Hardesh Gulati, a B-school grad, has a brilliant idea – that of building a unique customer relationship management (CRM) platform – and has already written a business plan prior to floating his own company. However, like his peers, Gulati is confronted with the problem of approaching an angel investor or a venture capital firm to get start-up capital.
Raising funds is a key requirement for start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are looking to grow. A lack of proper management of potential investors and tracking of progress towards investment goals can lead to failure to meet funding requirements.
US-based Apptivo, which claims to be the world’s first software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that manages all aspects of a small business, says its new fundraising application can tackle such woes of start-ups and SMEs. The company has its development centres in Madurai and Chennai.
“The new fundraising app can record ‘soon-to-be’ entrepreneurs’ or existing SMEs’ investment leads to prospective angels or VC investors, their interest levels and how much they are willing to invest. It is almost like an investor’s relationship management tool and can record only documents right now,” says Apptivo founder and CEO Bastin Gerald.
There are more than 26 million micro, small and medium enterprises in India, of which 13 million are SMEs and the remainder are micro enterprises.
They can use the free fundraising app to manage all communication with potential investors, organise contacts into lists, assign tasks to specific employees, increase funding by impressing more investors, maintain better relationships with potential investors, save time by storing all investor information in one place, and gain a clear picture of potential investment money on the table, so they can form the right business strategy to capture it.
“We are now in the process of developing this fundraising app, built on the HTML 5 platform, into a specific collaboration hub for investments — like an exchange platform where there will be angels and VCs who are available and the start-ups and SMEs can submit their projects to them,” said Gerald.
Besides, he added, an audio/video presentation can be created and sent across to VCs. Using this proposed platform, VCs can give their comments and can put in money also, all done online and in real time. “We should be launching this new fundraising collaboration hub in India in the next six to nine months,” Gerald said, adding that plans are afoot to file for patents for the fundraising collaboration hub.
Apptivo currently has 50 productivity apps for SMEs like project management, invoicing, timesheets, CRM and other necessities to run their business. They function as individual web applications on the Apptivo platform but are also integrated with each other for easy accessibility. “Of these 45 are free for SMEs, while apps like e-faxing and email campaigns are offered as paid services ($10 per month),” he said.