, Design and Technology”. Our DM team leverages the power of technology in engineering marketing campaigns for the clients’ brand building.
First Launch — under the leadership of Vedh Jagadish, in 3 quarters alone – was able to contribute to 10% of Think201’s annual revenue.
It was one heck of a year for us as a Company and I, as an individual. There were a lot of “This could have been done better!” moments along with “Yes! This was the right decision” moments.
Speaking of right decisions, one among the many such instances, we, as a company, take pride in hiring a QA intern who turned out to be an important team member of Think201, currently leading the QA team already.
After having worked hard for the whole year, all of us, as a team, deserved a break and decided to go for a team outing to “Area83” to mark the end of FY 17–18 on a “Celebratory and yet newly learnt lessons” note.
I, personally, want to take this opportunity to thank Think201 team, our clients and all the well-wishers for believing in us and contributing to the difference we want to bring with our work.
I promise myself to take this year’s learning in moving forward faster and better in FY 18–19 with Think201 team and making sure we all make our dreams come true as a Company.