US-based CloudSquads was recently acquired by Pune's Persistent Systems. Co-founder Ashish Seth, in an email interview with Shivani Shinde Nadhe, talks about his entrepreneurial journey. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about CloudSquads.
CloudSquads was founded in 2009, with the mission to simplify social and drive profitability for our customers. The founding team came with a strong background in enterprise customer relationship management (CRM). We saw early on the strong need to connect social data and conversations to enterprise functions such as support, marketing and collaboration to drive business. We started, thus, by building applications that connected emerging social platforms with leading CRM systems. Since then, we have built around 15 such applications and expanded to provide strategic services that have delivered successful customer communities for about 70 of the largest brands. The founding team, as well as all CloudSquads employees, will be joining Persistent and are truly excited about the opportunity ahead of us.
What made you sure your idea was the right one for solving enterprise hurdles to becoming social?
Customers are increasingly using social media to communicate with businesses. And, whether big or small, companies need to make social conversations an integral part of their core functions. This has been the mission of CloudSquads - to transform social conversations into executable insights that drive improvement in sales, marketing and customer service.
To achieve this, we developed the methods and expertise that addressed the concerns our customers were facing. We also engaged in strategic partnerships with the leading social platforms, to develop connectors that would help companies integrate their social community data with enterprise data.
What was the need to sell off to Persistent?
We were seeing our customer and partner base expand rapidly and it was clear we had to scale, and scale fast. This market is going to expand rapidly over the next two-three years. Combining forces made perfect sense, given the synergies in our vision and the scale Persistent provides us. Together, we are perfectly aligned to serve as great partners to the social platform players and enterprises deploying customer communities.
Was Persistent the only choice?
We had always known Persistent Systems and admired them for their expertise in software product and technology services. So, we looked to scale with someone that shared our vision and passion. Persistent seemed to be the right partner because unlike the majority of the IT (information technology) service providers, they primarily focus on next-generation solution development in the areas of social (networking), mobile, analytics and cloud. On a personal note, I grew up in Pune not too far from Persistent’s headquarters; that added to the familiarity. Our team in India is excited to become part of the most respected technology brand in Pune.
How many clients does CloudSquads have?
CloudSquads has worked with around 70 global companies on customer community engagements. We bring a small team of proven consultants and a highly skilled workforce with the domain expertise in social strategies and emerging social platforms.
How do you see CloudSquads working with Persistent?
CloudSquads now has broader reach and we can now scale up our offerings. Together with Persistent’ expertise in other areas of social and collaboration, we will further develop and expand our offerings. The vision to help customers transform their businesses with social and drive profitability just got more real.
Persistent has a broad vision of engaging with our customers, as they make plans for digital transformation across all functions. We see the CloudSquads offerings being an important component of an end-to-end platform offering.